A Nifty Page Turn and the Quiet Genius of GENE COLAN

A BIRTHDAY SALUTE: We take the little things for granted, don’t we?

The late, great Gene Colan was born 95 years ago on Sept. 1, 1926, and typically we’d do a 13 COVERS tribute like we have so many times in the past.

But as it happens, just the other day I came upon a really cool opening page-turn by Colan in 1984’s Detective Comics #542, which was published toward the end of the artist’s run on the character.

Cover by Paris Cullins and Dick Giordano

It’s not a shocker or a historic moment, just a nifty bit of art that shows what accomplished pros do, day in and day out.

Dig this:

I don’t know how much of this was scripted by Moench and how much was Colan’s influence, but either way the penciller made it sing.

The top of Page 1 starts out simply enough with a basic horizontal panel. But the layout quickly conveys panicky disorder as Harvey Bullock is shot behind the wheel. As he dangles off the Gotham Bay Bridge calling for help, we turn the page and…

… BAM! Batman and Robin are all up in your business, ready to ride to the rescue. (That’s pre-Crisis Jason Todd, by the way.)

When I read it, my head snapped back slightly at the bold entrance of the Caped Crusaders, with the late-Bronze Age Batmobile front and center.

It’s not a page-turn that will change your life but it’s damn good and shows how a great artist can bring drama to what’s a fairly mundane piece of action.

Love it.


— 13 SPLASH PAGES: A GENE COLAN Birthday Celebration — Starring DAREDEVIL. Click here.

— 13 COVERS: A GENE COLAN Birthday Celebration — Starring HOWARD THE DUCK. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I’ve always been a fan of his earlier work on Ironman and DD.

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  2. Thanks for the reminder about this issue! That Batmobile looks like the Super Powers collection version! Excellent panels by a legend who is missed.

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  3. Colan always said the hardest thing to draw was a car chase because its so hard to keep the repeated visuals interesting. The same could be said for this, but he nailed it. I loved Colan’s run on TOMB OF DRACULA and I never thought he was suited for superheroes (neither did he) but his run on the Batman titles really worked!

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  4. I wish DC would reprint Doug Moench’s 1st Batman/Detective Comics run. Great art by Don Newton and Gene Colan(HAPPY BIRTHDAY!).

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