1. Gene Colan came to work for what would become Marvel Comics early on in its existence, hired by Stan Lee in 1946. He eventually moved to rival DC Comics, working on many of their war titles, before returning to Marvel in the 1960s. Because at the time freelancing for the competition was frowned upon, his Marvel work was initially credited to Adam Austin, a pseudonym that appears on his early Iron Man and Sub-Mariner tales.
2. Gene had foundational runs on many key Marvel characters including the Sub-Mariner (1965-1968), Iron Man (1966-1968), Daredevil (1966-1973), Captain America (1969-1971, wherein he co-created Marvel's first African-American superhero, The Falcon), and Doctor Strange (1968-1969, 1975-1976, and 1979-1981). But he was probably best-known for his runs on two non-superhero titles. One is Tomb of Dracula, which he illustrated the entire 70-issue run of from 1972 to 1979, co-creating the vampire hunter Blade with Marv Wolfman along the way. The other is Howard the Duck, a brilliant satire which he drew from 1976 to 1979 alongside writer Steve Gerber.
3. In 1981, Gene left Marvel for DC, where he began illustrating Batman comics, as well as reuniting with Tomb of Dracula collaborator Marv Wolfman on the series Night Force. He also had stints for DC on Wonder Woman, Firestorm, Legion of Super-Heroes, The Spectre, and Nathaniel Dusk.
4. Gene served as the artistic hands for actor Eric Roberts in the 1990 film The Ambulance. Roberts played a comic book artist, and the director wanted a scene of him drawing, but unfortunately that was not part of Roberts' skill set. So Gene was brought in, his hands made up to match the younger Roberts, and was filmed from the hands down providing his unique style of draftsmanship.
5. Rocker Rob Zombie is a huge Gene Colan fan, and hired him to do the art for his first solo album, Hellbilly Deluxe. Gene also drew stories for Rob's Spookshow International comic series, and drew an unpublished story featuring White Zombie (Rob's first band), Dracula, and Howard The Duck, pages of which Rob has posted to his blog.
6. In 2005, Gene was voted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall Of Fame, joining an exclusive company of fewer than 100 comic book artists and writers from across the decades of the industry.
8. Gene interacted for years with his fans on the Gene Colan Yahoo Group, where group members came to feel that they were a part of Gene's extended family, and followed him through the highs and lows of his life.
9. In recent years, Gene battled many health issues, including blindness stemming from glaucoma, liver disease, heart disease, and cancer. In spite of all this, he continued to produce new work, for Dark Horse under editor Shawna Gore, notably on the relaunched Creepy magazine, and also new assignments for Marvel, including Captain America #601 in 2009 which won the Eisner Award for Best Single Issue. His numerous health problems made it difficult to pay the bills, however, and in 2010, Marvel teamed up with the non-profit Hero Initiative, to produce the Invincible Gene Colan, a benefit book which went a long way towards improving Gene's financial situation.
10. Over the past few months, Gene's cancer worsened, and Gene made the decision to move to a hospice rather than pursue harrowing chemotherapy treatment. Gene Colan passed away at 11 PM on Thursday, June 23rd. His funeral was held on Sunday, June 26th, and comics luminaries Walt Simonson, Tom Palmer, Don McGregor, and Lee Weeks were on hand to pay tribute to a master of his craft. One of his closest friends, Clifford Meth, is setting up a scholarship in Gene's honor at the renowned Kubert School, which Gene's family asks well-wishers to donate to in lieu of flowers.
I personally cannot think of a better way to honor someone who spent his life advancing the art form we all love. Goodbye, Gene.