Monday, April 25, 2016

Magazines: Comic Book Creator #11: The Invention of Gil Kane

Gil and the Sliver-Age Atom
Eli Kacz was born in 1926 to Jewish parents in a ghetto in Latvia. In 1930, some relatives vouched for the Kacz’s and they were lucky enough to immigrate to America. They wound up in New York, of course. Captivated by the pulp, movie serial and comic book heroes, Eli grew up to become one of the most famous and influential comic book artists in America, Gil Kane.

Growing up a massive comic book fan, as soon as I was old enough to distinguish artists, I could identify and love the work of Gil Kane. Known primarily as a cover artist when I first got into comics, no one could draw action like Kane. With his ballet-dancer characters, fluid movement and upside down haymaker shots, Kane made his indelible mark on every kind of American comic imaginable. He drew Westerns (Gil was constantly in demand for the way he could draw horses), sci-fi, humor and his greatest achievement (to me, perhaps not him) was his superhero work. His long stint on Green Lantern was mentioned in his obituary. He also spent rare long runs on both Conan and Spider-Man (Kane is my second favorite Spider-Man artist, right after John Romita but before Steve Ditko).

No one draws GL like Gil
Kane reinvented himself from Jewish boy from a poor background to a sophisticated, urbane illustrator and mentor. He even had his nose fixed at the urging of his first wife. He constantly tried to break away from being a “comic book artist” to a self-employed creator doing creator-owned work. Alas, he was a few decades before his time and the market wasn’t quite ready for him. But the market’s loss is the superhero fan’s gain. He worked right up until his death in December of 2000, when he had to go to the hospital in the middle of working on an assignment in his studio. He’ll always be remembered as a pioneer in comics and one of the best comic book artists of all time.

The very controversial death of Gwen Stacy
Comic Book Creator #11 has some other great articles, including a wonderful tribute to the recently passed Herb Trimpe. But I loved reading about the life and career of my hero Gil Kane. The magazine tells the above story, speaks to his family, friends and fellow artists, and is jam-packed with Kane art from every era, some of it rarely seen. His dynamic and inspirational work will never be forgotten.

Gil's creator-owned magazine for adults

Rating: ***** out of 5 stars


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  2. Thanks for the kind words, Robert. Come back any time!