Comics Artist Gil Kane died this week.
Kane was one of the major forces behind DC’s Silver Age, the definitive artist on the Silver Age Atom and Green Lantern, as well as many others. I loved the work he did on the Pre-Crisis Superman; Kane’s characters made flying look easy; they burst with restless energy, throwing themselves into action, unbound by gravity. I guess for that reason I was less fond of his run on Conan at the time, because it was a sharp contrast with John Buscema’s (definitive) portrayal of the barbarian as a Big Man. Kane’s Conan looked twenty years younger then Buscema’s guy, and he’d changed from having the build of a wrestler to looking like a ballet dancer (most of Kane’s characters looked like ballet dancers, actually).
It’s a bit sad that a lot of comics Kane drew were poorly written. “Judgement Day: Aftermath” (written by Alan Moore) was a recent forgetable one-shot that nevertheless served as a heartfelt tribute to Kane, who is portrayed there as an “Imagineer”, a skilled veteran creator of imaginary worlds. The disjointed episodes that made up that comic didn’t work as stories, but were literally put there to “give Kane something cool to draw”. Kane did create some terrific visuals for that Comic – a World Tree, Goddesses (he drew divine women), aliens… Saddly, it was all “throw-away” stuff; Kane deserved a better tribute.
I want to say a lot of good things about Gil Kane, but I think Steven Grant said it better in his column, so go read it.