Wednesday, July 20, 2011

when a comic artist is also an audiophile...

towerofshadows6_B

colantowerofshadows6detail2

excerpt from a great interview with comic book artist gene colan, where he talks about making audio recordings:

RODMAN: I’d expect someone of your generation to be more into Big Band music or pop standards of the 1940s. You appear to have a pretty eclectic CD collection. I used to work at a record story, and my co-workers would play White Zombie just to torment me.

COLAN: Some of it’s modern. Modern symphonies. A lot of Prokofiev. Let’s see, I’m trying to think of some things.

RODMAN: But you don’t exclude hard rock on occasion?

COLAN: Oh, anything. My son is into that. They have some real psychedelic music. [Laughs.] And I play that, you know. Anything that fits in – with impact – almost all of it fits in. I’ll even play sound effects records. I have sounds of the ocean, trains – stuff like that – planes.

RODMAN: Does it help you with the “movie” that’s going on in your mind?

COLAN: Yeah, if it’s a war film I’ll play battle sounds. [Laughter.] It’s some real peculiar stuff I had a project or in those early years, and I would rent a film and then I would record the soundtrack on audio tape, and I’d play back the entire film without actually being able to see it. All I could do was hear it. It was a lot like listening to a radio program. And a lot of a movie depends on what you see, not so much what you hear. During a silent passage, you wouldn’t know what was happening unless you’d seen the film. I had seen every film I ever recorded, so it helped bring it back.

RODMAN: You penciled a story by Steve Skeates called “The Scream from Beyond,” which dealt with an obsessive/compulsive sound effects guy. It ‘s from the Marvel horror anthology comic from 1970, Tower of Shadows [#6], where they occasionally ran stories introduced by the artists, with a framing device of a self-portrait at the drawing board. Your hobby as an audiophile is, in fact, a part of your Bullpen reputation.

COLAN: Early on when I was working for Timely, we’d kid around during the day. We’d fool around more than we worked. But I did a dramatized [recording] where we’d go in and ask Stan for a raise, Stan Lee, and I had sound effects where he’d throw me through the window. I had it rigged so you would hear glass breaking. I had a wire recorder. In those years it wasn’t tape, it was wire. So I would dramatize the whole thing out at home, with the music and sound effects. I brought it in, and everybody got a big bang out of it. Including Stan. I didn’t want to play it for him. I thought he’d throw me out. [Laughter] But the guys in the bullpen said, “Oh, come on. He’s a regular guy. Go ahead and play it for him.” And I did. He got a charge out of it.

you can read the entire interview: here

images: details of the original art for pages 27 & 28, gene colan (pencils), don adkins (ink), the scream from beyond, from tower of shadows, marvel comics, 1970

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