Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Black and White Wednesday: "Samurai" by Gene Day

The comics world lost one of its brightest when Gene Day passed away in 1982. The Canadian writer/artist had a unique voice and style, making every project he touched extra special. I first noticed him as an inker on Marvel mags like Marvel Two-In-One (over George Perez), Star Wars (finishing Carmine Infantino's pencils) and Master of Kung Fu (inking Mike Zeck)--and yeah, his style blew Teen Groove away. Later, Day was allowed to pencil MOKF and Star Wars, and with his mind-bending, Steranko-esque layouts...WOW! Can your mind be blown twice and even harder? One can really get the full effect of Day's artistic prowess when reading one of his solo black and white tales, like "Samurai" from Mike Friedrich's Star*Reach #11 (cover-dated December 1977). The thought-provoking, cinematic layouts...the organic, ornate, lush inks...the mastery of spotting blacks...the ingenious use of negative space...it's there in all its glory. Dig it, baby...and thanks, Gene!

3 comments:

  1. I’ve never seen this before. It’s a good one.

    Thanks for remembering Gene Day. I happened to glance through an issue of Master of Kung Fu back in 1982, and like you, I was blown away. Day’s artwork really didn’t look like anybody else’s. I immediately went through the back issue boxes at the local comics store and scarfed up every issue of MOKF that contained Gene Day artwork. Not too long after that Day passed away, and my life turned in other directions.

    About a year ago I saw a few of those issues of MOKF in a comics store and bought them again. Sadly - or to my benefit, maybe not so sadly - the back issues cost less than the new comics on the racks. Happily, Gene Day’s artwork was every bit as good as I remembered it being, way better than most of the current computerized, digitally separated stuff published nowadays. I wish Marvel would reprint Master of Kung Fu, but I understand there are copyright issues over Fu Manchu.

    Seems like Gene Day is nearly forgotten now. This was a nice reminder of a great artist.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I loved Gene Day's art and I loved his Master of Kung Fu.I think that MOKF was truly fortunate to have Doug Moench on board and 3 great artists in Gulacy,Zeck and Day. No offence to Jim Craig but he didn't cut it for me. You could do worse than post The Phoenix Gambit from #59 and 60 for the perusal of some great Zeck art. And I believe it was only a 2-part fill-in.
    Which Shang-Chi versus Fu Manchu was the greatest for you,Groove? Moench/Gulacy,Moench/Zeck or Moench/Day? Tough call ! I know I read 'em all umpteen times some 25 years ago!

    John Parker,Spain

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good idea on the Zeck/MOKF issues, John! I'll get on that asap! And yeah, that is a tough call. I really dug each era of MOKF, but for some reason I have a special place in my heart for the Moench/Zeck/Day combo. They were consistent and truly far-out.

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