Original Art Stories: Gene Colan's Dubious Daredevil #1
Now I have an issue with this, and I'm not alone. Three other people also have an issue with this - Gene Colan, his wife, Adrienne and his long time inker, Dave Gutierrez, and frankly they'd know. Gene doesn't remember drawing it, Dave, who usually sees these things, doesn't remember seeing it. So what is it? I'm not sure, but I am fairly convinced that it's not a Gene Colan Daredevil #1 recreation.
Why? Really, it's simple, but let's have a look shall we?
This is the signature from the Heritage Colan. It's undated and very, very shaky. Even in his worst days Gene's hand wasn't that unsure, especially when it comes to writing his own name. Plus, according to his wife, Adrienne, "Gene's signature doesn't have that 'hook' on the top of the 'G' and does not go up at the end of 'n'," and you'd expect the Colan's to know Gene's own handwriting. Compare the above signature with this one:
and you'll soon see what I mean. The other thing to watch for is that Gene almost always dates his work. I have a sketch that I bought as part of a deal, from Gene, to coincide with the release of his book, Secrets In The Shadows, and even something as small as a sketch is dated. However there are examples of Gene's work out there with undated signatures - I own one. With that in mind I scanned the signature and here it is:Compare the line work of that signature with the one from the Heritage Colan (the first signature example shown here) and tell me if the same guy did them both. I have my own (serious) doubts.
The other indicator for me is the presence of the logos and the like. Try as I might I can't really find an example of where Gene has done a Daredevil recreation where he's penciled in the text and logos. Here's a recreation from 2005:and here's the finished inks, side by side, for comparison:
As you can clearly see the logo's have been added in at the inking stage, not during the pencils. I'm also dubious about Gene doing a recreation of someone else's work, but then stranger things have happened. That Gene can't recall this particular piece of art and has asked for provenance from Heritage speaks volumes. I'm not saying this is an outright fake, but I would say, caveat emptor, let the buyer beware. Someone might pay a very high price for this only to discover that it's not what they think it is.
I'll be watching this auction with great interest, and any updates that might arrive from the Colans themselves, I'll be sure to post, one way or another.
Further to this: The Colan's have contacted Heritage to express their doubts about the piece in question. The main concerns, from the Colans, are as follows: the signature doesn't look like Gene's signature (as outlined above), Gene doesn't draw in other artists style, Gene rarely, if ever, does recreations of covers that he didn't originally draw, Gene can't recall drawing it - now you'd think, if this were genuine, that Gene would remember drawing it. He remembers art he drew in the '50s, why not this one?
Heritage have replied stating that the consignor of the art bought it from an un-named 'reputable' dealer some years back and that both Heritage and the consignor believe it's real. Heritage have also stated that, "...unless you (the Colans) —or someone else—has something stronger than vague recollections or a bit of doubt, it’s honestly not fair to our consignor to call into question the authenticity."
I guess the doubts of the artist aren't enough in this case. Ok, I'll put this to Heritage - I strongly believe that the Gene Colan signature was not done by Gene Colan. It looks nothing like every other Gene Colan signature out there, it's undated and looks too rough to be a genuine Colan. Heritage is out there to make money, both for the consigner and themselves, so it's in their best interests to deny any claim of fraud in relation to the art until after the auction is finished and paid for.
Again, buyer beware. Until Gene comes out and says he did draw it, or someone can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it's real, I'll still insist that this art is dubious and might well be a fake. I'd not touch it with a pole.