Gil Kane

From Academic Kids

Eli Katz (April 6, 1926January 31, 2000), who worked under the name Gil Kane, was a comic book illustrator whose career spanned the so-called Golden and Silver Ages of comics.

Kane was born in Riga, Latvia. His family moved to the United States in 1929, settling in Brooklyn.

At the age of 16, while attending the High School of Industrial Art, he began working in the comics studio system as an assistant, doing menial tasks such as drawing panel borders. Within a month, he was pencilling and inking illustrations, and soon dropped out of school to work full-time. During the next several years, he worked for about a dozen studios (including Timely Comics, which later became Marvel Comics) and learned from prominent artists such as Jack Kirby and Joe Simon. He interrupted his career briefly to enlist in the Army during World War II.

During the late 1950s, Kane worked increasingly for DC Comics, and helped to usher in the Silver Age when he became the chief artist for a series of new superhero titles loosely based on 1940s characters, notably Green Lantern and The Atom. He also continued to work for Marvel and illustrated many of Marvel's leading titles during the 1960s, including Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Captain America. His distinctive style, which combined the detailed figure drawing of Frank Frazetta with the stylized violence and exaggerated motion of Jack Kirby, greatly influenced other Marvel superhero artists during this period. Characters he created for Marvel included Iron Fist and Morbius.

Kane's side projects included two long works that he wrote and illustrated: His Name is...Savage (1968), a self-published magazine, and Blackmark (Bantam Books paperback, 1971); unusually for the time, these were published as single volumes rather than serials and are therefore considered to be examples of early, protypical graphic novels. During the 1970s and 1980s he also created the newspaper strip Star Hawks (with Ron Goulart) and character designs for various Hanna-Barbera cartoons.

To honor his more than five decades of achievement, Kane was named to both the Eisner Award Hall of Fame and the Harvey Award Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1997.

He died in 2000 in Florida, of complications from Kane


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