Kane, Gil

 American artistEli Katz

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Latvian-born American comic book artist (b. April 6, 1926, Riga, Latvia—d. Jan. 31, 2000, Miami, Fla.), became a legend during his more than half-century-long career. His innovative and dramatic style and technique brought new life and vibrancy to such superheroes as Spider-Man, Green Lantern, Captain Marvel, the Incredible Hulk, and the Atom during what was known as the silver age of comics, and he was the creator of such characters as Morbius the Living Vampire and Iron Fist. Kane moved to the U.S. with his parents when he was three years old. He became enthralled by the coloured comic pages in the Sunday newspapers and by comic books after they came on the market in 1933, and when he was a teenager, he took a job erasing pencil lines and drawing borders for the comic publisher MLJ. He also worked briefly for the Jack Binder Agency and for DC Comics before serving (1944–45) in World War II. Returning to DC following his 19 months in the army, Kane worked on a variety of comics, adding to his skills and responsibilities. He also freelanced for numerous other companies. In the late 1950s came the revival of the superhero characters from what had been known as the golden age of comics, and Kane, with Green Lantern, began the work that would lead to his being considered one of the silver age’s most important influences on action comics. Over the next several years he added a number of other titles and worked also for Marvel, King, and Tower comics, among others. Whenever possible, despite the huge amount of work he produced, Kane inked his own drawings rather than leave the work for assistants, as most comic book artists did, in order to maintain the integrity of his designs. Besides comic books, Kane also published two graphic novels that he wrote and illustrated, His Name Is Savage (1968) and Blackmark (1971), drew his newspaper comic strip creation Star Hawks from 1977 to 1981, illustrated such items as paperback books and records, and co-wrote the novel Excalibur! (1980, with John Jakes). During the 1980s Kane worked on animated television series, notably Superman, and his projects in the 1990s included comic book adaptations of Richard Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung (1990, with Roy Thomas) and of the motion picture Jurassic Park (1993).

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