Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Gene Day: In His Own Words

Shang-Chi Pin-Up (Marvel Fanfare #25, March 1986)
Art by Dave Sim
(from 'Gene Day: In His Own Words', 1981)
...I don't like doing character design, so that sort of puts me in awe of doing new characters. I'd never done any character design up until I started on Kung Fu. Number 107 is the first villain I ever drew in my life. I just don't do that kind of thing. But it's always nice to get a piece of the action. On the whole, if I'm working on something like Shang-Chi or something, no, of course not, because I didn't come up with it. It wouldn't say so. I wouldn't say it means that much to me. My home is the house that Marvel built. It's their money that gives me all the pleasures in life that I have now. Before them I didn't have too much. Everybody runs around thinking that every character they come up with is going to be worth a mint, and nine out of ten times, the character is worth a dime and a doughnut. Once you're hired to do it, my only advice would be that you'd better do it to the absolute best of your capabilities. You know, there'd be no point in cutting back on the quality of your work simply because you don't own it. It's not going to do you any good.

I'll tell you what the biggest problem is: Wanting to do your best but not having the time to do it. Theoretically, it takes about two weeks (to produce a book). That's the pencils. Maybe two weeks, but it never works out that way. I'm always late with my pencils, I'm slow at them, and I always seem to get the dead-end jobs, the tight jobs, with inks. The last day I had off, really physically had off, was last Christmas. If it's near the first and its not too pressing, (I’ll work from) probably around eight am to ten pm...

Howard Eugene Day (1951-1982) was the Canadian comic book artist best known for Marvel Comics' Master of Kung Fu and its Star Wars licensed series. Dave Sim credits Gene as his earliest and most influential mentor and the inspiration for his own self-publishing efforts. From 1985 to 1986, Deni Loubert's Renegade Press published four issues of Gene Day's Black Zeppelin, an anthology series primarily featuring stories and painted covers Day completed before his death of a coronary on 23 September 1982. From 2002-2006, Dave Sim and Gerhard created The Day Prize, an annual award given to a comic creator chosen by them from the exhibitors at SPACE (Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo) held in Columbus, Ohio. In February 2009, the Shuster Awards received permission from Gene Day's widow, Gale, and brothers to name the annual Gene Day Award For Self-Publishing in his memory. Gene was inducted into the Shuster Hall of Fame in 2007.

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