Back to previous page


Deaths of note: Gene Colan, E.M. Broner

Gene Colan

comic book artist

Comic book artist Gene Colan, who in his seven-decade career chronicled the adventures of characters including Dracula, Batman, Daredevil and Howard the Duck, died June 23 at a hospital in New York at 84. He had liver disease and cancer.

Mr. Colan had a subtle and emotional style that imbued the characters he drew with a sense of vitality that seemed to leap off the page. His art was a staple of the Silver Age era of comics, and his 70-issue run on “The Tomb of Dracula,” written by Marv Wolfman, in the 1970s remains critically lauded for returning horror to the pages of comic books.

In the 1980s, Mr. Colan’s work on Batman for DC Comics drew plaudits and is sought out by aficionados of original comic-book art.

Born in New York on Sept. 1, 1926, Mr. Colan began working in comics in 1944, drawing for Wings Comics. He joined the Army Air Forces and was stationed in the Philippines at the end of World War II. When he was discharged, he joined Timely Comics, the precursor to Marvel Comics and then drew for National Comics, now DC.

He returned to Marvel in the 1960s as the industry entered what is widely known as comics’ Silver Age. That period saw the revitalization of classic heroes from the 1940s, such as Superman, Batman and Green Lantern at DC, as well as the creation of Marvel’s Fantastic Four, the Avengers, Captain America and Daredevil.

E.M. Broner

feminist writer

E.M. Broner, a pioneering Jewish feminist writer, died June 21 in New York of multiple organ failure. She was 83.

Ms. Broner was the author of 10 books, including “The Women’s Haggadah,” “A Weave of Women” and “Mornings and Mourning: A Kaddish Journal.”

“The Women’s Haggadah,” written with Naomi Nimrod, was originally published in Ms. magazine in 1977. It re-imagined the traditional Passover seder from the point of view of women, including Moses’s sister, Miriam.

“The Women’s Haggadah” inspired feminist seders throughout the world. Ms. Broner began leading her own women’s seders in New York in 1976. Her regular guests included well-known feminists such as writer Gloria Steinem and New York congresswoman Bella Abzug.

Esther Frances Masserman was born in Detroit in 1927. She earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in creative writing, both from Wayne State University in Detroit, and a doctorate from what is now the Union Institute and University in Cincinnati. She taught in the English department at Wayne State, and also taught at Sarah Lawrence College and elsewhere.

In addition to Ms. Broner’s writings on Jewish identity and ritual, her work included novels, plays and short fiction. Her papers are in the archives at Brandeis University in Massachusetts.

Ms. Broner’s husband, printmaker Robert Broner, died last year. Survivors include two daughters, two sons, a brother and two grandchildren.

— From news services

© The Washington Post Company