Interview With Ernie Colon

Not everything that Ernie Colon said in his Last Kiss #3 interview appeared in the comic book. Here's what you missed.

Spiderman art by Ernie ColonJohn Lustig: Occasionally I hear about some established creators not being able to get work because editors think they’re too old. You’re what, 70, now? Have you run into any of this "age-ism" at all?

Ernie Colon: I think it's a more unconscious thing. The comic book industry is just like any other business. There are lots of cronies in it. To put it more gently, I'd call it "pal-ism." You have a group of friends you grow up with and go through high school and college with, and you make these connections. When you get into a position of editorship, you're going to call these people [rather than] someone like myself, or [even] really great cartoonists like Gray Morrow...I mention him because, before his death, he wasn't able to get any work at all.

JL: That's insane.

EC: It is insane. And I have to believe that it is not deliberate. So often these younger people would look at Gray's work and they didn’t hire him because they were too busy hiring other people. I've had the experience of doing a character and having the editor admit that I did the best version of that character--yet they won't use me. When I investigate a little further, I find that they've got some friend in there. That's the way it is.

JL: I suppose you reach some point where the editors you know have moved on and retired…but it still seems a little nuts. Personally, I find that it’s a real thrill to be working with established talents like you, Dick Giordano and Dan DeCarlo.

EC: When I was an editor for DC… I hired an artist that, when I was a kid I admired tremendously. That was George Tuska.

        When George walked in the room, I actually got tongue-tied and didn't tell him I'd read his books, and what a big favorite he was of mine. I was so happy to hire him. His age had nothing to do with it. When he walked in, he was quite elderly then...actually, he was probably the age that I am now! (Laughter) I'm old, but I'll be elderly in about fifteen minutes! (Laughter)

JL: [During the interview, Ernie very generously offered to give me the artwork to the story, "I Married…Who?" Although I was very touched by Ernie’s generosity, I initially urged him to reconsider. Ernie insisted and made the following remark.]

EC: I suppose I can keep the fantasy going until I drop dead, but my fantasy is that I want to be big enough so that I don't have to worry about stuff like that. I often compare that to finding a $100 bill on the street. It's wonderful, but it doesn't change your life. There are things that I want to do that will change my life, whether it's the DoodleMovies or other things that I have going that I hope to market.

JL: [After some discussion Ernie and I decided to sell the art to benefit Shanda Fantasy Arts publishers Mike and Carole Curtis. Between the two of them, Mike and Carole have gone through three bouts of cancer in the last three years.]

Uncle Sam and Junior by Ernie Colon