May 18, 2012
LEGENDARY MARVEL AND DC ARTIST ERNIE CHAN PASSES AWAY AT 71
Ernie Chan passed away on May 16th, 2012 at the age of 71, a day before his 72nd B-Day. I had the pleasure of working with Ernie over the past 2 years on The Darkslayer books. Simply said, he was awesome! I told him about the time I lived in the Philippines for 2 years in the service and my long history of Filipino friends. He said that he was a ‘Pinoy’.
Ernie worked for Marvel and DC comics for over 3 decades. His titles included The Hulk, Conan the Barbarian, Savage Sword of Conan (my personal favorite), Superman, Batman, Karate Kid, Power Man, Kung-Fu Fighter, Iron Fist, Doctor Strange, Kull the Conqueror, Claw the Destroyer, and many others (See Wikipedia link). I actually have vivid memories of his works from the 70’s because I was just so drawn to his art. He is the reason I bought many weaker titles like Karate Kid and Claw. WOW!
Ernie Chan was also known as Ernie Chau on many issues as there was a mix up with his paperwork when he immigrated to America. But he is Chan.
I came to work with Ernie by chance when I was working on book covers for The Darkslayer. I wasn’t really having any luck when I decided to try and find an artist. When I came across Ernie’s website www.erniechan.com and it said that he did commissions I got excited. I sent him an email and when I heard back from him I was on Cloud 9. To think that THE Ernie Chan was going to draw my characters was an honor. It really didn’t take much and his inks were rolling. I’d send in a short, but detailed, description and he would send me back a sketch (PDF), I’d give some more information, and he’d nail it. BOOM it was done! I will never, ever understand how he did that. We were in sync and the artwork just kept rolling. To this day, out of over 20 pieces he did for me, I can’t tell you which one is my favorite. I just feel so blessed to have worked with him.
I offered to write a short book about my friend, his career and works, and here is what he said.
I will ship out the package to you tomorrow. I dunno about writing my Biography. I am sure you are very capable of doing it. But I find my life to be very boring, I spend the majority of my life in front of the drawing board. I hardly had any adventure what so ever. I appreciate your proposing to do it,but no thanks. At least not in the near future.
Even though that shows little, it says a lot. One thing I wished I would have asked him is if anything inspired him at all. Where did all of that talent come from? What characters did he like most, if any at all. I am sure some of his friends and colleagues can answer that, but I would be curious to know. I am just glad he told me that he really enjoyed and looked forward to working on my characters. I always certain to thank him and told him how awesome he was.
Recently, I emailed Ernie when I read on the Conan website that Tony DeZuniga wasn’t doing well. I asked him if they were friends. He said he knew about it, but said that his health wasn’t very well either. He said he’d tell me about it later. He didn’t say what was wrong, so I had no idea it was cancer. I told him I’d be checking on him and asked if he had friends and family nearby, but I didn’t hear back. I emailed him on May 16th and asked how he was doing. No reply. I had a pretty bad feeling, but I didn’t really want to think the worst. I figured maybe he was in a hospital or just very sick. Then I get up this morning and see on Facebook where he died. Man, I really can’t complain too much about Social Media. We can really find out what happens to people awfully quick, good or bad, unfortunately.
Other things. I know Ernie was working on a little skit of his own that he posted on Facebook called Tof Kooky. It was really good. A humorous series of one page art of a sexy Asian girl and her dog. I didn’t see his posts anymore and I asked him about it a few of months ago and he said that he didn’t have the time for Facebook. I can’t find any of those images to post either, but it was a very original idea. Wait a minute, he posted them on comicartfans.com. Here is the link and you can check out more of his other commissioned work as well. TOF KOOKY
There will never be another Ernie Chan. He is truly one of the last of his kind. I will miss you my friend.
Posted by Craig