DC, Marvel comic book artist Ernie Chan dead at 71

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Ernie Chan

Ernie Chan

Filipino-born comic book artist Ernie Chan, who worked on sev­eral episodes of Hanna-Barbera’s Jonny Quest: The Real Adven­tures, died Thurs­day night from can­cer. He was 71.

Chan was a clean-up artist on the episodes DNA Dooms­day (1996) and The Ban­ga­lore Fal­con (1997), and han­dled props on The Haunted Sonata (1997).

Born Ernie Chua on July 27, 1940, he was inad­ver­tently renamed Ernie Chan as the result of a pass­port mix-up. He changed his name legally when he became a United States cit­i­zen in 1976.

At, 20 he began doing comics in his native Philip­pines. He migrated to Amer­ica when he turned 30 in 1970.

At DC Comics, he got the break doing mys­tery short sto­ries, then got assigned to pen­cil­ing Bat­man for two years. Chan also did many cov­ers, aside from work­ing on such other char­ac­ters as Claw, Sand­man, Swampthing and Jonah Hex.

Work by Fil­ipino illus­tra­tors filled DC’s ghost, war and West­ern comics [in the 1970s],” comic book his­to­rian Mark Evanier recalled Fri­day. “Time and again, DC tried those artists out on Super­man, Bat­man or other such fea­tures, and the result was usu­ally unsat­is­fac­tory. Ernie Chan… was a rare exception.

Ernie ‘got’ the style that was wanted. In fact, he did it so well that when he relo­cated to the United States — for per­sonal rea­sons and to earn Amer­i­can rates — he wound up doing hun­dreds of cov­ers for DC and draw­ing the Bat­man fea­ture for sev­eral years.”

At Mar­vel Comics, he worked on Dr. Strange, Drac­ula, Dare­devil, Doc Sav­age, Thor, Fan­tas­tic Four, Hulk, Pow­er­man and Iron Fist, King Kull, John Carter of Mars and oth­ers, but his longest stint, on Conan, is where he was best known.

Read­ers… knew him for his long asso­ci­a­tion with Conan the Bar­bar­ian at Mar­vel, fin­ish­ing the pen­cil work of John Buscema and some­times draw­ing sto­ries on his own. He was fast and depend­able and very much in demand,” Evanier said.

In the 1990s, Chan dab­bled in com­puter designs and TV and movie ani­ma­tion. He retired in 2002, but kept him­self busy doing art he liked, sell­ing them online and at comic con­ven­tions. He also accepted art commissions.

He trav­els often to China, where he finds tran­quil­ity and con­tent­ment,” said his per­sonal Web site. How­ever, finan­cial pres­sure led him to work on a soft­core porn Web comic, The Vat, for Dark Brain.

Chan was a spe­cial guest at last year’s San Diego Comic Con.

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