30th Aug2023

A Memoriam In Four Colours: Dan Green

by Ian Wells

This past week we lost one of the industry’s best. As Dan Green pulls his chair up to the great drawing board in the sky I look back on an amazing career. For me, Dan Green was probably the first inker I knew the name of. This comes from hunting down my back issues of Wolverine. Marc Silvestri and Adam Kubert were two of my favourites to track down issues of and Green was always the third name in the credits. Perhaps this is doing inkers a discredit. They are like drummers in rock bands in that regard. Essential to creativity but one step behind the limelight. If someone like Joe Sinnott was like the old-school drumming of Ringo Starr, then Green is more akin to the style of John Bonham. In my opinion, he was the first rock star inker.

The journey began for Dan Green in Detroit. After attending the New York School of Visual Arts between 1970 and 1971 his career began to move quickly at such a young age. A year later he completed his first professional pencil work for DC with Tarzan #213. Some time after this debut he transitioned his skills from penciler to inker and the road to superstardom was set. With a new skill set acquired, he got to work at Marvel on Captain Marvel #28. Big gigs on Power Man and Iron Fist with John Byrne and Iron Man with John Romita Jr. soon followed. He would team with the latter on Marvel’s premier series The Uncanny X-Men over two periods, also inking Marc Silvestri. Dan Green’s work on Uncanny X-Men speaks for itself! We are talking about bringing to life such classic storylines as The Mutant Massacre, Fall of The Mutants and Inferno. There is character-defining work like the evolution of Psylocke (#256-#258); the Wolverine Sabretooth trilogy (#212-#213 and #222) and The Trial of Magneto. He brought life to such key moments in X-Men history like the defining Outback Era, the birth of Reavers (#229) and Mr. Sinister (#221). Green would follow Silvestri to the Wolverine ongoing and produce an equally impressive body of work over 40 issues. These issues are so deeply imprinted on my mind, that they were the most formative for me as a Wolverine fan. He even resharpened his pencil to complete Silvestri’s breakdowns on #42,#43 and #45, they are great issues, you don’t even sense the change. Green would re-scratch the artist itch in 1986 with a painted Dr. Strange story Into Shambala. I am definitely going to try and track this down now! In the 2000s Green would predominantly work for DC, making stops on Deadman, Legends of The Dark Knight, JLA and the weekly 52 series. He had a presence as recent as the New 52 era supplying inks on Animal Man and Super Girl, as well as spells on Vertigo mainstays Fables and Hellblazer.

John Byrne, The Romita’s, John and Sal Buscema, George Perez, Bernie Wrightson, Gene Colan and Jack Kirby. It is an impressive list, but it’s not enough to say he worked with them. The reality is, he made them all better. His work covered so many iconic characters across comics in so many memorable moments that his images have endured for years and years. He inspired a generation it is why Dan Green is rightly recognised by professionals and fans alike as one of, if not the best to ever sling ink on the comics page.

At this time my thoughts are with his family and friends.

RIP Dan Green

November 26th 1952 – August 19th 2023


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