Ernie Chan (1940-2012): A Legend Passes

Ernie Chan (1940-2012): A Legend Passes

savagae-sword-of-conan-erniechanEarlier this evening I heard the sad news that one of comics’ great legends, Ernie Chan, has passed away. Ernie was set to appear at the BigWow Comicfest in San Jose this weekend, so his death comes as a real surprise to those of us who expected to see him there.

I wanted to post a tribute in the form of my favorite Chan images. You can see that tribute right here. Some of these he painted, some he penciled and inked, and some he only inked — but Ernie’s inks were some of the most powerful in the world of comics.

When I was a kid I couldn’t get enough of Conan the Barbarian and its black-and-white companion magazine The Savage Sword of Conan. But I was incredibly picky about the art in my comics — if the art didn’t blow me away, I wouldn’t buy the comic. Plus, I had the seriously limited budget of a child, so I had to be impressed by the art or I left the book sitting on the rack.

Whenever I found a Conan book that was drawn (or inked) by Ernie Chan, my money hit the counter immediately.

Rest in peace, Ernie. You will be missed…

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Wild Ape

Ernie Chan, John Buscema, Roy Thomas, and Lin Carter did more to promote and expand the popularity of Conan than anyone since Robert E Howard.

Chan’s inking made Buscema’s legendary art the top in the industry. I can’t think of a better team.

Chan was the perfect artist for Conan. Even his background carried the barbaric mood of the stories. He was amazing and I will miss him. Thank you sir for the YEARS of fun you gave me reading the stories and bringing the characters to life that I love. Thank you for inspiring me with your vivid pictures and filling me with a sense of wonder. May your soul find fair winds and following seas.


Only a week after Tony DeZuniga passed… If it wasn’t for Buscema’s and Chan’s work in Conan, I wouldn’t be reading Howard, Lovecraft etc. Their work on Savage Sword was a “gateway drug” for later reads of Weird fiction, leading to contemporary authors like China Mieville or Jeff Vandermeer.

Brian Murphy

Chan was awesome, may he spend his afterdays in Valhalla with Bob by his side, fighting in the shield wall by day and illustrating the days’ action by the roaring light of the hall fires at night.


I grew up reading Chan’s comics too…

Sad, I’m almost surprised to hear of him dying though I did hear he retired a few years ago. Most of the artists/authors I liked were long dead, being a fan of the “Pulp” genre, though of course Chan was clearly in the remains of the “Pulp” but “Modern” when I started reading comics.

I loved his art and he’ll be missed.

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