Whenever writer Don McGregor and artist Gene Colan worked together, the result was comic book magic. Their collaborations on Detectives, Inc.: A Terror of Dying Dreams on Ragamuffins, both originally published by Eclipse, definitely fit the bill, but to me it’s their two Nathaniel Dusk miniseries at DC that really jump out.

The first four-issue miniseries, Nathaniel Dusk, was published in 1984, and Nathaniel Dusk II followed a year later, also a four-issue run. The interiors for both series were shot directly from Gene Colan’s amazing pencils. The production quality was better on the second one, but I take nothing away from the first. It grabbed the reader and didn’t let go.

Remarkably, as a huge fan of Colan’s work ranging from Daredevil and Tomb Of Dracula to his last work on Captain America #601, I’ve never been that taken with his cover work. So much of the excellence of his craft relies on the ambience, mood and sudden explosive action of his interior pages; I’ve just never thought this translated all that well to the single images required for covers.

From the original series, Nathaniel Dusk #1 is probably a home run, but if so it’s a line drive that just cleared the fence. In the end, though, any home run is a home run. The strong central figures and montage of action stands up well after three decades.

It’s Nathaniel Dusk II #1, though, that really goes deep.

The smoky, dangerous rough-and-tumble world of Dusk comes smoldering out of the image. Colan’s moody pencils not only hit their mark here, they manage to convey a bit of the tone of the entire miniseries. It’s a tough world, but in this cover Dusk looks to be a man who is equal to it.

Out of a career that includes many influential works, these two miniseries may be McGregor’s most overlooked efforts, but they’re not forgotten by those who have experienced them. McGregor and Colan began clicking on page one of the first issue and never stopped.

It’s a shame that DC has never collected these two miniseries. They’d make excellent trade paperbacks or a beautiful hardcover.

– J.C. Vaughn