Robot 6

Conan artist Ernie Chan passes away at age 71

Veteran artist Ernie Chan, perhaps best remembered for his work in the 1970s on Batman and Conan the Barbarian, passed away Wednesday at age 71. According to cartoonist Gerry Alanguilan, Chan recently had been diagnosed with cancer. His death follows that of fellow Filipino artist Tony DeZuniga last week.

“It’s sad to lose one, but it’s truly crushing to lose so many in such a short amount of time,” Alanguilan wrote on his website. “But Mang Ernie lived a full life. He had accomplished a lot. There was a point in time that he was one of the hottest artists working comics. DC wouldn’t give you the honor of drawing so many cover on their mainstream titles if you weren’t so well regarded. He deserves to be remembered and recognized as someone who contributed positively to the image of Filipinos and their talents worldwide.”

Born July 27, 1940, as Ernesto Chua in the Philippines, he legally changed his last name to Chan after becoming a U.S. citizen in 1976. Chan broke into American comics in the early 1970s drawing short stories for DC Comics’ Ghosts mystery/suspense series before beginning a nearly two-year stint on Batman in 1975 while also penciling Claw the Unconquered and Detective Comics. Under the name Chua, he also served as the publisher’s primary cover artist from about 1975 to 1976.

Moving to Marvel in the late ’70s, he illustrated such titles as Conan the Barbarian, Kull the Destroyer, Power Man and Iron Fist, and inked Sal Buscema’s pencils on The Incredible Hulk.

Chan shifted into animation and the 1990s before retiring in 2002. Funeral services will be held Monday in Oakland, California.

Related: Greg Hatcher showcases some of Chan’s work at Comics Should Be Good.



That’s unfortunate. I was hugely into Conan comics when I was a lad, my uncle had a bunch of Savage Sword and Saga issues he’d let me read. His art sometimes resembled Buscema a bit too much, but he definitely had his own feel (especially in the shading, remember that scene in a dreamland where a little boy and girl start turning into demonic beings and attack Conan really creeped me out as a kid). As the boys on Babble On say, “Big Bucket of Win, he will be missed.”

Very sad to read this. Ernie Chan was one of my favorites. Loved his Conan work, and he and Sal Buscema created one of the best-looking Hulks ever. As a kid, I would even buy books I didn’t usually read if Ernie was doing the artwork. He will be missed, indeed.

Great artist, Crom rest his soul.

So sorry to hear this news. I remember fondly his distinctive style and inks from my younger days. Condolences to his family.

Beleave he did the great inks on Gil Kanes great “valley of the worm” In supernatural thrillers 3, back in early 1973.Next to Alcalla on Busema, he became a mainstay on conan for years. He really did a fine job on those early issues after Smith left the book.

David Burnett

May 18, 2012 at 8:45 am

One of my favorite artists from my childhood, RIP.

I love this guys work, his covers were the best! RIP

I had the great pleasure of speaking with Mr. Chan on several occasions. His covers were always favorites of mine. Best to his family.

I really liked Mr. Chan’s work. Grew up reading Conan in the Seventies. A great artist. Rest in peace.

One of the all time greats! You could recognize his stuff on anything he did. Loved it. what a power-house. We are losing sooooo many of the Great Ones now.

Ernie, may you enjoy in great company with Tony (DeZuniga)! Ernie and Tony are dead! Long Live Filipino ARTISTS!

Anthony Durrant

May 20, 2012 at 8:51 am

Yes, it is sad that Ernie Chan has passed away. I wish I had read some of the comics he worked on! However, there technically was no legal name change – his actual family name, as I understand it, was Chan and the name “Chua” was the result of a clerical error on his birth certificate.

Leave a Comment


Browse the Robot 6 Archives