Colleen Doran

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Colleen Doran
Colleen Doran2.jpg
Colleen Doran at New York Comicon 2008.
Born (1964-07-24) July 24, 1964 (age 51)
Nationality American
Area(s) Writer, Penciller, Inker, Letterer, Colourist
Notable works
Sandman, The Amazing Spider-Man, A Distant Soil, Orbiter, Gone to Amerikay, Mangaman,The Legion of Superheroes, The Book of Lost Souls

Colleen Doran (born July 24, 1964) is an American writer/artist and cartoonist. She illustrated hundreds of comics, graphic novels, books and magazines, and works written by Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Joe R. Lansdale, Anne Rice, J. Michael Straczynski, Peter David and Tori Amos. Her notable credits include: The Sandman, Wonder Woman, Legion of Superheroes, Teen Titans,The Vampire Diaries comics,[1]Walt Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and her space opera series, A Distant Soil.[2] She also writes non-fiction articles and essays.

Early life[edit]

At the age of five, Doran won an art contest sponsored by the Walt Disney Company. Doran created her comic book series, A Distant Soil, at the age of twelve.[3]


Doran landed her first paid assignment for an advertising agency at age fifteen.[4] She attended Christopher Newport University and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and used her professional works for curriculum credit. Science fiction artist Frank Kelly Freas was her mentor, and she apprenticed with him in the early 1980s.[5][6]

She broke into the comic book industry when still a teenager, scouted by Tom Long for his fanzine Graphic Showcase.[7] Long hired Doran to draw a revival of the 1940s character Miss Fury. Underage Doran quit the assignment due to its adult content.[4][8]

A Distant Soil was published in fanzines as early as 1979, then scouted by The Donning Company Starblaze imprint before it was contracted by WaRP Graphics. Doran left the company after nine issues due to an acrimonious dispute with WaRP,[9] which attempted to claim copyright and trademark on her work.[10][11][12] The WaRP version of the story has never been reprinted despite its unusual all-pencil style, and Doran's ownership of the publishing rights. She reprinted one short story in the Image Comics edition of the series that had appeared in a WaRP anthology.

After leaving WaRP, Doran discarded the 300 pages of published work, and rewrote and redrew the entire A Distant Soil story from scratch, first with Donning, then as a self-publisher: it is in multiple printings as a series of graphic novels, encompassing a single 1000 page long-form comics narrative, and has been published by Image Comics since 1996. It sold more than 700,000 copies.[13] The production archives were destroyed by the printer, and an extensive restoration process brought the book back to publication in April 2013, with a continuation of the comic series, and the first of its digitally restored print graphic novels and digital books appearing in July 2013.[14]

She illustrated parts of the "Dream Country" and "A Game of You" story arcs in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman series.[15][16]

Doran is featured in the films Ringers (a documentary about The Lord of the Rings fans), Scenes From the Small Press: Colleen Doran by Rich Henn, Sex, Lies and Superheroes, the documentary The Cartoonist about Bone creator Jeff Smith,[17] and Captured Ghosts, a documentary about writer Warren Ellis.[18] She was also featured in the Dec. 12, 2011 episode of "Stalked: Someone's Watching," a Discovery ID television series that profiles stalking incidents, focusing on interviews with the actual victims.[19]

Gone to Amerikay a graphic novel drawn by Doran and written by Derek McCulloch was released in 2012 from DC/Vertigo. It is a "multi-generational Irish saga."[20] It was profiled in The Wall Street Journal,[21] Boing Boing[22] and Irish Echo.[23] Gone to Amerikay themed cover art was featured in the St Patrick's Day edition of Irish Echo, which was then presented to President Obama by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness of Northern Ireland. Gone to Amerikay was chosen for inclusion in the 2013 Best American Comics.[24]

Doran illustrated best-selling young adult novelist Barry Lyga's first graphic novel for Houghton Mifflin, Mangaman in 2011. It received a coveted starred review at Kirkus,[25][26] as well as awards at the New York Book Show and New England Book Builders of Boston, both granted to the design team.[27]

At the 2013 San Diego Comic Con, Matt Hawkins of Image Comics' Top Cow imprint announced Doran will illustrate his new comic series Control.[28] At the 2013 Image Comics Expo, it was announced that the series The Book of Lost Souls by J Michael Straczynski and illustrated by Doran will return to publication via the Image Comics imprint Joe's Comics.[29] She is also working with Neil Gaiman on an unnamed graphic novel for Dark Horse.[30][31] DC Comics chose her to write The Vampire Diaries comic book series based on the TV show.

Doran lectures widely in venues such as the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, The Singapore Writers Festival, the Comics Masterclass in Sydney Australia, and at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Doran also worked as a creator rights activist, as lobbyist in Washington DC, and served on the advocacy committee of the Graphic Artists Guild.[32] She spoke at CREATE: Protecting Creativity from the Ground Up at the Newseum in Washington DC, with Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, Rick Carnes President of the Songwriters Guild of America, musician Suzanne Vega, and other artists and technology policy specialists.[32]

The character Thessaly in Neil Gaiman's Sandman is based on Doran.[33]


Awards and honors[edit]

  • Best American Comics 2013: Gone to Amerikay, Derek McCulloch and Colleen Doran, Houghton Mifflin [34]
  • Hugo Award Nominee: Chicks Dig Comics, Best Related Work 2013 (Group Nomination)[35]
  • Great Graphic Novels for Teens: Mangaman 2012, Young Adult Library Services Association[36]
  • Best Adult Books for Teens: Gone to Amerikay, Derek McCulloch and Colleen Doran, School Library Journal 2012[37]
  • Eisner Award Winner: Tori Amos Comic Book Tattoo (anthology) 2009, Best Anthology (Group Award)[38]
  • Harvey Award Winner: Tori Amos Comic Book Tattoo (anthology) 2009, Best Anthology (Group Award)[39]
  • International Horror Guild Award: The Nightmare Factory (anthology) 2008, Best Illustrated Narrative (Group Award)[40]
  • Eisner Award Winner: Best Archival Collection/Project Comic Books, Absolute Sandman ,Vol 1 (Group Award)[41]
  • Women Cartoonist's Hall of Fame, 2007, Friends of Lulu [42]
  • Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award Top Ten Nominee: Favorite Penciler, Favorite Inker, Favorite Cover Artist, Favorite Comic Book A Distant Soil 2004 [43]
  • Chesley Award Nominee, Monochrome Work Unpublished 2002[44]
  • American Library Association 2002 featured speaker[45]
  • Gaylactic Spectrum Award Nominee, A Distant Soil, Best Other Work 2001[46]
  • Eisner Award Nominee: Sandman, Best Serialized story 1993 (Group Nomination)[47]
  • Eisner Award Winner: Sandman, Best Continuing Series 1993 (Group Award)[47]
  • Eisner Award Winner: Sandman, Best Continuing Series 1992 (Group Award) [48]
  • Eisner Award Nominee: Sandman: Dream Country, Best Graphic Album Reprint 1992 (Group Nomination) [48]
  • 3rd Annual Japan-US Manga Symposium, Tokyo[49]
  • Guest of Honor, San Diego Comic Con 1998
  • Dori Seda Award Nominee: Most Promising New Female Cartoonist 1988[50]

Notable works[edit]

  • The Vampire Diaries-2013 DC Comics writer and artist
  • Komacon - 2013 Image Comics/Shadowline writer original short story anthology
  • Red Sonja -2013 Dynamite Entertainment cover artist
  • Gone to Amerikay - 2012 Vertigo original graphic novel artist
  • Mangaman -2011 Houghton Mifflin original graphic novel artist
  • Comic Book Tattoo - 2008 Image Comics original graphic novel anthology
  • The Nightmare Factory - 2007 Fox Atomic Comics original graphic novel
  • The Book of Lost Souls (with J. Michael Straczynski) 2005 Marvel/Icon series
  • Orbiter (with Warren Ellis) DC/Vertigo (April 2003) graphic novel
  • Reign of the Zodiac (with Keith Giffen) DC (June 2003) series
  • The Sandman: Dream Country (with Neil Gaiman) DC/Vertigo graphic novel/series
  • Wonder Woman: The Once and Future Story (with Trina Robbins) DC Comics graphic novel (1998)
  • Clive Barker’s Hellraiser: Marvel Epic Comics, Checker Publishing series/graphic novel
  • The Forbidden Book graphic novel collection
  • Clive Barker’s Nightbreed Marvel/Epic Comics series
  • Anne Rice’s The Master of Rampling Gate Innovation graphic novel
  • A Distant Soil graphic novel editions:
    • Late-1980s color original editions:
      • A Distant Soil: Immigrant Song Donning/Starblaze (1987)
      • A Distant Soil: Knights of the Angel Whitford Press (1989)
    • 1990s and on black and white reprints:
      • A Distant Soil: The Gathering Image Comics (1997) compilation of comic issues 1-13
      • A Distant Soil: The Ascendant Image Comics (1998) compilation of comic issues 15-25
      • A Distant Soil: The Aria Image Comics (2001) compilation of comic issues 26-31
      • A Distant Soil: Coda Image Comics (2005) compilation of comic issues 32-38
    • 2013 and on Digital Remasters and new editions:
      • A Distant Soil: The Gathering TPB Volume I Image Comics (2013) digitally remastered compilation of issues 1-12
  • Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast film adaptation The Walt Disney Company
  • Captain America Marvel Comics Group series
  • Star Trek DC Comics series
  • Silver Surfer Marvel Comics series
  • Amazing Spider-Man #326 #600 Marvel Comics series
  • The Legion of Superheroes DC Comics series
  • Valor #14-23 DC Comics series
  • Shade: The Changing Man DC/Vertigo series
  • The Death Gallery DC/Vertigo
  • The Sandman Gallery DC/Vertigo
  • Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld vol. 2 #12, DC Comics
  • Power Pack Marvel series
  • Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Annual #1 Marvel Comics
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #3 Marvel Comics
  • Superman: Man of Steel Gallery DC Comics
  • Mutant X Annual 2000 Marvel Comics
  • Eclipso #10 DC Comics
  • Sonic The Hedghog Archie Comics
  • Marvel Fanfare Marvel Comics series
  • Secret Origins Annual #3 DC Comics
  • Teen Titans Spotlight DC Comics
  • Wonder Woman #44, #49 DC Comics
  • Wonder Woman Annual #2 DC Comics
  • X-Men Millennial Visions Marvel Comics
  • Marvel Girl Comics Marvel Comics
  • Sandman: A Gallery of Dreams Vertigo
  • Lucifer #62 Vertigo
  • Transmetropolitan Vertigo
  • Who's Who in the DC Universe DC Comics
  • Who's Who in the Legion of Superheroes DC Comics
  • Vampirella Harris Comics
  • Creepy Harris Comics
  • Captain Atom DC Comics
  • Agents of Law Dark Horse
  • Captain America: Drug Wars Marvel Comics
  • Christmas with the DC Superheroes DC Comics
  • Excalibur Marvel Comics
  • Cerebus Aardvark Vanaheim
  • Ghost Dark Horse
  • Handbook of the Marvel Universe Marvel Comics
  • Hawkman Annual DC Comics
  • Legionnaires DC Comics


  • Girl to Grrrl Manga: How to Draw the Hottest Shoujo Manga Impact Books, writer/artist
  • Manga Mania: How to Draw Japanese Comics Watson-Guptill art book
  • Anime Mania Watson-Guptill art book
  • Disney Adventures The Walt Disney Company
  • Young Readers Digest Readers Digest
  • CPM Magazine The Cahner’s Group
  • Play Station Magazine Imagine Entertainment
  • Trading cards for various projects: Topps
  • Trading Cards for Various Projects: Skybox
  • The Art of Star Wars Topps
  • Star Wars Magazine
  • Star Wars product illustration
  • Lord of the Rings product illustration
  • Mars Attacks product illustration
  • Indiana Jones product illustration
  • Walt Disney product illustration
  • Marvel Comics product illustration
  • Star Trek product illustration
  • Robotech Art II Donning Co Publishers art book
  • Dead in the West by Joe R. Lansdale Night Shade Books
  • Manga Pro Superstar Impact Books. writer/artist
  • Straight on 'til Morning Cemetery Dance
  • Call Me Princess CPM Manga
  • Strangers on the Heights Night Shade Books

Conceptual art[edit]

Distance conceptual artist for Sony/Pipe Studios animated series in development.[51]

The Mighty Martians concept artist animated/live action TV series in development.[52]

Wonder Woman redesign concept art for J Michael Straczynski


  • Four Color Images Gallery, New York, NY
  • Kunstlerhaus, Stuttgart, Germany
  • Porto, Portugal
  • Secession Gallery, Vienna, Austria
  • Gijon Cultural Center, Gijon, Spain
  • San Francisco Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco, CA
  • Museum of Cartoon Art, Rye Brook, New York
  • Gallery Nucleus: 20 Years of Sandman 2008[53]
  • Krannert Art Museum; Out of Sequence: Underrepresented Voices in American Comics[54]
  • Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar; Out of Sequence[55]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Wondercon Special Guests"; Comic-Con magazine; Winter 2010; Pages 18-19
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b
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  7. ^ Richmond Independent Press: A History of the Underground Zine Scene Dale M. Brumfeld, The History Press 2013
  8. ^
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  10. ^ "The Battle for A Distant Soil," The Comics Journal #108 (May 1986), pp. 7-12.
  11. ^ "Doran/WaRP Dispute Now Settled," The Comics Journal #110 (August 1986), p. 17.
  12. ^ "Donning Sues WaRP," The Comics Journal #123 (July 1988), p. 8-9.
  13. ^ WC10: Colleen Doran » A Distant Soil website
  14. ^ Sci Fi Pulse»
  15. ^ Bender, Hy (1999). The Sandman Companion. DC Comics. pp. 266–267. ISBN 978-1563894657. 
  16. ^ Burgas, Greg (January 7, 2013). "Comics You Should Own – Sandman". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on April 10, 2014. 
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  20. ^ WC10: Colleen Doran » Comic Book Resources
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  32. ^ a b
  33. ^ Kwitney, Alisa; Gaiman, Neil (2003-11-28). Sandman: King of dreams. ISBN 978-0-8118-3592-3.
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  47. ^ a b
  48. ^ a b
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  51. ^ WC10: Colleen Doran » A Distant Soil website
  52. ^ WC10: Colleen Doran » A Distant Soil website
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External links[edit]