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Legendary artist and editor Dick Giordano passes away

Dick Giordano

Dick Giordano

News spread online this morning that artist and longtime DC Comics editor Dick Giordano has passed away, reportedly due to complications from pneumonia. He was 77. Giordano, who suffered from leukemia, recently had been hospitalized in Florida.

As an inker, Giordano is perhaps best remembered for his work with Neal Adams on Batman and Green Lantern/Green Arrow, with George Perez on Crisis on Infinite Earths, and with John Byrne on The Man of Steel and Action Comics. As managing editor and then vice president-executive editor, he helped to steer DC Comics through its 1980s heyday, when the company revitalized many of its decades-old characters.

“Few could ever hope to match what he accomplished in his chosen profession, or to excel while maintaining great humor, compassion for his peers and an unwavering love for the art form,” artist Bob Layton wrote in a widely circulated statement announcing Giordano’s death. “His unique vision changed the comic industry forever and all of those who work in the business continue to share in the benefits of his sizable contributions. I have been honored to call him a business partner, mentor and dear friend throughout the majority of my lifetime. We will not see his like again.”

Born on July 20, 1932, in New York City, Giordano began his career as a background inker for Jerry Iger’s studio before becoming a freelance artist in 1952 at Charlton Comics. By 1965 he’d risen to editor-in-chief of the company, where he fostered such new talents as Jim Aparo and Dennis O’Neil and oversaw the creation of characters like Blue Beetle and Captain Atom. Two years later he was hired as an editor by DC Comics Publisher Carmine Infantino, and left in 1971 to form Continuity Associates with Neal Adams.

Giordano returned to DC in 1980, initially serving as editor of the Batman line before being promoted to managing editor and then, in 1983, to vice president-executive editor, a position he held until his retirement from the company in 1993. After leaving the publisher, Giordano continued to occasionally pencil and ink — most notably, Modesty Blaise and The Phantom — and in 2002 co-founded the short-lived Future Comics with Layton and writer David Michelinie.

He is acknowledged as a mentor and inspiration to a generation of artists. Rob Liefeld hailed Giordano this morning as “the godfather of the modern inking style,” while Mike Gold praised his talents as an editor and artist as “nothing short of breathtaking.”

“Dick always defended creative freedom and aesthetic opportunity,” Gold wrote, “sometimes putting him heads-on with management powers, often representing not his own work but that of the editors in his charge, most certainly including myself, for which I will be forever grateful. He knew the good stuff when he saw it, he knew how to improve it, he knew how to incubate it.”

Marv Wolfman added: “Dick was way more than a good inker. He was an encouraging force in the industry who brought in new people and helped nurture them.”

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9 Comments

Thanks to his “Meanwhile…” column, Dick Giordano was one of the first comics executive names I recognized (along with Stan Lee), and certainly one of the first inkers whose style I recognized (via Adams, Perez and Byrne). Not to mention his clean pencils. Most of what the DCU is today happened during his 80s tenure.

This is a big loss for modern comics. A sad day.

Thank you and good afternoon.

how sad a legend like dick is now gone to the shop in the sky the comic world is now a sadder and darker place. espically one who showed dc how an editor should be one who does the politics but also lets the writers and artists due their thing since they know what they are doing with a character. rip dick. sympathy to his family and friends.

We are losing so many great people and artists left and right. In music, Alex Chilton. In film and television, Robert Culp. Now the good Mr. Giordano. Thank you thank you thank you, Dick, for all of your hard work and great inks.

Oh man.

RIP.

Besides being one of the most celebrated inkers in comics history, Giordano was also an exceptionally gifted penciller, who did outstanding work on The Human Target and Batman. His pencils, as well as his inks, helped to define the look of the Caped Crusader in the 1970s. He masterfully illustrated–among other tales–two of the most memorable Batman stories of the decade: “The Batman Nobody Knows” from BATMAN #250 and “There is No Hope in Crime Alley” in DETECTIVE COMICS #457. In addition, he co-authored, in the early eighties, The Illustrated Comic Art Workshop, one of the best of the early comic-art instruction books. As an executive at Charlton, DC and Continuity he helped guide many younger artists along the path to producing better, more professional-looking work. And on a humorous note, he will always be remembered for his most astute observation on drawing the many “long-underwear” characters we’re all so familiar with: “Superheroes don’t got no balls!” Too bad more of today’s inappropriately sex-obsessed comic book people don’t take that to heart!

First Culp, now Dick. Man, it’s been a tough week…

I just read an issue of Jonah Hex a couple of months back which is probably Dick’s last published work. The industry owes him so much. A lot of pros are going to be paying tribute to this man. Neal Adams, Bob Layton, there are so many guys who I always associate with Dick.

My thoughts go out to everyone who loved him. RIP.

nothing but the best and kindness from dick with each and every time that i met or talked to him. This is a sad, sad day for the comic book industry

“A legend goes to the sky”

The Ugly American

March 27, 2010 at 8:17 pm

April 1st is a week away, still. :( Sad TUA misses DG.

This is very sad news. He was a GREAT inker!

@Lt. Clutch: “First Culp, now Dick. Man, it’s been a tough week…”

You’re right. I just read that Joe Sinnott & Gene Colan will be guests at next month’s Pittsburgh Convention.
We’re losing so many of the great veteran talents, that if anyone is in the area of that con, they should probably make an effort to go to see two of Comics finest, before it’s too late!

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