May 2, 2010 1:24 PM   Subscribe

Dick Giordano, a comic book artist and former executive editor at DC Comics, passed away on March 27th.

As an artist, Giordano was best-known as an inker. His inking was particularly associated with the pencils of Neal Adams, for their run in the late 1960s and early 1970s on the titles Batman and Green Lantern/Green Arrow for DC Comics. Giordano also inked the large-format, first DC/Marvel Comics intercompany crossover, Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man (1976), over the pencils of Ross Andru.

However, he was also an excellent penciler in his own right :

Batman March '76 - There Is No Hope In Crime Alley

As a DC executive editor from '82-'94, he was part of the acquisition/reintroduction of the Charlton super-heroes into the DC Universe, the recruiting of British creators like Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, and the laying of the foundation of what would become Vertigo. He oversaw Crisis on Infinite Earths and the rebooting of the entire universe and its iconic characters, arguably one of the more ambitious moves ever taken by a major comic book company. His sense of humor was legendary, as in this memo sent to Jenette Kahn, reproduced in the Crisis On Infinite Earths Compendium.

Jenette --


Can we kill Supergirl in Crisis. I must know soon.

[ ] Yes
[ ] No
[ ] Only if we have a new Supergirl soon
[ ] None of the above


Working right up to the last, he penciled Jonah Hex #51 (Jan. '10).

His "Meanwhile..." editorial column always ended the same way, and it seems appropriate here as well :

"Thank You and Good Afternoon."
posted by HopperFan (38 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
posted by griphus at 1:34 PM on May 2, 2010

The best inker for Neal Adams ever and no slouch with a pencil either.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:37 PM on May 2, 2010

Oh my god. I've always thought of Giordano as the head of DC. I had no idea it had ever been otherwise, because my peak comic reading years were the 80's-90's. I remember, as a kid, insisting that my mom help me buy an old copy of Superman Vs The Amazing Spiderman, which had inks by Giordano. It was a huge book. As in, the actual dimensions of the book were far larger than typical comic books. It was, to my tiny eyes, the size of a buick and it smelled like web fluid and kryptonite left in a paper bag. It was pretty terrible, really, but still amazing. I remember reading it and thinking "man, a lowly inker got to be the head of DC comics!" when I read Giordano's name in the credits.

I'm not sure what else to say. I feel like Marvel's cast of creators is chock full with colorful personalities, people you'd want to have a beer with. Cigar chomping men in plaid suits, who might in another life have been intrepid reporters like the ones they made so many characters into. And old DC never had that for me, except for Dick Giordano.

I haven't given him any thought in years. But here I am, completely stunned.
posted by shmegegge at 1:37 PM on May 2, 2010

posted by chavenet at 1:51 PM on May 2, 2010

posted by bjgeiger at 1:56 PM on May 2, 2010

He was a man of many talents.

posted by SPrintF at 2:02 PM on May 2, 2010

posted by maqsarian at 2:08 PM on May 2, 2010

I admired his enthusiasm for the medium and was always grateful he helped bring Blue Beetle into the DCU...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 2:10 PM on May 2, 2010

Two random favorite things about Dick Giordano:

1. In the mid-'90s, at a time when Giordano was largely retired as an artist, he without fanfare suddenly inked three issues of The Invisibles, a comic I can't imagine he was remotely interested in as a reader (I could be wrong, of course), presumably because the book -- which had been having all manner of production problems -- just needed an inker. This is basically like Eric Clapton stepping in to record rhythm guitar tracks on some obscure young hardcore band's album because it was behind schedule and the usual guy had the flu. Giordano, I can only imagine, saw that one of his books was in trouble and took matters into his own hands, and that was that. Class and professionalism; no ego involved.

2. Giordano worked with Roy Thomas on an adaptation of Dracula in the 1970s, for Marvel Comics. The adaptation was never finished, because the magazines it ran in were canceled out from under Giordano and Thomas, and within a few years Giordano was in the executive structure of DC. Something like thirty years later, Giordano and Thomas managed to work out a deal with Marvel to finish their adaptation, which they did despite the decades that had elapsed since they'd left it behind and despite Giordano's position with a rival company (!). The resulting book was beautiful, and is of course already out of print, though one hopes that, in true Dracula fashion, it will be back.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:14 PM on May 2, 2010 [8 favorites]

From the Vertigo link above:
it was under his watch that DC started crediting writers and artists on the covers, which every other publisher then followed suit. And to what would become Vertigo’s mainstay, DC’s first graphic novel collections were published during his tenure. All these sea changes in mainstream comics that evolved the medium into a higher lifeform all happened because of the influence of this amazing, talented and compassionate man.
That, from Karen Berger, kinda sums it up. I read comics, and though it's rare that I buy DC titles, my shelves sag beneath the weight of Vertigo paperbacks. Putting the artists on the front cover and putting collections of comics into a long-form format (and having the wits to bag talent like Moore and Gaiman) really did rejuvenate a flagging art form. Sandman, Watchmen, Preacher, 100 Bullets, Y, The Last Man; and newer work like Joshua Dysart's re-imagining of Unknown Soldier, DMZ, Jason Aaron's Scalped, and the noir/Viking mashup Northlanders: the Vertigo line keeps putting out bold and original work. That the imprints success emboldened other companies to imitate it was a boon to comics fans and now we expect to buy our comics in the trade paperback format that Vertigo pioneered.

Thanks, Dick!

posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:22 PM on May 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by brundlefly at 2:30 PM on May 2, 2010

One of the giants.

posted by Artw at 2:50 PM on May 2, 2010

posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 3:11 PM on May 2, 2010

posted by Faint of Butt at 3:51 PM on May 2, 2010

posted by interrobang at 5:06 PM on May 2, 2010

ah dang.
posted by The Whelk at 5:06 PM on May 2, 2010

posted by Tesseractive at 5:18 PM on May 2, 2010

posted by fight or flight at 5:41 PM on May 2, 2010

posted by Minus215Cee at 6:24 PM on May 2, 2010

posted by magstheaxe at 7:59 PM on May 2, 2010

posted by rahnefan at 8:40 PM on May 2, 2010

posted by litlnemo at 10:07 PM on May 2, 2010

posted by Joey Michaels at 1:34 AM on May 3, 2010

posted by SmileyChewtrain at 6:30 AM on May 3, 2010

posted by ignignokt at 6:52 AM on May 3, 2010

posted by kimota at 8:55 AM on May 3, 2010

posted by webmutant at 1:14 PM on May 3, 2010

posted by Kevin Street at 11:39 PM on May 4, 2010

Oh, fuck -- I didn't know this. I did some background work for Dick in the late 70s... I worked on Superman vs. Muhammed Ali and Power Girl, I think it was, plus one or two other things. He was such a good artist, and a nice guy as well. And yeah, best Neal Adams inker ever.

posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 5:46 PM on May 11, 2010 [3 favorites]

"I worked on Superman vs. Muhammed Ali"

God I love this place.
posted by HopperFan at 10:14 PM on May 11, 2010

posted by Artw at 10:22 PM on May 11, 2010

Heh... that wasn't one of the pages I had a hand in. But I remember it... Adams penciled the book rather lightly on plate-finish board... so damn easy to smear that stuff... no tooth to it at all...
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 6:14 AM on May 12, 2010

Really? I would have thought rendering an extra camera, as Pixar are doing with their re-releases, would be cheaper than the false 3D, which is pretty involved for such a crappy effect.
posted by Artw at 6:53 AM on May 12, 2010

Dammit. Wrong Thread.
posted by Artw at 6:54 AM on May 12, 2010

This is one I worked on...

So is this...

As I recall, Terry Austin did most of the background work, but I got about a dozen pages. I worked hard to retain as much of the "dry brush" sense of Adams' pencils as possible.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 7:01 AM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

For something that really should be incredibly stupid, that really is a fine comic.
posted by Artw at 7:12 AM on May 12, 2010

oh man, that was back when people used to let superhero capes drape properly. it shouldn't be so foreign to see supes' cape drape off his back and yet... here I am wondering where his wind machine got off to.
posted by shmegegge at 8:50 AM on May 12, 2010

I always wonder at the significance of DC being so cape-heavy and Marvel being so cape-light. I’d say it was down to Marvel being formed in the 60s rather than the 30s, but check out the Timely stuff - not a lot of capes.
posted by Artw at 9:22 AM on May 12, 2010

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