Remembering Dick Giordano: Industry Pros Reflect

Remembering Dick Giordano: Industry Pros

Updated with more rememberences from the professional community :The comics community is reeling this weekend from the passing of legendary inker, artist and editor Dick Giordano. Giordano succumbed to leukemia this morning, and news of his passing was spread by friends and collaborators almost immediately.

For decades, Giordano's trademark signature and editorial influence helped to define DC Comics, giving the Bronze Age of comics one of its most influential and beloved figures. Giordano has been a mentor and influence to dozens of young creators since then, and has continued to work even after his retirement, having penciled inked an issue of "Jonah Hex" recent enough to have a cover date of this month. His love for comic was also regularly on display at his website (www.dickgiordano.com) and in his frequent convention appearances.

The following is a compilation of reactions posted by pros on their blogs, emailed to the comic press, or emailed or given to Newsarama.

Jon Goldwater - co-CEO Archie Comics

"Dick was an incredibly talented guy and this is a loss for the entire comics community. We at Archie are saddened by his passing and wish the best to his family at this difficult time."

Nick Barrucci, Dynamite Entertainment

Dick was a strong personality.  My first knowledge of Dick was reading one of the letters/hype pages in the early 1980's.  I think it had Brooke Shields reading a comic, and Dick had written in the column (my memory may not be 100% here).  What was cool, was that Dick may have been one of the first Italians that I knew about in comics.  Being an Italian American from South Philadelphia lower income, it was inspiring to read Dick doing something great, being in comics.  Eventually I learned of Carmine Infantino and other Italian Americans in comics.  Eventually, I learned the true reality of our business, and that is something I've believed for quite a while, all of us in comics are a family. And in any family, there are the "father figures" who who lead the way. Dick earned the right to be a leader in our field.  He did quite a bit, and raised the bar for all involved.  His legacy will live on forever.

Christian Beranek, The Webcomic Factory

"There is not one single comic book creator working today that has not been influenced by Dick Giordano in one way or another. In addition to being the master of the fading art of inking he took risks later in his career by challenging Diamond with the Future Comics self distribution system. Although that experiment wasn't successful, it inspired people such as myself to rethink and develop new business models in our ever changing market."

Marv Wolfman

For those of us who came into the business circa 67-69 Dick was vitally important. He and Joe Orlando were the only two editors at DC who would even look at young talent and that includes almost everyone who today is close to social security age. There was a pervading suspicion about us young 'uns back then, what with our long hair, jeans and tee-shirts and no jackets and ties, and although we didn't fully get it, Dick was only 15 years older than us and didn't have that problem. Even when there was some blacklisting, Dick continued to quietly feed us work. Dick's strength as an editor was giving you freedom to try things and encouraging you to do what you thought best, and then focus you if you went too far off. He seemed to have a hand's off approach, unlike anyone else up there, and the quality came out in the books. But his real strength was he was on your side and guided you when we needed it. That isn't hyperbole; it's just the facts. On top of that, Dick was a good guy to be around. As with everyone you can find downsides, too, but most of us who started out back then, when there hadn't been a newcomer to DC since the 40s, would not have made it if it weren't for him and Joe.

If you think about the legion of creators who started at DC back then, and look at their list of accomplishments and creations, know that they could have only happened because Dick, and Joe, were willing to look outside the box when nobody else would. His legacy is not only his art, but the tens of thousands of comics done by his creative children.

Kurt Busiek

Dick was key to me getting into the industry, back in 1982. I interviewed him for a college term paper and told him I hoped to write comics. He invited me to send script samples, so I did, and one of them -- a Flash script he passed on to Ernie Colon -- led to Ernie buying my first pro sale.

As far as I can remember, Dick only inked a few books I worked on -- a "Spider-Man Team-Up" over Sal Buscema, an "Untold Tales of Spider-Man" over Pat Olliffe -- and "Justice League of America" #224, which fans still bring up to me as something they fondly remember as a standout issue at the time. It wasn't the story, which was pretty generic, and it wasn't the pencils, which were by Chuck Patton, the regular artist on the series -- I'm pretty well convinced it's that Dick made it look great (and John Costanza's lettering made a young writer's script an energetic read).

But Dick's contributions to the industry are so extensive that while I'll always remember what he did for me, none of that comes anywhere close to making the highlight reel.  Dick's work as artist (especially on the "Human Target"; reprint those, DC!), as inker over Neal Adams, Mike Sekosky, Ross Andru, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and others, his work as editor on the much-loved Carlton "action heroes" line and his subsequent editorial triumphs at DC -- Dick Giordano made an impact on comics that make fine memories for those who never even met him.

And for those who did, Dick will be remembered as a pleasure to be around and a very, very good guy.

Mike Grell

I just learned that legendary comic artist Dick Giordano died of leukemia this morning. I can't tell you saddened I am by the news and how much it meant to me to have known and worked with him. He was one of my heroes, a major influence in my career and an amazing artist whose genuine love of comics showed in every stroke of his brush. A giant among giants.

It was Dick's collaboration with Neal Adams and Denny O'Neil on the ground-breaking series "Green Lantern/Green Arrow" that made me decide to get into the comic business. When I finally met him in New York in 1973, I found him friendly, funny and always willing to take time to show a youngster a few tips. It was Dick who taught me that balloons should be treated as part of the art and that their placement is critical to the readability of the page. He never gave me the impression that I was wasting his time, while I hovered over his shoulder and asked him a million questions... not that he heard them all, anyway. His hearing was already failing, but his talent never did. The work he did in his later years, especially on "Modesty Blaise", was nothing short of magnificent.

Although we rarely collaborated on art, I had the honor to write many "Green Arrow" stories which Dick inked over Dan Jurgens' pencils. It was Dick's support and influence that made it possible for us to push the envelope and do stories that would otherwise never have made it into print.

When I was asked to return to "The Legion of Super-Heroes" and draw the Lightning Lad & Saturn Girl wedding sequence, I agreed on one condition - that Dick would be the inker. Dick was happy to oblige and for about ten minutes I was overjoyed. Then it hit me - my drawings were going to be inked by the best in the business. Let me tell you, I sweated bullets over every line I put down, wondering what Dick would think of it.

The truth is Dick was such a terrific artist, anything you handed him turned out looking great. His artistry showed in his ability to turn a wide variety of pencil styles into inks that were dynamic and readable back in the day when paper quality was poor and printing left a lot to be desired. He once told me he actually preferred looser pencils that allowed him more freedom of interpretation. And when he did it all - pencils AND inks - he was matchless.

When the names of the giants are written - Jack Kirby, Wally Wood, Steve Ditko and the rest of that great generation who built the comic industry -  Dick Giordano's name surely belongs among them.

Scott Shaw

Dick Giordano was my editor for the original run of Roy Thomas' and my "Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!"; in fact he inked the interior "cover" for the series' preview in "New Teen Titans" #16. Dick was not only a very talented man but also a fine teacher, a good editor and a real gentleman. I'll never forget an editorial Dick wrote at DC in the late 1960s, describing his typical workday's schedule. It was so intimidating to me at the time...and now I find myself working similar hours! I suppose that the appropriate farewell to Dick would be the editorial sign-off he used in those days: "Thank you and good afternoon"...

Gerry Conway

Dick was responsible for my career in comics. He encouraged me as a writer, and while he didn't actually buy my first story, he was the reason I made the sale. (Murray Boltinoff, the editor who bought that first script, was under the misimpression Dick was buying scripts from me, because he saw me visiting Dick at the DC offices several times a week. Thinking that Dick had already vetted me as a writer, Murray inadvertantly made me a pro, but it wouldn't have happened without Dick.) Dick gave me my first regular assignment, scripting the connecting pages between stories in "House of Secrets."  He treated me with kindness and respect -- despite the fact that when we met, and I began pestering him to buy my work, I was only 15 years old. For many years I looked up to Dick as a substitute father. I put him on a pedestal, and when he failed to live up to my unrealistic and immature expectations, I was disappointed in him. But the truth is, I wouldn't have the career in comics that I had, or the life I know today, without the mentoring and friendship Dick Giordano offered to me forty-two years ago. Beyond his amazing gifts as an artist and as an editor, Dick was that rarest of human beings, a truly decent man.

Dan Jurgens

When it comes to the true gentlemen of comics, Dick Giordano took a back seat to no one. It was a pleasure to work with him as an inker, for he was master of both pen and brush, always able to make the final job look even better than what the penciller turned in.

As an editor, he was a pleasure to work for as well. He had great story instincts as to what could make a story or series work. He was one of those guys who, in the normal give-and-take between writer and editor, could take an idea and push it to a better place, somehow making the writer feel like he'd done it all on his own.

Dick elevated that talents and skills of those around him. He was as good a guy as anyone could ever want to work for,with or simply call friend.

Erik Larsen

That's a big one. Dick Giordano was the guy in charge at DC when I first worked there. Dick Giordano and Pat Bastienne were the face of DC. Dick and Pat. I used to affectionately refer to them as the Nixons. Dick was the head cheese at DC and he was a great guy--and for years he was the go-to guy when it came to inking. Dick was Neal Adams' inker of choice and he inked John Byrne on "Man of Steel" and George Perez on "Crisis on Infinite Earths". He was the gold standard of inking at DC. As an artist he drew numerous stories on his own and that's what made him such a valuable inker--when the penciller fell short Dick would save the day. He could fix whatever was broken and make even the clumsiest amateurs look as though they knew what they were doing. He inked my stuff a few times--generally jam jobs where a mess of guys batted out pages. I was never lucky enough to work with him on a regular basis. He inked a couple pages on a "Superman" fill-in that I drew and he inked a few pages on a "Defenders" yarn that was running late and it was solid stuff. I was just thinking about him the other day--thinking we ought to work on something together. I'm not even sure why it crossed my mind--I hadn't worked with him in years--so it was more than a little shocking to find that he was gone. Dick Giordano was a fantastic inker--a great talent--and a terrific guy. He will be very missed.

Cully Hamner

As a new pro, I was part of the last generation to break in at DC when he was still Executive Editor, and for me, that was very exciting.  I was a DC kid growing up (I loved Marvel, too, but I cut my teeth on Batman, Superman, the Flash, Green Lantern, et al.), and to me, Dick was just Mr. DC.  It was the face he presented to us and the books he published that made DC the place it was when I was just a fan.  Think about how many groundbreaking, landmark comics happened when he was setting the tone.  So, to be able to work for *his* DC was amazing to me, even though it was only another year or so before he retired.  Even after, I always saw him (along with his right hand, Pat Bastienne) at cons, and he was always this positive presence—always friendly and quick to come by and say hello, talk shop, shoot the breeze, whatever—just a great guy.  I was one of many younger guys that he treated with respect and as an equal, and that always meant a lot to me.  And through it all, right up until his recent Jonah Hex issue, he still managed to do great work.

Dick left a mountainous legacy at DC and with his tenure at Charlton-- hell, in comics, period—and this world is just a little less amazing without him in it.

Todd Dezago

Dick Giordano was in the Captain's Seat at DC when I was a kid and first started reading comics, and so he is, in my mind at least, highly responsible for those bright, beautiful, four-colored days of discovery; he was steering the world that I was falling in love with.

Later I began to know him as an Artist, as the other half of one of my favorite art teams, and his work was simply stunning. He made me see what an Inker brought to every image when he didn't ink Neal--it wasn't as tight, it seemed to me, not as powerful.

I met Dick Giordano at Heroescon in 1999. Cully [Hamner] introduced us and acted as interpreter a bit, initially, as Dick's hearing was probably a little more than half gone at the time. I had, of course, loved his work for years, and told him so, and he was curious and excited to know what I did (Sensational Spider-Man at the time, so...) I got up to speed quickly and asked him for a sketch, which he very graciously did, as we yelled through a pleasant, but loud, conversation. It didn't help that we were in the basement of a loud and poorly lit bar.

A true giant. A true gentleman.

He will be missed.

Darick Robertson

Now I know I'm at that age. I cannot believe the world no longer has Dick Giordano.

Growing up, his name was synonymous with Stan Lee's for me. He was the face of DC as Stan's was for Marvel. Giordano's distinctive style seemed to be the house style for what all the DC characters should look like. Alongside Neil Adams, his art defined what Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Robin,... all these key characters live in my memory as Dick Giordano drew them.

I was honored when he inked my work in the earliest issues of Transmetropolitan. Just having that original art means even more to me with his passing.

Mr.Giordano was a great guy to meet and talk to. He was a visionary editor, an ambitious Editor-In-Chief, and the key architect in my love of Super heroes as a boy, that lasts until today.

Goodbye, Mr.Giordano, and thank you for all you left behind.

Walter Simonson

I never really worked with Dick directly, but knew him from the time I first got into comics professionally when he and Neal Adams were Continuity Associates. Their office was the meeting place for all of us young turks back in the day. Continuity reflected the best of its creators. It was warm, convivial, generous in its help and advice, and a great place to hang. Dick was a wonderful and sometimes daring editor, an artist who put everything he had into his work, and a man whose contributions to comics were more important than I can say to my generation and the generations that came after us. It was a pleasure and an honor to have known him.

Let me back up a second. Being on the road and sort of beat, I thought about a couple of places where Dick's path and mine crossed, the odd cover and a very early job he did some but not complete inks on. Totally forgot that we did three Batman jobs in the 70s with me penciling or doing layouts and Dick inking or finishing. A Joker story I totally enjoyed, a goofy Batman badguy job, and an anniversary issue I helped Dick out on some deadline difficulties. A treat each and every time.

J.M. DeMatteis

I didn't know Dick Giordano well—and I haven't seen him in many years—but he was certainly a presence, and a power, at DC Comics when he was Executive Editor during an extraordinarily-creative period in the 1980's.  I remember him as a man of great talent, intelligence, and—unusual in an executive—gentleness.  He wasn't the kind of Higher Up you had to be nervous about talking to.  Intimidation wasn't in his vocabulary:  He always put you at ease and treated you with respect.

I was also a huge fan of Giordano the artist.  As an inker he was, quite simply, one of the best ever, with that magical ability to make any penciler's work look better, by virtue of having put his brush to it.  But he was a wonderful illustrator in his own right.  One of the first regular series I ever landed in comics was an Aquaman feature in Adventure Comics and Dick drew my first batch of stories.  What an honor for a new kid to have his work brought to life, and to a higher level, by an artist of Dick Giordano's caliber.

My heartfelt condolences to Dick's family.

David Lapham

Back in 1990 when I was sending samples around trying to break into comics, among dozens of people, I sent some art to Dick's office.  He was some big shot up at DC.  I never heard back and a few months later I broke in at Valiant.  About six months later I received a form letter from Giordano's office which said "we only accept serious submissions".  Ouch.  I laughed it off, basically because I was already working.  Cut to maybe two years later.  We were starting up the short lived Defiant Comics, I had drawn this big poster featuring all the characters in the line, and who did they get to ink it?  Dick Giordano.  I think he had just stepped down at DC to do more art and less editorial, and he inked my pencils.  The poster looked great.  I met him and he was a great guy and went out of his way to compliment me and tell me how much fun he had doing the poster.  I have that one framed on my wall.  I just came away thinking he was such a nice guy who really loved comics, loved art, and loved to draw.

Gail Simone

I was a huge Giordano fan. As much as I loved Neal Adams, like everyone, I saw some things that Dick had penciled and inked when I was a kid, and I just fell in love with them. He had a way of making characters seem so happy--he drew smiles that felt genuinely joyful, which is a bit of a lost art, unfortunately.

I never got to meet the man, sadly, but a dream came drew when he did the art for an issue of Birds of Prey I wrote. Few books I've written have been as meaningful to me as that one. Comics has a lot of great artists and a lot of great men. Dick Giordano was both. I'm sorry for his family and friends, but grateful for what he did for comics.

Mark Verheiden

I was very sad to learn today that Dick Giordano, a fabulous artist and a major editorial influence at DC Comics, passed away today. I met with Dick several times when I was first getting started in comics, and he was always supportive, friendly and just a good guy to deal with. The older I get, the more I value that in people. It's a rare commodity...

I still remember sitting in my editor's office at DC looking over some frankly awful pencils for a story I'd written. Dick happened to pop in, looked at the pages with the same dismay, and told the editor to spend a few bucks and do whatever he could to get the pages into shape. I actually have a few of those redrawn originals. You would never mistake them for great, but they did come up a lot. And I can imagine a lot of folks who would have sent them to press "as is."

We lost one of the good guys today...

Dennis Calero

Growing up, Dick Giordano's name was on practically every comic of any importance. And his name was on the lips of anyone in comics I've ever spoken to who I've really respected. Our business, our art form and our world has been dealt a cruel blow. He will be missed.

Neil Vokes

This is very sad news - like a beloved uncle dying - one of the greatest perks in becoming a pro in this industry was getting to know several of the guys i admired growing up- Dick was one of these.

As a hopeful comic artist back in the mid '80s i had many meetings with comics pros (trying to get work or at least advice)- one such meeting was with this man at DC Comics- he was already a legend at that point so just meeting him was an honor - he was attentive,friendly, helpful and just a nice guy- considering i was literally nobody (with little actual talent at that point) he was more than gracious (he spent a good hour with me)

Over time,after getting work at Comico Comics,i met up with Dick several more times (and his right hand "man" Pat Bastienne-she was also gracious and later in his life,she was the one who "yelled" at Dick what people were saying because he was quite hard of hearing) including picking him up and driving him to a Comico party (i was both honored and scared to death-what if i should get Dick Giordano killed in a car crash- just how i wanna be remembered-lol)

Tho I can't truly say we were ever close friends,we did have that unnameable bond the we pros have in this crazy biz - and if that was all we had i was blessed ...but I had a little bit more than that...so I was doubly blessed...I'll miss him...;o)

Jack Curtin

Today saw the passing of, or at least the reporting of the passing of, one of my favorites pros in the comics business.

Long ago and far away, I happened to be in NYC on the day that the first issue of Shazam!, the DC comic which brought back Captain Marvel, "the Big Red Cheese," to the comics world (the title, referencing the magic word that turned young Billy Batson into "the World's Mightiest Mortal," was the result of Marvel Comics have already released a Captain Marvel title).

I picked up a payphone (like I said, "long ago and far away") and called the DC offices to ask to come in and see Shazam! editor Julie Schwartz. This was long before I began writing for the trade press and, eventually, DC itself, understand. I was just a guy off the street, but they said, come on in.

Dick was the guy they sent me to when I arrive and he passed me on to Julie, who answered all my questions, called in writer Denny O'Neill and gave me a copy of issue #1 signed by both of them. It was a great, spontaneous afternoon.

I don't remember ever interviewing Julie again but I talked with Dick many times over the years and our in-person exchanges only cemented his reputation as a thoroughly professional, thoroughly likable Good Guy.

That's as good an epitaph as any of us could hope for.

Ron Fortier

The first time my wife and I went to the San Diego Con in the early 80s, Dick Giordano had already moved to DC and was their big honcho.  So one day, my then agent Mike Friedrich, is

guiding us around the convention floor and we bump into Dick.  Mike makes the introductions and must have been smiling from ear to ear.  I told Dick I'd been  fan of his for years, loved Sarge Steel and his early work for Charlton.  He chuckled, then snapped his fingers and asked if I was the same fan who had written to him about certain DC heroes.  I was beside myself that he'd remembered my name.  He then went on to say he'd seen some my early fanzine writings and thought I had a damn good pro career ahead of me.

Later, on the flight home, in discussing all we'd done at the "big" con, both Valerie and I fondly recalled meeting Dick Giordano and what an awfully wonderful person he was.  A year later, I had an opportunity to visit the DC offices with artist Ken Penders.  As we were walking through the halls, out of nowhere came Dick rushing to a meeting.  Ken said hello, he nodded, then seeing me behind Ken, stopped dead in his tracks, smiled and said, "Hi Ron, how you doing?" We shook hands.  "Welcome to DC comics.  Sorry I can't talk more.  Hope you have a great visit." And off he went.

Today our industry that we all love so much has lost a truly great talent, a talent matched only by the largesse of the man's heart.

He willed be greatly missed.

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