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Comic Riffs
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Posted at 09:35 AM ET, 03/30/2010

RIP, Dick Giordano: Remembering a comics legend [UPDATED]

NOTE: Several more voices of remembrance have been added to this tribute, which was originally published Monday,


It's difficult, if not impossible, to imagine a comic-book industry not graced and fostered by Dick Giordano.

Giordano touched the field, the business and the craft in so many ways, so profoundly, that tracking his influence can quickly become Six Degrees of Dick Giordano. Whether at the drafting table or the editor's desk, he brought a keen eye to the development and betterment of many a superhero -- be it Charlton Comics or DC Comics or a Marvel gig.

The Manhattan-born Giordano, who had leukemia, died over the weekend in Florida at age 77.

The legendary Giordano nurtured talent at Charlton Comics, where he began in the 1950s and became editor-in-chief in the mid-'60s. He then was hired by DC Comics (reportedly thanks to Steve Ditko), where he would have multiple stints. In the '80s, of course, he helped relaunch so many of DC's greatest superheroes; helped create Vertigo; and played a central role in the fight for the Creators Bill of Rights. (We could list the comics figures whose lives he touched, but we'd be here for days.)

Personally, it is Giordano's inking that impressed me so profoundly (ah, his work with Neal Adams will dazzle forever). His style was a striking, elegant balance of solid precision and studied looseness. Holding my left hand over his illustrations, as if holding a brush, I used to "trace" over his lines in my mind, trying to plumb the secrets of his ever-varying line widths.

Comic Riffs asked the ever-talented Bob Layton to share his thoughts. The comics creator replied movingly:

"He was my mentor, friend and the closest thing to a father I've ever known.

"All I can say was that I stayed with him at the hospital during his last weeks of life.
Right up to the end, he continued to be a role model to me, facing his own demise with gentle humor and unwavering courage."

Andrew Farago, curator of the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, tell 'Riffs:

"Even if you only look at Giordano's career as a comic-book inker, he left behind an incredible body of work. His collaborations with Neal Adams, George Pérez and John Byrne are some of the most popular and enduring comics ever published by DC, and will probably remain in print as long as DC's publishing comics.

"As an executive at DC, he oversaw a period of incredible growth and change, but somehow always found the time to encourage up and coming talent. I've lost track of how many artists I've heard from in the past week who submitted work to DC in the 1980s and received a prompt, personal reply from Giordano himself."

The gifted Mike DeCarlo shared his thoughts, too:

"I was his art assistant from 1979 to early 1981 and was happy to call him a friend ever since.

"Dick seemed to really care about you as a human being and went out of his way to help you further your career in any way he could. Even though I was a raw, untrained 22-year- old when I started working with him, he never made me feel inadequate and showed great patience with me no matter how I screwed up or didn't progress as quickly as I could have. He taught me how to work hard, make no excuses, and act professionally. I'll miss his friendship greatly.

Comic Riffs also asked the wonderful artist Barry Kitson for his remembrances of the man. Wrote Kitson:

"Dick was one of the true greats of the industry and an incredibly nice man.

When I began me career at DC Comics, Dick was editor-in-chief. He not only made me feel very welcome, but [he also] went out of his way to send notes of encouragement and invaluable advice about how to tackle storytelling problems. He would often send small sketches (via snail mail in those days before the Web ) of how I might have approached a page or a panel differently."

Kitson continues: "I've never forgotten that kindness, not [just] because the advice was invaluable, but because I got to own a small collection of Giordano originals that way!

"An immensely talented artist and a true professional, he will be greatly missed!"

To which Comic Riffs can only add: RIP, Dick Giordano. And of course: "Thank you, and good afternoon."

By  |  09:35 AM ET, 03/30/2010

Categories:  The Comic Book | Tags:  Barry Kitson, Dick Giordano, Steve Ditko

 
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