Young Romance #170, February-March 1971

I know I ran this cover not too long ago, but I have no hesitation to use it again to mark the passing of its artist, Dick Giordano. This was penciled and inked by him in late 1970 at around the time he was easing himself out of an editorial job at DC to set up an ad agency with Neal Adams.

Having worked at Charlton comics for most of the 1950s Giordano became the editor of the entire line around 1965, and set about updating the publisher’s moribund super-heroes to better compete with Stan Lee’s wildly-popular Marvel Comics. Under his sure hand, the “Action Heroes” proved a high point in the history of Charlton. When artist Steve Ditko left Charlton for DC in 1968, he recommended Giordano for an editorial job — and Giordano duly set up shop soon after. While this proved not to be a particularly happy time for him, he oversaw some well-remembered comics, and contributed some brilliant inking jobs — notably over Mike Sekowsky on Wonder Woman, and his soon-to-be business partner Neal Adams on Batman, Detective Comics and Green Lantern/Green Arrow.

Eventually dissatisfied with the world of advertising, Giordano returned to freelancing in the late-70s, and was persuaded to return to DC full-time in 1980 as an editor. A year later he became editor-in-chief, a role he held into the 90s. In that capacity he oversaw the company’s wholesale overhaul of its characters that led to 1985’s groundbreaking Crisis on Infinite Earths, for which he inked the first few issues over George Perez’s pencils. He later inked John Byrne on the retooling of Superman in The Man of Steel mini-series.

Giordano was also instrumental in getting Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s  Watchmen project off the ground, when he convinced Moore that original characters would make for a better series — rather than the recently-bought Charlton Action Heroes.

Although Giordano went into partial retirement once he left DC in the early-90s, he continued to produce the occasional inking job, and would even pencil from time to time. One recent job was the completion of his and Roy Thomas’s adaptation of Dracula — a job begun in the 1970s.

A true giant of the comics industry, Giordano will be sorely missed.

Image ©2010 DC Comics