Dick Giordano

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Dick Giordano
Dick Giordano Portrait.jpg
Dick Giordano by Michael Netzer
BornRichard Joseph Giordano
(1932-07-20)July 20, 1932
New York City, U.S.
DiedMarch 27, 2010(2010-03-27) (aged 77)
Ormond Beach, Florida, U.S.
Area(s)Penciller, Inker, Editor
Notable works
Action Comics (Human Target)
Detective Comics
Wonder Woman
AwardsAlley Award
  • Best Editor (1969)

Shazam Award

  • Best Inker (Dramatic Division) (1970, 1971, 1973, and 1974)

Inkwell Awards

  • Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame (2009)
Dick Giordano cover for Outer Space no. 20 (Charlton, Dec. 1958).

Richard Joseph Giordano (/ɔːrˈdɑːn/; July 20, 1932[1] – March 27, 2010)[2] was an American comics artist and editor whose career included introducing Charlton Comics' "Action Heroes" stable of superheroes and serving as executive editor of DC Comics.

Early life[edit]

Dick Giordano, an only child, was born in New York City on July 20, 1932, in the borough of Manhattan to Josephine Labruzzi and Graziano "Jack" Giordano. He attended the School of Industrial Art.[3]


Charlton Comics[edit]

Beginning as a freelance artist at Charlton Comics in 1952, Giordano contributed artwork to dozens of the company's comics, including such Western titles as Annie Oakley, Billy the Kid, and Wyatt Earp, the war comic Fightin' Army, and scores of covers.[4][5]

Giordano's artwork from Charlton's Strange Suspense Stories was used as inspiration for artist Roy Lichtenstein's 1965/1966 Brushstroke series, including Brushstroke, Big Painting No. 6, Little Big Painting and Yellow and Green Brushstrokes.[6][7][8]

By the mid-1960s a Charlton veteran, Giordano rose to executive editor, succeeding Pat Masulli, by 1965.[9] As an editor, he made his first mark in the industry, overseeing Charlton's revamping of its few existing superheroes and having his artists and writers create new such characters for what he called the company's "Action Hero" line. Many of these artists included new talent Giordano brought on board, including Jim Aparo, Dennis O'Neil, and Steve Skeates.[9][10]

DC Comics[edit]

DC Comics vice president Irwin Donenfeld hired Giordano as an editor in April 1968, at the suggestion of Steve Ditko,[11] with Giordano bringing over to DC some of the creators he had nurtured at Charlton.[9] Giordano was given several titles such as Teen Titans, Aquaman and Young Love,[10] but none of DC's major series. He launched the horror comics series The Witching Hour in March 1969.[12] and the Western series All-Star Western vol. 2 in September 1970.[13]

He continued to freelance for DC as a penciler and inker.[14] 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 early 1970s on the titles Batman and Green Lantern/Green Arrow.[5] Comics historian Les Daniels observed that "The influential Adams style moved comics closer to illustration than cartooning, and he brought a menacing mood to Batman's adventures that was augmented by Dick Giordano's dark, brooding inks."[15]

Continuity Associates[edit]

By 1971, frustrated by what he felt was a lack of editorial opportunities, Giordano had left DC to partner with fellow artist Neal Adams for their Continuity Associates studios,[16] which served as an art packager for comic book publishers, including such companies as Giordano's former employer Charlton Comics,[17] Marvel Comics, and the one-shot Big Apple Comix. Several comics artists began their careers at Continuity[10] and many were mentored by Giordano during their time there.[18]

He had a brief run as penciler of the Wonder Woman series which included a two-issue story in issues #202–203 (October and December 1972) written by science-fiction author Samuel R. Delany.[19] Giordano drew several backup stories in Action Comics featuring the Human Target character as well as the martial arts feature "Sons of the Tiger" in Marvel's black-and-white comics magazine The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu.[5][10] He was a frequent artist on Batman and Detective Comics and he and writer Denny O'Neil created the Batman supporting character Leslie Thompkins in the story "There Is No Hope in Crime Alley" in Detective Comics #457 (March 1976).[20] Giordano inked the large-format, first DC/Marvel intercompany crossover, Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man (1976), over the pencils of Ross Andru.[21] Giordano inked Adams on the one-shot Superman vs. Muhammad Ali in 1978.[22] Throughout the late 1970s and the early 1980s, Ross Andru and Giordano were DC's primary cover artists, providing cover artwork for the Superman titles as well as covers for many of the other comics in the DC line at that time.[23]

Return to DC[edit]

In 1980, DC publisher Jenette Kahn brought Giordano back to DC.[24][25] Initially the editor of the Batman titles, Giordano was named the company's new managing editor in 1981,[26] and promoted to vice president/executive editor in 1983, a position he held until 1993.[9] DC Comics writer and executive Paul Levitz observed in 2010 that "Giordano held the respect of talent as one of their own, and kept their affection with his reassuring calm and warmth."[27]

Giordano provided art for several anniversary issues of key DC titles. He and television writer Alan Brennert crafted the story "To Kill a Legend" in Detective Comics #500 (March 1981).[28][29] Giordano was one of the artists on the double-sized Justice League of America #200 (March 1982)[30] as well as Wonder Woman #300 (Feb. 1983).[31][32] He was promoted to Vice-President/Executive Editor in 1984,[33] and with Kahn and Levitz, oversaw the relaunch of all of DC's major characters with the Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series in 1985.[34] This was followed by Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen in 1986.[35] Giordano inked several major projects during this time such as George Pérez's pencils on Crisis on Infinite Earths and John Byrne's pencils on The Man of Steel and Action Comics,[5] though during this period he always employed assistants for inking backgrounds, filling in large black areas, and making final erasures.[36]

From 1983 to 1987,[37] Giordano wrote a monthly column published in DC titles called "Meanwhile..." which much like Marvel's "Bullpen Bulletins" featured news and information about the company and its creators. Unlike "Bullpen Bulletins," which was characterized by an ironic, over-hyped tone, Giordano's columns ". . . were written in a relatively sober, absolutely friendly voice, like a friend of your father's you particularly liked and didn't mind sitting down to listen to."[3] Giordano closed each "Meanwhile..." column with the characteristic words, "Thank you and good afternoon."[38]

The Vertigo imprint was launched in early 1993 built upon the success of several titles edited by Karen Berger including Swamp Thing, Hellblazer, Sandman, Doom Patrol, Animal Man, and Shade, the Changing Man.[39] Giordano inked six issues of The Sandman in 1991–1993.[40]

Creators' rights[edit]

Beginning in 1987, Giordano was in the middle of an industry-wide debate about the comics industry, ratings systems, and creators' rights.[3][41] Veteran writers Mike Friedrich, Steven Grant, and Roger Slifer all cited Giordano in particular for his hard-line stance on behalf of DC.[42][43][44][45][46] This debate led in part to the 1988 drafting of the Creator's Bill of Rights.

Later career[edit]

Giordano signing at a comic convention, August 2008.

Giordano left DC in 1993, and still did the occasional inking job, but later returned to freelancing full-time.[47] In 1994 Giordano illustrated a graphic novel adaptation of the novel Modesty Blaise released by DC Comics, with creator/writer Peter O'Donnell.[5][48] He was one of the many artists who contributed to the Superman: The Wedding Album one-shot in 1996 wherein the title character married Lois Lane.[49]

In 2002, Giordano launched the short-lived Future Comics with writer David Michelinie and artist Bob Layton.[14] Since 2002, Giordano had drawn several issues of The Phantom published in Europe and Australia.[50] In 2004, Giordano and writer Roy Thomas completed an adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula novel. They had begun the project in 1974 but the cancellation of many of Marvel's black and white magazines put it into limbo.[51] The finished story was collected into a hardcover edition in 2005[52] and a colorized hardcover edition in 2010.[53] In 2005, F+W Publications Inc. published the instructional art book Drawing Comics with Dick Giordano, which he wrote and illustrated. His last mainstream work appeared in Jonah Hex vol. 2, #51 (March 2010) for which he drew the interior art and the cover.[5] His last comics work was pencilling and editing Baron Five, published by Hound Comics.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Giordano married the former Marie Trapani, sister of fellow comics artist Sal Trapani, on April 17, 1955.[54] She died from complications of her second stomach cancer surgery in February 1993.[55] They had three children together; Lisa,[56] Dawn, and Richard Jr.[57] Marie's death, combined with Giordano's increasing hearing loss, hastened his decision to retire from DC.[55] Following the death of his wife, Giordano split time between homes in Florida and Connecticut.[9] In 1995, he moved to Palm Coast, Florida, where he continued to work full-time freelancing, until his death.[58] Giordano had suffered from lymphoma and later from leukemia, secondary to the chemotherapy.[59] He died on March 27, 2010 due to complications of treatment for leukemia.[60]


Giordano served as mentor or inspiration to a generation of inkers, including Terry Austin,[61] Mike DeCarlo,[62] and Bob Layton.[63]

Shortly after Giordano's death in 2010, The Hero Initiative created "The Dick Giordano Humanitarian of the Year Award", which debuted at the 2010 Harvey Awards ceremony held at the Baltimore Comic-Con. The award recognizes one person in comics each year who demonstrates particular generosity and integrity in support of the overall comic book community.[64]


Giordano received recognition in the industry for his work, including the Alley Award for Best Editor in 1969.[65] He won the Shazam Award for Best Inker (Dramatic Division) in 1970 (for Green Lantern),[66] 1971,[67] 1973 (for Justice League of America),[68] and 1974.[69] He won the 1971 Goethe Award for "Favorite Pro Editor." Giordano received an Inkpot Award in 1981.[70] In 2009 he was awarded the Inkwell Awards Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award.[71]


Comics work (interior full art – pencils and inks, except where noted) includes:

Archie Comics[edit]

  • Archie's Super Hero Comics Digest Magazine (Black Hood) #2 (inks over Neal Adams) (1979)
  • Chilling Adventures in Sorcery #4 (1973)

Charlton Comics[edit]

  • Brides in Love #1 (1956)
  • Love Diary #1–3, 6, 10, 21, 23–24, 31–32 (1958–1964)
  • Judomaster #91–98 (Sarge Steel backup stories) (1966–1967)
  • Sarge Steel #1–4, 7 (1964–1966)
  • Secret Agent #10 (Sarge Steel backup story) (1967)

DC Comics[edit]

  1. ^ In this issue, Giordano provided the art on two stories, one as inker only and the other as full artist

Marvel Comics[edit]

Valiant Comics[edit]

Warren Publishing[edit]

Other publishers[edit]



  1. ^ Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Iola, Wisconsin. Archived from the original on February 18, 2011. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  2. ^ Doran, Michael (March 27, 2010). "Legendary Comics Creator Dick Giordano Passes Away". Newsarama. Archived from the original on June 2, 2013. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Spurgeon, Tom (March 28, 2010). "Richard Joseph Giordano, 1932-2010". The Comics Reporter. Archived from the original on May 2, 2013.
  4. ^ Bails, Jerry (2006). "Giordano, Dick". Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999. Archived from the original on March 18, 2012. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Dick Giordano at the Grand Comics Database
  6. ^ Schjeldahl, Peter (November 19, 2001). "The Art World: Lucky Strokes". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on October 22, 2012.
  7. ^ Waldman, Diane (1994). "Roy Lichtenstein". Guggenheim Museum Publications: 151. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ Boström, Antonia; Bedford, Christopher; Curtis, Penelope; Hunt, John Dixon (2008). "The Fran and Ray Stark Collection of 20th-Century Sculpture at the J. Paul Getty Museum". Getty Publications: 96. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ a b c d e "Contributors: Dick Giordano". The New Teen Titans Archives, Volume 1. New York, New York: DC Comics. 1999. ISBN 978-1563894855.
  10. ^ a b c d "Dick Giordano". Lambiek Comiclopedia. May 14, 2010. Archived from the original on December 13, 2013.
  11. ^ Cooke, Jon B. (Spring 1998). "Director Comments "Thank You & Good Afternoon!" Talkin' with Dick". Comic Book Artist. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (1). Archived from the original on October 19, 2007. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  12. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1960s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. Editor Dick Giordano conjured up a triumvirate of witches to host an anthology series produced by some of comics' biggest names. {{cite book}}: |first2= has generic name (help)
  13. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 140: "Editor Dick Giordano ushered the [Western comic] genre into a new era with the return of All-Star Western."
  14. ^ a b "Dick Giordano Passes" Comic Shop News #1192
  15. ^ Daniels, Les (1995). DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. New York, New York: Bulfinch Press. pp. 156–157. ISBN 0821220764.
  16. ^ KUPPERBERG, PAUL (July 20, 2022). "A Comic Moment With… DICK GIORDANO". 13th Dimension. ...he and Neal Adams opened the advertising and comics packaging agency Continuity Associates.
  17. ^ Hatcher, Greg (February 25, 2006). "Friday at the License Bureau". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2009.
  18. ^ Eury 2003, p. 83.
  19. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 153
  20. ^ Greenberger, Robert; Manning, Matthew K. (2009). The Batman Vault: A Museum-in-a-Book with Rare Collectibles from the Batcave. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Running Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-7624-3663-7. It was Dick Giordano who, among many other similar feats, drew the March 1976 fan-favorite issue #457 of Detective Comics to illustrate the fabled Denny O'Neil yarn "There is No Hope in Crime Alley".
  21. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 170: "Many talents from both DC and Marvel contributed to this landmark publication - in addition to inker Dick Giordano, Neal Adams provided several redrawings of Superman while John Romita Sr. worked on numerous Peter Parker/Spider-Man likenesses"
  22. ^ Weiss, Brett (December 2012). "Superman vs. Muhammad Ali". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (61): 59–64.
  23. ^ Eury, Michael (2003). Dick Giordano: Changing Comics, One Day At A Time. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 101. ISBN 1-893905-27-6. Retrieved December 23, 2011. Giordano was also frequently partnered with penciler Ross Andru, and for several years, the duo illustrated virtually every Superman cover published, and a host of other covers.
  24. ^ "Changes at DC Comics: Giordano Named Editor, Levitz and Orlando Promoted". The Comics Journal. Fantagraphics Books (59): 8–9. October 1980.
  25. ^ Groth, Gary (March 1981). "The Dick Giordano Interview (Part One of Three)". The Comics Journal. Fantagraphics Books (62). Archived from the original on November 8, 2013.
  26. ^ "Jack Adler Retires, Dick Giordano Promoted". The Comics Journal. Fantagraphics Books (67): 15. October 1981.
  27. ^ Levitz, Paul (2010). "The Dark Age 1984-1998". 75 Years of DC Comics The Art of Modern Mythmaking. Cologne, Germany: Taschen. p. 559. ISBN 9783836519816.
  28. ^ Manning, Matthew K. "1980s" in Dolan, p. 193: "The comic responsible for DC's name reached its 500th issue with the help of a variety of talented comic book icons...In a dimension-spanning story by writer Alan Brennert and fan-favorite artist Dick Giordano, Batman traveled to an alternate Earth to save the parents of a young Bruce Wayne."
  29. ^ Greenberger, Robert (December 2013). "Memories of Detective Comics #500". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (69): 54–57.
  30. ^ Sanderson, Peter (September–October 1981). "Justice League #200 All-Star Affair". Comics Feature. New Media Publishing (12/13): 17.
  31. ^ Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 200: "The Amazing Amazon was joined by a host of DC's greatest heroes to celebrate her 300th issue in a seventy-two-page blockbuster...Written by Roy and Dann Thomas, and penciled by Gene Colan, Ross Andru, Jan Duursema, Dick Giordano, Keith Pollard, Keith Giffen, and Rich Buckler."
  32. ^ Mangels, Andy (December 2013). "Nightmares and Dreamscapes: The Highlights and Horrors of Wonder Woman #300". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (69): 61–63.
  33. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 206
  34. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 217: "Running for twelve monthly parts, and written by Marv Wolfman with art by George Pérez and Dick Giordano among others, Crisis led to many major characters - Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman - being relaunched."
  35. ^ Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 218: It was what many consider the greatest year in comics. DC debuted two of the industry's most influential works: Frank Miller supplied a gritty take on super-heroes with Batman: The Dark Knight, while writer Alan Moore brought a literary ear and sophisticated structure to DC's comics with the maxiseries Watchmen.
  36. ^ Eury, Michael. "When Worlds Collided! Behind the Scenes of Crisis on Infinite Earths". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (34): 39.
  37. ^ Eury (2003), pp. 117–118
  38. ^ Eury 2003, p. 41.
  39. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 262
  40. ^ Bender, Hy (1999). The Sandman Companion. New York, New York: DC Comics. pp. 266–269. ISBN 978-1563894657.
  41. ^ Groth, Gary (January 1988). "Dick Giordano Interview". The Comics Journal. Fantagraphics Books (119): 70–86.
  42. ^ Friedrich, Mike (April 1988). "Ownerous Differences". The Comics Journal. Fantagraphics Books (121): 21.
  43. ^ Grant, Steven (April 1988). "What Dick Said". The Comics Journal. Fantagraphics Books (121): 24.
  44. ^ Slifer, Roger (April 1988). "Screwed by DC". The Comics Journal. Fantagraphics Books (121): 25.
  45. ^ McEnroe, Richard S. (April 1988). "Lies, Damned Lies, & Dick Giordano". The Comics Journal. Fantagraphics Books (121): 25–27.
  46. ^ McEnroe, Richard S. (April 1988). "Packaging: Work-For-Hire in the Real Publishing Industry". The Comics Journal. Fantagraphics Books (121): 44.
  47. ^ "Newswatch: Dick Giordano Retires Role as DC VP: Editorial Director Closes Out Position, Returns to Freelancing Full-Time". The Comics Journal. Fantagraphics Books (161): 21. August 1993.
  48. ^ O'Donnell, Peter; Giordano, Dick (1994). Modesty Blaise. New York, New York: DC Comics. ISBN 1-56389-178-6.
  49. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 275: " The behind-the-scenes talent on the monumental issue appropriately spanned several generations of the Man of Tomorrow's career. Written by Dan Jurgens, Karl Kesel, David Michelinie, Louise Simonson, and Roger Stern, the one-shot featured the pencils of John Byrne, Gil Kane, Stuart Immonen, Paul Ryan, Jon Bogdanove, Kieron Dwyer, Tom Grummett, Dick Giordano, Jim Mooney, Curt Swan, Nick Cardy, Al Plastino, Barry Kitson, Ron Frenz, and Dan Jurgens."
  50. ^ Eury (2003), pp. 148–153
  51. ^ Weiland, Jonah (September 30, 2004). "30 Years of Horror: Editor Beazley talks the return of Stoker's Dracula". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on February 17, 2014.
  52. ^ Thomas, Roy; Giordano, Dick (2005). Stoker's Dracula. Marvel Comics. p. 208. ISBN 9780785114772.
  53. ^ Thomas, Roy; Giordano, Dick (2010). Dracula. Marvel Comics. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-7851-4905-7.
  54. ^ Eury (2003), p. 21
  55. ^ a b Eury (2003), p. 130
  56. ^ Eury (2003), p. 25
  57. ^ Eury (2003), p. 28
  58. ^ Eury (2003), p. 138
  59. ^ Melrose, Kevin (March 27, 2010). "Legendary Artist and Editor Dick Giordano Passes Away". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on October 25, 2013. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  60. ^ Gustines, George Gene (March 31, 2010). "Dick Giordano, Comic Book Artist, Dies at 77 (Published 2010)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on June 9, 2010. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  61. ^ Austin, Terry "Terry Austin on Giordano," in Eury (2003), p. 84
  62. ^ Eury, pp. 99–100
  63. ^ Layton, Bob "Bob Layton on Giordano," in Eury (2003) p. 146
  64. ^ Thompson, Maggie (August 21, 2010). "Wizard World Chicago: Day Three Dick Giordano Humanitarian Award". MaggieThompson.com. Archived from the original on March 26, 2012.
  65. ^ "1969 Alley Awards". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on October 24, 2013.
  66. ^ "1970 Academy of Comic Book Arts Awards". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on December 12, 2013.
  67. ^ "1971 Academy of Comic Book Arts Awards". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013.
  68. ^ "1973 Academy of Comic Book Arts Awards". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on December 12, 2013.
  69. ^ "1974 Academy of Comic Book Arts Awards". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on December 12, 2013.
  70. ^ "Inkpot Award Winners". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012.
  71. ^ "2009 Winners". Inkwell Awards. 2009. Archived from the original on June 29, 2015.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Aquaman editor
Succeeded by
Paul Levitz (in 1977)
Preceded by
George Kashdan
Teen Titans editor
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Paul Levitz
Batman editor
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Paul Levitz
The Brave and the Bold editor
Succeeded by
Len Wein
Preceded by
Paul Levitz
Detective Comics editor
Succeeded by
Len Wein
Preceded by Action Comics inker
Succeeded by
Preceded by DC Universe Executive Editor
Succeeded by