Joe Giella

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Joe Giella
Giella at the Big Apple Summer Sizzler in Manhattan, June 13, 2009.
Born (1928-06-27) June 27, 1928 (age 87)
Nationality American
Area(s) Penciller, Inker, Painter
Awards Inkpot Award (1996)

Joe Giella (born June 27, 1928)[1] is an American comic book artist best known as a DC Comics inker during the late 1950s and 1960s period which historians and fans call the Silver Age of comic books.[citation needed]


Early life and career[edit]

Giella attended the School of Industrial Art in Manhattan.[1] He also studied at the Art Students League in Manhattan, alongside future comics professionals Mike Sekowsky and Joe Kubert, and took commercial art courses at Hunter College.[1] His first professional work, he said in a 2012 interview, was on the humor feature "Captain Codfish", which one writer described as "a less-eccentric 1940s ancestor of SpongeBob SquarePants", for Hillman Periodicals. "I was 17, and when your parents are struggling to keep the house going, the first son in the family, especially in an Italian family, had to go to work."[2] A standard reference, the Grand Comics Database, lists one "Captain Codfish" feature, in Hillman's Punch and Judy Comics #11 (cover-dated June 1946).[3]

Golden Age of comic books[edit]

Giella later freelanced for Fawcett Comics, commuting by bus to C. C. Beck's and Pete Costanza's studio in Englewood, New Jersey, to ink Captain Marvel stories. In either 1946 or 1947, he began freelancing for Timely Comics, the 1940s precursor of Marvel Comics, and shortly afterwards joined the staff. His start was rocky, however; as a 2012 article related,

What he needed was a regular paycheck, so he kept dropping by the offices of Timely Comics ... hoping to get a job. [Editor] Stan Lee rewarded his persistence with a tryout inking a strip that cartoonist Mike Sekowsky had penciled. Giella's elation on his trip home soon turned to panic. "The first job he gave me I lost on the train. No one slept at my house that night," Giella jokes. "I went in the next morning and thought that's the end of my job." He was nearly right. As a frantic Lee screamed at Giella for his carelessness, Sekowsky came to his defense. "Mike repenciled the whole job that I lost on the train and I did the inking," he says. "Stan liked what I did and I got the staff position. I never left anything on the train again."[2]

"I would do any work that they offered," Giella had recalled in a 2005 interview. "I started out doing a little touch-up work, a little background work, a little inking, redraw this, fix this head, do something with this panel".[4] Later, he assisted Syd Shores on Captain America Comics, finishing backgrounds, making pencil corrections and inking the occasional page or two. Giella did similar duty on Human Torch, Sub-Mariner, and humor stories. Inking soon became his specialty. In 1948, he joined the Naval Reserves, continuing with them for eight years.[1]

His friend Frank Giacoia began drawing for DC Comics in the late 1940s, and eventually convinced Giella to join him at that better-paying, if more staid, company. Starting circa 1948, Giella inked stories featuring the Flash, Green Lantern, Black Canary and other characters under editor Julius Schwartz.

Into the Silver Age[edit]

During the early-1950s lull in superheroes, Giella inked Westerns penciled by Alex Toth (including the feature "Sierra Smith") and Gene Colan (on the series Hopalong Cassidy, splitting the work with fellow inker Sy Barry).[3]

When the era that historians[who?] call the Silver Age of comic books began with the resurgence of superheroes in 1956, Giella began inking science-fiction stories, including the feature "Adam Strange" in Strange Adventures, and Batman stories pencilled by the likes of Sheldon Moldoff (ghosting for Bob Kane), and Carmine Infantino. In the 1960s, he prominently inked Gil Kane on the series Green Lantern.[3]

Comic strips[edit]

Giella also assisted on such King Features syndicated comic strips as Flash Gordon (inking Dan Barry in 1970), and The Phantom, on which he worked for 17 years (sometimes helping Sy Barry with pencilling when deadlines became too consuming for Barry). In 1991, Giella succeeded Bill Ziegler as artist on the Mary Worth daily and Sunday newspaper strip[5][1]

Other work[edit]

Outside comics, Giella did commercial art for advertising agencies such as McCann Erickson and Saatchi & Saatchi,[1] and publishers such as Doubleday and Simon & Schuster.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

As of 2010, Giella lives in East Meadow, New York, on Long Island.[5] His son Frank is an art history and cartooning instructor at Forest Hills High School,[2] and a colorist for the comic strip Mary Worth, which Giella pencils and inks.[5]


Giella received the Inkpot Award in 1996.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Joe Giella at the Lambiek Comiclopedia. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Bubbeo, Daniel (August 16, 2012 web, August 18, 2012 print). "Long Islanders behind Batman comics". Newsday (Long Island). pp. B4–B5. Retrieved August 18, 2012.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ a b c Joe Giella at the Grand Comics Database.
  4. ^ Joe Giella interview, Alter Ego vol. 3, #52 (Sept. 2005), p. 6
  5. ^ a b c Bubbeo, Daniel (May 5, 2010). "LI cartoonists, animators drawn to evolving industry". Newsday (Long Island). Archived from the original on August 19, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Joe Giella at Wikimedia Commons