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Joe Giella

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Joe Giella
Giella in 2009
Born(1928-06-27)June 27, 1928
United States
DiedMarch 21, 2023(2023-03-21) (aged 94)
Area(s)Penciller, Inker, Painter
AwardsInkpot Award (1996)[1]
Inkwell Awards Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame (2018)

Joe Giella (June 27, 1928 – March 21, 2023) was 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. Due to his long and prolific career, Giella has been described as "one of the creators synonymous with the Silver Age of Comics."[2]


Early life and career[edit]

Born on June 27, 1928,[3] Giella grew up in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, and attended the School of Industrial Art in Manhattan.[2] 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.[3] He began working in art at 17, he said in a 2002 interview, explaining that "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." He described his first professional job as the humor feature "Captain Codfish", which the interviewer described as "a less-eccentric 1940s ancestor of SpongeBob SquarePants".[4] A standard reference, the Grand Comics Database, lists one "Captain Codfish" feature, running six pages with the art signed by Giella, in Hillman Periodicals' Punch and Judy Comics #11 (cover-dated June 1946).[5]

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."[4]

"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".[6] Later, he assisted Syd Shores on Captain America Comics, finishing backgrounds, making pencil corrections and inking occasional pages. 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.[3]

His friend Frank Giacoia began drawing for DC Comics in the late 1940s; Giella joined him at that company in 1949.[2] There, 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).[5]

When the era called 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 Carmine Infantino on the reboots of the Flash and Gil Kane on the series Green Lantern.[5]

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.[7][3] Giella retired from Mary Worth in 2016, with his last strip appearing on July 23, 2016.[8]

Other work[edit]

Outside comics, Giella did commercial art for advertising agencies such as McCann Erickson and Saatchi & Saatchi,[3] and publishers such as Doubleday and Simon & Schuster.[citation needed]

Personal life and death[edit]

As of 2010, Giella lived in East Meadow, New York, on Long Island.[7] His son Frank is an art history and cartooning instructor at Forest Hills High School,[4] and a colorist for the comic strip Mary Worth, which Giella penciled and inked until 2016. He died on March 21, 2023, at the age of 94.[9][10]


Giella received the Inkpot Award in 1996.[11] In 2016, he received the Hero Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award at the Harvey Awards.[2] In 2017, Giella was the Guest of Honor at the 2017 Inkwell Awards ceremony at HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC (June 2017).[12][13] In 2018, Giella was awarded the Inkwell Awards Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award for his many years of inking.[14]


  1. ^ Inkpot Award
  2. ^ a b c d Dueben, Alex (2019-03-01). ""I'm Ninety and Sometimes When I Think About It I Get Worried.": An Interview with Joe Giella". The Comics Journal. Retrieved 2022-06-27.
  3. ^ a b c d e Joe Giella at the Lambiek Comiclopedia. Retrieved February 11, 2012. Archived from the original on October 16, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Bubbeo, Daniel (August 16, 2012). "Long Islanders behind Batman comics". Newsday. Long Island. pp. B4–B5. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c Joe Giella at the Grand Comics Database.
  6. ^ Joe Giella interview, Alter Ego vol. 3, #52 (Sept. 2005), p. 6
  7. ^ a b 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.
  8. ^ Moy, Karen (2016-07-23). "Joe Giella Retires From Drawing "Mary Worth"". Mary Worth. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  9. ^ Sheriff, Amand; Vaughn, J.C. (March 22, 2023). "In Memoriam: Joe Giella". Scoop. Archived from the original on March 22, 2023. Retrieved March 25, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ https://comicbook.com/comics/news/silver-age-comics-artist-joe-giella-dead-94-obituary/
  11. ^ "Congratulations to the recipients of the 2011 Inkpot Awards". San Diego Comic-Con International. Archived from the original on July 25, 2011. Retrieved September 15, 2011.
  12. ^ Inkwell Awards 2017 Winners
  13. ^ Newsarama 2017 INKWELL AWARD Winners
  14. ^ "2018 Winners".

External links[edit]

Media related to Joe Giella at Wikimedia Commons