Gene Colan, American comic book artist (Daredevil, Howard the Duck), died from complications from cancer and liver disease he was , 84.
Eugene Jules Colan was an American comic book artist best known for his work for Marvel Comics, where his signature titles include the superhero series, Daredevil, the cult-hit satiric series Howard the Duck, and The Tomb of Dracula, considered one of comics’ classic horror series died from complications from cancer and liver disease he was , 84. He co-created the Falcon, the first African-American superhero in mainstream comics, and the non-costumed, supernatural African-American character Blade, which went on to star in a series of films starring Wesley Snipes.
(September 1, 1926 – June 23, 2011)
Colan was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2005.
Early life and career
Born in The Bronx, New York City, New York, the son of parents who ran an antiques business on the Upper East Side, Gene Colan began drawing at age three. “The first thing I ever drew was a lion. I must’ve absolutely copied it or something. But that’s what my folks tell me. And from then on, I just drew everything in sight. My grandfather was my favorite subject”. He attended George Washington High School in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, and went on to study at the Art Students League of New York. His major art influences are Syd Shores, Coulton Waugh, and Milton Caniff.
He began working in comics in 1944, doing illustrations for publisher Fiction House‘s aviation-adventure series Wings Comics. “[J]ust a summertime job before I went into the service”, it gave Colan his first published work, the one-page “Wing Tips” non-fiction filler “P-51B Mustang” (issue #52, Dec. 1944). His first comics story was a seven-page “Clipper Kirk” feature in the following month’s issue.
After attempting to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II but being pulled out by his father “because I was underage”, Colan at “18 or 19″ enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Originally scheduled for gunnery school in Boulder, Colorado, plans changed with the war’s sudden end. After training at an Army camp near Biloxi, Mississippi, he joined the occupation forces in the Philippines. There Colan rose to the rank of corporal, drew for the Manila Times, and won an art contest.
Upon his return to civilian life in 1946, Colan went to work for Marvel Comics‘ 1940s precursor, Timely Comics. He recalled in 2000,
“I was living with my parents. I worked very hard on a war story, about seven or eight pages long, and I did all the lettering myself, I inked it myself, I even had a wash effect over it. I did everything I could do, and I brought it over to Timely. What you had to do in those days was go to the candy store, pick up a comic book, and look in the back to see where it was published. Most of them were published in Manhattan, they would tell you the address, and you’d simply go down and make an appointment to go down and see the art director”. Al Sulman, listed in Timely mastheads then as an “editorial associate”, “gave me my break. I went up there, and he came out and met me in the waiting room, looked at my work, and said, ‘Sit here for a minute’. And he brought the work in, and disappeared for about 10 minutes or so… then came back out and said, ‘Come with me’. That’s how I met [editor-in-chief] Stan [Lee]. Just like that, and I had a job”.
Comics historian Michael J. Vassallo identifies that first story as “Adam and Eve — Crime Incorporated” in Lawbreakers Always Lose #1 (cover date Spring 1948), on which is written the an internal job number 2401. He notes another story, “The Cop They Couldn’t Stop” in All-True Crime #27 (April 1948), job number 2505, may have been published first, citing the differing cover-date nomenclature (“Spring” v. “April”) for the uncertainty.
Hired as “a staff penciler”, Colan “started out at about $60 a week. … Syd Shores was the art director“. Due to Colan’s work going uncredited, in the manner of the times, comprehensive credits for this era are difficult if not impossible to ascertain. In 2010, he recalled his first cover art being for an issue of Captain America Comics; Colan drew the 12-page lead story in issue #72, the cover-artist of which is undetermined. He definitively drew the cover of the final issue, the horror comic Captain America’s Weird Tales #75 (Feb. 1950), which did not include the titular superhero on either the cover or inside.
After virtually all the Timely staff was let go in 1948 during an industry downturn, Colan began freelancing for National Comics, the future DC Comics. A stickler for accuracy, he meticulously researched his countless war stories for DC’s All-American Men at War, Captain Storm, and Our Army at War, as well as for Marvel’s 1950s forerunner Atlas Comics, on the series Battle, Battle Action, Battle Ground, Battlefront, G.I. Tales, Marines in Battle, Navy Combat and Navy Tales. Colan’s earliest confirmed credit during this time is penciling and inking the six-page crime fiction story “Dream Of Doom”, by an uncredited writer, in Atlas’ Lawbreakers Always Lose #6 (Feb. 1949).
He would rent 16 mm movies of Hopalong Cassidy Westerns in order to trace likenesses for the DC licensed series, which he drew from 1954 to 1957.
While freelancing for DC romance comics in the 1960s, Colan did his first superhero work for Marvel under the pseudonym Adam Austin. Taking to the form immediately, he introduced the “Sub-Mariner” feature in Tales to Astonish, and succeeded Don Heck on “Iron Man” in Tales of Suspense.
Shortly afterward, under his own name, Colan became one of the premier Silver Age Marvel artists, illustrating a host of such major characters as Captain America, Doctor Strange (both in the late-1960s and the mid-1970s series), and his signature character, Daredevil. Operating, like other company artists, on the “Marvel Method” — in which editor-in-chief and primary writer Stan Lee “would just speak to me for a few minutes on the phone, tell me the beginning, the middle and the end [of a story] and not much else, maybe four or five paragraphs, and then he’d tell me to make [a 20-page] story out of it,” providing artwork to which Lee would then script dialogue and captions — Colan forged his own style, unlike that of artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, whom Lee would point to as exemplars of the Marvel style:
[W]hatever book he thought was selling, he would have the rest of the staff try to copy the same style of work, but I wouldn’t do it. I’d tell him if you want Stevie Ditko then you’ll have to get Stevie Ditko. I can’t do it, I have to be myself. So he left me alone. … He knew I meant it and that I couldn’t do it and there was no point in trying to force me to do it. Stan recognized something in my work from the very start, whatever that was, that gave my first big break. And I always got along very well with Stan; not everybody can say that but I did … so he let me do pretty much what I wanted to do…. [T]here was always some little change here and there, but basically he left me alone. … And I was intimidated by Stan. I didn’t want to go into his office, it upset me a little bit, but he was very nice to me. He left me pretty much alone because I was able to deliver pretty much what he was looking for, so we never had any trouble.
Colan’s long run on the series Daredevil encompassed all but three issues in an otherwise unbroken, 81-issue string from #20-100 (Sept. 1966 – June 1973), plus the initial Daredevil Annual (1967). He returned to draw ten issues sprinkled from 1974–79, and an eight-issue run in 1997. Colan admitted relying upon amphetamines in order to make deadlines for illustrating the series Doctor Strange.
In Captain America #117 (Sept. 1969), Colan and writer-editor Stan Lee created the Falcon, the first African-American superhero in mainstream comic books. The character came about, Colan recalled in 2008,
…in the late 1960s [when news of the] Vietnam War and civil rights protests were regular occurrences, and Stan, always wanting to be at the forefront of things, started bringing these headlines into the comics. … One of the biggest steps we took in this direction came in Captain America. I enjoyed drawing people of every kind. I drew as many different types of people as I could into the scenes I illustrated, and I loved drawing black people. I always found their features interesting and so much of their strength, spirit and wisdom written on their faces. I approached Stan, as I remember, with the idea of introducing an African-American hero and he took to it right away. … I looked at several African-American magazines, and used them as the basis of inspiration for bringing The Falcon to life.
Dracula and Batman
Colan also in the 1970s illustrated the complete, 70-issue run of the acclaimed horror title The Tomb of Dracula, as well as most issues of writer Steve Gerber‘s cult-hit, Howard the Duck.
Colan, already one of Marvel’s most well-established and prominent artists, said he had lobbied for the Tomb of Dracula assignment.
When I heard Marvel was putting out a Dracula book, I confronted [editor] Stan [Lee] about it and asked him to let me do it. He didn’t give me too much trouble but, as it turned out, he took that promise away, saying he had promised it to Bill Everett. Well, right then and there I auditioned for it. Stan didn’t know what I was up to, but I spent a day at home and worked up a sample, using Jack Palance as my inspiration and sent it to Stan. I got a call that very day: ‘It’s yours.’”
Back at DC in the 1980s, following a professional falling out with Marvel, Colan brought his shadowy, moody textures to Batman, serving as the Dark Knight’s primary artist from 1982–1986, penciling most issues of Detective Comics and Batman during that time. He was also the artist of Wonder Woman from early 1982 to mid-1983. Helping to create new characters as well, Colan collaborated in the 1980s with The Tomb of Dracula writer Marv Wolfman on the 14-issue run of Night Force; with Cary Bates on the 12-issue run of Silverblade; and with Greg Potter on the 12-issue run of Jemm, Son of Saturn. As well, he drew the first six issues of Doug Moench‘s 1987 revival of The Spectre.
Colan’s style, characterized by fluid figure drawing and extensive use of shadow, was unusual among Silver Age comic artists, and became more pronounced as his career progressed. He usually worked as a penciller, with Klaus Janson and Tom Palmer as his most frequent inkers. Colan broke from the mass-market comic book penciller/inker/colorist assembly-line system by creating finished drawings in graphite and watercolor on such projects as the DC Comics miniseries Nathaniel Dusk (1984) and Nathaniel Dusk II (1985–86), and the feature “Ragamuffins” in the Eclipse Comics umbrella series Eclipse #3, 5, & 8 (1981–83). All these were written by frequent collaborator Don McGregor.
Independent-comics work includes the Eclipse graphic novel Detectives Inc.: A Terror Of Dying Dreams (1985), written by McGregor and reprinted in sepia tone as an Eclipse miniseries in 1987, and the miniseries Predator: Hell & Hot Water for Dark Horse Comics. He contributed to Archie Comics in the late 1980s and early 1990s, drawing and occasionally writing a number of stories. His work there included penciling the lighthearted science-fiction series Jughead‘s Time Police #1-6 (July 1990 – May 1991), and the 1990 one-shot To Riverdale and Back Again, an adaptation of the NBC TV movie about the Archie characters 20 years later, airing May 6, 1990; Stan Goldberg and Mike Esposito drew the parts featuring the characters in flashback as teens, while Colan drew adult characters, in a less cartoony style.
Back at Marvel, he collaborated again with Marv Wolfman on a new The Tomb of Dracula series, and with Don McGregor on a Black Panther serial in the Marvel Comics Presents anthology.
Later life and career
Colan did some of the insert artwork on Hellbilly Deluxe (released August 1998), the first solo album of Rob Zombie, credited as Gene “The Mean Machine” Colan.
In the 2000s, Colan returned to vampires by drawing a pair of stories for Dark Horse Comics‘ Buffy the Vampire Slayer series.
At various points, Colan taught at Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts and Fashion Institute of Technology, and had showings at the Bess Cutler Gallery in New York City and at the Elm Street Arts Gallery in Manchester, Vermont.
He penciled the final pages of Blade vol. 3, #12 (Oct. 2007), the final issue of that series, drawing a flashback scene in which the character dresses in his original outfit from the 1970s series The Tomb of Dracula. That same month, for the anniversary issue Daredevil vol. 2, #100 (Oct. 2007), Colan penciled pages 18–20 of the 36-page story “Without Fear, Part One”; the issue additionally reprinted the Colan-drawn Daredevil #90-91 (Aug.-Sept. 1972).
On May 11, 2008, Colan’s family announced that Colan, who had been hospitalized for liver failure, had suffered a sharp deterioration in his health. By December, he had sufficiently recovered to travel to an in-store signing in California. He continued to produce original comics work as late as 2009, drawing the lead feature in Captain America #601 (Sept. 2009). Subsequently, he won an Eisner Award for Best Single Issue (together with writer Ed Brubaker) for his work on that issue.
Colan died on June 23, 2011, following complications from liver disease and a broken hip received in a fall.
Colan was married twice: first to Sallee Greenberg, with whom he had children Valerie and Jill before the couple divorced, and Adrienne Brickman, with whom he had children Erik and Nanci. Colan and his second wife moved from New York City to Vermont late in life before returning to New York. Adrienne Colan died June 21, 2010.
Interior pencil art includes:
- Batman #340, 343-345, 348-351, 373, 383 (1981–1985)
- Batman: Gotham Knights (Batman Black and White) #15 (2001)
- DC Challenge #1 (1985)
- DC Comics Presents (Wonder Woman preview) #41 (1982)
- DC Science Fiction Graphic Novel Nightwings (1985)
- Detective Comics #510, 512, 517, 523, 528-538, 540-546, 555-567 (1982–1986)
- Elvira’s House of Mystery #11 (1987)
- Fury of Firestorm #19, Annual #4 (1984-1986)
- Jemm, Son of Saturn #1-12 (limited series) (1984-1985)
- Just Imagine Stan Lee With Jim Lee Creating Wonder Woman (backup story) (2001)
- Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 2 #311 (1984)
- Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3 #27 (1986)
- Little Shop of Horrors movie adaptation #1 (1987)
- Nathaniel Dusk #1-4 (1984)
- Nathaniel Dusk II #1-4 (1985-1986)
- New Teen Titans (Night Force preview) #21 (1982)
- Night Force #1-14 (1982-1983)
- Phantom Zone #1-4 (1982)
- Secret Origins (Crimson Avenger) #5 (1986)
- Silverblade #1-12 (1987-1988)
- Spectre (vol. 2) #1-6 (1987)
- Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #2, 11, 16-17, 25 (1985-1987)
- Wonder Woman #288-305 (1982-1983)
- World’s Finest Comics (Zatanna) #274, (Superman and Batman) #297, 299 (1981-1984)
- Amazing Adventures (Black Widow) #3-5; (Killraven) #26
- Astonishing Tales (Dr. Doom) #7-8
- Avengers #63-65, 206-208, 210-211
- Captain America #116-137, 256, 601
- Captain Marvel #1-4
- Daredevil #20-49, 53-82, 84-100, 110, 112, 116, 124, 153-154, 156-157, 363, 366-368, 370
- Daredevil, vol. 2, #100
- Doctor Strange #172-178,180-183
- Doctor Strange, vol. 2, #6-18
- Dracula Lives #6, 8
- Howard the Duck #4-20,24-27,30-31
- Howard the Duck Magazine #1-5, 7-9
- Iron Man #1, 253, Annuals #10, 13, 15
- Iron Man and Sub-Mariner #1
- Marvel Comics Presents #13-37, 101-108, 112
- Marvel Preview #8, 16, 23
- Marvel Super-Heroes #12-13 (Captain Marvel), 15 (Medusa), 18 (Guardians of the Galaxy)
- Marvel Super Special (Meteor movie adaptation) #14
- Marvel Team-Up #87
- Savage Sword of Conan #33
- Silver Surfer (The Watcher) #1-3
- Strange Tales (Brother Voodoo) #169-173
- Sub-Mariner #10-11, 40, 43, 46-49
- Tales of Suspense (Iron Man) #73-99
- Tales to Astonish (Sub-Mariner) #70-77, 79-82, 84-85, 101
- The Tomb of Dracula #1-70
- Tomb of Dracula Magazine #3-6
- Tower of Shadows #3-4, 6
- What If (Fantastic Four) #21
Awards and honors
Colan won for the Shazam Award for Best Penciller (Dramatic Division) in 1974. He received the 1977 and 1979 Eagle Award for Favorite Comic Book (Humor), for Howard the Duck, and was nominated for five Eagle Awards in 1978.
In 2005, Colan was inducted into the comics industry’s Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame.
The Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, California, presented the retrospective “Colan: Visions of a Man without Fear” from November 15, 2008, to March 15, 2009.
Colan was the recipient of the 2008 Sparky Award, presented December 4, 2008.
He won the Comic Art Professional Society‘s Sergio Award on October 24, 2009.
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Mike Esposito , who sometimes used the pseudonyms Mickey Demeo, Mickey Dee, Michael Dee, and Joe Gaudioso, was an American comic book artist whose work for DC Comics, Marvel Comics and others spanned the 1950s to the 2000s died he was , 83. As a comic book inker teamed with his childhood friend Ross Andru, he drew for such major titles as The Amazing Spider-Man and Wonder Woman. An Andru-Esposito drawing of Wonder Woman appears on a 2006 U.S. stamp.
Esposito was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2005.
(July 14, 1927 – October 24, 2010)
Early life and career
Born in New York City, New York, Mike Esposito graduated from the High School of Music and Art, where one of his classmates was future comics artist Ross Andru. Originally Esposito dreamed of becoming an animator at Disney. This ended when his father did not want him to leave New York for the West Coast.
Following his military service, Esposito entered the comic-book field drawing for the publisher Fiction House and later for later for industry giant DC Comics, then called National Comics. Because writer and artist credits were not routinely given during that era of comic books, a comprehensive account of his work is difficult to ascertain. His first confirmed work is as penciler and inker of the war comics story “Heat Of Battle” in Men’s Adventures #6 (Feb. 1951), from Atlas Comics, the 1950s forerunner of Marvel Comics.
He and Andru co-founded the studio Mike/Ross Publications in the early 1950s. The two artists became longtime collaborators, working together on various projects over a span of four decades. Their first known credited collaboration was the cover and a 24-page story, “The Jungle That Time Forgot” in the whimsical adventure comic Mister Universe #2 (1951; no month given, but published between the July and December issues). This five-issue series was the sole title from a comic book company they founded, Mr. Publications. The two also co-founded Mikeross Publications in 1953, which through 1954 produced one issue each of the 3D romance comics 3-D Love and 3-D Romance, two issues of the romance comic Heart and Soul, and three issue of the satiric humor comic Get Lost.
By this time, after having teamed for early work on Key Publications‘ Mister Mystery in 1951 and Standard Comics‘ The Unseen and Joe Yank (the latter credited as “Mikeross”), the two began a long career as one of DC Comics‘ primary war story artists, alongside the likes of Joe Kubert, Russ Heath, and Jerry Grandenetti. Beginning with a story each in All-American Men of War #6, Our Army at War #14, and Star Spangled War Stories #13 (all Sept. 1953), For those titles as well as G.I. Combat and Our Fighting Forces, Andru and Esposito drew hundreds of tales of combat under editor and frequent writer Robert Kanigher. With Kanigher, they co-created the non-superpowered adventurers the Suicide Squad in The Brave and the Bold #25 (Sept. 1959). They also drew early issues of Rip Hunter, Time Master in 1961.
Shortly after DC Comics ushered in the period fans and historians call the Silver Age of Comic Books by reimagining such Golden Age superheroes as the Flash and Green Lantern for modern audiences, Andru and Esposito began a long run on DC’s Wonder Woman, from issues #98–171 (May 1958 – August 1967), “defining her look during [this] boom period”. As well, with writer-editor Robert Kanigher, they co-created the robot superheroes the Metal Men in Showcase #37 (April 1962), going on to draw the first 29 issues of the lighthearted series Metal Men, from 1963 to 1968.
Esposito gradually began freelancing for Marvel Comics, starting with his uncredited inking of industry giant Jack Kirby‘s cover of Fantastic Four Annual #3 (1965). For his inking of Bob Powell in the “Human Torch and the Thing” feature in Strange Tales #132, and his inking of Don Heck‘s “Iron Man” in Tales of Suspense #65 (both May 1965), he took the pen name Mickey Demeo (occasionally given as Mickey Dee or Michael Dee) to conceal his Marvel work from his primary employer, DC. He also occasionally worked under the pseudonym Joe Gaudioso for the same reason.
When John Romita, Sr. succeeded artist co-creator Steve Ditko on The Amazing Spider-Man, beginning with issue 39 (Aug. 1966), Esposito, initially as Demeo, was the first inker on what would become Marvel’s flagship series. After three issues, Romita inked himself for the next half-dozen before Esposito returned — uncredited for issue 49 (June 1967), then as Mickey Demeo until finally taking credit under his own name with issue #56 (Jan. 1968). Except for one issue (#65) inked by his successor, Jim Mooney, the Romita-Esposito team continued through issue #66 (Nov. 1968), establishing the new look of Spider-Man. Esposito continued to use the “Demeo” creidt sporadically, including on the debut story “Guardians of the Galaxy” in Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (Jan. 1969), and on The Amazing Spider-Man #83 (April 1970), his last recorded use of the pen name.
During this period as well, for DC, the Andru-Esposito team segued from Wonder Woman to The Flash, drawing the super-speedster superhero’s adventures from issue #175–194 (Dec. 1967 – Feb. 1970). All the while, Esposito regularly inked such artists as Irv Novick and Curt Swan on the Superman family of comics, including Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane, Superboy, and Superman, and numerous Superman-Batman team-ups penciled by Andru in World’s Finest Comics. The Kanigher-Andru-Esposito trio introduced the Silver Age version of the split-personality superheroine feature “Rose and Thorn” in Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane #105 (Oct. 1970). For the black-and-white comics-magazine publisher Skywald in 1971, Andru & Esposito contributed many stories across the line, including to the horror titles Nightmare and Psycho and the Western titles Wild Western Action, The Bravados and Butch Cassidy, and with writer Gary Friedrich created the motorcycle-riding superhero Hell-Rider.
Andru and Esposito formed the publishing company Klevart Enterprises in 1970.
The Andru-Esposito team first drew the flagship Marvel Comics character Spider-Man in the premiere (March 1972) of that superhero’s first spin-off comic book, Marvel Team-Up, nearly every issue of which featured Spider-Man paired with another hero. While Andru did not remain on the series, Esposito would go on to ink several issues, often those penciled by Gil Kane. He and Andru eventually took over the flagship title The Amazing Spider-Man. Esposito inked the vast majority of a nearly four-year run on the title, encompassing issues #147-150, 152-171, 177, 179-182, 185-186, 188, and 191 (Aug. 1975 – April 1979), all penciled by Andru except for three issues Sal Buscema and two by Keith Pollard. He inked the feature stories in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #4-5 (1967–1968), over Larry Lieber‘s pencils, with the latter’s issue introducing Peter Parker‘s parents; Annual #10 (Nov. 1976), over Gil Kane; and Annual #22, over Mark Bagley. Esposito additionally inked several issues apiece of The Spectacular Spider-Man; the children’s comic Spidey Super Stories; and a host of Spider-Man miscellanea, such as Spider-Man Giveaway: AIM Toothpaste Exclusive Collectors’ Edition (1980), and Spider-Man Giveaway: National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse #1 (1984).
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Esposito inked virtually every major Marvel penciler on virtually every major Marvel title, from The Avengers to X-Men. By the mid-1980s, however, his Marvel work had tapered to a trickle. Among his final Spider-Man work, he was co-inker on the story “Moving Up”, penciled by Alex Saviuk, in Web of Spider-Man #38 (May 1988); inker of the following issue’s cover; and inker of the 11-page partial origin retelling “My Science Project, penciled by Bagley, in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #23 (1989). His final Spider-Man story was also his last with Andru, who died in 1993: the graphic novel Spider-Man: Fear Itself (Feb. 1992). Esposito’s final Marvel tale was Last Marvel the 11-page Darkhold story “Skin”, penciled by Dan Lawlis, in the horror comics title Midnight Sons Unlimited #2 (July 1993).
Later life and career
By this time, however, Esposito was well-ensconced at Archie Comics, inking hundreds of teenage-humor stories starring Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper and the other high-schoolers of Riverdale, U.S.A., generally over the pencils of fellow former longtime Marvel artist Stan Goldberg. His final Archie work was inking four Goldberg stories in Betty #56 (Dec. 1997).
Esposito’s first wife, Mary, died when he was in his 40s. He later married his second wife, Irene. Esposito had two children: Mark, who predeceased him, and Michelle. Esposito lived in Lake Grove, New York, on Long Island, in his later years, and died October 24, 2010, at age 83.
Esposito was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2007.
An Andru-Esposito drawing of Wonder Woman appears on one of the 10 character stamps issued in the U.S. Postal Service‘s 2006 commemorative stamp series “DC Comics Super Heroes”.
A paparazzo character was named after him on the Smallville episode “Trespass.”
In 2007 Esposito and Andru were the subjects of a biography titled Andru and Esposito: Partners For Life, published by Hermes Press (ISBN 978-1932563849).
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Dick Giordano died he was 77. He was born Richard Joseph Giordano; ) Giordano was an American comic book artist and editor best known for introducing Charlton Comics‘ “Action Heroes” stable of superheroes, and serving as executive editor of then industry-leader DC Comics. As an inker, Giordano is well known for his pairings with penciler Neal Adams in a series of critically acclaimed comics featuring Batman, Green Lantern, and Green Arrow.
|(July 20, 1932 – March 27, 2010)|
Dick Giordano was born in New York City, in the borough of Manhattan. Beginning as a freelance artist at Charlton Comics in 1952, Giordano rose to editor-in-chief by 1965. He made his first mark in the industry with Charlton, overseeing the 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, featuring such names as Jim Aparo, Denny O’Neil, and Steve Skeates.)
DC Comics’ then-publisher Carmine Infantino hired Giordano as an editor in 1967, with Giordano also bringing over to DC many of the creators he had nurtured at Charlton. While none of his titles (such as Bat Lash and Deadman) were a commercial hit, they were critical successes.
By 1971 Giordano had left DC to partner with artist Neal Adams for their Continuity Associates studios, which served as an art packager for comic book publishers, including such companies as Giordano’s former employer Charlton Comics, Marvel Comics, and the one-shot Big Apple Comix. Continuity served as the launching pad for the careers of a number of professional cartoonists, many of whom were mentored by Giordano during their time there.
As a penciller, he drew numerous Batman and Wonder Woman stories for DC, 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.
In 1980 new DC publisher Jenette Kahn brought Giordano back to DC. Initially the editor of the Batman titles, Giordano was named the company’s new managing editor in 1981, and promoted to Vice President/Executive Editor in 1983 (a position he held until 1993). With Kahn and Paul Levitz, Giordano helped relaunch such major characters as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, the Justice League of America, and the Teen Titans. By the end of the 1980s, they had also created the critically acclaimed, mature-audience Vertigo imprint, under initial editor Karen Berger, and began an influx of British talent such as Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman.
During this period, until he left the company, 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. (Giordano closed each “Meanwhile…” column with the characteristic words, “Thank you and good afternoon.”) Giordano also continued to ink, such as over George Pérez‘s pencils on the 1986 crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths, and John Byrne‘s pencils on The Man of Steel and Action Comics.
Beginning in 1985, Giordano was in the middle of an industry-wide debate about the comics industry and creators’ rights. Veteran writers Mike Friedrich, Steven Grant, and Roger Slifer all cited Giordano in particular for his hard-line stance on behalf of DC. This debate led in part to the 1988 drafting of the Creator’s Bill of Rights.
Giordano left DC and went into semi-retirement in 1993, still doing the occasional inking job. In 1994 Giordano illustrated a graphic novel adaptation of the novel Modesty Blaise released by DC Comics (ISBN 1-56389-178-6), with creator/writer Peter O’Donnell.
Since 2002 he has also drawn several issues of The Phantom published in Europe and Australia. In the mid-2000s, he began sitting on the board of directors of the comic industry charity A Commitment To Our Roots (ACTOR), renamed in 2006 the Hero Initiative. In 2005, F+W Publications Inc. published Drawing Comics with Dick Giordano (which he wrote and illustrated), a book in which he shares his drawing methods and techniques that he used in comics.
 Personal life
Giordano was married for many years to the former Marie Trapani (sister of fellow comics artist Sal Trapani), who died from stomach cancer in 1993. Marie’s death, combined with Giordano’s increasing hearing loss, hastened his decision to retire from DC.
Giordano split time between homes in Florida and Connecticut.
As an artist, Giordano is best-known as an inker. His inking is particularly associated with the pencils of Neal Adams, for their run in the late 1960s and early 1970s on the titles Batman and Green Lantern/Green Arrow for DC Comics. Giordano also inked the large-format, first DC/Marvel Comics intercompany crossover, Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man (1976), over the pencils of Ross Andru. Giordano also inked Adams on the one-shot Superman vs. Muhammad Ali in 1978. Throughout the late 1970s and the 1980s, Andru and Giordano were DC’s primary cover artists, providing cover artwork for almost every title in the DC line at that time.
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