Dick Giordano (1932-2010) died this past Saturday. Sad, sad news. He was not so very old, and he had continued to stay busy and engaged in the world of comics. Had leukemia not taken him -- and I imagine he put up a fight -- I bet he would have been busy for a lot longer. With his passing, another living link to the early days of comic book history has slipped away.
I've got to admit that I don't have a very strong personal connection to Giordano's artwork, but I remember him as a banner name and prime mover in the 1980s resurgence of DC. That company benefited greatly from having working artists like Carmine Infantino, Joe Orlando, and Giordano working in editorial, and, though the artist-driven or "Infantino" era didn't last long, I like to think that that legacy had something to do with the emergence of auteurist comics like Ronin and Watchmen in the eighties. Even twenty-five years ago, when I first started getting back into comics, I knew Giordano was an important figure for DC and for comics generally.
Like John Romita, Sr., or the late John Buscema, Giordano was a second-generation comic book artist, one who had grown up in the field from the late forties or early fifties onward and had proven a dependable, endlessly adaptable pro whose individual gifts did not become known and celebrated until relatively late in his career. Like them he had a sturdy yet portable style that was always solid, often elegant, and like them he started to look better and better in later years, as the kind of visual intelligence and flexibility he modeled became rarer and the look of comic books hardened into second-hand conventions. Having put nose to grindstone for years at Charlton, and then moved over to DC in the sixties, Giordano was everywhere present in the mainstream comic books of my youth (again like Romita or Buscema). He was one of the artists that, for me, defined the mainstream. His thin lines and lithe figures were a dead giveaway.
Tom Spurgeon, once again, has done a fantastic job of relating Giordano's career story and thoughtfully setting his achievements in context. Please read Tom's writeup. One thing Tom points out is Giordano's track record as a cover artist, and, with that in mind, I present the following (I hope) chronological sampling of Giordano covers, a more or less random sampling determined by personal interest and culled from the indispensable Grand Comics Database. Publishing info is per GCD. I hope you enjoy it.