Dick Giordano: Mentor
Sitting here at I-Con, the word is spreading throughout the Green Room with alarm that Dick Giordano, one of the most universally beloved figures in the comics world is gone.
Growing up as a comics reader, I was first aware of Dick as a superlative inker, usually in tandem with Neal Adams on Green Lantern and Batman. It was only later I learned of his work at Charlton, editing the line of Action Heroes titles followed by his short stint at DC as an editor.
I finally got to meet him at Paul Levitz’s wedding in the wake of the announcement that he was returning to DC. It wasn’t until December 1983 that we finally had a chance for a conversation — when he interviewed me to join the staff.
DC in 1984 was a company poised to explode into a new age. All the pieces were being put into place as Dick was recently named to run the editorial department and was setting the stage for creators from Frank Miller to Alan Moore do some of their best and most memorable work.
Working on staff at the time allowed me to see the man in action and to learn from him. He was a superb artist and had excellent story instincts which he happily conveyed with any and all to walk into his cluttered office. Every lesson I’ve learned in how to review portfolios and talk to artists, came from Dick. Whenever I was looking art artwork and I knew something was wrong, but the words failed me, I could walk into his office and show him the page. He saw my point and then grabbed a sheet of tracing paper and showed me (and often the artist as well) what was wrong, why, and how to fix it.
He was unselfish with knowledge and enthusiasm but he was
occasionally greedy when assignments came up. He liked to ink, working
for several hours each morning before commuting from Connecticut to New
York, and was always up for a cover or story. I was all too happy to
enlist his services, knowing that I would not only get the job on time,
but at a high level of quality.
As a manager, he allowed us a great deal of leeway, often more than
upper management would have preferred. If we believed in the character,
concept or talent, then he’d more often than not let us run with it. He
let us develop then trust our instincts and if something didn’t work
out, we’d all learn something from the experience and move ahead.
When Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, and I worked on the Crisis on
Infinite Earths, we were remaking the company’s continuity, killing
off popular characters and reordering reality for the future. He was
open to any and all ideas, giving us the freedom to think big then act
bigger. Still, when it was time to tell Julie Schwartz and Cary Bates
that Supergirl and The Flash were to be killed, he sat them down and did
it with a paternal flair, sharing their pain and looking ahead at
In the years since he retired from the company, Dick and I maintained
infrequent contact, still catching up whenever we could. We last worked
together when he drew a Sunday strip for a project I was managing for
Microsoft. As usual, he grasped the concept, delivered exactly what we
needed and did so on schedule.
I will miss seeing his artwork but more, I will miss his friendship
Good afternoon, Dick. Rest well.