Marvel Remembers Dick Giordano

Paying tribute to one comics’ great legends and true gentlemen

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Dick Giordano (courtesy of dickgiordano.com)
By Jim Beard

Marvel Comics is saddened by the passing of comics legend Dick Giordano. An accomplished artist, mentor and champion of creators' rights, he leaves his distinctive and personable mark on the entire industry.

Though widely known for his long tenure with DC Comics, Giordano also touched the Marvel Universe on more than one occasion. As comics giant and Giordano collaborator Roy Thomas says: "Dick Giordano and Marvel Comics aren't two things most longtime comics readers think of in the same breath. But the connections have been there, for a long time."

Born 1932 in New York, Richard Joseph Giordano entered the comics industry as a freelancer for Charlton Comics in the 1950's but along the way provided art for Marvel's predecessor, Atlas Comics, and their war, romance and western titles. As an editor with Charlton, he inaugurated their famous "Action Heroes" line and mentored such luminaries as Jim Aparo and Denny O'Neil.

In the 1970's, Giordano made his way to Marvel, most notably on a bold adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula" with writer Roy Thomas.

"I don't recall considering anyone else to draw it before I spoke with Dick about it," Thomas says of the project. "Why? I'm not sure. Perhaps I was aware that it was a novel which had great resonance with him, as it always had with me. Maybe we'd discussed Vlad Dracul in passing-or even at

 
greater length-over some lunch or other, or at a party, or even between panels at one of Phil Seuling's humongous comics conventions. I just don't know. Dick was there, and he became the inevitable choice as artist of the 'Dracula' adaptation."

Begun in 1973, in the pages of DRACULA LIVES!, the story would not be finished until 2004. At that time, Marvel contacted the two creators and asked them to complete their ode to the famous vampire tale.

"Dick was ecstatic to be working on the adaptation again, I know...and so was I," notes Thomas. "When it was gathered into a nearly 200-page hardcover graphic novel, it was the realization of a dream for us...for the individual chapters had been structured, from the very beginning, so that one day-Lord knew when or how-they could all be gathered seamlessly into the longest and most faithful adaptation of Bram Stoker's horror classic that had ever been done."

Giordano also lent his considerable artistic talents to such diverse Marvel titles as MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE, MARVEL FEATURE, HOWARD THE DUCK and SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN. The mighty Marvel martial artists Iron Fist and the Sons of the Tiger owe a debt to Giordano, too as he helped deliver them into the pages of MARVEL PREMIERE and DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU, respectively.

 
1976 brought about one of the most historic and beloved comic projects and Giordano took part, inking Ross Andru's pulse-pounding pencils for SUPERMAN VS THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. Later works for the House of Ideas include SPIDER-MAN, SPIDER-MAN/PUNISHER: FAMILY PLOT and inking George Perez's layouts for a 2000 issue of AVENGERS.

The multitude of creators who credit the artist and editor with impacting their lives and careers most often note Giordano's easy-going manner and his professional work-ethic. He included any and all in his circle of friendly advice and common love for comics books.

"He was eight years my senior, but somehow we felt comfortable in each other's presence," says Roy Thomas. "Sadly, only a couple of hours before editor Mark Beazley e-mailed me the news about Marvel decision [to publish 'Dracula' in color], I received another from Dick's assistant and longtime friend Pat Bastienne. Dick, who I knew had gone into the hospital battling a resurgence of his leukemia only a couple of weeks before, had passed away that very morning.  He would never know about the coming colorization of our 'Dracula.'

"But he would have approved. And he'd have smiled. Perhaps he is smiling, even now."

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