Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Dick Giordano

Dick Giordano died recently. Wired has a quick overview of his career here.

I became aware of him when he started at DC in the late 1960s. DC was in the process of upgrading itself. Several of the characters had become stodgy, 1950s relics. This included their flagship characters, Superman and Batman. DC had done one upgrade of Batman in the early 1960s but the Adam West TV show ended that. Superman hadn't had a change in style since the 1950s.

DC's overhaul consisted of two parts. One was to bring in new arch-enemies for the characters. This wasn't particularly successful. Who remembers Tera-Man (a cowboy with high-tech alien weapons) or the man with ten eyes (someone grafted his optic nerves and his fingertips together)? Other changes were longer-lasting. Robin graduated and went off to college and Clark Kent was moved from being a newspaper reporter to a news anchor.

The biggest change was in the artwork. Neil Adams and Dick Giordano gave the books a fresh, new look that still influences today's comic artists. The two defined a new house style for DC. Since Giordano was a prolific inker as well as penciller, his influence went further, giving other artists a touch of the new style.

Giordano did a little work for Marvel. The most memorable was an serialized adaption of Dracula that ran in the back of one of the black and white comics that Marvel produced in the mid-1970s. Regrettably, Marvel killed their black and white line before the adaptation was complete.

In the 1980s, Giordano became editor-in-chief of DC during one of its most creative and audacious periods.

No comments: