Saturday, March 27, 2010

RIP Dick Giordano

The news that Dick Giordano has died saddens me a great deal.

This is the start of a rough decade, I fear. I was born in the '50s and grew up in the '60s. The '60s and its icons shaped me nearly as much as my parents and teachers did. We got our TV in 1958 when I was five, two years before I started reading comics. So many of the actors and creators of my entertainment are now in their 70s and 80s and I fear we'll be losing a lot of them in the next ten years. The other day it was Robert Culp, who starred on the groundbreaking show "I Spy" with Bill Cosby in the mid-'60s, the first integrated TV show that co-starred a black actor. Culp was one of my all-time favorites. He was 79, just a few years younger than my father. The first link cited a fall as the cause; this report says he had a heart attack.

And now, Dick Giordano.

Dick Giordano was one of a few comic book artists whose work I could recognize immediately back when I was an adolescent, even when he was inking only. There were others, of course, but mostly, they were tied to a particular character in my mind. It took me years of careful comics reading to learn to distinguish who was drawing what and even then, I had to double check the story credits for most of them. But not with Dick Giordano, along with Carmine Infantino, Vince Colletta, and Joe Kubert.

There was just something about Dick Giordano's work and it wasn't long before I found the "tell." It was how he drew women. Not that they were always pretty though not sexualized, although that was true. And not the expressive eyes, though that was true, too. It was their lips. Somewhere, more than once, there would be a little circle or oval, usually on the bottom lip, to suggest moisture, perhaps. It was just one of those things that would jump out at me. With the other artists whose work I came to recognize easily, it was the overall body shapes or the way they drew their lines. But with Dick, it was those luscious lips that caught my eye first.

His inking made every artist he inked better. His solo art was functional for telling a story, clean, crisp, and attractive. The books he edited were clear and the stories cohesive. The characters were consistently written. His work epitomized DC for me. His name was attached to so much of what was good about DC.

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