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March 29, 2010

Dick Giordano (1932-2010)

Many are mourning the passing of a man who served the comics industry in many capacities, Richard Joseph "Dick" Giordano. I liked his art immensely. His illustrative style was not flashy, but it was certainly not without innovation. His love for the comics form showed in every panel he drew, and in his attempts to elevate the medium as an Editor and later as Vice President/Executive Editor at DC Comics . In a 1984 "Meanwhile..." column, Dick reminisced about his humble beginnings:

Dick: When I first started drawing (can't recall exactly how old I was, but younger than ten), I would cut open a brown paper bag to make a larger drawing surface. I would then fill up the entire area with drawings of airplanes and parachutists jumping from them. Since my drawing skills were not developed, I could only draw the planes and chutes in profile. No dimension, no variety except for the chutes nearest the planes being in various stages of opening. The finished drawing (sometimes I worked on one for about a week) tended to look more like an overall tapestry design than an illustration. No matter. Those early drawings started a lifelong love affair with aircraft and in particular with drawing them. During WWII, a copy of The Aircraft Spotters Handbook, a manual published to aid in the identification of military aircraft, was my proudest possession.

The handbook proved helpful to him later, when he was drawing World War II comics, which he enjoyed doing very much. One of his earliest assignments, however, required a different skill set:

Dick: Early in my career, when I first started to draw professionally for Charlton, Editor Al Fago asked me if I would be interested in handling the art chores for Hot Rods & Racing Cars, a title Charlton had acquired from another publisher. "Sure, Al, I'd love to." Assignments were hard to come by in those days and although I could tell the front of most cars from the rear, my knowledge was not much more than that. I did a lot of research, really enjoyed drawing the book and into the bargain learned enough about cars to be able to do minor repairs, tune-ups, oil changes, and a few other things myself.

As a tribute to Dick Giordano, the artist, here is "Custom for a Killer", a story from Hot Rods & Racing Cars #11 (August 1953). Nice cars, Sir!

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