In Memorium Dick Giordano by Karen Berger
I heard the news today, oh boy… and the end of an era in comics is definitely over as Dick Giordano passes from this earth after a long battle with cancer. Dick was the head of DC Editorial through the glory days of the 1980s and very early 90s. Under his leadership, DC Comics surged to incredible creative heights with practically everything that was published. From Ronin, Camelot 3000, Amethyst, Teen Titans, Swamp Thing, The Dark Knight Returns, Superman, Wonder Woman, Watchmen, The Sandman, Hellblazer and the very beginnings of the Vertigo imprint, to name just a few. Always recognizing the creator’s integral contributions, it was under his watch that DC started crediting writers and artists on the covers, which every other publisher then followed suit. And to what would become Vertigo’s mainstay, DC’s first graphic novel collections were published during his tenure. All these sea changes in mainstream comics that evolved the medium into a higher lifeform all happened because of the influence of this amazing, talented and compassionate man. They don’t make’em like Dick Giordano anymore; actually they never made’em like Dick – he was a one of a kind special human being.
A gifted artist himself who is best known for inking Neal Adams on countless comics, I just heard that Dick holds the record of having inked more pages than any other artist in DC’s history. And this was from a man who had a full-time job, for most of his working years.
For those of us who had the honor of working with Dick, you knew there was a unique quality about his leadership that made you feel like you could achieve anything. He provided the sanest and safest of environments that allowed us to set our minds free and explore daring creative paths and new ways of thinking. It was always up to us whether we succeeded or made mistakes, as it should be, but he was always there to guide us, and to pick us up when we fell down. If he called you into his office for doing something stupid, you’d walk in shaking but walk out feeling like you were a million bucks.
Dick was also an incredible teacher, with a preternatural ability to connect with people. His wise, down-to-earth and cheerful manner made you want to be like him or the next best thing, do like Dick would want us to do. He always tried to get me to chill out (which I’m still working on!), providing me with sound counsel and advice at our weekly meetings, where I would bounce off his walls (as he used to describe it) when I was upset about something or someone.
As you can gather, Dick was a surrogate father to a lot of us back then, and especially to me. He taught me so much about how to be a good editor, about working with creative people, but mostly he taught me about myself.
He often said that he loved me as one of his own, and it makes me smile to remember that, even as I deeply mourn the loss of this wonderful and blessed man who touched the lives of so many. Rest in peace, dear Dick.