Sunday, March 28, 2010

Loss of a Legend: Dick Giordano

I was so saddened to read on CBR that comics legend Dick Giordano passed away yesterday. I knew he had been ill, but I had no idea how bad it was. I'll leave the eulogies and tributes to the professionals, Dick's peers and close personal friends who knew him best. But when you see the massive list of lives he touched, it's a true testament how great of a man he was. I'll just relate one small personal story about how he touched my life.

I was 18 years old and trying to break into comics as a penciller, sent my samples off to Marvel and DC and all the rest. Sometimes I would get a rejection letter, sometimes not even that. Rejection letters are form letters, since the sheer volume of submissions makes individual replies impossible. So imagine my surprise when I got a rejection letter with a hand written note from Dick Giordano himself! He actually took the time to give me some tips and pointers and most of all encourage me. I was floored! I grew up on the man's work, admired him immensely and here he was taking time to write me? He actually inspired me to concentrate on my inking, which I hadn't considered before Dick encouraged me. I broke into comics shortly after that. And I'm not the only one. Apparently Dick did this all the time. Jim Lee even recounted a very similar experience on CBR.

Years later, I got to work with Dick on a project that he pencilled and I inked. The project was never finished, but I got to talk to Dick on the phone and tell him how much his letter meant to me and what a fan of his I was. Some people advise not to meet your heroes because they will only let you down. Dick never let me down. In fact, he picked me up (out of the sea of submissions) dusted me off, and sent me on my way. I'll never forget that.

Thanks again, Dick.

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