A birthday salute — with the Bronze Age Batman in sharp relief…
We’re having an informal DICK GIORDANO DAY here at 13th Dimension! Comics’ greatest inker (IMHO) was born 89 years ago and so today we present three separate tributes to the late artist and editor. For one thing, we’ve got Paul Kupperberg’s newest DIRECT COMMENTS feature, spotlighting Giordano’s Charlton years. (Click here.) We also have a look at one of Giordano’s warmest Batman illustrations (below) — as well as his very first Meanwhile column for DC, in which he makes nothing less than a truly historic announcement. Click here to check that out. It’ll knock your socks off. — Dan
Chances are if you were a Batman fan in the ’60s or ’70s, you had a version of this Carmine Infantino poster on your wall (and may still):
Personally, I had this one and the smaller, red pin-up version.
I also was a huge fan of Drew Struzan’s character posters — most notably the one that portrayed the Darknight Detective:
But I would argue that there’s a poster that stacks up with these classics — only it wasn’t a poster at all: it was Dick Giordano’s back-cover pinup of the Batman Family from 1979’s Detective Comics #483.
I don’t know if I can properly convey just how much I love this image — and have loved it from the first time I saw it more than 40 years ago.
The first thing that grabs you is Batman, front and dominant. And he’s smiling. He’s joined by a svelte Batgirl (also smiling) and a confident, fit Robin (also smiling). They’re joined by their greatest civilian allies and even three of the biggest baddies, thanks to the Batcave’s (probably unconstitutional) holding cell.
Oh, and there’s also the Batmobile, which combines the prevailing design of the time with the 1966 TV edition. Plus, all that groovy, nonspecific tech! It’s even well lit, which I actually enjoy: the warmth of the image is matched by the warmth of the rich, brown stone.
I mean, this is practically like looking at the comic-book version of the Mego Batcave:
Anyway, I point this out today because Giordano was born 89 years ago on July 20, 1932. He died in 2010 but left an enduring legacy as writer, editor and executive. He certainly understood his characters: The pinup is but one tiny example of what made the Bronze Age Batman the best — serious about his business, driven far beyond the norm, but centered enough to enjoy a moment with his closest aides de camp.
You could give that same assignment to another artist of the era and you might get something similar or maybe something completely different. Either way, Giordano made it indelibly his own, with its clean lines, handsome cast and cheerful atmosphere.
It is as lovely today as it was in 1979. I only wish it’d been made available as a poster because it’s an image that deserves a proud spot on any collector’s wall.
— PAUL KUPPERBERG: My 13 Favorite DICK GIORDANO CHARLTON Covers – In Black and White. Click here.
— DICK GIORDANO’s First DC MEANWHILE Column Will Blow Your Mind. Click here.