Creative comic book genius Keith Giffen has passed away.
Keith Ian Giffen
November 30, 1952 – October 9, 2023
Keith’s family announced the death on Facebook as Keith had requested them to:
Once friends and fans realized Keith had actually passed there was outpouring of love for the man.
Mainstream media is reporting the creator/writer/artist’s death but we’ll stick with the comic book sites.
Keith Giffen, co-creator of Lobo, Rocket Raccoon, Maxwell Lord, Jaime Reyes: Blue Beetle and the Justice League One Punch, has died at the age of 70. He suffered a stroke on Sunday, the 8th of October and died on Monday the 9th.
Heidi MacDonald at The Beat:
Giffen was a true original, a curmudgeon with a heart of gold, an artist who took chances and went his own way…and showed others the way.
Among his notable runs, a long stint on Legion of Superheroes, Doctor Fate, Amethyst, Aquaman, and Lobo (co-created with Roger Slifer for Omega Men). His most influential run was on Justice LEague International, along with JM DeMatties and Kevin Maguire, a book that took a skewed look at superheroes without going the grim and gritty route, with a comedic, sardonic tone that centered characters like Booster Gold and Guy Gardner. Ambush Bug was all Giffen’s own, a deeply weird and unsettlingly hilarious look at superhero that led the way for today’s Deadpool/Harley Quinn vibe.
Giffen continued working on a number of other series over the last decade plus, including co-writing O.M.A.C. as part of New 52, and then a number of series with J.M. DeMatteis at DC, like Larfleeze, Justice League 3000 and Scooby Apocalypse. Most recently, Giffen rebooted the Inferior Five at DC with Jeff Lemire.
How good was Keith? He broke into comic books as I was leaving them behind, at least the superheroes. A decade later he dragged me back to his twisted version of superheroes. Ambush Bug was hilarious, I even grabbed a few of his and DeMatteis’ Justice League. Later he kept me in the game with Lobo.
My old friend and collaborator Keith Giffen has passed away. Keith has had his share of health issues in recent years, but he was such a feisty, tenacious guy I was sure he’d outlive us all. “Some day,” I once told him, “the Earth will be an apocalyptic hellhole, all of humanity will be gone, but you’ll still be here, sitting in the rubble, smoking a cigarette.”
Keith, as anyone who worked with him can attest, was one of the most brilliantly creative humans ever to work in comics, the Jack Kirby of my generation of creators. He was a curmudgeon with a heart of gold. An extraordinarily generous collaborator. And, as my wife observed, “He was like a character out of a Keith Giffen story.”
© DC Comics; covers via Grand Comics Database
Then there is the work nobody is mentioning – for a short while he drew a Sunday comic strip.
Mickey Spillane’s Mike Danger by writer Max Collins and inker Mike Barreiro ran from September 18, 1994 to February 26, 1995. Keith Giffen did the layouts and pencils for the first 5 Sundays, until October 16, 1994.
above: the September 18 Mike Danger; below: the October 16 Mike Danger
Keith Giffen returned to do one more Sunday (February 5, 1995) to spell Joe Staton.