Apr. 10th, 2011

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One of the sad things about being even marginally involved in a living artform is watching your heroes pass away. A lover of classical music is unlikely to experience the sense of loss of losing a Beethoven or a Schubert in this day and age, but comics legends are always leaving us.

A refinement of that is when they pass away without your ever having been able to thank them properly for what they did for you. I live in fear that if Alan Moore were to die now, he might only remember me for my review of SPAWN #8 - which, I admit, I hated. Mind you, I have written a lot more positive ones since, including a number of 10-rated ones and a few articles, but in my experience people remember the nasty ones. On the other hand Mr.Moore must be heartily sick of admiration from all and sundry, so what do I do?

Well, I only now learned that Dick Giordano passed away last year, after a brilliant, constructive and influential career. A fine artist and excellent inker, famous for his precision and speed, Mr.Giordano was above all one of the best editors, and indubitably the best CEO, in the history of American comics. He was in charge of DC comics for a decade or so in the nineties, during which time he discovered Alan Moore, launched Neil Gaiman and got even those who did not reach that level of talent to perform at their absolute best. It goes without saying that news of his death saddened me deeply.

However, for once at least I can feel that I did not pass up an opportunity to thank a hero of mine until it was too late. I met Mr.Giordano at an UKCAC convention in London in the nineties, expressed my admiration for his work as an artist and as a manager (one couldn't miss what an enormous difference his leadership had made to DC) and offered to buy him a drink. Mr.Giordano, being a gentleman, saw that the bar was insanely crowded and demurred. But damn it, I had offered him a drink and I was going to buy him a drink. I remember a savage press, a push comparable to being in the scrum in a rugby game, and a holy terror that I might end up spilling everything on the floor, but Mr.Giordano and his couple of friends got their drink. It's not much of a way to thank someone for doing great things in the artform you love, but it's something, and I hope he remembered the crazy Italian fan with the beer glasses every now and then.


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