Keith Giffen (1952-2023)
Sad news for not only comic fans, but the pop culture sphere as well. Writer, artist and Co-creator of Marvel's Rocket Raccoon and DC's Lobo Keith Giffen has passed away due to complications from a stroke at the age of 70.
Giffen made his official debut in 1976's Marvel Preview issue 4 titled "The Sword and the Star" a black and white story that was featured in the magazine which was written by Bill Mantlo who both were responsible for the creation of Rocket Raccoon who has gained popularity from the Guardians of the Galaxy films. His contributions didn't end there, Giffen along with John Rogers was responsible for Jaime Reyes, y'know, the new Blue Beetle as seen from the INJUSTICE 2 game and as of recent, the character's very own movie?
However, one of his greatest works was from Justice League International alongside JM DeMatteis and artist Kevin Maguire (Captain America) which was more humorous and self-aware than your standard ensemble Superhero comicbook.
The humor itself was inspired by Giffen's work during The Defenders in the mid Seventies and that's when I was first introduced to his talent, ironically, I originally wrote him off as a Jack Kirby imposter however, I also admired his storytelling and aesthetics complemented with Dave Anthony Kraft's writing especially during the Scorpio saga which was the first time I found empathy for a Supervillain. The 50th issue had dark undertones like heartbreak and suicide, so the series wasn't all "Fun n Games."
The artist received a share of ire after facing accusations of swiping, a term used for artists intentionally copying the works from other comic sources primarily, art seen in covers or panels.
However, Giffen denied any tracing or copying of cartoonist Jose Antonio Munoz and admitted that he was heavily inspired by his artwork. But truth be told that he was heavily influenced by Jack Kirby, George Perez and Jim Starlin so if you're going to appropriate one's style, you can't go wrong with those three legends. The controversy damaged Giffen’s art career to which he found his niche in writing comics who wrote scripts for various books including Green Arrow Legion of the Superheroes, Justice League 3000, Marvel's Annihilation and many more. While not as prolific as Kirby, Adams, Perez, or Starlin, Keith Giffen made his everlasting impact in the comics field and beyond.
Rest in Eternity, Mr. Giffen, you'll be sorely missed.