I haven’t done an informal “feature artist” post since the spotlight on Paris Cullins. After hitting the cardboard archives this afternoon, I am ashamed to admit I have overlooked one of the zaniest writer/illustrators to have ever escaped Stan Lee’s Rectum, and you better believe this guy didn’t use a chisel to chip chip chip away moist Alcatraz walls to the tune of Eastwood’s Accordion. Tonight, the cap comes off in salute to … Keith Giffen.
Yes, he’s an unassuming, almost lethargic-looking mensch who would seem more at ease hosting educational programs about geodes on PBS during the 1980s. However, this artist has contributed prodigiously to the industry, specifically to DC Comics thirty years ago. He was an integral component of the team that generated “The Darkness Saga”, the best storyline in the history of the Legion of Super-Heroes as they clashed with the Mad Barber of Apokolips, Darkseid. He resurrected the post-Crisis Justice League of America in ’87 after the group’s embarrassing Detroit breakdown, injecting humor into the franchise without the laughs seeming desperate and forced. Justice League International spawned Justice League Europe in ’89. The writing and the art were such an 180 degree turn to the Lighter Side of Superheroism that the inglorious evacuation of the Justice League’s previous incarnation was entirely forgivable. Later, he gave us the gutsy/guts-splattered intergalactic badass-for-hire Lobo and the irreverent and iconoclastic Ambush Bug, as well as a short but memorable run with Dr. Fate. I salute you, Mr. Giffen, and with the day’s 11th cup of coffee in hand, I declare: FRAG ‘EM ALL. (Helps that I just finished watching the documentary Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie right after watching Random Acts of Violence) —