Dick Giordano Explains Why Romance is so Difficult (in Comics!)

Intro: Most fans knew Dick Giordano from his superhero work. But, back in the 1950s-’60s, Dick drew lots of romance comics. When I started up Last Kiss, Dick generously supplied me with valuable info about old Charlton romance comics–plus lots of moral support.

In 2001, he even drew a new story for the second issue of my Last Kiss comic book which also featured some of Dick’s old romance stories with new, twisted dialog. This interview originally appeared in that issue.

I’m posting it now because Dick passed away today and well…the world is a smaller and less friendly place without him. So here’s a few minutes with a good man that I can share with everyone.  –John Lustig, March 27, 2010.

2001 interview transcribed by Christopher Irving. All art is by Dick Giordano. ©2010 Last Kiss Inc.

JOHN LUSTIG: I guess the obvious question is why—other than being a nice guy and helping me out—are you doing a Last Kiss story? I know it’s not for the money because I couldn’t pay you anywhere near your normal rate.

DICK GIORDANO: I’ve been accused of being a nice guy before and it just ain’t so! I’m as much of a lowlife as anybody else in this business. (Laughter) Certainly I didn’t do it just for the money. It really was the opportunity to do something other than superheroes. If you follow my career from the mid-‘60’s on, you’ll see that every opportunity that I had to do something other than superheroes, I took it. I hadn’t done a romance story in so long… I thought “I’ll have a little fun with this, and fit it in between deadline material.” Which is exactly what I’ve done, and I did have a little fun with it.

LUSTIG: We were playing this story for laughs, but what do you think makes a good romance story? Are there certain elements you’d look for as an artist and as an editor?

GIORDANO: From an artist’s standpoint, the difference is that you’re showing emotion rather than action. And you have an opportunity to design panels because the storytelling isn’t as critical as to what the people are doing. You can tell most romance stories with just head shots… As an editor and artist I’m looking for interesting settings and up-to-date clothing. I did that in “Muffet.” Even though you may not like it, the wedding gown and clothes that she wears are all researched.

LUSTIG: No, I liked it! (Laughter.)

Goodbye to legendary artist, editor Dick Giordano

Art from Dick Giordano’s “Widow Miss Muffet” from Last Kiss #2.

I was sad to learn that Dick Giordano passed away this morning (March 27, 2010.) In addition to being regarded as one of the best inkers and editors to ever work in comic books, Dick was also almost universally admired as being a nice guy and highly principled professional.

Dick was also my friend and mentor. (If you knew Dick you inevitably learned something valuable about life–at least I did.) In addition, Dick provided invaluable advice and assistance to me in the early years of Last Kiss. All four issues of Last Kiss featured covers by Dick. He even drew a new story for the second issue of my comic book series Last Kiss which I dubbed “The Dick Giordano Issue.”

Later tonight, I’ll post a 2001 interview that I did with Dick. In the meantime, I suggest if you want to read more about this remarkable man that you check out Mark Evanier’s tribute of Dick Giordano.