Celebrated Silver Age artist Joe Giella, who is well known for his work on Western and science fiction comics, died on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. His family announced his passing on social media. Giella was 94 years old.
“Joe was such a special person. His presence alone would put you at ease. Even on the most difficult days, just being with him would make everything OK again. He was so honest and sincere, so kind and gentle and so loving and proud. He was so proud of his service for his country in the US Navy. He was so proud of his long prolific career in comic books and comic strips. And he was most proud of his family. To him, family was everything,” Facebook post reads.
Giella was born on June 27, 1928, he grew up in Queens, and attended the School of Industrial Art in Manhattan. He started working in art when he was 17 years old with his first work in the humor feature “Captain Codfish.”
During the Golden Age of comics in the 1940s, Giella worked at both Fawcett and Timely Comics. He freelanced at Fawcett, inking Captain Marvel stories at C.C. Beck and Pete Costanza’s studio. Seeking more work, Giella reached out to Timely where he started out by inking a strip over Mike Sekowsky’s pencils. From there he did touch-up work and backgrounds then moved on to assisting Syd Shores on Captain America Comics by doing finishing backgrounds. He did the same on Human Torch, Sub-Mariner, and humor stories.
Back at DC, he inked titles such as The Flash, Green Lantern, Strange Adventures, and Batman. In the early ‘50s when superhero titles slowed down, he turned to inking Westerns penciled by Alex Toth and Gene Colan, including the Hopalong Cassidy series. He also worked on science fiction adventures like the Adam Strange feature in Strange Adventures.
On the superhero side, Giella inked Batman stories that were penciled by Sheldon Moldoff and Carmine Infantino and inked Gil Kane’s pencils in Green Lantern. Throughout the Bronze Age he also worked with Dick Dillin and remained a constant artist for DC Comics all the way to the early 1980s.
Starting in 1991, Giella drew Mary Worth for King Features, in addition to previous work on Flash Gordon and The Phantom comic strips. He remained on The Phantom for 17 years and on Mary Worth until 2016. Outside of comics, he was also a commercial artist for publishers Doubleday and Simon & Schuster and ad agencies like McCann Erickson and Saatchi & Saatchi.
Throughout his career, Giella was honored with an Inkpot Award and the Inkwell Awards Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame.