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Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

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Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

Old 10-11-23, 09:06 PM
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Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

From Paul Levitz's Facebook:

The sad news is now official: Keith Giffen has gone off to create new worlds that are beyond our living reach.

Keith was probably the most fertile creative mind of our generation in comics. He had an infinite number of ideas, pouring constantly out. Many, thankfully, never saw print as wholly insane or inappropriate. But the ones that did!

We did over 60 stories together. Many of them he made far better than they might have been with any other collaborator, because of his ideas and contributions to character moments and drama. A few we had rough times on, but I think no more than could be expected in a long relationship.

Keith was a curmudgeon by choice, an act he perfected and enjoyed. Like many artists, he didn’t lead a healthy lifestyle, and that led to tough times that he always laughed off. He was a family man when out of public view, and his soft moments came out there.

I’ll tell a couple of stories in upcoming posts, but tonight I just want to say good night to a friend who made me look better than I was.

And hugs to his kids, grandkids and great grandkids. Oh, and Anna, now that you have him back, take care of him as you always did—he was never the same after you went.
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Old 10-11-23, 09:28 PM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(


LONG LIVE THE LEGION!
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Old 10-11-23, 10:22 PM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

Iím such a huge fan of Keithís, going back to the earliest days of my comic fandom. I had all the Ambush Bug specials and minis, I loved seeing his progression as an artist throughout LSH (and I marveled at seeing his early work before his signature style really took hold), and his work as a writer was equally impactful.

I was such a huge fan in my teenage years that I sought out the less heralded likes of Vext and Video Jack.

For many, many years, whenever I saw his name on a book, Iíd buy it, no questions asked. He will be greatly missed.
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Old 10-11-23, 10:32 PM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

I'm reading through the 5YL Legion omnibus (pt. 1) right now. One of my favorite runs of my favorite super heroes. I'm so unbelievably sad right now.
Old 10-11-23, 10:55 PM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

This is very sad. I didn't follow all of Keith's work, but loved Ambush Bug. I really enjoyed his bizarre take on established characters. He was unique and will be missed.
Old 10-11-23, 11:28 PM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

Old 10-12-23, 08:48 AM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

I collected his JLI books. Still cherish the variant cover for issue #3.
Old 10-12-23, 09:41 AM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

I read some of Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes comics as a kid but it was Giffen's early Legion work that endeared me to the title.

He'll be greatly missed.
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Old 10-12-23, 10:15 AM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

Sad to hear, I loved reading his run on Legion when I was a teen and loved Ambush Bug as well.
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Old 10-12-23, 10:16 AM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

I was never a huge fan of his artwork, but he was a great storyteller.

I didn't realize he was 70. I should have since he was a professional comic book artist in the 70's, but for some reason I was thinking he was in his mid 60's. A lot more time has passed since I was a kid than I'm happy with.

He really was creative, and will be missed by a lot of people.
Old 10-12-23, 01:35 PM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

Sad news. After the LOSH went through a low period, his run with Levitz made it great again, and I try to reread the Great Darkness Saga every few years. I liked Omega Men too but have read only some of the bwahaha stuff.
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Old 10-12-23, 01:48 PM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

Originally Posted by davidh777
Sad news. After the LOSH went through a low period, his run with Levitz made it great again, and I try to reread the Great Darkness Saga every few years. I liked Omega Men too but have read only some of the bwahaha stuff.
Have you read 5YL? It was retconned when Johns brought the Legion back and in a lot of respects it goes against the whole "optimistic future" thing but it's just a continuation of the themes since Great Darkness Saga. It definitely goes places and ties directly into (what was then present day) L.E.G.I.O.N. which was also pretty good

I know a lot of people disliked the change in his art around that time but I thought it was great, and his use of 9 panels was cool (I didn't think his art became undecipherable until around when he did Trencher). They actually got a bunch of great artists at that time: Giffen, Kitson (on L.E.G.I.O.N.), Immonen, Pearson, Chris Sprouse, then later Hughes and Doran on Legionnaires.
Old 10-12-23, 08:28 PM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

I remember when Giffen started Trencher via Image. I hated the style he used on that title. It was a like a poor man's Geoff Darrow. Now as an old guy, I think it rocks.
Old 10-12-23, 08:32 PM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

Originally Posted by fujishig
Have you read 5YL? It was retconned when Johns brought the Legion back and in a lot of respects it goes against the whole "optimistic future" thing but it's just a continuation of the themes since Great Darkness Saga. It definitely goes places and ties directly into (what was then present day) L.E.G.I.O.N. which was also pretty good

I know a lot of people disliked the change in his art around that time but I thought it was great, and his use of 9 panels was cool (I didn't think his art became undecipherable until around when he did Trencher). They actually got a bunch of great artists at that time: Giffen, Kitson (on L.E.G.I.O.N.), Immonen, Pearson, Chris Sprouse, then later Hughes and Doran on Legionnaires.
I loved and hated 5YL all at once. The mountain of retcons, although some of them necessary due to Superboy and Supergirl being removed from continuity, were a mess. That said, they told some really good (and often terrifying stories).

But I think they got a bit *too* retcon heavy -- the revelation that Lightning Lad had actually been Proty II for most of the Legion's history was particularly distasteful. And by the time the clones were introduced, then the destruction of Earth, then the "Legion on the Run" that featured Brainiac 5 in a fat-suit? I tapped out.

I admired that they tried something totally new and different,and I think they had a good 2, 2 and a half years of stories. But a dark, grim, and gritty LSH was not my particular cup of tea.

OH! One thing though: the revelation that Cosmic Boy eventually becomes the Time Trapper just before they wiped their continuity with Zero Hour was inspired! Of course they had nothing to lose, but still...
Old 10-13-23, 12:37 AM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

What a sad day, this hits me very hard. His Justice League International run is probably my favorite non-limited comic book series ever. I don't know how to do it but someone should post his last Twitter post here - it's completely in line with his sense of humor.

5 Years Later is the only series I ever loathed from Giffen. Basically threw out the Legion's history or retconned it into a twisted parody. I understand the Legion was a tough nut in that era because they had lost both Superboy and Supergirl as members, but 5 Years Later was an impenetrable mess.
Old 10-13-23, 12:46 AM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

Big fan of his Justice League work.

And -- this will probably be a controversial opinion -- I loved his translation of Battle Royale.
Old 10-13-23, 09:38 AM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

Originally Posted by Hokeyboy
I loved and hated 5YL all at once. The mountain of retcons, although some of them necessary due to Superboy and Supergirl being removed from continuity, were a mess. That said, they told some really good (and often terrifying stories).

But I think they got a bit *too* retcon heavy -- the revelation that Lightning Lad had actually been Proty II for most of the Legion's history was particularly distasteful. And by the time the clones were introduced, then the destruction of Earth, then the "Legion on the Run" that featured Brainiac 5 in a fat-suit? I tapped out.

I admired that they tried something totally new and different,and I think they had a good 2, 2 and a half years of stories. But a dark, grim, and gritty LSH was not my particular cup of tea.

OH! One thing though: the revelation that Cosmic Boy eventually becomes the Time Trapper just before they wiped their continuity with Zero Hour was inspired! Of course they had nothing to lose, but still...
Yeah the run certainly went places. The Shvaughn/Sean Erin thing I think was inspired. I realize that they were treading on sacred ground but like you said they had nothing to lose and I kind of appreciated that, even though at the time I was salty we didn't have a thriving Legion.

I agree the Legion on the Run stuff was where I kind of lost interest/it went off the rails (I don't even remember if Giffen was still there at the time), but they did have the second book Legionnaires at the time for like a time capsule, clone Legion. Plus I love Chris Sprouse. I also think they fumbled the ball on the connection with LEGION and I have no idea why they didn't just make you know who Phantom Girl.

I'll also add that besides the Great Darkness Saga, one of the most memorable comics to me as a kid was the war with the Legion of Super Villains and what happened to Karate Kid and Projectra.
Old 10-13-23, 11:40 AM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

Originally Posted by fujishig
Have you read 5YL? It was retconned when Johns brought the Legion back and in a lot of respects it goes against the whole "optimistic future" thing but it's just a continuation of the themes since Great Darkness Saga. It definitely goes places and ties directly into (what was then present day) L.E.G.I.O.N. which was also pretty good

I know a lot of people disliked the change in his art around that time but I thought it was great, and his use of 9 panels was cool (I didn't think his art became undecipherable until around when he did Trencher). They actually got a bunch of great artists at that time: Giffen, Kitson (on L.E.G.I.O.N.), Immonen, Pearson, Chris Sprouse, then later Hughes and Doran on Legionnaires.
I havenít read it. I took a 20-year break from comics in the mid-Ď80s, and when I got back I got dizzy trying to catch up on all the Legion reboots. Part of the reason I didnít get to 5YL was the lack of a convenient collection. I started grabbing the digital singles but then Comixology got borked, and itís not a good option anymore. I did impulsively pick up the second 5YL omnibus this year, but Iíd still need to read the earlier issues.
Old 10-13-23, 12:28 PM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

Originally Posted by davidh777
I havenít read it. I took a 20-year break from comics in the mid-Ď80s, and when I got back I got dizzy trying to catch up on all the Legion reboots. Part of the reason I didnít get to 5YL was the lack of a convenient collection. I started grabbing the digital singles but then Comixology got borked, and itís not a good option anymore. I did impulsively pick up the second 5YL omnibus this year, but Iíd still need to read the earlier issues.
Yeah, that 5YL 2nd omnibus deal was a killer deal, but you need to read the first. Or get the DC Universe Infinite sub, it's great for older runs like this where you don't need to read five million other titles to get what's going on (though you do need to probably read 3)
Old 10-13-23, 01:29 PM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

I really admired his work, both writing and art. Despite being a lifelong DC guy, was probably first exposed to his work in Micronauts, where he was one of a long list of stellar artists on that title. Loved his humor, Ambush Bug is a favorite of mine, and the Legion of Substitute Heroes Special is one of the greatest single issues in comic book history.
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Old 10-18-23, 02:12 AM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

Rest In Peace, Keith Giffen.

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Old 10-19-23, 06:54 PM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

It's really great to see the nice things said here and Reddit about Giffen. I know he's been working steadily, but with his heyday being over 30 years ago, someone like him can be forgotten.

I first read his work on JLI #18 (was a Marvel Zombie at the time, but how could anyone not buy that issue with that cover) and I was hooked. Then followed him on the JLE/JLQ journey. Added Legion of Super-Heroes (late Baxter run) and while I didn't follow along with the stories much, I loved the costumes and the artwork. 5YL Legion... could not get past the first two issues. L.E.G.I.O.N; loved it. Lobo-- loved his stuff on it; just pushing and pushing and pushing the boundaries. Went back to the 5YL title around #10 (the one when they stopped Roxxas) and was hooked. Ambush Bug, Heckler...

I eventually just started buying anything with his name on it. His is only one of two names I search for every month when I decide what I am buying on the online ordering site.

For a time I didn't buy comics at all, so I have missed stuff. And the dude was prolific. I have made a huge dent in my Giffen want-list the past five years, but there are still dozens of things I haven't gotten yet and likely dozens of things I didn't even know he worked on-- and he was working in the '70s!. I don't know if I'll ever complete my collection of his work. There is an insane amount of it out there.

I didn't love it all. I didn't understand it all, either. But he took big swings. I never knew what to expect when I opened any book he worked on. But I do know it would be something unique. He almost didn't seem to care if we got it; he just did it because he got it.

Which takes me to my favorite run of all-time: the glorious mess that is Legion of Super-Heroes "Five Years Later". It took me a while to figure it out. It took me a while to appreciate the artwork. I didn't know the Legion, so it was easy for me to accept the really wild divergences from the past (and I don't blame any old school fan who hates the run) and it was so exciting to try to figure it out month after month. It was full of wild ideas and reading a lot of background later, Giffen fully expected and wanted everyone listed in the title page to contribute, so there were more ideas floated around than even the wildly inventive Giffen would normally have in a title. Ideas began and couldn't be finished due to time, personnel, or changing editorial people. The Superman offices decided to put even more constraints on the timeline, so Giffen and crew just wiped it out (brilliantly) and got some great stories from that (Mon El and the Time Trapper? WOW! What an ending!) -- before the 6 month mark on a new title!

I could go on and on. He was my favorite. My absolute favorite. I loved his interviews and I loved his rebellious nature. I loved hearing stories about him at cons (recently the one where he had a sign noting his modest fee for a sketch-- except for Rocket Raccoon, for which he had at couple grand).

This death hits me hard.

I'm happy to see the tributes for him and happy to see so many warm memories. If you don't know his work, get the recent JLI trades ("Born Again" and "Around the World"). It's a shame the line didn't continue to finish the run, but those two books are the highlights of what is probably his masterpiece. He was best when collaborating with others, and the team on those issues was in-sync. If you're feeling squirrely, get the two Lobo by Keith Giffen trades. That is him just going wild, seeing how far he could push things.
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Old 10-20-23, 05:00 PM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

A third JLI omnibus is coming out next year.
Old 10-20-23, 06:16 PM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

Originally Posted by teameck
It's really great to see the nice things said here and Reddit about Giffen. I know he's been working steadily, but with his heyday being over 30 years ago, someone like him can be forgotten.

I first read his work on JLI #18 (was a Marvel Zombie at the time, but how could anyone not buy that issue with that cover) and I was hooked. Then followed him on the JLE/JLQ journey. Added Legion of Super-Heroes (late Baxter run) and while I didn't follow along with the stories much, I loved the costumes and the artwork. 5YL Legion... could not get past the first two issues. L.E.G.I.O.N; loved it. Lobo-- loved his stuff on it; just pushing and pushing and pushing the boundaries. Went back to the 5YL title around #10 (the one when they stopped Roxxas) and was hooked. Ambush Bug, Heckler...

I eventually just started buying anything with his name on it. His is only one of two names I search for every month when I decide what I am buying on the online ordering site.

For a time I didn't buy comics at all, so I have missed stuff. And the dude was prolific. I have made a huge dent in my Giffen want-list the past five years, but there are still dozens of things I haven't gotten yet and likely dozens of things I didn't even know he worked on-- and he was working in the '70s!. I don't know if I'll ever complete my collection of his work. There is an insane amount of it out there.

I didn't love it all. I didn't understand it all, either. But he took big swings. I never knew what to expect when I opened any book he worked on. But I do know it would be something unique. He almost didn't seem to care if we got it; he just did it because he got it.

Which takes me to my favorite run of all-time: the glorious mess that is Legion of Super-Heroes "Five Years Later". It took me a while to figure it out. It took me a while to appreciate the artwork. I didn't know the Legion, so it was easy for me to accept the really wild divergences from the past (and I don't blame any old school fan who hates the run) and it was so exciting to try to figure it out month after month. It was full of wild ideas and reading a lot of background later, Giffen fully expected and wanted everyone listed in the title page to contribute, so there were more ideas floated around than even the wildly inventive Giffen would normally have in a title. Ideas began and couldn't be finished due to time, personnel, or changing editorial people. The Superman offices decided to put even more constraints on the timeline, so Giffen and crew just wiped it out (brilliantly) and got some great stories from that (Mon El and the Time Trapper? WOW! What an ending!) -- before the 6 month mark on a new title!

I could go on and on. He was my favorite. My absolute favorite. I loved his interviews and I loved his rebellious nature. I loved hearing stories about him at cons (recently the one where he had a sign noting his modest fee for a sketch-- except for Rocket Raccoon, for which he had at couple grand).

This death hits me hard.

I'm happy to see the tributes for him and happy to see so many warm memories. If you don't know his work, get the recent JLI trades ("Born Again" and "Around the World"). It's a shame the line didn't continue to finish the run, but those two books are the highlights of what is probably his masterpiece. He was best when collaborating with others, and the team on those issues was in-sync. If you're feeling squirrely, get the two Lobo by Keith Giffen trades. That is him just going wild, seeing how far he could push things.
I'm so glad you went back to 5YL after initially passing on it. I was a huge Legion fan as a kid, and like you got the first two issues and at the time it just wasn't for me. Around the time the annual came out with Mon-el (one of my favorite Legionnaires) I went back and got all the backissues I could find and just fell in love. It really diverged from what the Legion was but at the same time was just a love letter to Legion continuity.

Even for those who don't follow the Legion, I think the bwah ha ha Legion cemented his mark on superhero books so that he wouldn't be forgotten (even if Didio's reign seemed to want to destroy every single member of that team for whatever reason).
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Old 10-26-23, 12:28 PM
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Re: Keith Giffen (JLI, LSH, Ambush Bug) has passed away :(

I liked the trades. Maybe after the third omni comes out, they'll release them on TP (which may be what you're saying).
It is an absolute crime those stories are not continually in-print.
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