Giffen, Keith 1952-

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Giffen, Keith 1952-

(Keith Ian Giffen)


Born November 30, 1952, in New York, NY; married.




Comic book artist and writer.


(Illustrator) Robert Loren Fleming, Hell on Earth (graphic novel), DC Comics (New York, NY), 1985.

(Adapter, with Dave Elliot) The Bible: Eden, illustrated by Scott Hampton, IDW Publishing (San Diego, CA), 2003.

Green Lantern, Emerald Dawn II (collected comics), DC Comics (New York, NY), 2003.

Reign of the Zodiac (collected comics), DC Comics (New York, NY), 2003-04.

Lovecraft (graphic novel; adapted from a screenplay by Hans Rodionoff), illustrated by Enrique Breccia, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2003.

(Adapter) Battle Vixens (graphic novel), translated by Louie Kawamoto, Tokyopop (Los Angeles, CA), 2004.

(With J.M. DeMatteis) Formerly Known As the Justice League (collected comics), DC Comics (New York, NY), 2004.

I Luv Halloween (graphic novel), illustrated by Benjamin Roman, Tokyopop (Los Angeles, CA), 2005.

(With J.M. DeMatteis) I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League (collected comics), DC Comics (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor to numerous other comic book series, including Justice League International, Legion of Superheroes, Lobo, Heroes Squared, All-Star Comics, Drax the Destroyer, Heckler, Nick Fury's Howling Commandos, Suicide Squad, Trencher, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, Vext, Battle Royale, Ikki Tousen, The Defenders, Planetary Brigade, 52, and Ambush Bug.


Graphic novel writer and illustrator Keith Giffen was first exposed to comics through a neighbor who passed along used and damaged comic books. By the age of eight, he was drawing characters, eventually creating his own books to trade among his friends. In an interview with Jon B. Cooke on the Two Morrows Publishing Web site, Giffen shared how he got his start in the industry in 1976: "I broke into comics by doing everything wrong. I was working as a hazardous material handler and I took a week off and said, ‘Hey I think I'll break into comics.’ So I just drew up a bunch of pictures and slapped them together." A writer at top comic publisher Marvel saw his work and immediately recruited him; he later earned steady work at DC Comics. After displaying arrogant and immature behavior, he was shown the door: "I was so stupid I blew myself out of the business. They had me working with [renowned artist] Wally Wood and I didn't see the benefit of that. Talk about idiot." Gibson took a step back for two years, working various odd jobs, until his wife convinced him his artistic talents were going to waste. He humbly went back to his old colleagues with an apology, and a DC executive offered him work.

Giffen's creativity, humor, and unconventional tongue-in-cheek writing style earned him a loyal fan base over the years, and by the 1980s he was involved in such high-profile projects as The Legion of Superheroes, Justice League, Ambush Bug, Trencher, and Lobo. Other popular series that Giffen contributed to include Aquaman, Ambush Bug, Trencher, Dr. Fate, and The Defenders. In addition to illustrating comics, he has cowritten their stories as both a full writer and a plotter, creating the initial story line. Giffen lent his expertise to a number of adaptations of Japanese comics (manga) into English, including Battle Royale for publisher Tokyopop, and also to several screenplays, including an adaptation of the Trencher character and a horror script.

In 2004 Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis, a colleague of Giffen's on various DC projects, branched out and began independently publishing comics, including the series Hero Squared. The move allowed Giffen the freedom to create characters and plots without editorial constraints. DeMatteis described the creative process he shares with Giffen to Comic Book Resources executive producer Jonah Weiland: "Keith douses himself in gasoline, sets himself on fire and runs to jump off the cliff. I chase him with a blanket, tackle him and beat the fire out but, in doing so, I come much closer to the edge of the cliff than I ever wanted to!"



Comic Book Resources, (July 14, 2004), Beau Yarbrough, "Square Pegs: Giffen, DeMatteis ‘Formerly the JLA’ Team Start Over, Not with DC"; (September 28, 2005), Jonah Weiland, "Still Crazy after All These Years: Keith Giffen Talks ‘52’ and His ‘Return’ to Comics."

Keith Giffen Resource Page, (September 24, 2006).

Two Morrows Publishing, (August, 2000), Jon B. Cooke, "Keith Giffen Interview."