Keith Giffen

Keith Giffen bigraphy, stories - Writer

Keith Giffen : biography

November 30, 1952 –

Keith Ian Giffen (born November 30, 1952) is an American comic book illustrator and writer.


In February 1986 The Comics Journal published "The Trouble With Keith Giffen," an examination of recent dramatic changes in Giffen’s drawing style. The article pointed out that Giffen had changed from a slick, clean Jim Starlin-esque style to an avant garde, heavily inked one. The article displayed several panels side-by-side to illustrate the magazine’s allegation that Giffen was copying, or "swiping" the work of Argentinian cartoonist Jose Muñoz.Burbey, Mark. "The Trouble With Keith Giffen," The Comics Journal #105 (February 1986), pp. 9–14."The Official Keith Giffen Swipe List," The Comics Journal #105 (Feb. 1986), p. 15.

In response, Giffen alluded to the controversy by drawing Ambush Bug with the Peanuts character Snoopy in Son of Ambush Bug #5 (November 1986). (Giffen’s frequent collaborator Robert Loren Fleming wrote the dialogue for the scene.) The controversy continued, however, when Giffen was accused of swiping Muñoz again in the anthology Taboo."More Giffen Swipes in Taboo," The Comics Journal #125 (October 1988), pp. 20-21.

Giffen has acknowledged Muñoz’s influence, and in 2000 referred to the controversy this way:

At that point in his career, Giffen was one of the most popular comic book artists in the industry. The ensuing controversy hurt Giffen’s reputation.Jozic, Mike. Meanwhile… The Web’s Snappiest E’Zine (1999). Giffen returned to drawing full-time two years later while continuing to plot the Justice League and its numerous spin-offs. This period also marked Ambush Bug’s demise as a popular major character at DC. According to Giffen, it had to do with editorial discomfort with the series’ humorous approach to the DC Universe: "DC was just too uncomfortable with the (admittedly nicely selling) bully pulpit they’d provided the loose cannons on the creative team".Yarbrough, Beau. , Comic Book Resources, June 8, 2003.


For many years, Giffen would co-write comics, but only as a plotter. He relied on others such as Robert Loren Fleming, and Tom and Mary Bierbaum, to supply dialogue, even when he was basically the author of the work. He co-wrote the Freak Force series with Erik Larsen, and co-wrote two SuperPatriot mini-series. Beginning with Trencher, Giffen started writing comics fully by himself, although he still collaborates when the project calls for it.

Giffen is known for having an unorthodox writing style, often using characters in ways not seen before. His dialogue is usually characterized by a biting wit that is seen as much less zany than dialogue provided by longtime collaborators DeMatteis and Robert Loren Fleming. He is known for his humorous takes on existing characters, often focusing on their personality clashes. He has a tendency to poke fun at trends in comic books or character archetypes. His Ambush Bug miniseries is especially noted for its in-jokes such as Villian (sic) the Villain, Cheeks the Toy Wonder, and the use of DC editor Julius Schwartz as a character.

He is known for sudden plot twists and abrupt often tragic turns of fate. During his late 1980s-early 1990s run on the Legion of Super-Heroes, light comical issues were often followed by darker ones where popular characters were maimed or killed.

Work since 2007 includes writing The Programme #3, Dreamwar a DC/Wildstorm crossover, Newsarama, January 17, 2008, Newsarama, February 6, 2008 and Reign in Hell, an eight-issue limited series, with artists Tom Derenick and Bill Sienkiewicz, about various DC Comics magical characters in Hell., Newsarama, June 20, 2008., Comic Book Resources, July 17, 2008.Cowsill "2000s" in Dolan, p. 334: "DC’s version of Hell erupted into all-out war when the rulers of Purgatory, Blaze and Satanus invaded Neron’s infernal domain. Written by Keith Giffen with art by Tom Derenick and Bill Sienkiewicz." On February 7, 2009, it was announced at the New York Comic Con that he would be spearheading a revival of Doom Patrol, a title which he has long said he wanted to write., Comic Book Resources, February 7, 2009, Newsarama, February 26, 2009 He finished Grant Morrison’s run on The Authority, Newsarama, March 24, 2009 and writing a Magog ongoing series., Newsarama, May 29, 2009 Giffen co-wrote the 26-issue biweekly Justice League: Generation Lost with Judd Winick, which saw the return of Justice League International, and wrote an arc of Booster Gold with DeMatteis and artist Chris Batista. In 2011 and 2012, he co-wrote and drew OMAC with Dan DiDio for 8 issues before its cancellation. DC announced in October 2011 that Giffen will be co-writing Superman vol. 3 with Dan Jurgens. Their first issue was #7 (cover dated May 2012).