Joe Giella, Legendary Long Island Comic Book Artist, Dies at 94

Joe Giella
Joe Giella (Photo by Luigi Novi)

Joe Giella, an East Meadow resident who prolifically inked scores of comic books during the 1950s and 1960s, making his name synonymous with the Silver Age of Comic Books, died on March 21. He was 94.

Superhero comics he inked included Batman, Captain America, the Flash, Green Lantern, The Phantom and many others over the course of his career that spanned more than a half century until he retired in 2016. He got his big break as an artist from another comic book legend from Long Island, the late Stan Lee, a longtime Five Towns resident who hired him at the company that later became Marvel Comics.

“The first job he gave me I lost on the train … I went in the next morning and thought that’s the end of my job,” he told Newsday in 2012, recalling how the artist redrew the page for Giella to ink again. “Stan liked what I did and I got the staff position. I never left anything on the train again.”

Born on June 27, 1928, Giella was raised in Queens and attended the School of Industrial Art in Manhattan before moving to Long Island. His first job in the comics industry was with a feature called Captain Codfish. He also did commercial artwork throughout his career.

Giella was honored for his work, receiving the Inkpot Award in 1996, the Hero Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award when he retired in 2016, and was bestowed the Inkwell Awards Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award in 2018.

He is survived by his wife Shirley, daughter Maryann McCulloh, and sons Frank, Joe Giella, and Daniel, and sister Clara Lodati. His funeral was at St. Brigid Catholic Church in Westbury before he was interred at Pinelawn Memorial Park.