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Keith Giffen, Comics Legend & Rocket Raccoon Creator, Dies at 70

Keith Giffen, Comics Legend & Rocket Raccoon Creator, Dies at 70

Keith Giffen, a legendary comic book artist and writer who created major characters for both Marvel and DC, has died. He was 70, Variety reports. Giffen’s family shared the news of his passing on Facebook, using a post that was both poignant and wittily crafted, written in advance by the writer-artist himself. “I told them I was sick…Anything not to go to New York Comic Con, Thankx,” he wrote before adding “Bwah ha ha ha ha.”

Paul Levitz, a longtime collaborator, confirmed his passing on social media. “The sad news is now official: Keith Giffen has gone off to create new worlds that are beyond our living reach,” he wrote. “Keith was probably the most fertile creative mind of our generation in comics. He had an infinite number of ideas, pouring constantly out.”

Levitz added, “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 dramas. A few we had rough times on, but I think no more than could be expected in a long relationship.” 

Keith Giffen Created Three Iconic Comic Book Characters

Keith Giffen is known for his work on the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 80s and 90s. He played a key role in introducing the legendary character Lobo in Omega Men, alongside writer Roger Slifer. Lobo was an extremely brutal anti-hero who became a fan favorite. Rumors have circulated for years that Lobo would get a big-screen outing, perhaps even in the next Superman film. Later, he would collaborate with writer J.M. DeMatteis and artist Kevin Maguire to introduce the highly acclaimed Justice League International.

Undoubtedly, Keith Giffen gained recognition for his remarkable contributions to Marvel Comics. Among his many accomplishments, one stands out prominently – the introduction of Rocket Raccoon within the pages of Marvel Preview, where he collaborated with Bill Mantlo.Of course, Rocket Raccoon would go on to join the Guardians of the Galaxy. The character was voiced by Bradley Cooper in the live-action films, becoming a breakout character.

In 2006, DC Comics sought his expertise in revitalizing Blue Beetle. The character who played a significant role in Justice League International. With the introduction of Jaime Reyes, alongside TV writer John Rogers and artist Cully Hamner, Keith Giffen successfully propelled the character into the spotlight. This version of Blue Beetle got his own live-action movie this past summer, starring Cobra Kai‘s Xolo Maridueña.

Giffen’s Formerly Known as the Justice League received the prestigious 2004 Eisner Award for Best Humor Publication. Meanwhile, in 1991, he was honored with an Inkpot Award.