Keith Giffen, co-creator of Lobo, Rocket Raccoon, Jamie Reyes, creaor of Ambush Bug and many more, and one of the most creative and influential artists of the last 40 years, passed away at age 70 this week. In typical fashion, he announced his own passing with a message:

I told them I was sick…
Anything not to go to New York Comic Con
Keith Giffen 1952-2023
Bwah ha ha ha ha


Giffen was a true original, a curmudgeon with a heart of gold, an artist who took chances and went his own way…and showed others the way. 

Among his notable runs, a long stint on Legion of Superheroes, Doctor Fate, Amethyst, Aquaman, and Lobo (co-created with Roger Slifer for Omega Men). His most influential run was on Justice LEague International, along with JM DeMatties and Kevin Maguire, a book that took a skewed look at superheroes without going the grim and gritty route, with a comedic, sardonic tone that centered characters like Booster Gold and Guy Gardner. Ambush Bug was all Giffen’s own, a deeply weird and unsettlingly hilarious look at superhero that led the way for today’s Deadpool/Harley Quinn vibe. He even did a book for TokyoPop, I Luv Halloween, a book I interviewed him about and think about often as the season approaches. 

In recent years he was something of the “script doctor” for some of the big events of the Crisis era, including doing breakdowns on DC’s 52 and Countdown to Final Crisis, and writing Marvel’s Annihilation event. 

Giffen was deeply respected and loved by his fellow creators, and it’s fair to say in death he’s getting an outpouring of love publicly that was felt privately by all.

We’ll have a longer obituary later but a few of the social media posts marking his passing. The Beat send condolences to his family, friends and fans. 


  1. Oh F@ck
    that headline just floored me this morning, the same way Jack Kirby’s passing hit me almost 30 years ago.
    As a lifetime Legion fan, I can’t put into words Giffen’s impact and how much enjoyment of this medium was due to his crazy crazy and brilliant mind.
    I’ll need to pause for the rest of the day and go reread the whole LoSH run.

  2. This really, really, really hurts. I was a Giffen fan going back to the Justice League, but for the last year or so have been plugging the holes in my Giffen collection after realizing how much of his work I didn’t own. I’ve since bought the 5 Years Later Legion run, the Dr. Fate mini, Ambush Bug, Inferior Five, Sugar and Spike, Hex, Amethyst, Eclipso and a few others. It is AMAZING just how prolofic of a creator he was. Most recently I ordered back issues of his short-lived Vext series for DC which arrived in the mail Tuesday.
    What is weird about all of this is that I really have been worried about him/his health and wondering if he was retired for good or just waiting for a company to offer him some work.
    He seemed to drop off the map during the pandemic, so I was elated when he suddenly emerged last spring on social media and launched a very brief podcast.
    And then he was gone again after coming down with COVID in June. And again I was worried, only for him about 2 or 3 weeks ago to pop up in a photo on Facebook with Dan Didio at some bar playing DC trivia.
    And now he’s really gone… He was young – 70!- and I had really hoped that at some point he’d be back at DC working on some project. It feels like losing a close friend.

  3. The evolution of Keith Giffen’s style during his magnificent, decade-plus LSH run is as striking as Kevin O’Neill’s exactly contemporaneous transformation — or, for that matter, the difference in Kirby’s Fantastic Four from 1961 to 1969. (And Giffen, working ‘Marvel Method’ with Paul Levitz, could make the Legion as much his own as Kirby did the FF.) Although the over-appropriation of Jose Muñoz wasn’t his finest hour, the whole sorry affair did at least inspire Muñoz & Sampayo to create a new Sinner story. Rest in peace.

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