When I was working for Dick, he always sent to different editors' whenever I was in the office to get another perspective on my art. People like Richard Bruning (who was their art director,and became a friend) Archie Goodwin, Dennis O'Neill,Mike Carlin,etc. Well, the one time he sent me to go see Joe Orlando.Now, for those who don't know. Joe Orlando was another big name artist,working for companies such as EC Comics and DC Comics and Warren and Mad Magazine (also as associate publisher). At the time I went to see him, he was in charge of their Special Projects Department up at DC. He did a "Tales of the Black Freighter" story for Alan Moore's WATCHMEN series. Anyway, Dick sent me to see him so he could give me some criticism of my work. I didn't know Joe at all (other than by his rep, which was quite impressive) and wasn't sure what to expect.(I learned that day that he was a no nonsense type of guy. He gave it to you straight,didn't pull no punches and expected you to take it like a professional.)Now, Let me set the scene for you.The samples I took to show Joe were over an artist named Rob Liefeld. Now, I don't know Rob, and truthfully I don't really care for his work.But I did the samples over his Hawk And Dove series, that he had done for DC a few months before.I wanted to see how well I could embellish his pencils.I thought I did pretty well.
So I took them into Joe's office. BIG,BIG,BIG,MISTAKE. Now to be fair to Joe, I wasn't sure if he was having a bad day or whatever was bugging him, but,HE RIPPED ME A NEW ONE. He really tore apart the work. Pulled out a black magic marker, drew over my vellum samples,and basically destroyed what I had done (and I thought that I had done a decent job).When I finally got back to Dick's office,he asked me how it went. I didn't say anything,I just gave him a blank stare."Tom, you okay?", he asked.
"I think I want my Mommie now.", is what I said. Dick fell out of his chair laughing. I felt like Linus from Peanuts,needing a blanket and wanting to suck my thumb because of Joe's brow beating and Dick was laughing his ass off. When he stopped laughing, Dick said to me, "So, he liked your stuff?" W H A T ?!
Looking at it now, it was funny,and I made Dick laugh. I made him laugh another time,when we talked about grade school and how I thought Nuns were bald under their habits when I was younger. I made him laugh and that made me feel good.He did so much for me,that, if he got to laugh at me because of an awkward situation,so be it. I'm old enough now to appreciate laughing at yourself.
Side note to this story: After Joe got done criticizing the work, I told him that DC had published this work and this artist,and even who had inked the job. Amazed by this fact, he went and searched for a copy of Hawk And Dove.He flipped thru it and just shook his head.He told me to forget everything he just said.He said never to samples over this guy again and not to show these ones around.Told me to do other samples and the next time I was in to come see him and he'll give me a better critique.And he did. He gave me some great advice and tips. And the one time I tried sneaking by him because I didn't feel my samples were up to par,he caught me."C'mere. Show me what you got." And what was even better was that Joe Orlando eventually became my friend. And that's another thing I owe Dick Giordano. Thanks Dick.