Frank Giacoia

Frank Giacoia (July 6, 1924 – February 4, 1988)[1] was an American comics artist known primarily as an inker. He sometimes worked under the name Frank Ray,[2] and to a lesser extent Phil Zupa,[3] and the single moniker Espoia, the latter used for collaborations with fellow inker Mike Esposito.[4]

Frank Giacoia
Giacoia from the 1978 Marvel Comics Calendar
BornJuly 6, 1924
DiedFebruary 4, 1988 (aged 63)
Area(s)Penciller, Inker
Pseudonym(s)Frank Ray, Phil Zupa, Espoia
Notable works
The Amazing Spider-Man
Captain America


Early life and career

Frank Giacoia studied at Manhattan's School of Industrial Art (later the High School of Art and Design) and the Art Students League of New York. He entered the comics industry by penciling the feature "Jack Frost" in U.S.A. Comics #1 (cover-dated Aug. 1941), inked by friend and high-school classmate Carmine Infantino — the latter's first art for comics and published by Marvel Comics' 1940s precursor, Timely Comics. His friend and collaborator Carmine Infantino, a classmate at the Art Students League, recalled that

...Frank Giacoia and I were in constant contact. One day in '40 we decided to go up to Timely Comics, which later became Marvel, to see if we could get some work. They gave us a script called 'Jack Frost' and that story became our first published work. Frank did the pencils and I did the inking. Joe Simon was the editor and he offered us both a staff job. Frank quit school and took the job. I wanted desperately to quit school and I told my father that it was a great opportunity. He said, 'No way! You're gonna finish school'.[5]

Later in 1941, Giacoia joined the New York City comic-book packager Eisner & Iger,[6] the studio of Golden Age greats Will Eisner and Jerry Iger. His early works include drawing crime comics for Ace Comics, horror for Avon Publishing, and a multitude of characters for National Comics Publications (the primary company that evolved into DC Comics) including the Flash and Batman.

Other companies for which Giacoia did art during the 1940s and 1950s include Crestwood Publications, Dell Comics, Eastern Color Printing, Fawcett Comics, Harvey Comics, Lev Gleason Publications, and Timely Comics, the 1940s predecessor of Marvel Comics. Giacoia and writer Otto Binder introduced the short-lived character Captain Wonder in Kid Komics #1 (Feb. 1943).[7]

The Silver Age

During the 1960s Silver Age of comic books, Giacoia became best known as a Marvel Comics inker, particularly on Captain America stories penciled by the character's co-creator, industry legend Jack Kirby. One of the company's preeminent names, he worked on virtually every title at one time or another. Giacoia inked the first appearance of the Punisher in The Amazing Spider-Man #129 (Feb. 1974).[8]

Giacoia also worked on the newspaper comic strip The Amazing Spider-Man (based on the Marvel comic book series of the same name) from 1978–1981, as well as on the strips Flash Gordon, The Incredible Hulk, Johnny Reb and Billy Yank, Sherlock Holmes, and Thorne McBride.[6]

He was credited as the pseudonym "Frankie Ray" for some time. In Fantastic Four #53 (August 1966), his real name was announced in the "Bullpen Bulletins".

Awards and honors

Giacoia was nominated for the Shazam Award for Best Inker (Dramatic Division) in 1974.[9] The 1989 graphic novel The Amazing Spider-Man: Parallel Lives, the back cover of which was inked by Giacoia, is dedicated to his memory.

He posthumously won one of the two annual Inkwell Awards Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Awards in 2016. The award was received by his great-nephew, Mike Giacoia.[10]

Critical assessment

In its list of "The 20 Greatest Inkers of American Comic Books", historians at the retailer Atlas Comics (no relation to the comics publishers) listed Giacoia at #5:

In comics from 1941, Frank Giacoia's smooth, thick line has been recognizable over a surfeit of outstanding pencillers. Gil Kane (who called him 'an extraordinarily powerful inker'), Carmine Infantino, Gene Colan and Jack Kirby all benefited from his heavy, robust linework which always helped tell the story in a simple, direct way. His collaboration with Kirby on the short-lived newspaper strip Johnny Reb and Billy Yank (which Giacoia created) was superb, as was generally the case when he teamed with 'the King.' Frank worked for many publishers during his 40-odd years in comics: Lev Gleason, Hillman, Timely, DC and of course Marvel (where he sometimes moonlighted under the alias Frankie Ray while still working for DC).[11]


  1. ^ Frank Giacoia at the United States Social Security Death Index via
  2. ^ Rozakis, Bob (April 9, 2001). "Secret Identities". "It's BobRo the Answer Man" (column), Comics Bulletin. Archived from the original on May 23, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  3. ^ Evanier, Mark (April 14, 2008). "Why did some artists working for Marvel in the sixties use phony names?". P.O.V. Online (column). Archived from the original on November 25, 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2008.
  4. ^ Espoia at the Grand Comics Database
  5. ^ Infantino, Carmine; Spurlock, J. David (2000). The Amazing World of Carmine Infantino: An Autobiography. Lakewood, New Jersey: Vanguard Productions. pp. 12–13. ISBN 1-887591-11-7.
  6. ^ a b "Frank Giacoia". Lambiek Comiclopedia. December 14, 2007. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016.
  7. ^ Sanderson, Peter; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1940s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 24. ISBN 978-0756641238. In Captain Wonder's origin story by writer Otto Binder and artist Frank Giacoia...CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Cronin, Brian (March 12, 2016). "40 Greatest Punisher Stories: #35-31". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on March 23, 2016. Gerry Conway, Ross Andru, Frank Giacoia and Dave Hunt delivered the first appearance of the Punisher in this classic issue of Amazing Spider-Man.
  9. ^ "1974 Academy of Comic Book Arts Awards". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on March 11, 2016.
  10. ^ "Inkwell Awards 2016 Winners". Inkwell Awards. 2016. Archived from the original on August 28, 2016.
  11. ^ "Atlas Comics Presents the 20 Greatest Inkers of American Comic Books". Atlas Comics. n.d. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016.

External links

Preceded by
Jack Abel
"Iron Man" feature
in Tales of Suspense inker

Succeeded by
Johnny Craig
Preceded by
Jim Mooney
The Amazing Spider-Man inker
Succeeded by
John Romita Sr.
Preceded by
D. Bruce Berry
Captain America inker
Succeeded by
Mike Royer
Adventure into Fear

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The first nine issues, cover-titled Fear, reprinted science fiction/fantasy and monster stories from the late-1950s and early 1960s "pre-superhero Marvel" comics, primarily Journey into Mystery, Strange Tales, Tales to Astonish, and Tales of Suspense. Most were written by Marvel editor-in-chief Stan Lee and/or Larry Lieber, and generally penciled by Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, or Don Heck, though occasionally by Paul Reinman or Joe Sinnott. Most covers were reprints, though Marie Severin drew the new top half of #4, John Severin the cover of #8, and the team of Gil Kane (penciler) and Frank Giacoia (inker) the covers of #5, 6 and 9.

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Writers for the title included Bob Kanigher and George Kashdan. Notable artists for Girls' Love Stories included George Tuska, Tony Abruzzo, Vince Colletta, Bill Draut, Frank Giacoia, Gil Kane, Bob Oksner, Art Peddy, Jay Scott Pike, John Romita Sr., Joe Rosen, John Rosenberger, Bernard Sachs, and Mike Sekowsky.

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Iron Man and Sub-Mariner

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Iron Man and Sub-Mariner does not feature a team-up of the title characters, nor a complete story for either. The Iron Man tale is continued from Tales of Suspense #99 (cover-dated March 1968) and continues in Iron Man #1 (May 1968). The Sub-Mariner story continues from Tales to Astonish #101 (March 1968), and continues in Sub-Mariner #1 (May 1968). The cover-logo trademark uses "and" while the copyrighted title noted in the postal indicia uses an ampersand.The stories were: an 11-page Iron Man tale, "The Torrent Without, The Tumult Within", credited to Stan Lee and Archie Goodwin as writers, with art by penciler Gene Colan and inker Johnny Craig, a former EC Comics mainstay; and an 11-page Sub-Mariner story, "Call Him Destiny, or Call Him Death", credited to Lee and Roy Thomas as writers, with art by Colan and inker Frank Giacoia. The latter tale retold the Sub-Mariner's origin and introduced the supervillain Destiny.At least one previous Marvel title had lasted only one issue, though unintentionally. Red Raven Comics #1 (Aug. 1940), from Marvel predecessor company Timely Comics, became The Human Torch with issue #2, dropping all features from the debut issue. The Grand Comics Database notes of the first and only issue, "No blurbs at the end of the stories in this issue indicate that there will be a Red Raven Comics #2. Instead they all advertise either Marvel Mystery Comics or in one case Mystic Comics, suggesting that perhaps Red Raven Comics was cancelled even before it went to press."

Johnny Reb and Billy Yank

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Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (feature)

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