(Photo by Dan Berry/The Convention Collective)

Rocket Raccoon, Lobo Co-Creator Keith Giffen Dies at 70

Comic book artist and writer Keith Giffen — co-creator of Marvel’s Rocket Raccoon and DC’s Lobo — has passed away. He was 70 years old.

Giffen’s official Facebook account confirmed his passing in a post today. “I told them I was sick…” the post reads. “Anything not to go to New York Comic Con. Thanx. Keith Giffen 1952-2023. Bwah ha ha ha ha.”

A number of industry professionals have taken the time to pay their respects to Giffen on social media, including fellow writer/artist Colleen Doran. “My very dear friend, one of the best friends I have ever had. Keith Giffen. I am heartbroken. I will love you forever. You were endlessly kind and crazy, funny and awful, beyond smart, truly original,” Doran wrote on X.

Writer J.M. DeMatteis added, “Keith was one of the most brilliantly creative humans I’ve ever known. A curmudgeon with a heart of gold. A generous collaborator. An old, dear friend. And, as my wife observed, ‘He was like a character out of a Keith Giffen story.’ Safe travels, Keith. You will be missed.”

Keith Giffen’s comic book legacy

Giffen was born in Queens, New York on November 30, 1952. He broke into the comic book industry in the mid 1970s. Shortly after he arrived on the scene, Giffen and writer Bill Mantlo created Rocket Raccoon for Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Marvel Preview #7 in July 1976. Rocket went on to become a major player in the Marvel Cinematic Universe via the Guardians of the Galaxy film franchise.

That said, Rocket isn’t the only iconic character Giffen helped bring to life. He and writer Roger Slifer also created DC’s Lobo, who first appeared in 1983’s Omega Men #3. Lobo has become a rather popular character in his own right, appearing in various animated DC films and television shows over the year. The Last Czarnian made his live-action debut in the Syfy series Krypton in 2019.

As far as DC is concerned, Giffen is also known for his work on the publisher’s Legion of Super-Heroes and Justice League titles. He also worked on such titles as Aquaman, Blue Beetle, Doom Patrol, The Flash, Suicide Squad, Superman, and more. Some of his other Marvel comics include Annihilation, The Defenders, Drax the Destroyer, and Thanos.

Giffen’s contributions expand beyond the Big Two, mind you. He also worked on books for Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and Valiant Comics. Giffen even had a few television credits under his belt, having penned episodes of The Real Ghostbusters, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, and Ed, Edd n Eddy.