Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Frank Giacoia

Francesco Carmine “Frank” Giacoia was born on July 6, 1924, in Latronico, Italy. Giacoia’s first name was on a passenger list and middle name from his Social Security application (transcribed at which also had his birth information. However, Giacoia’s World War II draft card had Potenza, Italy as his birthplace.

On April 7, 1932, Giacoia and his mother, Domenica, were aboard the steamship Augustus which departed Naples, Italy. They arrived in the port of New York City on April 18. Giacoia’s father, Giuseppe, paid for their passage. His address was 2614 Hoyt Avenue, Astoria, New York, which is in the borough of Queens.

The 1940 U.S. Federal Census recorded Giacoia, his parents and two younger siblings in Astoria at 32-12 Astoria Boulevard. The census said Giacoia’s father was a building construction laborer who was born in Brazil, South America. Giacoia’s mother made dress trimmings.

Giacoia attended the School of Industrial Art in Manhattan. His classmates included John Belfi, Carmine Infantino and Gil Kane. Giacoia dropped out of school. Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said he worked at the Harry “A” Chesler and Fred Iger Studios.

A profile in All-Star Companion, Volume 1 (2004) said “… In the early ’40s he inked such Timely series as Captain America, Jack Frost, Captain Wonder, and Young Allies; by 1948 he was inking Carmine Infantino and occasionally Alex Toth on Green Lantern, et al., for DC. …”

On December 11, 1942, Giacoia signed his World War II draft card. His address was 28-19 Astoria Boulevard in Astoria. His employer was Timely Comics. Giacoia’s description was five feet seven inches, 149 pounds with brown eyes and hair. His father adopted the name Joseph. 

Giacoia’s Department of Veterans Affairs file said he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corp on June 5, 1943. A muster roll, dated July 31, 1943, listed Giacoia as a private, stationed at the Third Recruit Battalion Recruit Depot on Parris Island, South Carolina. The October 31, 1943 muster roll said he was a private first class at the Aircraft Engineering Squadron at Cherry Point, North Carolina. According to the July 31, 1944 muster roll Giacoia was a cook at the same location. On April 30, 1945 Giacoia was a corporal at Songaree Field, Columbia, South Carolina. Three months later he was back in Cherry Point, North Carolina. San Diego, California was Giacoia’s home on the October 31, 1945 muster roll. In 1946 his final station was the Headquarters Squadron-33, Marine Aircraft Group-33, Marine Air, West Coast, U. S. Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, Santa Ana, California. Giacoia was discharged June 22, 1946.

After the war Giacoia continued working in the comics industry.

Bowling was one of Giacois’s hobbies. The Star-Journal (Long Island City, New York), October 28, 1949, said

Giacoia Hits 546 Series to Pace Ditmars Loop
With Frank giacoia rolling a 546 series to pace the league, Team No. 2 swept its match with Team No. 4 in the House Bowling League at the Ditmars Center, Astoria.

Giacoia, bowling in the No. 4 position, hit games of 205, 166 and 175 as his team prevailed by more than 100 pins in each of the first two games and annexed the finale with a 45-pin margin. …

The Star-Journal mentioned Giacoia in its November 4, 1949 report.

… Team No. 2 registered a new high team game score of 882 to break the record of 868, held by Team No. 6, which dropped an odd-game verdict to the the new record holders. Frank Giacoia hit 200 for the winners. …

On October 27, 1951, Giacoia and Phyllis M. Zupa obtained a marriage license in Manhattan, New York City. Phil Zupa was one of Giacoia’s pen names. 

Alberto Becattini said Giacoia assisted Ray Bailey on his strip, Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, in the early 1950s. Giacoia was living in East Meadow, Long Island, New York when he drew Sherlock Holmes. The strip, which was written by Edith Meiser, ran from March 1, 1954 to November 17, 1956. Becattini said Giacoia was assisted by Mike Sekowsky, Sam Burlockoff, Joe Giella, and Gil Kane. 

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Johnny Reb and Billy Yank was Giacoia’s next syndicated strip. It ran from November 18, 1956 to May 24, 1959. He had help from Jack Kirby, Mike Sekowsky, Gil Kane, Sam Burlockoff, Joe Giella, Joe Kubert and Sy Barry. Thorn McBride debuted September 12, 1960 with Giacoia and writer, Kenneth Simms. Mel Keefer did the art starting January 23, 1961. During the 1970s Giacoia worked on Big Ben Bolt, Flash Gordon, Amazing Spider-Man, and Incredible Hulk.

Giacoia passed away on February 4, 1988 according to the Social Security Death Index.

Further Reading and Viewing
Inkwell Awards
Kleefeld on Comics
Lambiek Comiclopedia
Grand Comics Database
Alter Ego #155
What If Kirby

More Heroes of the Comics: Portraits of the Legends of Comic Books
Plate 38

—Alex Jay

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