Dec 9, 2011

RIP Jerry Robinson

Jerry Robinson has passed away. For those of you who don't know who he is, Jerry Robinson is, by all accounts other than the legal one, the one, true creator of the Joker. (Bob Kane's role in the creation and development of Batman, after all, is pretty much a myth.)

He's known for some iconic covers, including these two:

But Robinson was not just a comics artist; he was also an ambassador. He saved comic book artwork at a time when it was customary to destroy them, and he served as president of the National Cartoonists Society. On top of all that, he ventured outside the comics medium, using his art for other means. When asked by Forbes how he'd like to be remembered, he answered:

Well, I think, in terms of my art, I’d like to be remembered not just as a comic artist but as a creator who was capable of doing all sorts of other things. And that’s what I tried to do. That’s not to denigrate any cartoonists who just did cartooning all his life. A guy takes his own course. I know that people like [Milton] Caniff, like Roy Crane, all the great cartoonists, Charlie Schulz, who did Peanuts — they could’ve done so many other things, if they chose to. Well I chose to do other things. So I think they’d appreciate, if they looked at those artists in those terms, they’d appreciate that art is what they devoted their lives to. Other than that I think the things I did in terms of the shows on human rights and the artists who I helped change their lives — [Uruguayan dissident artist Francisco] Lorenzo [Pons], Soviet dissidents, and [Jerry] Siegel and [Joe] Shuster, probably, who were my close friends and who thought of me, luckily, that I was in a position to help them and use my influence and position to help. When I called anybody to help, they all rallied to help. So it’s a great community.

You can learn more about Jerry Robinson in his book, Jerry Robinson: Ambassador of Comics.

In the meantime though, enjoy this full story from 1946, featuring Robinson's creation, Atoman! Click on the page to be taken to Four-Color Shadows so you can read the whole story!

Rest in peace, Mr. Robinson.

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