Batman Artist Jerry Robinson Dies at 89

Jerry Robinson Batman Robin - H 2011
<p>Jerry Robinson Batman Robin - H 2011</p>   |   AP

Jerry Robinson, the Golden Age Batman artist who helped create the Joker as well as Batman sidekick Robin, has died at the age of 89.

Robinson was hired at the age of 17 to work for the studio of Batman creator Bob Kane, and acted as Kane’s inker. He was later hired by National Comics, then the name of DC Comics and worked on the company's comics.

According to lore, it was Robinson who suggested the name of Robin for a teen character that was going to be Batman’s sidekick. And while Kane and Robinson offered different views on the creation of the Joker, many comic historians say Robinson's role cannot be disputed. When Kane moved on from the comic to focus on the newspaper strip, Robinson became one of two primary Batman artists (Dick Sprang was the other). Robinson’s covers have now become classic images from the Golden Age of comics. Later in life, Robinson became an advocate of comic book artists’ rights and with Neal Adams helped fight DC for proper credit and lifetime compensation for Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Robinson was also known for his impressive collection of original comic art and curated many art showings.

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The man and his art had a resurgence in the last several years due to the Joker's appearance in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight.

“Jerry Robinson illustrated some of the defining images of pop culture’s greatest icons. As an artist myself, it’s impossible not to feel humbled by his body of work. Everyone who loves comics owes Jerry a debt of gratitude for the rich legacy that he leaves behind,” said artist and DC Entertainment co-publisher Jim Lee in a statement.

Stated DC’s Dan DiDio: “Jerry Robinson was one of the greats. He continued to be a vibrant, creative force well into his nineties, with ideas and thoughts that continue to inspire. Jerry was a great advocate for creators.”

And current Batman editor Mike Marts called Robinson “an innovator, a pioneer in storytelling. His artwork was always astonishing, but his contributions to the Dark Knight mythology go far beyond art. The streets of Gotham City are a little lonelier today.”