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 Jerry Robinson  (1924 - 2011)

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: Batman comic strip artist

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Ad Code: 3
Jerry Robinson
from Auction House Records.
Detective Comics #67 First Penguin Cover Original Art (DC, 1942).
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is an obituary of the artist by Alan Duke, CNN

Cartoonist Jerry Robinson, who worked on the earliest Batman comics and claimed credit for creating the super-villian The Joker, died Thursday at the age of 89, his family confirmed.

"Batman has lost another father," said Batman movie producer Michael Uslan said. "Farewell to my dear, dear friend, mentor, and idol, Jerry Robinson."

Robinson, in a panel discussion at New York Comic Con in 2009, said he was a 17-year-old creative writing student at Columbia University when he was hired as a writer and illustrator at DC Comics.

Although he was initially just assisting Batman creator Bob Kane and Bill Finger, his chance to create The Joker came in 1940 when the demand for more Batman stories overloaded Finger.

"This was going to be a problem, so I volunteered to do one of the stories," Robinson said.
He handed in the work for a grade in his college creative writing class, he said.

"I wanted a very strong villain because I thought that's going to carry the story," Robinson said. "Villains are more exciting."

He wanted his villain to have a sense of humor, and "in a space of hours" one night "somehow The Joker came out," Robinson said. The first Joker image was modeled out of the joker card in a deck of playing cards, he said.

"It's extraordinary what's happened over the years," he said. Cesar Romero played The Joker in the 1960 television Batman TV series, followed by Jack Nicholson's and Heath Ledger's portrayals in Batman films.

"His creative work is immortal as co-creator of The Joker, Robin the Boy Wonder, and the visualizations of Alfred, The Penguin and many more," Uslan said. "Jerry elevated comic books as art and fought for respectability for all his fellow artists."

Robinson's role in the creation of The Joker is a long-running controversy in the comics industry. Kane downplayed Robinson as his assistant at the time.

But those now working for the DC Entertainment issued statements Thursday making it clear they credit Robinson for his creative contributions.

"Jerry Robinson illustrated some of the defining images of pop culture's greatest icons," DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Jim Lee said. "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."

"It's impossible to work at DC Entertainment without feeling the impact of Jerry Robinson's contributions to the industry," said DC Entertainment Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras. "His influence continues to resonate today."


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Jerry Robinson is one of the most influential figures in the cartoon arts in America and around the world. As a member of the original Batman team, he was responsible for the first and most iconic of all supervillains, the Joker, and co-created Robin, the archetypal sidekick.

From the earliest days of the Golden Age of comic books, Robinson created characters such as London, Atoman and Jet Scott, and worked in many genres, notably editorial cartooning, newspaper strips and illustration.

In his other influential careers Robinson has been a features syndicate founder, teacher, curator and champion of artists rights.

Among Robinson's thirty published works is The Comics: An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art (Dark Horse), a definitive study of the genre.  His other books include the biography Skippy and Percy Crosby (Holt), The 1970s: Best Political Cartoons of the Decade (McGraw Hill), and most recently a two-volume set of his 1950s sci-fi strip, Jet Scott (Dark Horse).

The biography Jerry Robinson: Ambassador to the Comics (Abrams) was published last year.  Robinson's numerous honors include the National Cartoonists Society Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award and the San Diego Comic-Con Eisner Hall of Fame.

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