I had originally planned to do a feature about two Golden Age Canadian comic book characters who gave birth, as it were, to a couple of American heroes. But that post is going to have to be pushed back not one, but two weeks. Sorry, my Canadian fellow babies... all three of you...
Comic legend Jerry Robinson (born Sherrill David Robinson) died on December 7th, at the age of 89. He was born on New Year's Day, 1922, and died on Pearl Harbor Day. Seems fitting somehow, two notable dates like that.
Now, if you're one of my readers who doesn't follow comic books at all, Mr. Robinson's name probably doesn't mean much. But listing what he's best known for will.
Okay, first of all, he was hired at the age of seventeen by a gent named Bob Kane to assist on the relatively new "Batman" feature in Detective Comics.
Oh, you have heard of Batman, have you? How about his partner, Robin (the "boy wonder")? And his #1 adversary, the Joker? Them, too?
Well, Jerry Robinson had a hand in the creation of Robin -- mainly Robin's superheroic name, taken from Robin Hood, not Robinson.
Also, (depending on which account you believe) he created the character of the Joker!
Bob Kane, who tended to take credit for everything possible, claims that he and Bill Finger -- the writer of the earliest Batman tales -- created the Joker, and based him on actor Conrad Veidt's look in 1928's The Man Who Laughs.
Robinson, however, claimed that the character was his, and that he got the idea from a playing card. He even drew a version of a joker card and brought it to Kane.
And, as you can see, both Veidt's make-up and Robinson's joker card figured prominently in the world's first view of the Joker!
Hard to say how much of the following illustration was Kane's work, and how much was Robinson's.
Well, at this point, I'm going to uncharacteristically (and figuratively) keep my mouth shut and just throw out a very few items associated with Robinson's later career. And if you really want a full-fledged obituary, a little 'net search will yield all sorts of goodies!
The following two comic pages are Jerry Robinson working in tandem with another comic art great, Mort Meskin!
And finally, a much more recent shot of Jerry Robinson, posing with two one-of-a-kind items: the original artwork for the covers of Detective Comics #69, and Superman #14! (Only the Detective Comics cover was actually drawn by Robinson, I should add. The Superman cover was drawn by Fred Ray!)
And with that, fellow babies... Thanks for your time.