Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jerry Robinson, 1922-2011, R.I.P. ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post


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.

41 comments:

  1. Wow...I love that photo of Conrad Veidt from the Man Who Laughs! Definitely has that Joker look about it. Very informative post, Silver. You know, I didn't know Robin was named after Robin Hood, but I would have guessed that. Just seems fitting, doesn't it? :)

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  2. Maybe if you didn't have so many 'coffee dates', you'd finish up that Canadian post, don'tcha know. ha.

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  3. @Betsy: You know, I really love it when readers who don't follow comics get something out of my CW posts and/or enjoy them anyway. Thanks, doll.

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  4. Well, I kind of have a thing for Batman, ..or any super hero in a cape. :)

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  5. @Betsy: Cute. But I only postponed the Canadian post cuz Jerry Robinson died since my last CW, and I wanted to be timely... and next week's post commemorates the 20th anniversary of the death of one of my comic-creating heroes!

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  6. @Betsy: Capes? Yeah, there's something majestic about them... almost romantic. But then again, superheroes like Wonder Woman seem to have fans without wearing capes... or much of anything else...!

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  7. Yeah, Wonder Woman, Ms Terrific...they don't have capes, do they! I wonder why that is. Maybe it's because they have long, flowing hair instead. ha.

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  8. @Betsy: Whatever works, I guess. Of course, Wonder Woman's outfit would obviously be a hit with some guys...

    Okay, most guys...

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  9. RIP to a supremely talented man. It looks like he lived a long and happy life.

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  10. @Mike: Yep. While he's arguably best known for his early Batman work, his lifetime output and influence on the industry was staggering.

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  11. I've always had a crush on Robin. It's those little green panties he wears.

    Love,
    Lola

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  12. oh man...sad...did not realise this...have a bunch of old batman in my collection...batman rocks...and interesting bit on the joker and where he came from...if you told me that poster was done before the joker i would not have believed you...

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  13. I hate when people take claim to making something and they really didn't, looks like his Joker was the one that the Joker was based off of. Truly did add a lot to the comic work, just through Batman itself.

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  14. I really dont know about this man, that sounds like a nice man, I love the jocker draw, when many years ago we always read about Batman, robin and all super heoes we never think in the person that made this work(writer draw) and that is the really nice of the post you always made:)
    Nice post David

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  15. @Lola: Little... green... panties. *sigh*

    @Brian: "A bunch of old...?" How old, dude?

    @Pat: IIRC, Batman writer Bill Finger said Robinson came up with the character, and Finger suggested they based him more on Veidt's face in the movie.

    @Gloria: All reports I've read say that Jerry Robinson was universally loved and respected. That's not always the case in comics history, as in any other field.

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  16. so he was really lucky David:) I always think the best of the life is when you are loved:)

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  17. @Gloria: I guess that depends on whether the person you love loves you back, dunnit?

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  18. anyway we love kids, friends, etc. yo know, is universal feeling:)

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  19. @Gloria: A "universal feeling?" You mean like diarrhea?

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  20. Sorry David I dont think in diarehea really, maybe is a languaje porblem sorry:)

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  21. I'm incorrigible, and you know it. I'm sure anyone you might choose to love would love you back because you're so darn nice, darn you. Wonder Woman doesn't need a cape or a lot of clothes because she has her bracelets. I have such a headache.

    Love,
    Lola

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  22. David...this, for me, was really quite fascinating...but I want to know who we're waiting for! Wayne & schuster? Bob & doug? You always leave me wanting something more...typical of your species ( couldn't resist) You're not considering spotlighting my FUBAR heroes are you? You know those that fly the red and white rule ALL comedy venues

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  23. @Lola: Nice? Who the hell started that rumor?!?

    @Natasha: Actually, I'm talking about superheroes named Nelvana and Mr. Monster. The "comics" you refer to are comedians. :)

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  24. I believe I started that rumor, Silver. Although the word was 'sweet' if I remember correctly. :)

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  25. @Betsy: Lies! All lies! I ran over the freeakin' Easter Bunny with a stolen vehicle, remember???

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  26. Ooops...sorry!

    (whispering...did I blow your cover? maybe you're just sweet in private conversations? ....ducks....)

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  27. @Betsy: SHH!

    @Lola: I think it's contagious.

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  28. Silver ~ my lips are sealed. :)

    Lola ~ 4 Advil and an Aleve works wonders!

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  29. @Betsy: I hate sealed lips. Smooches aren't as fun that way.

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  30. Only when keeping secrets, dear...lol...and who said anything about kissing?

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  31. @Betsy: I did, cuz that's how my twisted mind works. But I wasn't suggesting anything inappropriate. :)

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  32. Thank you for the advice, Betsy, but people with broken bones (five in my back) shouldn't take Advil. Should you or any of your loved ones have a broken bone, please keep in mind that Advil and Aleve inhibit the healing of bones. That's why I stick to hard drugs, like Tylenol P.M. I'm outa here for tonight.

    Love,
    Lola

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  33. Whoops! My bad...I think I need to be the one popping pills ;) rest well all...I'm going to watch some comedies...maple leaf style

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  34. @Natasha: I thought the full moon was a few nights ago... but my comments section makes me think it's tonight.

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  35. I wonder whether comic book artists, when creating a new character, tend to draw themselves? I am sure that, if anyone can, you will be able to tell us.

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  36. @Alan: Welcome back!

    I know of several cases where comic artists based the look of characters on friends or themselves.

    One notable example: The late Dave Stevens based Cliff, the main character of The Rocketeer, on himself, the Rocketeer's gadget man Peevy on artist Doug Wildey, and Cliff's girlfriend Betty on model Bettie Page!

    Closer to home, my friend and creative partner Skip Simpson generally bases his main characters on himself. And they usually have a buddy who looks like me, strangely enough!

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  37. haha I think you were right, the full moon is surely out in these comment below.

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