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DC Names Jerry Robinson "Creative Consultant"

At age 85, Jerry Robinson isn't as well known to the general public as Stan Lee, though his career in comics has been just as long and probably a litte more varied. Among other things, Robinson has worked as a comics historian, teacher, syndicated newspaper writer, cartoonist and, of course, comics artist.

Off and on over the years, Robinson has also claimed to be the creator of some of DC's most iconic characters. I guardedly use that term "claimed," because the press release below makes only tenuous connections to his credits.

You see, back in 1940, Robinson got his start working on a feature whose creator, Bob Kane, had a really nice contract that gave him a lot of credit without having to do a lot of actual work. Let others argue it out, but basically, Robinson and the late writer Bill Finger seem to have lifted Batman out of being a weird dark crusader into having a weird dark hold on our imaginations.

In a few months, The Joker will be appearing on big screens once again, and back in 1940, the clown prince of crime sprung out of Robinson's head. Or at least, that's how the story once went. We'll never know for sure, and Robinson has clearly given up trying to prove it in exchange for some security from DC.

Sure, you might detect a note of cynicism here, but it's leavened with respect that DC has found a way to save face with a creator, giving him relevance without having to give up copyright just as one of his biggest creations will be back in the public eye. Now if they could only have struck this balance with the Siegels...

From DC:

DC Comics, the largest English-language publisher of comics in the world, and home to Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman announced today that legendary Batman comic book artist Jerry Robinson, a key contributor during the early years of the Batman comic book series, will be a creative consultant for the company.

"It’s an honor to have Jerry complete his journey from DC’s bullpen to advising us on characters he was intimately involved with, and the international world of comics he knows so well," said Paul Levitz, DC Comics President and Publisher.

“I am delighted to be affiliated with DC Comics, my alma mater, as Creative Consultant,” said Jerry Robinson. “I look forward to working with Paul Levitz, whom I greatly admire, and the enormously talented DC editors, artists and writers.”

Born on January 1, 1922 in Trenton, New Jersey, Robinson was a student at Columbia University in New York when he first began working for Batman creator Bob Kane in 1939. Kane, along with writer Bill Finger, had just created Batman for National Comics, the company that would eventually become DC Comics. Robinson first began as a letterer and background inker, eventually moving into the role of penciller and primary inker for the early Batman strips.

In 1942, Robinson began a stint as the series’ main artist, followed by other comic book legends, including Dick Sprang. Robinson played a vital role in the early appearances of legendary Batman characters, notably The Joker, Robin, Alfred, and The Penguin, and executed many of the iconic covers of the Golden Age of comic books.

After leaving the Batman line, Robinson continued working in the comic book field, writing and drawing numerous features for a variety of publishers. In 1961 he began a new career, creating the political/social satire “still life” and later “Life with Robinson,” syndicated daily for 34 years. Another popular creation ”Flubs & Fluffs” ran in the Sunday New York News for over two decades.

Robinson’s new role as creative consultant will reunite the legendary creator with many of the characters he spent decades working with, including the Batman.

Hey, write to us and let us know what you think, or talk about it on the forums!

Derek McCaw


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