Jerry Robinson, the creator of The Joker, largely hailed as Batman's greatest villain, passed away in his sleep Wednesday night at the age of 89.The NYC Graphic Novelists blog was first to report the news, with LA Times Hero Complex and CBR corroborating soon after. Robinson, born January 1, 1922, remained ever humble about his creations and was a staunch advocate for creator's rights. He was only 17 years old when he started work on Batman's earliest adventures, then a journalism student at Columbia University, according to his biography on JerryRobinsonArt.com. In an interview with Newsarama he told us of The Joker, "We did know we had a great character in the present. And as soon as we did it, we knew we had one for longer than the first story." He worked specifically for Superman creators Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel in the 1970s, helping them gain official credit for their creations, and has worked with both American and international governments to support cartoonists. The artist was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2004, and worked in recent years with DC Comics as a "creative consultant," in addition to serving in and founding multiple associations for cartoonists, including acting as President and Editorial Director of CartoonArts International and Cartoonists & Writers Syndicate. in 2010, he won the Hero Initiative Dick Giordano Humanitarian of the Year award as part of the Harvey Awards at Baltimore Comicon. DC Entertainment released statements early Thursday afternoon from executives and editors. “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.”—Jim Lee, DC Entertainment Co-Publisher and artist of BATMAN: HUSH
“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. It was my pleasure to meet and work with him. He will be missed.”—Dan DiDio, Co-Publisher, DC Entertainment
“It’s impossible to work at DC Entertainment without feeling the impact of Jerry Robinson’s contributions to the industry. His influence continues to resonate today.”—Bob Harras, DC Entertainment Editor-in-Chief
“Jerry Robinson was 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...Jerry will truly be missed.”—Mike Marts, BATMAN editorGot a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!