This morning, the comic book industry was confronted by the news that Jerry Robinson, creator of the Joker, had died.
Across the internet, fans and comic creators began sharing reactions to the news. Newsarama contacted a few of those creators, particularly the ones who have worked with the Batman characters for which Robinson was so well known, to share their comments:
I have this great sense of loss but as well as awe in his accomplishments. Jerry Robinson wasn't quite an unsung hero, but to turn a phrase, it would have been better if there had been a much louder chorus doing the singing. A creator, an advocate, and an enormous talent.
I met him once years back, introducing myself as a comic creator. He asked me what I was working on. I said, "Batman."
He smiled and joked, "Yeah? I use to work on that too." Then he winked at me and punched my shoulder.
Almost all of us working on comics today are standing on the shoulders of giants. Jerry Robinson stood very tall.
We have just seen the passing of not only one of the greatest comic books geniuses of our time, but also unique in that generation.
A true Mensch, an activist, a man, a stand up brother. Yes, even in that first generation of comic book artists there were true revolutionaries who stepped out into other areas of art and thinking.
While he was a comic book artist, he created great comic book characters, but in a day where the goal of comic artists was to create a syndicated comic strip, Jerry simply became another total human being. His comic strip and editorial work was not more of the same, it was editorial, it was humorous, it said things. It wasn't oh-here's-what-I-can-do, it was, "I have opinions and a sense of humor and, by the way, I'll express them with drawings as well."
Jerry represented the brotherhood of the medium, the reaching out to other artists of other countries who were doing political cartoons with humor that sought to bring about cultural change.
Jerry was elected the President of the Cartoonists Society and was there when I had to reach out to them to help me with re-establishing the reputation of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. I have no idea what another President of the Cartoonists Society would have said. I can tell you only that with Jerry Robinson, I didn't even get a chance to finish asking the question when he called out to me "of course I'll help with this, Neal, I've been following it."
You will never know the Jerry Robinson that I knew, and I promise you that had you, you would a better person for it. I believe I am a better person for knowing him. And I say this with tremendous pride: Jerry Robinson liked me.
Jerry was a lifelong force driving the comics field: a masterful artist and creator, his love of the work led him to become one of the few to preserve beautiful original art when it was considered disposable industrial leftovers, his love of his fellow creators led him to become an advocate for them in need, and his intellectual energy made him a historian of the field who literally knew it from the inside out.
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.
Always a very sad day when we lose somebody who has been an inspiration. It is artists, like Jerry, and their enduring creations is why we're here, what made us fall in love with comics. I didn't personally know him, but had the luxury of meeting him a couple times over the years, he was very kind and insightful. My heart goes out to his family and friends.
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.
The Joker is, bar none, my son's favorite comics character, and the first character that made him want to read American comics, so I'll always be grateful to Jerry for that. A very sad day.
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.
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.
One of true highlights of my career was doing an event with him, just the two of us. We spent the time talking -- with him telling me stories about Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Stan Lee, and just about everyone else who started this beautiful industry. He told me the story about how Bill Finger helped Bob Kane create Batman. Which I will always believe. And yes, people credit Jerry for creating the Joker. But what they should credit him with is, he was one of the smart ones. You know why he had all that original art from the Golden Age? While everyone else threw it away, he kept it, knowing it was a treasure. Just like him.
Jerry Robinson made major contributions to the comics field in addition to the creation of the most recognized villain of them all. For my money he was also the creator of the graphic novel. In the early fifties he did several issues of a comic called Battlefront for Marvel (then Atlas). The title was usually an anthology but Jerry would write and draw the entire issue cover to cover, presenting a complete long-form story told in four chapters. A great innovator, master craftsman and true gentleman.
Mr. Robinson created something enduring and iconic, known the world over, to comic fans and non-fans alike. That's an amazing legacy, and one to be aspired to.
Jerry was not only a brilliant artist and a creator, but a wonderful, giving person whose charitable touch extended even beyond his talent.Keith Giffen
Odd that a character like the Joker, a homicidal maniac of the first order, should stand as a testament to one man's creative energy. Odder still that I consider that a good thing. We've lost another of the greats. We are that much poorer as an industry.
In my opinion, the Joker is the greatest villain of all time. Not just in comics - in everything. He is the twisted fun house reflection that exposes all our own darkest fears about ourselves, our childhood terrors, over and over, laughing. All of us who tell stories owe Jerry Robinson a tremendous debt for creating him. My sincere gratitude and sympathies go out to his family.
Comics would not exist today if it weren't for Jerry Robinson, and superhero comics would never have gained the traction they did during the Golden Age if it weren't for the innovations he created (along with Bil Finger) -- the kid sidekick, the outlandish arch-villains who thematically reflected that of the main hero and, not the least of which was a sense of elegant style and dynamic drawing that he brought to everything he did.
I read his work through the '60s in DC reprints without knowing who he was until I read Steranko's History of Comics when I was around 10.
Jerry Robinson invented my favorite character in comics, Robin, whom I have been privileged to write in his various incarnations, but in many ways, the more I learned about Mr. Robinson, the more I realized what a template he was for what an artist can and should be. He expanded his reach beyond "just comics" and over the decades, he created multiple careers for himself in multiple fields of endeavor.
I hope the recognition Mr. Robinson gains through his sad passing will help educate today's creators and readers about the remarkable accomplishments of this man and the debt they owe him.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!