Jerry Robinson, 1922-2011

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?It is my sad duty to report that artist Jerry Robinson died in his sleep overnight at the age of 89. Robinson made a name for himself within the comics industry through his ground-breaking and, ultimately, career-defining work on the early Batman books of the 1940s. During this time, he created The Joker, arguably the greatest villain in comics history…if not pop culture in general. Although his contributions to the character were famously disputed by Batman creator Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, most comics historians seem to agree with Robinson’s account of the Joker’s genesis. (He also played a crucial role in the creation of other iconic Batman characters ranging from Robin to Two Face). Later in his life, he became an avid crusader of cartoonist’s rights while continuing to work on various projects within the industry that embraced him so. But these are merely biographical truths, facts that can’t begin to touch upon the scope of what he achieved during his life. It’s impossible to imagine the character of Batman without your mind moving to the Joker. They are irrevocably linked. The Joker was the template for all of the evil foes that followed in his footsteps, and not just within comics but encompassing all aspects of entertainment. We can thank Robinson for this. There’s an elegant tribute to him over at Newsarama that includes comments from DC luminaries. Take a minute to read it, and reflect on the life of a true icon and the gifts he has left behind.