Jerry Robinson is widely credited with designing iconic Batman villain, the Joker. He passed away in his sleep last night, aged 89 years-old.
Robinson worked alongside Bob Kane and Bill Finger, starting at the young age of 17, to create not only the Joker, but such Batman mainstays as Robin, Two-Face and Alfred. That work alone might have gotten him into the Comic Book Hall of Fame, but Jerry Robinson would remain prolific for decades.
Robinson worked for Stan Lee at Timely Comics in the 50’s and went on to create True Classroom Flubs and Fluffs, a 1960’s newspaper comic strip. A recognized figure in the industry, he would serve as president of The National Cartoonist Society from 1967-1969 before founding the Cartoonist and Writers Syndicate.
Alongside the Joker, perhaps Robinson’s most enduring legacy is his 1974 book, The Comics, a comprehensive history of the industry he loved and helped to shape. The volume received a new hardback printing in spring of this year.
Robinson continued to cartoon, co-wrote a musical that inspired a short lived manga and was an ambassador for comics and cartooning.
Any one of the chapters of his epic career would have made him a legend on their own. From Trenton, New Jersey, the son of a Russian immigrant, Robinson went from an uncredited inker to successful cartoonist to, finally, the widespread recognition he deserved. He wrote about the history of his beloved medium, but more importantly he was that history.
Rest in peace, Jerry.