The weblog of Joshua Drescher

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R.I.P. Jim Aparo

July 19th, 2005 · No Comments · Art, Misc.

Jim Aparo - one of my favorite artists - passed away yesterday.

While he worked on plenty of excellent titles over the years, Jim Aparo will always be linked most strongly with Batman. He and Neal Adams DEFINED the character when I was growing up. Between the two of them, they helped drag Batman out of the campy mess of the 50s, 60s and early 70s and made him relevent, powerful and interesting. Adams got more credit over the years, but Aparo was an absolute workhorse who helped rebuild the franchise with years and years of tremendous effort.

Some of my earliest memories as a comic fan are of Aparo’s work. Comics were tricky to come by when I was a kid, due in no small part to the fact that I grew up in a small town with no bookstore beyond the “Christian Family Bookseller” - not a HUGE purveyor of fine sequential art, as you might imagine. As such, my early exposure to Batman (and most superheroes) came from television. After years of seeing Batman and Robin on the Superfriends and guest-starring on Scooby-doo, our local baseball card store started selling a small number of comic books. After brief flirtations with the then-insanely-popular TMNT and a handful of other black-and-whites, I finally got around to picking up Batman comics regularly and, as a result, became an immediate Aparo fan.

I remember reading “A Death in the Family” back in the 80s and just being blown away. It was grim and intense and unrelentingly tragic. Imagine knowing little else beyond the Adam West “Holy wingnuts, Batman!” version of the character and then getting your hands on something like THIS:

Jim Aparo's Death of Robin

Yeah. Jim Aparo did some good work. Some of the BEST work, in my humble opinion. While he’s sadly been forgotten by new generations of fans, those of us who were reintroduced to the Dark Knight by Jim Aparo’s vision of the character will remember him fondly and mourn his passing.


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