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Subject: Comic book artist Jerry Robinson dies

Written By: Philip Eno on 12/09/11 at 2:56 pm

Comic book artist Jerry Robinson, who created characters including Batman's sidekick Robin, has died aged 89.

Mike Marts, editor of the Batman series at DC Comics, called the artist "a pioneer in storytelling".

Robinson, who was first hired to draw comic books in 1939, aged 17, is credited by many as crafting the Caped Crusader's arch-enemy The Joker.

"I think the name came first - The Joker. Then I thought of the playing card," he said, last year.

Green-haired villain The Joker first appeared in 1940 and was later brought to life by actors Cesar Romero, in the 1960s TV series, Jack Nicholson, in 1989 film Batman, and Heath Ledger, in 2008 movie The Dark Knight.

"The streets of Gotham City are a little lonelier today," said Marts.

However Batman creator Bob Kane claimed he and the series' original writer Bill Finger created the character.

Robinson was hired by Kane in 1939 after the two met at a resort in Catskill Mountains where Robinson was selling ice cream, wearing a white jacket covered with his own illustrations.

After leaving the Batman team in the early 1940s, he went on to create comic book characters including nuclear superhero Atoman.

In the 1950s, he drew comic strips and cartoons for Broadway magazine Playbill.

In later life, he taught at New York's School of Visual Arts and was president of both the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists and the National Cartoonists Society.

He also curated a number of major exhibitions of comic book art in the US and all over the world.

"Jerry brought a realism to comics - and a sense of humour," said Kochman, his editor at Abrams Comic Arts, which last year published a book entitled Jerry Robinson: Ambassador of Comics.

"He saw the value of comics as an art."

Robinson is survived by his wife of 57 years, two children and two grandchildren.

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