I spent a lovely afternoon recently chatting with Jerry Robinson, one of the key figures in the long, rich history of Batman as a publishing sensation and pop-culture icon. It was Robinson, who started working on Batman in 1939 with Bob Kane and Bill Finger, who came up with the name “Robin” for Batman’s sidekick, and he was creator or key contributor to the first and formative appearances of enduring characters such as the Joker, Alfred and Two-Face.
I’m working on a long feature about Jerry and the wonderful exhibit now at the Skirball Cultural Center that uses his amazing collection of original artwork and vintage comics to frame the Golden Age of comics in the 1930s and 1940s. Jerry, now 87, gave me a tour of the exhibit and joined me for a bite to eat in the cafe as well. He’s an extremely pleasant and insightful gentleman, and it was a real privilege to hear his stories about the days when the superhero concept first took flight in America.
Jeff Amlotte, who shoots and produces video for The Times, joined me, and he’s put together an outstanding segment that weaves my interview with Jerry together with some amazing images. The video is so good I wanted to share it with you right away.
Check back here in the days to come for my article and, if you are in Southern California before the close of the exhibit Aug. 9, do yourself a favor and check out the impressive presentation that really speaks with the voice of this comics industry pioneer.
LINK TO EXHIBIT: “ZAP! POW! BAM! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938-1950”
— Geoff Boucher
Joker artwork by Brian Bolland, courtesy of DC Comics
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