icon_uk: Sad Nightwing (Sad Nightwing)
[personal profile] icon_uk posting in [community profile] scans_daily
As the comics world mourns the passing of a legend, let's look back at Batman #1, and the debut of the character Mr Jerry Robinson will forever be connected with. A character with one of the most eponymous calling cards of all time.

We start on a night like any other in Gotham city...

Interesting that the first description of the Joker's voice is not that he's gleeful, but that his voice is toneless.

Henry Claridge is a millionaire, and even on such a strange threat, he takes no chances, and a police cordon is organised.

And here we see the introduction of the Joker's signature mode of murder, a grinning corpse. The horrific, yet oh-so simple sign of the Joker to this day. A magnificent example of understated creepiness.

And on this next page, again the descriptions of the Joker seem to run counter to how we think of him these days, his face is inexpressive, he doesn't show any emotion.

Batman taking on the Joker? What madness is this you're thinking of Dick?

The Joker is a cold, ruthless, methodical killer, yet also a genius, murdering the man before he announces it. (And looking at this page, wouldn't Basil Rathbone have made a WONDERFUL Joker?)

Another night, another warning on the radio, at 9pm the Joker announces that he will kill another millionaire, Jay Wilde, and steal the Ronkers Ruby at 10pm. And in his richly appointed study, with oak panelling, antique suit of armour, and stone fireplace, another police cordon is set up around Wilde, when....

He's got that showmanship down pat! And he appears to only smile when he's actually killing someone. This is not a well clown.

But it's not just the Police who are stymied by the Joker's actions.

Nelson's men burst into the room, trapping the Joker. But just then, as fate would have it, Batman arrives, intercepting Nelson's goons, and allowing the Joker to do what he does so well, improvise!

The Joker makes a break for it in his car, but Batman leaps onto the running board and manages to get him to crash the car into the side of a bridge, and we get the first real fight between these two...

Batman falls from the bridge, into the river below, and before he can get back to the bridge, the Joker is gone.

The Joker of course, continues his plan, and again, shows the extent of his skills...

The Dynamic Duo are keeping watch on the house, Batman the front entrace, Robin the back door. So when the Joker walks out right past the other Police, who think he's the real Police chief, someone is watching...

Batman has noticed that Robin is missing and is tracking him by way of a special infra red torch, which highlights Robin's footprints, thanks to a special chemical that both he and Robin's boots are coated with. (It glows in the dark under a specific wavelength of IR light)

Will he be in time to save Robin from the Joker's clutches?

What do you think?

Okay, that was either a lousy pun, or an AWESOME one.... The Joker knocks over a rack of chemicals as he calls, setting the whole place on fire. He also manages to reach his spray gun, and fires a mist of paralysing strength Joker venom into Batman's face. Batman keels over as the Joker's grin spreads across his face, and the Joker leaves to let the two of them die in the fire.

And that's why you keep sidekicks, villains are very prone to monologue at captive sidekicks.

As the Joker sneaks into the penthouse of Otto Drexel, who owns the Cleopatra Necklace, Batman interrupts him...

Wildly the Joker leaps from the penthouse to the construction site of the tower block being built next door, but...

And thus was a legendary combatative relationship born... so popular was the Joker that his next appearance was actually in THE SAME ISSUE, though that was almost his LAST appearance too!

Mr Robinson's passing has drawn together a truly universal sense of loss in the industry, which is as it should be.

So I hope you won't mind if, on behalf of us all on s_d, I say this.

Thank you for everything Mr Robinson, even if you were only known for your art, you created one of the all time great bad guys in fictional history, a character who has been reinterpreted so many times that it's impossible to count all the variations, but at his core, represents the simple nightmare of a twisted genius who looks like a clown, but whose smile never touches his eyes, except when he's committing the most evil of crimes.

And yet there was so much more to you, especially your work as a pioneering advocate for creators getting the credit they were due, which led to Siegel and Shuster FINALLY getting their names in every published appearance for Superman.

Rest well sir, you've earned it.

(And if you read the obituary in the link I posted at the start, you'll see another example of the kind of man he was in drawing attention to the plight of a political prisoner, and cartoonist, in Uruguay in the mid 1980's. Astonishing stuff...)

Date: 2011-12-08 11:42 pm (UTC)
rocketlindy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rocketlindy
A great intro to a great character imagined by a great guy.

We could use more Jerry Robinsons: talented people who use their talents to help others.

Date: 2011-12-08 11:45 pm (UTC)
bradygirl_12: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bradygirl_12
RIP, Mr. Robinson.

You created one of the great comics characters of all time.

Excuse the icon. It's the one that pops up when I sign into Dreamwidth. ;)

Date: 2011-12-09 12:07 am (UTC)
aeka: (Huntress [sad]:)
From: [personal profile] aeka
RIP Jerry Robinson. You will never be forgotten.

As for the story itself, admittedly the 1940s Batman comics were some of my favourite comics of all time. Social issues aside, I always liked the very noir feel of the 40s comics that todays comics don't quite mimic, and characters like the Joker had an element of mystery to them that actually made them interesting.

Date: 2011-12-09 04:10 pm (UTC)
bradygirl_12: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bradygirl_12
Exactly! The noir feeling was perfect! Even with bright, glittering Robin at his side, Batman was a figure of the night.

Date: 2011-12-09 01:11 am (UTC)
captainbellman: It Was A Boojum... (Default)
From: [personal profile] captainbellman
Ah...so THAT'S where the idea for Joker dressing up as a policeman came from. Clever reference they made in TDK.

Date: 2011-12-09 03:11 am (UTC)
superfangirl1: (Default)
From: [personal profile] superfangirl1
Awesome sliding kick you got there Robin.

Date: 2011-12-09 03:51 am (UTC)
rainspirit: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rainspirit
I just finished playing through a long run of Arkham Asylum, feeling that creepy clown's presence the whole way through.

A wonderfully horrid villain. It's great that he had such a brilliant start here.

Rest in peace, Robinson. Thank you for the entertainment you've given us.

Date: 2011-12-09 11:28 am (UTC)
eyz: (Default)
From: [personal profile] eyz
The good ol' crazy creepiest Joker!

Date: 2011-12-09 03:41 pm (UTC)
jelly_ace: (creepy)
From: [personal profile] jelly_ace
That last panel is so scary. D:


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