Monday, March 12, 2007

Just Five Stories!

In the Grand Scheme of Comic Strip and Comic Book History, Frank Robbins will probably be most remembered for his own Johnny Hazard comic strip which he wrote and drew from (gulp!) 1944 to 1977. Click here to read some background information about Johnny Hazard.

My interests lean far more toward comic books than comic strips, however, and I remember the comic book work of Mr. Robbins very fondly. He was a writer, he was an artist, and he was a writer/artist. I liked his artwork the best when he inked it himself, which he did with all the boldness of the Grand Canyon.

Do you know that Frank Robbins created the character of Man-Bat? In fact he wrote a number of Batman stories in the late 1960s before writing and drawing a few. He also drew The Shadow after Michael Kaluta left. He then moved over from DC Comics to Marvel Comics and produced a greater body of work, including drawing Captain America and The Invaders. The former Hayfamzone Collection itself included one Morbius, The Living Vampire page drawn by Mr. Robbins.

Of all the work Mr. Robbins did in comics, my favorites are the Batman stories he drew. I was young when those comics came out, and I can't say that I liked them at the time! But they made an impression on me. The artwork was so unusual, so unlike any other Batman art, that I was drawn to it. The images of that bold brushwork on the Bat are embedded in my memory.

From time to time I search the internet to see if any pages of Robbins Batman art are for sale. I've never come across a single one yet. On ebay one of my Favorite Searches is for Robbins Batman in the Original Artwork category, and I keep waiting for that long-awaited email to arrive. Who owns that artwork anyway?

What prompted me to write today about Frank Robbins Batman art is an incredible tidbit of information I came across while surveying the internet last week. I found this website, which points out that Frank Robbins drew only five Batman stories. Only five stories! My faulty memory had duped me into thinking there were many more than that! The article goes on to point out that the Robbins style on Batman did not meet with universal approval, but that no less an icon than Neal Adams himself colored one of the five Robbins art jobs in a show of solidarity with and appreciation for the Robbins approach.

Click here to see scans of seven luscious pages of Batman by Robbins, as well as some of his Shadow and other DC work. And please notify me immediately if you ever learn of a page of Robbins Batman art becoming available!


At 4:10 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Supposedly Bruce Timm owns the complete art to "Man-Bat Over Vegas." I picked up a Batman page by him a couple of years back and at first I thought maybe I paid too much but after going through the galleries and seeing only one other I changed my mind.


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