Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Jim Aparo is dead

According to Fred Hembeck, Jim Aparo died last night at the age of 72. I was never the biggest fan of Aparo, but he was certainly a competent craftsmen. I always thought his art looked best when it was inked by someone who made his stuff "rougher," like a Klaus Janson or Kelley Jones. His "clean" stuff didn't really do it for me. He worked in the industry for a long time, and was never one of these prima donnas who took months to finish an issue (I'm looking at you, Bryan Hitch). You knew what you were getting with an Aparo comic, and although it didn't wow me, it always worked in service to the story and helped tell the story. My favorite single Aparo comic is probably Batman #433, the first part of the "Many Deaths of Batman" story, which had only two words in it (that Byrne - the master!) and relied on Aparo to tell the story, and Batman #417-420, "The Ten Nights of the Beast." Of course, I don't own a lot of his work from the 1970s, so my collection of Aparo art is limited. What's your favorite Aparo art?

Anyway, in case you didn't know, comicdom has lost a true professional.


Blogger Bill Reed said...

For a lot of us, Aparo probably did the definitive Batman. I wouldn't say he was my favorite Batman artist, but his Batman was one of the first I'd encountered and I loved his work as a kid, and greatly appreciate it today.

He also did, for some of us, the definitive Aquaman and Spectre.

I mean, look at this guy's work... he drew the death of Robin. The introduction of Tim Drake. The death of Aquababy. The breaking of Batman's back. The adventures of the Outsiders. Batman teaming up with every single characters in the DC Universe. And more.

Hell, he was even held hostage by super-villains so that he'd draw Batman getting shot by Sgt. Rock (I refer to a cover of one of his Brave & the Bolds).

He was cool. And now he's gone.

So it goes...

7/19/2005 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

A shame to see him pass on.

At least he left himself quite a legacy.

7/19/2005 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger layne said...

A pro in the truest sense of the word.

7/19/2005 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger Pól Rua said...

Never an 'exciting' artist, but he did what he was supposed to do very, very well.
He could draw anything. And you could tell exactly what was what. His work wasn't the big shot cinematic layout of a John Byrne, or the scribbly detail-filled work of a George Perez, but by god, it TOLD A STORY AND TOLD IT WELL. It was clean, well-crafted and on time.
Frankly, give me a dozen Jim Aparos for any one of the hordes of talentless bigfoot style-over-substance superstar artists out there these days.

Oddly enough, probably the most striking Jim Aparo moment for me was discovering that the Phantom Stranger did indeed have eyes and hair... and he was a blonde!
Dang! Never saw that coming.

Godspeed, Mister Aparo.

7/19/2005 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger Ken Robinson said...

I'm not going to post anything about how good Jim was, since everyone who posted before me did a better job than I could. I completely agree with everything already said here.

Out of curiosity, Bill, which Brave & the Bold are you refering to? I'd love to see that one.

7/19/2005 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Reed said...

Having looked it up today, I think it was 124...? Something around there. It's currently making the blog rounds, so you can find it in a few places, I bet. Including my side-blog, the Lithium Age, actually, the link to which is somewhere in the sidebar.

7/19/2005 11:45:00 PM  
Blogger MarkAndrew said...

Damn. That so sucks.

The Haney/Aparo Brave and Bold is the best Batman's ever been, sez I. (With the brutal Wildcat/Joker cover to 118 being my single fave piece of art.)

But, well, I gotta say.... He got waaaay worse in the eighties (as did many older artists.)

Greg 'n others: Check out his Spectre stuff in Adventure Comics. I'd expect to hear much less "Competent craftsmen" and waaay more "Dear! God! In! Awesome! Heaven!)

Great creator. Did the best Batman run ever. Will be sorely missed.

7/20/2005 03:21:00 AM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

That is very sad. I remember his work on Brave and the Bold in the Seventies very well. I have to agree with Bill Reed, while Aparo may not be my favourite Batman artist, he perhaps did the definitive Batman. I'm not sure, but his art for various Batman stories may have been the first I encountered of the Dark Knight.

7/20/2005 04:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first comic book I bought as a kid was Batman #427. The art was powerful and astonishing. There were several pages in that issue (Jason Todd being beaten by the Joker) that I could not look at for almost five years. (I just flipped past, I couldn't bear to watch. I think that says something for an artist's storytelling power.)
I'm pretty sure a good half of the comics I own have Aparo art.

7/21/2005 09:12:00 PM  
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