In the span of about a week and a half in December, the comics world has lost three iconic, veteran creators. Eduardo Barreto, 57, a veteran artist on 1980s superhero comics; Jerry Robinson, 89, comics artist, editorial cartoonist, comics historian and Golden era creator of Batman’s sidekick Robin as well as his enemy The Joker; and Joe Simon, 98, seminal Golden era comics professional, co-creator of Captain America and one of the giants of the American comic book industry, have all died this month.
Simon and his longtime creative partner, the great comics artist Jack Kirby, were both instrumental in creating the comics industry as we know it today. Not only did the two work together to create Captain America, easily one of the longest running and recognizable American comic book superheroes, but beginning in 1930s and 1940s they produced comic book stories of all kinds, including inventing genres like the romance comic book. During the period their comics sold millions of copies. Over his many years in the industry Simon did just about everything. He was a penciler, colorist, inker, editor, writer and publisher. In recent years, even at an advanced age, Simon was on hand at the conventions to do what comics artists do—meet the fans, talk about his long career and sign copies of his books, including his autobiography, Joe Simon: My Life in Comics (Titan Books).
In 1939 Jerry Robinson met Bob Kane, then credited as the sole creator of Batman, who convinced him to move to New York and work on the early issues of the new superhero. Robinson went on to create The Joker, easily one of the great comic book villains of all time, as well as Robin, before moving on to work on other superheroes. Robinson created newspaper comics strips, worked in editorial cartoons, did cover illustrations for Playbill and was president of the National Cartoonists Society from 1967 to 1969. He wrote, The Comics, a history of newspaper comics in 1974 and eventually became a key supporter of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the cocreators of Superman, in their legal fight with DC Comics to regain credit and financial compensation for creating the iconic character. In 2010 AbramsComics Arts published Jerry Robinson: Ambassador of Comics by N.C. Christopher Couch with an introduction by Pete Hamill and a foreword by Dennis O’Neill.
A veteran of 1980s superhero comics, Barreto worked on DC Comics series like DC Comics Presents and The New Teen Titans. In addition to working on graphic novels for DC, he also worked on the Judge Parker comics strip, Marvel Knights and produced Elvira comics for Claypool Comics. He also created The Long Haul, a graphic novel for Oni Press, in 2005.