Sunday, July 24, 2005

My Favorite Seventies Comic Book Artist Dies

From "The Comic Book Bin" webpage...

Jim Aparo R.I.P
By The Editor
Jul 19, 2005, 13:31

From Spencer Beck

The Aparo Family has asked me to send this information out to all parties. It is with the deepest regret I have to inform you of the passing of the legendary Jim Aparo early Tuesday Morning, July 19, 2005. Mr. Aparo, who was 72, died from complications relating to a recent illness. All Funeral arrangements will be a private ceremony for Family and Friends of Jim.

Aparo, born in 1932, was primarily self-trained as an artist. After years of working in commercial fashion design in Connecticut, his first break in the comics field was with a comic strip called "Stern Wheeler," written by Ralph Kanna, which was published in 1963 in a Hartford, Connecticut newspaper for less than a year. In 1966, editor Dick Giordano at Charlton Comics hired him as a comic book artist, where his first assignment was a humorous character called "Miss Bikini Luv" in "Go-Go Comics." Over the next few years at Charlton, Aparo drew stories in many genres--Westerns, science fiction, romance, horror, mystery, and suspense.

Aparo was notable for being one of the relatively few artists in mainstream comics at that time to serve as penciler, inker, and letterer for all of his work. These tasks were typically divided between two or more artists.

In the late 1960s, Aparo moved on to National Publications/DC Comics, which is where he came to fame in the Comics Community. Originally starting at DC on the Aquaman title, he then moved on to also work on the Phantom Stranger and DC's horror titles.

In 1971, Aparo worked on his first Issue of Brave & The Bold. Issue 98 featured the Phantom Stranger teaming up with Batman. Beginning with Issue 102 Jim was then the regular artist on the series and provided pencils & inks on almost every issue from 102 until the end of the series with Issue 200. Jim's work on Brave and the Bold was his favorite work of his time at DC as he truly considered the series his "baby." Also during this period Jim did one of the seminal runs on The Spectre, where his realistic style made the Ghostly character truly come to life.

After the end of Brave and the Bold, Aparo was co-creator for Batman & The Outsiders and also worked on the regular Batman and Detective Comics Series throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. most notably doing the Pencils on the "Death in The Family" storyline, which featured a phone-in vote deciding the fate of Robin II, Jason Todd.

Following a run on the regular Green Arrow Series, Aparo moved into semiretirement, contributing an occasional special or cover and doing a few private commissions before he eventually decided to move into full retirement.

He is survived by his wife Julie, his 3 children, his 4 Grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.

The Aparo family has asked that in lieu of Flowers or gifts, anyone wishing to honor Jim's legacy make a contribution to any worthy charity, as Jim believed that all charities were worth donating to.

For those wishing to send along their condolences and best wishes to the family, a P.O. Box has been set up for the family to receive cards. The address is:
P.O. BOX 28

Thanks to all who have loved Jim's work and have supported his career.

Spencer R. Beck

Jim Aparo was the first artist I could recognize by looking at his art. Although not as well known as illustrator Neal Adams (between himself and writer Denny O'Neill, responsible for DC Comics being taken seriously again in the late sixties/early seventies), Aparo was someone I could recognize for a combination of Jack Kirby's dynamic style and Neal Adam's realistic portraiture.

Yeah, I'm a big ol' comic book geek. But once you get your hands on an early seventies Aparo illustrated "The Brave And The Bold" (DC's team-up book featuring Batman and some other hero, well, teaming up), get a load of how rugged his guys all seem to be with these heavy furrowed brows and cool McQueen-esque expressions. Aparo's men were thinkers, maybe even worriers, and they showed it in their faces. And before you think I'm a just a big girl at this point (as pretty as I am), check out how va va voom his Catwoman and Black Canary sketches are.

Okay, maybe this doesn't entirely convince you I'm not a girl, but still, Aparo was a great artist and his death has taken away another piece of my childhood.

Excuse me while I get some tissues.

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