While Bob Kane is justly celebrated as Batman's creator, his one-time inker and frequent collaborator Jerry Robinson was the man behind the Joker, comics' most enduring villain. He then went on to live a rich life, championing creators' rights and comics scholarship.
The New Jersey-born artist was 17 years old when Bob Kane recruited him to serve as Batman's inker, and the two would share a fruitful collaboration: Robinson was instrumental in the addition of Robin, Alfred and the Joker to Batman's lexicon—though, as time passed, the two would disagree over who deserved credit for the Clown Prince of Crime. Robinson eventually left Kane and went to work for DC Comics itself as an in-house artist.
Robinson left comics for a while to study journalism and do political cartoons and editorial illustrations, but he'd return in the 1970s to begin curating museum exhibitions and gallery shows celebrating the art of comics. He'd also work with artist Neal Adams to help get Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster the recognition, and compensation, they deserved but had never received.
Robinson died in his sleep on Dec. 8, less than a month from his 90th birthday.
(Via Comic Book Resources)