Batman by Frank Robbins advert

Frank Robbins was primarily known — if he was known at all — as a newspaper strip artist and writer. He initially worked on the Scorchy Smith feature, but created his own, Johnny Hazard, in 1944 and he continued to work on the strip until its cancellation more than three decades later in 1977. In order to supplement his income, Robbins began working at DC in the late ’60s mainly as a writer, though he also drew the occasional strip. He’s probably most well-known for writing the Man-Bat three-parter in Detective Comics #400, 401 and 407, with art by Neal Adams, though he was the book’s regular scripter at the time and wrote a fairly large body of solid Bat tales. He even drew the Dark Knight Detective in Detective #420-21, though his idiosyncratic style wasn’t popular.

Later, in the mid-70s, Robbins arrived at Marvel where he returned primarily to the drawing board as penciller of the World War 2-set Invaders comic. His art suited the style and period of the book, though again was not popular with readers in general. He also drew such diverse titles as The Man From Atlantis (a tie-in to the short-lived TV show), Ghost Rider and The Human Fly.

While his work might not have struck a chord with comics fans, he must have been highly thought of by editors. This DC ad from 1968 (I took it from Our Army at War #196) shows him getting a very rare name check — at this time it was still fairly unusual for creators to get a credit even in the books themselves, let alone having their name used as an enticement to readers! And this is also quite possibly the only time that “artistic genius” Irv Novick ever got a shout out.

Good luck to ’em, I say. Both men deserve a higher level of acclaim than they get.

Image ©2010 DC Comics