Go With a Smile

Jerry Robinson died on December 7th. Many of you may not know who he was (and honestly, the name was not on the top of my head), but I’m sure you’re familiar with his greatest creation: The Joker.

OK, it’s debatable whether he actually created the character instead of just coming up with some of his characteristics. But he for sure created Robin. So the man had his hands in some popular icons. Still, most of us didn’t know his name and I had to hear about his passing on a Facebook posting (let’s see if he gets a blurb in Entertainment Weekly next week).

I regret not getting an original drawing of The Joker from him at Comic Con 2010, but my last blog was about regrets, so I won’t go there again.

I’d rather focus on what it must be like to create a character that is familiar throughout the world. I mean, The Joker! Batman’s arch nemesis! We’ve seen him in comics, on t-shirts (I have a cool one drawn by the late Jim Aparo), action figures. He’s been brought to life by some great actors: Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and even Mark Hamill in the animated series.

Imagine what it must have been like for Jerry to look back on his life and know that something he created has had such an impact on pop culture. Could he even wrap his head around it? And to know that these creations will live on long after he’s gone.

It makes me feel a little insignificant. I’ve had some small success in my writing, but I doubt I will ever create a character like The Joker or Robin. But man, wouldn’t that be cool?!? To see something I created in comic books, TV and movies. My creations on a t-shirt, or a hat or even underwear (you’ve seen the Batman undies at Wal-Mart, I know you have). And then to see people at Comic Con dress up as something that was once just a thought inside my head.

There’s no denying that all creative people want a big success. Maybe we feel if we don’t get that, our material won’t live on. None of us will be Shakespeare, but I’ll settle for Noel Coward. Not everybody will know my name when I die, but somebody will Google it, then write a blog about me. A little immortality is better than none.

Sure, I could find my immortality through fathering children, but with my luck, they’ll end up being sports fans and think comic books are stupid. The joke will be on them.

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