Jim Aparo is inarguably one of the top Batman artists of all time.
In addition to his stellar work on numerous DC titles over the span of his career (including Batman, Detective Comics, Aquaman, The Phantom Stranger, the Spectre’s strip in Adventure Comics, Green Arrow, and Batman and the Outsiders), Aparo is probably best known for his impressive ten year run on the Batman’s fondly remembered team-up book, The Brave and the Bold.
My first exposure to Aparo’s artwork was back in 1974 when I picked up the large-sized special all-villain Batman treasury edition sporting one of his covers. It’s an awesome, iconic cover, and it remains one of my favorites.
Gotta love the diorama that was included in the back. This was back in the days when comic books were actually fun.
Not long afterwards I got a copy of Detective Comics #445. “Break-in at the Big House” was the second installment of a five-part tale written by Len Wein in which Batman is framed for the murder of Rãs Al Ghul’s daughter, Talia. I was eight years old at the time, and was hooked by the whole Batman-on-the-run-from-the-law concept. Aparo’s artwork was electric, bringing the story thrillingly to life.
I devoured the issue, re-reading it countless times. It wasn’t till a bunch of years later that I was finally able to collect the other parts of the story and read it in its entirety.
Jim Aparo was one of those unsung heroes at DC that sadly never got the glory and praise he deserved during his lifetime. He’ll always be a legend in my eyes.