Frank Robbins is an artist about whom fans have strong feelings, and alas most of those that I detect are negative. Robbins in his earliest days was a comic strip artist of the Milt Caniff school who took over Scorchy Smith and later created his own strip Johnny Hazard.
|Frank Robbins at work.|
Some years later he started working for DC mostly as a writer which is how I first thought of him when I found the name in credits. The work he did there I most remember was his outstanding work on several issues of The Shadow. Most today, myself included laud the Mike Kaluta work done in the earliest issues, but the Robbins material in the later issues is just as vigorous in its own way. The covers are knockouts.
After he came to Marvel he worked on many projects including Ghost Rider, Morbius the Living Vampire, and even the memorable Legion of Monsters one-shot.
He had a sturdy run on The Human Fly, Marvel's offbeat hero who they argued was "real" because the character was based on a daredevil who wore the costume and performed around the country. He rarely looked more alive than when Robbins rendered him.
Robbins also had a good run on Captain America and The Falcon just before Jack "King" Kirby returned to Marvel and the character he co-created. Doubtless the work most remembered by Robbins for Marvel was his lengthy run on The Invaders, the WWII series in which the authentic details Robbins brought to the pages really paid off.
Robbins is weirdly responsible it seems for launching Frank Miller onto the comic masses. He'd been assigned Daredevil as his regular book but left the series and comics completely after a single issue. Frank Miller, an up and comer at the time was brought in to take the helm of DD's book and the comics world never has been quite the same.
|The last comic book page by Frank Robbins?|
Frank Robbins then moved to Mexico where by all reports, he lived quite happily apart from comics painting until the day he died. To see some of his paintings go here.
Robbins is controversial it seems, but there's no doubt in my mind that his vibrant pages filled up with action and energy are superior to most of the lifeless images I see sprawled across the tepid pages of today's comics. A cartoonist's job is not to present reality but to distort it and then ask you to understand as a reader what that means. I liked the way Frank Robbins distorted reality.