Art and Artifice
Jim Aparo 1932 - 2005
Jim Aparo - Spectre, Batman and Aquaman Artist
An index of pages with Jim Aparo art or info at comicbookbrain here.
Jim Aparo Aquaman Stamp
The Jim Aparo Aquaman Stamp from the United States Postal Service
"Superhero" 39 cent stamp sheet
The Art of Jim Aparo book
TwoMorrows has a Jim Aparo book in the works. Originally meant for 2005, the book has been "unscheduled" since Apro's death.
I have corresponded with TwoMorrows and one of the books authors, Eric Nolen-Weathington, about the progress of this book toward publication, those emails are below:
[July 4, 2006]
Right now it's looking like the book will be released either late this year, or early next year.
[February 20, 2006]
Unfortunately, we've gone through a series of events - - each completely unexpected and unavoidable - - which have delayed the publication of the book. The first of which, of course, was Jim Aparo's death. With his passing, the book has taken on a slightly different tone and structure and has required us to do a bit more legwork. There have also been personal matters that have arisen in both Scott's life and my own, not the least of which being the births of his son and my daughter, which have forced us away from work for periods of time.
That being said, we look forward to the book being released sometime this summer, depending on when exactly it gets done, and where it fits on TwoMorrow's publication schedule at that point. We are working very hard to make sure this will be the best possible book it can be, and we hope you will find it worth the wait.
Jim Aparo self-Portrait
July 25, 2005 - Aparo Obit
It was announced at Newsarama today (July 19, 2005) Jim Aparo Batmanthat Jim Aparo had passed away at the age of 72. He was my favorite Batman artist - - if not my favorite artist (along with Alex Toth) when I was reading comics in the 1970s while living in Athens, Greece. I studied his pages for tips on how to draw, and I still marvel at how he could draw such delicate yet powerful looking hands.
I have included a gallery of pages from Aparo's work, almost all from the 1970s when Aparo did the majority of his work in multiple hero titles and anthology books for DC. In the 1980s it appears that he was primarily associated with the Batman character, and in the 1990s apparently went into retirement.
In drawing, Aparo seems to have modeled his faces for Batman, Spectre, Phantom Stranger and others on a single head model. I suspect this was a beefed-up version of his own head. Chin-lines, cheeks and the foreheads are typically the same. Aparo also used the same nose for these differing characters. There is also a similarity between his female characters that may have been constructed from a single physical ideal.
Though his figures are typically elegantly muscular, Aparo did not draw (for example) abdominal muscles in the fashion that modern superhero artists do, he instead seemed at times to try and suggest clothing folds and wrinkles around the waistline. This is a contrast to the modern "hyper-realist" approach that is (I think) traceable back to Neal Adams, who costumed his characters in razor-thin outfits. (Though stomach muscles, pects and biceps have always been a major feature of hero imagery, likely derived from pulp magazine images predating comics.)
A contemporary of Adams, I think Aparo developed his own style which, judging from the few samples I've seen of his 1960s work for Charlton Comics, reached its zenith in the 1970s, where intricate pen work stylized his realist version of fantasy heroes. He also employed many "off-center" elements for setting scenes within panels, probably the effect most used being a tilted horizontal plane. In the 1980s, Aparo used a shorthand outline drawing style that looks significantly more caricatured and "cartoony" compared to his earlier work, though is still identifiable as Aparo.
Aparo is noted for having penciled, inked and lettered his own work. He had a distinctive lettering style that reminds me of the kind of lettering used by architects on drafting drawings.
Jim Aparo House of Mystery Page #209
An interview with Aparo in May of 2000 is at Comic Book Artist Magazine here.
An interview from 1995 with Comic-art.com is here.
A screenshot of the announcement at Newsarama. Click to enlarge:
A Fox-News web site report is here.
Wikipedia has an online biography of Aparo here.
A page about House of Mystery 209 which had an Aparo story from 1972 here.