Frank Robbins

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Frank Robbins

September 9, 1917 – November 28, 1994

Robbins' falls into the category of "an artist's artist" for many, with skills that are admired with many professionals. His cartoony edge makes him seem unsuited for many of the superhero books that he did, but he has clear storytelling skills and an masterful inking ability.

Frank Robbins 1974

Shadow issue 8 - Frank Robbins Artwork

At the time of Shadow #8, Robbins was two years from the end of his run on the comic strip he originated in 1944 called Johnny Hazard, and was producing pages for DC's mystery books. He had also had a long run writing and occasionally drawing pages for DC's Detective Comics. In a few years after the Shadow books, though, Robbins would be working for Marvel (i.e., The Invaders).

Robbin's drawing and inking have been a long fascination for comic book artists that particularly value brush work, and in Robbin's dynamic blacking and sense of quirky action there is something more than a Milton Caniff knock-off (the artist for whom Robbin's has often been connected) but instead a weird balance between constant action and a dark, noir sense of lighting.

Robbin's used a great deal of light subtraction to heighten the forms in his stories, particularly in emphasizing some dramatic point. But even more unique are the "silent" panels Robbin's drew, where there is no dialogue, no narration, and no action, but a still image that fixes a point like a painting (for example, the first panel on page 17 from The Shadow #7, DC Comics 1974).

Robbins major flaw in his comic book work is something he probably couldn't help after decades of working with newspaper strips: he sometimes jammed his comic book panels with figures as large as he could make them, a needed technique for the tiny comic strips in a newspaper, but not necessary on the larger pages of a 1974 comic book. At times Robbins has Lamont Cranston ( The Shadow) so cramped for space he is hunching to fit into the page panel.

The Shadow by Frank Robbins - page issue 8

The Shadow #7

More Frank Robbins The Shadow #7

Frank Robbins Links

Frank Robbins

Frank Robbins 1974 From Weird War Tales #21 January 1974

Detective Comics #426, Aug 1972, Frank Robbins Page

Detective Comics #426, Aug 1972, Frank Robbins Cover

House of Mystery #226, Aug-Sep 1974, Robbins Art

Frank Robbins House of Mystery #233 - Page A

Frank Robbins House of Mystery #233 - Page B

The Shadow #7, Oct-Nov 1974, Frank Robbins art

The Shadow #8, Dec 1974-Jan 1975, Frank Robbins art

House of Mystery 226 Page by Frank Robbins

House of Mystery #226, 1974, Frank Robbins Art. See page enlarged.

Related: DC Comics' House of Mystery

Batman - Frank Robbins art

Detective Comics #421 Batman by Frank Robbins

BATMAN ART Frank Robbins from Detective #421

From Detective Comics #421, March 1972.

Frank Robbins Batman - 1972

Frank Robbins Batman

See the entire page, from Detective Comics 426, August 1972.

Original page November 2012 | Updated Sept 2015