Don Newton was born Nov. 12, 1934.
UPDATED 11/12/16: It’s one year later and I feel exactly same. We miss you, Don Newton.
I miss Don Newton’s art on Batman.
He may not be the first artist you think of when listing the Caped Crusader’s most storied artists, but his combination of muscle and moodiness made him a superb choice for Batman in the late Bronze Age.
As happens so often, I find that I appreciate him more now than I did when his comics were first published. There was a muted quality to his art that I didn’t immediately appreciate, though he was the artist on some of my favorite Bat-moments, like this …
and this …
In a way, his art was more true to life than a lot of his contemporaries. His figures sometimes moved awkwardly and their clothes hung off them with a certain realism. Even Batman’s cape moved more like it would if it actually existed, all floppy and folded over. Maybe that’s what bugged me at the time.
But I love the physicality of his heroes: The women were lithe and the men looked cut from granite.
He wasn’t the most prolific Batman cover artist — he only did a handful. And he really didn’t do many covers overall, all things considered.
But he did turn in some doozies, including Detective Comics #526, one of my favorite covers of the Bronze Age. If I had 13 Batman covers to choose from, this 13 COVERS salute would be all-Bat all the time.
Instead, behold some of his work for Marvel, Charlton’s version of The Phantom and the late fanzine The Comic Reader.
Don Newton died in 1984, way, way too young.
But at least we get to glimpse some of his greatness today.