A BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION: The animation impresario was born 62 years ago…

Bruce Timm — who was born 62 years ago this week — has such a distinct style that you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s the only way he’s ever drawn:

Timm, 2017

But I happened to find in my recent internet travels a really groovy Batman illustration that predates Batman: The Animated Series by a good 12 years — and shows a very different, Bronze Age-soaked approach.

Check this out:

The piece, which sold for $2,640 at auction (including buyer’s premium) in 2020, was produced by Timm when he was only 19 — and you can see the influences right off. The overarching Batman image gives a heavy Marshall Rogers vibe, while the Darknight Detective shots below it have that rounded Don Newton technique.

Here’s the official description, via Heritage Auctions’ website: “Bruce Timm – Batman Illustration Original Art (1980). Over a decade before co-creator Bruce Timm’s Batman: The Animated Series debuted in the Fall of 1992 to critical acclaim, he produced this resolute illustration of the Caped Crusader in marker, ink, and graphite on art paper with an edge to edge image area of 11″ x 14″. There is light handling and edge wear, and a small soil stain in the lower right area below Batman on the sidewalk. Signed and dated in lower area and in Excellent condition.”

Other than that, I could find little about the illo online. But while researching it, I did come across this nugget on Reddit about Timm’s purported “first professional Batman drawing” (below, left):

That second drawing and the quote were posted without a source, so if you have intel on either illustration, say so in the comments!

Anyway, it’s all a bit of nifty to celebrate Timm’s birthday this week. (In the past, the date has been alternately reported as Feb. 5, 6 and 8, but it appears Feb. 5 is the correct one.)

Right on.


— 13 GREAT ILLUSTRATIONS: A BRUCE TIMM Birthday Celebration. Click here.

— 13 COVERS: A BRUCE TIMM Birthday Celebration. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Oh wow, I hadn’t seen that piece before! You can see some similarities in style to his work on the Masters of the Universe mini-comics that came with the action figures.

    I highly recommend the Bruce Timm volume of TwoMorrows’ Modern Masters book series. There’s quite a few early Batman pieces in there, including a sample page he produced just a few short years before BTAS went into development. You can see quite a bit more of “Bruce Timm” in those pages, particularly in his Commissoner Gordon.

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