A BIRTHDAY SALUTE: The late, great Jim Aparo was born 90 years ago on Aug. 24, 1932…


When I say I’m a fan of The Brave and the Bold, what I’m really saying is I’m a fan of Jim Aparo.

See, the guy could draw anything at all and make it look good. Aparo was comfortable with the mundane as much as the magnificent, but yeah, when he drew superheroes, I was always in my happy place. And to get a regular title like B&B back in the day where I could see his DC characters issue after issue was just comic book heaven, as far as I was concerned.

I’m thrilled to be able to help celebrate Jim Aparo’s birthday by cobbling together my 13 favorite DC characters he drew In one of the very best DC books ever, The Brave and the Bold:

13. The Flash. A character you might not think would work, ‘cause let’s face it: Aparo’s art, as gorgeous as it was, was kind of static. That said, he made us believe Barry Allen could move.

12. Green Lantern. Do you know what it is with this one for me? The mask. I remember sometimes being unhappy with the way some artists drew Hal Jordan’s mask, but Aparo nailed it the first time.

B&B #100

11. Aquaman. Aparo’s regal Arthur Curry was a stand-out, too.

B&B #114

10. Adam Strange. Like Aquaman, Rann’s adopted champion should always have a kind of nobility to him, and Aparo endowed him with just that, and more.

B&B #161

9. Supergirl. Aparo’s not necessarily known for his females, and you wouldn’t think this one would work, but he drew Kara in a way you almost wanted her to be a regular guest-star in B&B.

8. Kamandi. Apologies to Kirby, but B&B #120 is such a fantastic adventure from start to finish, and it introduced me to the Last Boy on Earth’s amazing world.

7. Metamorpho. I mean, right? Again, Aparo made me a Rex Mason fan.

6. The Spectre. Another character Aparo was born to draw. His style suited Jim Corrigan’s ghostly alter ego right down into the grave.

5. Earth-2 Robin. I’ve long been an admirer of the grown-up Dick Grayson of Earth-Two, but I didn’t really see him in the light I do now until I first saw Aparo’s rendition of him in B&B #182.

B&B #182

4. Red Tornado. This may seem like an odd one, but I’m a huge Reddy fan and Aparo’s art just seemed to suit the android.

3. Mister Miracle. Like Kamandi, sacrilege, right? But I didn’t meet Scott Free drawn by Jack Kirby; I met him drawn by Aparo in B&B #112, and thereafter he just looked sort of wrong when drawn by anyone else. Further apologies to the King.

B&B #112

2. Wildcat. I’m a Wildcat fan because of Jim Aparo. When I first saw Ted Grant in B&B #110, I didn’t know a thing about him, but I fell in love and it’s a romance that lasts to this day.

B&B #110

1. Batman. Now, c’mon — how could anyone else be Number One on my list? In my mind’s eye, the perfect Batman is drawn by a combo of Aparo, Irv Novick and Carmine Infantino… with a whole lotta Aparo.


— 13 COVERS: A DICK SPRANG Birthday Celebration. Click here.

— 13 COOL THINGS Written by ALAN BRENNERT. Click here.

JIM BEARD has pounded out adventure fiction since he sold a story to DC Comics in 2002. He’s gone on to write official Star Wars and Ghostbusters comics stories and contributed articles and essays to several volumes of comic book history. His prose work includes his own creations, but also licensed properties such as Planet of the Apes, X-Files, Spider-Man, Kolchak the Night Stalker and Captain Action. In addition, Jim provided regular content for, the official Marvel Comics website, for 17 years.

Check out his latest releases, a Green Hornet novella How Sweet the Sting, his first epic fantasy novel The Nine Nations Book One: The Sliding World, and the most recent Batman ’66 books of essays he’s edited: Zlonk! Zok! Zowie! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Essays on Batman ’66 – Season OneBiff! Bam! Ee-Yow! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Essays on Batman ’66 – Season Two and Oooff! Boff! Splatt! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Guide to Batman ’66 – Season Three.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I really would have liked to have seen more of Aparo’s Helena Wayne Huntress. It’s a shame that his only adventure drawing her was B&B #184.

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  2. Jim was in that group of a handful of artists that I couldn’t wait to see how he would draw DC heroes and villains!

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  3. Big Aparo fan here as well. Oddly, they never teamed Batman with the Golden Age Hourman or Sandman (or Starman). Would have liked to see that.

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  4. Great list Jim! The Flash issue (#151) with the “Disco Phantom” was one of my first issues of B&B, pulled from one of those Whitman 3-packs! I’m glad you gave the Earth-Two Robin some love, as that issue (#182) is my single favorite comic of all time!

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  5. This was great! More people should be acquainted with the great art of Jim Aparo.

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  6. Great tribute and list, Jim! I had the Joker, Green Arrow, and Phantom Stranger on my list, but I won’t quibble with yours. Aparo proved that he could draw anyone so there are no bad choices! Aparo didn’t draw the interior of B&B #153 with Red Tornado. Did he draw Red Tornado anywhere else other than the 153 cover?

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    • No, not really aware of any other time, but I’m just referencing the cover here. Should have been clearer on that.

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    • JLA #200 and a few World’s Finest and Detective covers.

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      • Thanks! I checked out those WF & Detective covers. I was pretty young then and Dollar comics were not in my budget. Aparo draws a great Red Tornado!

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  7. I remember all of these fondly. Loved his work. I especially enjoyed his Demon too…. Another Kirby character met through Jim’s lines. I was so disappointed when B&B went away.

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  8. Yeah, I would have included Green Arrow, the Phantom Stranger and Plastic Man. But cool list anyway.

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  9. Good list, but Aquaman should have been in second place. Aparo’s version is, along with Cardy’s, the definitive one.

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  10. Aparo was also great on the Phantom Stranger.
    My first B&B comic was a Whitman variant of #145 with PS as the guest star.

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