Growing up in New Britain, Conn., Jim Aparo always wanted to be an artist. With only one semester of art school, he became a comic book legend, illustrating the exploits of Batman for more than a decade.
In the late 1980s, Aparo illustrated one of the greatest Batman comic-book novels, A Death in the Family, considered a milestone in American comic book art.
He was born Aug. 24, 1932, and took art classes at New Britain High School and Hartford Art School for one semester. Mostly he taught himself. After high school he started doing work for an advertising agency. Meanwhile, he submitted drawings to comic book publishers. For years he got nothing but rejection.
The Charlton Comics editor gave him his first assignment: a teenage comic strip character called Miss Bikini Luv. Eventually he was working full-time for Charlton. When his editor, Dick Giordano, moved to DC Comics in 1968, he brought Jim Aparo along with him and assigned him Aquaman.
That ultimately led to a 10-year stint illustrating a series that featured Batman, often with another DC superhero – a real challenge for an artist to research and render a different superhero every month.
He illustrated his last cover in 2004 and died at home in Southington, Conn., on July 19, 2005.