One of the things I expected when I started doing my Logo Studies was that I would never be able to find out for sure, or at all, who designed many of the original comics logos from the 1940s. Today I proved that expectation wrong when I spoke to Jerry Robinson, one of the first Batman artists, and involved with the character almost from the beginning.
I got in touch with him to see what he might remember about early logo designer Ira Schnapp (nothing helpful, as it turned out), but also wanted to ask him about this original Robin logo:
which I thought he must have designed when he created the look of the character. Jerry confirmed that he did, indeed, create this first Robin logo, using an Old English style of letters to tie in to the character’s Robin Hood connection. Then he floored me by saying he had also designed the early Batman logo seen above.
“Was it the one with the Batman head and the ribs in the wings?” I asked. He found a copy of an early Batman comic and confirmed that was it. “We used it for years,” he told me.
In fact, it was this revised version, first appearing on issue 6 in 1941, that was used until issue 169 in 1965, a very long time indeed. I didn’t have these images in front of me when I spoke to Jerry, but I imagine he did this version, too, with a different Batman head and no ribbing in the bat wings. The shape of the B has also been improved with a circle template. “I wasn’t a calligrapher,” he told me, “so I may not have done the letters so well, but it was intended to be an Art Deco look.”
While perhaps not perfectly on-model, I think it worked great, and obviously everyone else involved liked it, too. Thanks to Paul Levitz for putting me in touch with Jerry, and thank YOU, Mr. Robinson, for adding to our knowledge on this subject, knowledge I thought was forever beyond reach. I’ve now updated my Batman Part 1 and Part 2 and Robin Part 1 logo studies to include this new information.