Cartoonist Jerry Robinson, who worked on the earliest Batman comics and claimed credit for creating the super-villian The Joker, died Thursday at the age of 89, his family confirmed.
"Batman has lost another father," said Batman movie producer Michael Uslan said. "Farewell to my dear, dear friend, mentor, and idol, Jerry Robinson."
Robinson, in a panel discussion at New York Comic Con in 2009, said he was a 17-year-old creative writing student at Columbia University when he was hired as a writer and illustrator at DC Comics.
Although he was initially just assisting Batman creator Bob Kane and Bill Finger, his chance to create The Joker came in 1940 when the demand for more Batman stories overloaded Finger.
"This was going to be a problem, so I volunteered to do one of the stories," Robinson said.
He handed in the work for a grade in his college creative writing class, he said.
"I wanted a very strong villain because I thought that's going to carry the story," Robinson said. "Villains are more exciting."