As most comic fans by now know, legendary artist Tom Lyle is in a medically induced coma after suffering an aneurysm. Last I read doctors will perform a surgery on Wednesday to clear the blood clot.
Doctors are hopeful that it will be a success. As we all send our positive vibes to him and his loved ones, I want to talk comics about him.
I had the incredible honor to talk with him in person last year at NYCC. He's an incredibly humble, nice, and funny person. After a nice conversation he jokingly tried to convince me to move to Atlanta and attend his art class. He was very humble when I told him his Robin MY Robin.
My introduction to Tim Drake was actually the first Batman comic I bought as a preteen. Batman #469, "Shadow Box" part 3. I was BLOWN AWAY. From the writing by Chuck Dixon to the art by Tom Lyle, I was enamored by this comic. I was able to get the final copy of issue 467 left. I immediately started copying his Robin. That final two pages from issue 469 was the first comic book pages I tried to copy.
And not too long after that, to my surprise, Robin II: Joker's Wild came out.
I was like "HOLY S___!!!! Robin TWO!? There was a Robin ONE!?!?!?!" Yeah, internet was not like it was back then, and I could only buy comics at my local pharmacy at the mall, so no comic book shop talk about all that stuff. Every month the miniseries came out, I ran into that pharmacy. At that time, that was the greatest thing ever in my life. EVER. To this day, there are STILL remnants of the Tim Drake hair on my own character, Fred Peterson.
I tried to follow his art wherever I could. From Batman, Detective Comics, The Comet, Spider-Man, and of course, Robin III when it came out.
And even though I LOVE Tom Grummet's art, part of me did hope Lyle would do the art for the Robin ongoing series. He went on to do Punisher for a while, then it became a bit harder to find his art.
But that didn't stop me from reading page from page all the older comics.
I traded comics with friends to get the first Robin miniseries. I would read and reread them. And after they fell apart or got damaged by the latest hurricane or storm attacking Puerto Rico, where I grew up in my teens, I would hunt them down and buy them again.
To me, back then, his art was unlike ANYTHING I had ever seen before. As a kid that grew up on Archie Comics, I saw that Batman 469 cover, and it became an important part of my life. Nothing was the same after that comic. With Archie, I'd look at art and say that was fun. With Lyle's Batman cover, that was the first I ever saw a comic and thought that the art looked COOL.
And all though back then I'd still get some Archie, I found myself getting more and more the "edgier", more "adult" comics. If Archie Comics symbolize my childhood, Tom Lyle's Batman and Robin symbolize that growth into a teenager. To Tom Lyle, once again, thank you from the bottom of my nerd heart. You were my gateway into the wonderful world of superheroes, the comics that in many ways saved my own life. Thank you.
-Alvaro Cortes Jr