James Robinson (writer)

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James Robinson
Robinson seated with his arms folded
Nationality British
Area(s) Writer
Notable works
Starman, The Golden Age
Awards Inkpot Award 2012

James Dale Robinson is a British writer of American comic books and screenplays who is known for his interest in vintage collectibles and memorabilia. Some of his best known comics are series focusing on the Justice Society of America, in particular the Starman character he co-created with Tony Harris.



James Robinson has been writing for over two decades, with an early comics work, "Grendel: The Devil's Whisper", appearing in the 1989 series of the British anthology A1. The series for which he is arguably most renowned is the DC Comics series Starman,[1] where he took the aging Golden Age character of the same name and revitalized both the character and all those who had used the name over the decades, weaving them into an interconnected whole. In 1997, Robinson's work on the title garnered him an Eisner Award for "Best Serialized Story".[2]

He is also known for his The Golden Age limited series, which, despite being an Elseworlds story, established much of the backstory he would later use in Starman. He has written the Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight series, and served as a consultant and co-writer in the first year of JSA[3] and its subsequent spin-off Hawkman. Other work for DC includes a Vigilante miniseries and the Sandman spin-off Witchcraft for Vertigo. Robinson wrote a brief run of Wildcats, teamed with artist Travis Charest, that further developed the book's mythology, along with a spinoff mini-series called Team One.

Similarly, he served as a transitional writer on the Marvel Comics titles, Cable and Generation X in 1997–1998 including the "Operation: Zero Tolerance" crossover event.[4] He wrote several issues of the "Heroes Reborn" version of Captain America

Leave It to Chance, created by Robinson with penciller Paul Smith, won Robinson two more Eisner Awards in 1997, for "Best New Series" and "Best Title for Younger Readers".[2]

His other work includes Ectokid, one of the series created by horror/fantasy novelist Clive Barker for Marvel Comics' Razorline imprint, and Firearm for Malibu Comics' Ultraverse line.

In 2006, Robinson wrote Batman and Detective Comics, penning the eight-issue "Face The Face" storyline, as part of the "One Year Later" project. In 2008–2010, Robinson was the writer of Superman.[5][6] This run included the storyline "The Coming of Atlas". He wrote the 2009–2010 mini-series Justice League: Cry for Justice[7] and began writing Justice League of America in October 2009 with art by Mark Bagley.[8] Robinson was joined by artist Brett Booth on Justice League of America in February 2011.[9] In May 2010, Robinson and Sterling Gates co-wrote, with artist Eddy Barrows, War of the Supermen, a Superman-based event that was the culmination of two years of story starting from Superman: New Krypton.[10] He concluded his work on Superman with issue #700 (Aug. 2010).[11]

Robinson later wrote a twelve-issue series starring The Shade, a character closely identified with his Starman series[12][13] and recreated Earth 2 in an eponymous ongoing series for DC's The New 52 initiative in 2011 and 2012.[14][15] One of the revisions which Robinson introduced was making the Earth Two Green Lantern (Alan Scott) gay.[16]

In May 2013, Robinson ended his long relationship with DC Comics. His last issue of Earth 2 was #16. Many observers found the departure abrupt, since Robinson had teased of long term plans for Earth 2. Despite the abrupt nature of Robinson's departure from DC, Robinson's relationship with the company remains amicable. Robinson took new assignments from Marvel Comics after then. His first announced project for Marvel was a collaboration with co-writer Mark Waid and illustrator Gabriele Dell'Otto on an original graphic novel titled Spider-Man: Family Business.[17] A second announced project for Marvel was All-New Invaders, an ongoing monthly comic series with artist Steve Pugh.[18] He and Leonard Kirk launched a new Fantastic Four series in February 2014.[19]

The Saviors was released in December 2013 by Image Comics. This story described what happens when Tomas Ramirez, a man working at a gas station stumbles upon an extraterrestrial plot that could mean the end of the Earth.[20]

Dynamite Entertainment will publish Grand Passion, a monthly series by Robinson. His description of the series is "Grand Passion is definitely a departure from what I've been doing in the last few years. This series is about two wayward characters Doc and Mabel – one a cop, the other a crook – who are fated to fall in love at first sight even as Mabel swears she'll kill Doc if it's the last thing she does. It marries elements of a Harlequin romance with hard-boiled crime and takes it off in a direction that's surprising, funny, violent, and sexy. I'm very excited to roll up my sleeves and immerse myself in writing this tale."[21]

He wrote an ongoing Scarlet Witch series for Marvel which began in late 2015.[22] Robinson explained that he has been influenced by the work of Matt Fraction and David Aja on the Hawkeye title stating "How they [Matt Fraction and David Aja] managed to stay true to the character in the Avengers while also taking it in a fresh direction, so it wasn't just that same Avengers character doing solo things, which I don't think ever really works for any sustained period of time for any of those second-tier characters."[23]

Robinson returned to DC Comics in late 2017 to write Wonder Woman for a six-issue long story arc.[24]


In addition to his work in comics, Robinson wrote the screenplay for the 1993 direct-to-video film Firearm, and wrote and directed the 2002 feature Comic Book Villains, starring Cary Elwes and Michael Rapaport, as well as producing the screenplay for the 1995 film Cyber Bandits with Martin Kemp, Alexandra Paul, Grace Jones and singer Adam Ant. His best known screenplay was for the 2003 movie version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

This last script caused some controversy among fans of the original work, many of whom were disappointed an established comics writer's take on Alan Moore's and Kevin O'Neill's series took so many liberties with and considerably changed the tone of the source material. Early drafts had reportedly relocated much of the action from England to America, allegedly in an attempt to make it more acceptable to an American audience.[25][26]

Critical reception[edit]

Robinson's book London's Dark: A tale of love & war, life, death (& afterlife) (1989) has been named one of the 500 "essential" graphic novels, as it was "at the vanguard [...] of British graphic novels as a whole" although it was "a very raw work, full of experimentation".[27]

Personal life[edit]

Robinson lived in Los Angeles, where he was good friends with fellow writers and collaborators Geoff Johns and Sterling Gates.[28]

In 2009, he and Jann Jones, co-ordinating editor of the Johnny DC comics imprint, announced their engagement.[29] They have since relocated to San Francisco and married.


James Robinson received an Inkpot Award in 2012.[30]




  1. ^ The Leave It to Chance series consisted of thirteen issues; issue #13 was not collected.


  1. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1990s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 267. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. In this ongoing series by writer James Robinson and artist Tony Harris, a new Starman was unleashed on the world. 
  2. ^ a b "1997 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees and Winners". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on July 23, 2012. 
  3. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 287: "With a successful Starman revamp and acclaimed Elseworlds limited series The Golden Age already under his belt, Robinson had set the stage for his newest opus – the return of the Justice Society of America."
  4. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1990s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 283. ISBN 978-0756641238. 'Operation: Zero Tolerance' truly began in the prologue within X-Men #65...the story sprang from there into all the other X-titles of the time and featured the work of writers James Robinson, John Francis Moore, Larry Hama, Steve Seagle, and Joe Kelly. 
  5. ^ Brady, Matt (February 8, 2008). "James Robinson Named as New Superman Writer". Newsarama. Archived from the original on July 10, 2009. 
  6. ^ Renaud, Jeffrey (May 23, 2008). "Golden Age James Robinson II: Superman". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on February 21, 2013. 
  7. ^ Renaud, Jeffrey (May 22, 2008). "Golden Age James Robinson I: Justice League". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on October 27, 2012. 
  8. ^ Renaud, Jeffrey (September 24, 2009). "James Robinson's JLA Roll Call". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on August 12, 2013. 
  9. ^ Rogers, Vaneta (December 23, 2010). "Robinson's JLA pt. 2: 'Epic' Eclipso Arc Brings Changes". Newsarama. Archived from the original on March 13, 2014. 
  10. ^ Rogers, Vaneta (March 23, 2010). "Writers Gates & Robinson Wage the War of the Supermen". Newsarama. Archived from the original on March 13, 2014. 
  11. ^ Cowsill, Alan "2000s" in Dolan, p. 341: "Writer James Robinson brought his epic run to an end with a touching tale that brought Superman back to Lois Lane after his time on New Krypton."
  12. ^ Hudson, Laura (March 13, 2010). "Emerald City Comic-Con: The DC Nation Panel". ComicsAlliance. Archived from the original on September 1, 2014. 
  13. ^ Rogers, Vaneta (October 11, 2011). "Robinson, Hamner Bring The Shade To DC Fans Old & New". Newsarama. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. 
  14. ^ Kushins, Josh (January 12, 2012). "DC Comics in 2012–-Introducing the "Second Wave" of DC Comics The New 52". The Source. DC Comics. Archived from "second-wave"-of-dc-comics-the-new-52/ the original on January 14, 2012. Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  15. ^ Rogers, Vaneta (March 5, 2012). "James Robinson Describes the New 52's Earth 2". Newsarama. Archived from the original on July 28, 2013. 
  16. ^ Moore, Matt (June 1, 2012). "Green Lantern relaunched as brave, mighty and gay". Yahoo! News. Archived from the original on November 16, 2012. 
  17. ^ Sunu, Steve (June 17, 2013). "Spidey's Sister Revealed In Waid & Robinson's Spider-Man: Family Business OGN". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on April 29, 2014. 
  18. ^ Melrose, Kevin (September 9, 2013). "Robinson, Pugh Introduce All-New Invaders to Marvel NOW!". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on April 29, 2014. 
  19. ^ Richards, Dave (November 20, 2013). "James Robinson Ushers in a New Era for the Fantastic Four". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on April 29, 2014. These questions and more will be explored in an all-new volume of Fantastic Four by writer James Robinson and artist Leonard Kirk, which kicks off in February. 
  20. ^ Armitage, Hugh (September 19, 2013). "James Robinson's The Saviors arrives in December". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on May 7, 2014. 
  21. ^ "SDCC: James Robinson Brings Grand Passion to Dynamite". Comic Book Resources. July 15, 2013. Archived from the original on May 6, 2014. 
  22. ^ Parkin, JK (August 25, 2015). "Fall Under the Spell of the Scarlet Witch". Marvel Comics. 
  23. ^ Damore, Meagan (August 25, 2015). "James Robinson Promises Unique Adventures for Wanda in New Scarlet Witch Series". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015.  Archive requires scrolldown
  24. ^ Arrant, Chris (June 19, 2017). "New Wonder Woman Creative Team Coming In September 2017". Newsarama. Archived from the original on August 22, 2017. James Robinson, Carlos Pagulyan, and Emanuela Lupacchino are taking over DC's Wonder Woman with September 27's #31. 
  25. ^ Sauriol, Patrick (October 6, 2000). "The League of Disappointing Adaptations". Director's Cut. Archived from the original on December 14, 2000. Retrieved March 23, 2006. 
  26. ^ Stax (April 30, 2002). "The Stax Report: Script Review of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen". IGN. Archived from the original on April 21, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2008. 
  27. ^ Kannenberg, Jr., Gene (2008). 500 Essential Graphic Novels: The Ultimate Guide. Ilex Press. ISBN 978-0061474514. 
  28. ^ Renaud, Jeffrey (July 23, 2008). "Johns Finds New Krypton with Robinson and Gates". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on February 21, 2013. Johns also had high praise for the third member of the Superman writing team, his close friend James Robinson. 
  29. ^ Johnston, Rich (February 9, 2009). "Lying In The Gutters Volume 2 Column 196". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on July 31, 2013. Congratulations to DC's Jann Jones and James Robinson, recently engaged! 
  30. ^ "Inkpot Award". San Diego Comic-Con. 2016. Archived from the original on January 29, 2017. 
  31. ^ Campbell, Josie (July 13, 2011). "Robinson Traverses Time and Space with The Shade". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on June 23, 2012. 
  32. ^ Phegley, Kiel (November 28, 2011). "Robinson Notes Low Orders for The Shade". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on June 1, 2013. 

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