Norm Breyfogle, one of the artists most associated with Batman in the late 1980s and early 1990s, has passed away. His friend Daniel Best posted the news on Facebook.
While Breyfogle’s comics career started in 1984, in a story published in DC Comics’ New Talent Showcase, that wasn’t his actual first published comics work. As a teenager, he responded to a request to create a new costume for Robin, and his entry appeared in Batman Family #13.
About 15 years later, Breyfogle would get the chance to draw Robin in the pages of Batman — a new Robin, Tim Drake, who wore a new version of the costume. Breyfogle and writer Alan Grant worked on Batman together for a number of years, working on Detective Comics, Batman and then a new title, Batman: Shadow of the Bat. Together they introduced Ventriloquist, Ratcatcher, Jeremiah Arkham, Mr. Zsasz and Amygdala to the Batman mythos. Breyfogle also painted the graphic novel Batman: Birth of the Demon.
Breyfogle would go on to co-create the character Prime from Malibu Comics, along with Bob Jacob, Gerard Jones and Len Strazewski. Prime served as one of the main flagship characters of the line, and Breyfogle drew the series for 12 issues. He also created the comic book Metaphysique, which was published by Malibu. His other credits include Batman Beyond Unlimited, the ‘Bob Violence’ back-ups from American Flagg!, Tales of Terror, Whisper, Anarky, Hellcat, Archie and The Spectre, among others.
“I had the pleasure of working with Norm on The Spectre and he was a wonderful collaborator: his drawing was powerful, his storytelling impeccable and he really thought about the stories,” said writer J.M. DeMatteis. “Norm would call me up just to ask questions and discuss the philosophy underlying my scripts. He had a questing mind that dug deep—and that depth was reflected in his dynamic artwork.”
Many creators have shared their reactions to the news on social media, noting their love for Breyfogle’s work — especially his version of Batman’s cape.
Just received word that artist Norm Breyfogle has passed away. His distinctive style was a hallmark of the Batman books throughout the 1990s, always a favorite. It's a sad day. He will be missed. pic.twitter.com/oP2l8yisVT
— Scott Tipton (@Scott_Tipton) September 26, 2018
Really saddened to hear about the passing of Norm Breyfogle. Among so many things he did well on the comic page, his mastery of Batman's cape, like a thing alive, always stood out to me. R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/GASAZVzFV7
— Chris Ryall (@chris_ryall) September 26, 2018
Norm Breyfogle RIP
This is crushing. pic.twitter.com/QFgKy2YBxE
— Michel Fiffe @NYCC (@MichelFiffe) September 26, 2018
Hearing that Norm Breyfogle passed away. Norm’s Batman in DETECTIVE COMICS was my “first” Batman. Very sad. He was so dynamic and dark, without being cliche. Man, what lousy news. pic.twitter.com/05yubfD8dW
— Nate Piekos (@blambot) September 26, 2018
Really sad to hear about Norm Breyfogle's passing. A remarkable artist, and an incredibly gracious and lovely man. He got cheated out of the long, healthy life he deserved, and we got cheated out of a lot of cool comics. pic.twitter.com/1Qc2VoVhxX
— Ande Parks (@andeparks) September 26, 2018
With the passing of Norm Breyfogle, who used crowdfunding to help pay for treatment after a stroke, it's worth mentioning that comic book creators are freelancers, and often do not have adequate insurance or any at all. Support the @heroinitiative if you can. Thank you.
— Tim Seeley NYCC B25 (@HackinTimSeeley) September 26, 2018
There was a time when Norm Breyfogle's depiction of Batman was absolutely iconic and embraced by readers all over the world. He left us far too soon. RIP.
— Dan Jurgens (@thedanjurgens) September 26, 2018
Tough news about Norm Breyfogle. One of the most dynamic artists of his generation. Heartbreaking to see this happen to such a young and health-conscious guy. Godspeed, Norm.
— Phillip Hester (@philhester) September 26, 2018
Deeply saddened to learn of the passing of comics art-giant Norm Breyfogle. I only had the pleasure of chatting with him a few times. Such a huge loss for the publishing community. RIP Norm. Thanks for sharing your gift. pic.twitter.com/l6u4PEZtFR
— Shannon Eric Denton (@ShannonDenton) September 26, 2018
Batman artist Norm Breyfogle passed away. Norm's Batman was pure adrenalin rush. Everything was drawn to suit what Norm wanted to express, his exuberance on the page could not be pinned down by mundane mechanics and necessities.
He will be remembered. pic.twitter.com/PBi3iapBaO
— Patch Zircher (@PatrickZircher) September 26, 2018
Deeply saddened to hear of Norm Breyfogle's passing. His Batman was a staple of my youth, and his contributions to comics in general, and Gotham City in particular, are immeasurable. I imagine the Batsignal lit just for him tonight. #RIP pic.twitter.com/u4w20fZsD7
— Scott Snyder (@Ssnyder1835) September 26, 2018
today's vision of comics' #Batman from many of the most iconic contemporary artists owes him a lot, not only in aesthetic terms, but in his storytelling approach. The man creatively nurtured an entire generation of artists #RIP #NormBreyfogle
— Gabriel Rodríguez (@GR_comics) September 26, 2018
Incredibly saddened by the news that Norm Breyfogle has died. I never met Norm, but his work was a massive influence on me and my path in life. I can't even tell you, I just love his work so much. His Batman is iconic, but it was through Norm's vision that I first met Nightwing. pic.twitter.com/haftATwDHz
— Andy Khouri (@andykhouri) September 26, 2018
So sad to hear of Norm Breyfogle’s passing. I only had the pleasure of meeting him in person once but he was incredibly kind and generous with his time. His and Aparo’s were THE Batman of my childhood.
— CHRIS SAMNEE (@ChrisSamnee) September 26, 2018
So saddened to hear of the passing of Norm Breyfogle. I never got to meet the man but talk about someone who defined a whole era of my life and continued to be a huge inspiration into adulthood and my career.
Breyfogle was THE Batman artist. Rest In Peace, sir. pic.twitter.com/59u7QlsbhV
— Mitch Gerads @NYCC K-34 (@MitchGerads) September 26, 2018
RIP Norm Breyfogle. I never met him but I admired the craft and storytelling in his work a lot. pic.twitter.com/jEUjVwNNoW
— Gabriel Hardman (@gabrielhardman) September 26, 2018
Saddened to hear of Norm Breyfogle's passing. He had a unmistakable style all his own and inspired many Batman creators with his work, including me. My thoughts go out to his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/UFSbXhnQZs
— Tony S Daniel (@TonyDanielx2) September 26, 2018
RIP Norm Breyfogle. The definitive Batman artist for a generation – but of course, he did so much more than that. His mastery of line, flow, storytelling and emotion – both subtle and operatic – shone through in every panel. pic.twitter.com/s0r0QY7DDa
— Al Ewing Writes Comics And Tells You About Them (@Al_Ewing) September 26, 2018