When I first looked at Jim Aparo’s art, I thought he was inspired heavily by Neal Adams, but it was just a coincidence. I liked his Aquaman and loved his Phantom and when Jim got to handle Batman team-ups in The Brave and the Bold, I was thrilled. He not only made each character look great, his backgrounds were filled with details and little cameos from film stars. His storytelling was top-notch, his Batman dark and moody. Jim excelled at super-heroes, supernatural, westerns, just about everything.
During my days editing Comics Scene I commissioned an interview with Jim simply because I hadn’t read one before and wanted to learn more about him.
When I joined DC, it was a delight to be able to call and offer him a story or cover. He was gracious and self-deprecating, and a thorough professional. He never missed a deadline nor complain about the work. In 1988, I had a chance to have Jim pencil the final three Spectre stories that never got done back in the 1970s, which was a particular highlight for me. (And here, 17 years later, I recently had the chance to collect all of Jim’s Spectre work in one volume, which was overdue if you ask me.)
I had heard he was ill and was warned the time was coming. You never want to hear it. You want to imagine the retired gent is in his Connecticut studio, doodling and handling the odd commission.
You’ll be missed, Jim.
Another of the original cast is gone and this one hurts.
While I loved Star Trek and thrilled to Jim Kirk and Spock’s exploits, I always found myself fascinated by Scotty, Sulu, Uhura and Chekov. My one and only fanzine article about Trek was entitled “It’s the Clerks who run the Government” – in praise of the supporting characters.
Jimmy’s Scotty was a caricature to be sure, especially as he got older and writers played to the hammy side of the actor, but he was also a pro. You could rely on Scotty in ways you couldn’t from other engineers.
Over the years I heard Jimmy speak and his life in the Canadian Air Force and early radio career and he was fascinating. He did any accent or voice at the drop of a hat and delighted in being with an appreciative audience. I managed to interview Jimmy a few times, first in college and then for Starlog and he always gave a good quote.
The last time we spoke was at a Shore Leave con some years back and we chatted for a bit about his new RV and how much more enjoyable that was for criss-crossing the country.
Jimmy was amiable and friendly and I suspect Star Trek curtailed a career that could have been richer in variety but did provide him with a following that he likely would not have had otherwise. In the final years I suspect he was content with that trade off.
We should all be so lucky.