Like other comic bloggers, I was saddened to hear of Jim Aparo's death.
He was the first artist that I had "noticed" - like many an early comic geek, I eagerly scanned the writer/artist credits and could distinguish styles. (However, to be fair, I knew who Gene Roddenberry and Rod Serling were before I was ten years old). His characters were "realistic" not in the Alex Ross you-are-there sense, but with a grace and fluidity that suggested that these were taken from "real people." It wasn't flashy, but it wasn't just competent - for many (including myself) Aparo's Batman was the ideal: maybe that's why Aparo was asked to illustrate in the 90s both the "Death in the Family" arc and the decisive "Knightfall" Issue (i.e., when Bane broke Batman's back - ah, how I long for the Silver Age, both the era and the mini-series).
The first time I realized that Aparo was cool was in Brave and the Bold, especially issue # 182 (more about which can be found here). However, my personal favorite Aparo work is in Wrath of the Spectre, which was rereleased as a mini-series (from the run on Advenutre Comics and recently rereleased as a trade paperback. A heady mixture of superheroics, some Marvel-esque angst, and EC-Style horror with Comics Code boundaries - Aparo is, in my opinion, at his best in these pages - his art will insure some degree of immortality.
My condolences to his family during this tough time. He will be missed.