Bob Kane

Bob Kane

Infobox Comics creator

imagesize =
caption = Kane standing beside Michael Keaton as Batman on the set of the 1989 Batman film.
birthname = Robert Kahn
birthdate = birth date|1915|10|24|mf=y
location = New York City, New York
deathdate = death date and age|1998|11|3|1915|10|24|mf=y
deathplace = Los Angeles, California
nationality = American
area = Penciller, Writer
alias =
notable works = Batman
awards =

Bob Kane (born Robert Kahn, October 24, 1915 – November 3, 1998) was an American comic book artist and writer, credited as the creator of the DC Comics superhero Batman.


Early life and career

A high school friend of fellow cartoonist and future The Spirit creator Will Eisner,cite book | last=Weinstein| first=Simcha| authorlink=Simcha Weinstein | year=2006 | title=Up, Up, and Oy Vey! | edition=1st | publisher=Leviathan Press | id=ISBN 978-1-881927-32-7 ] Robert Kahn graduated from De Witt Clinton High School and legally changed his name to Bob Kane at age 18.cite book |first=Bob |last=Kane |coauthors=Tom Andrae |title=Batman & Me |publisher=Eclipse Books |location=Forestville, CA |year=1989 |id=1-56060-017-9 |pages=44] Kane studied art at Cooper Union, before "joining the Max Fleischer Studio as a trainee animator in 1934." [ Bob Kane Biography (1914-1998)] . Accessed May 8, 2008]


He entered the comics field two years later, in 1936, freelancing original material to editor Jerry Iger's comic book "Wow, What A Magazine!", including his first pencil & ink work on the serial "Hiram Hick".Biography by Joe Desris, in "Batman Achives", Volume 3 (DC Comics, 1994), p. 223 ISBN 1-56389-099-2] The following year, Kane began working at Iger's subsequent studio, Eisner & Iger, one of the first comic book "packagers" that produced comics on demand for publishers entering the new medium during its late-1930s and 1940s Golden Age. Among his work there was the funny animal feature "Peter Pupp" (which belied its look with overtones of "mystery and menace"), published in the U.K. comic magazine "Wags" and later reprinted in Fiction House's "Jumbo Comics". Kane also produced work through Eisner & Iger for two of the companies that would later merge to form DC Comics, including the humor features "Ginger Snap" in "More Fun Comics", "Oscar the Gumshoe" for "Detective Comics", and "Professor Doolittle" for "Adventure Comics". For that last title he went to on to do his first adventure strip, "Rusty and his Pals".


In early 1939, DC's success with the seminal superhero Superman in "Action Comics" prompted editors to scramble for more such heroes. In response, Bob Kane conceived "the Bat-Man". [Daniels, Les. "Batman: The Complete History". Chronicle Books, 1999. ISBN 0-8118-4232-0, pg. 18.] Kane said his influences for the character included actor Douglas Fairbanks' movie portrayal of the swashbuckler Zorro, Leonardo Da Vinci's diagram of the ornithopter, a flying machine with huge bat-like wings; and the 1930 film "The Bat Whispers", based on Mary Rinehart's mystery novel "The Circular Staircase". [Daniels, page 20]

Bill Finger joined Bob Kane's nascent studio in 1938. An aspiring writer and part-time shoe salesperson, he had met Kane at a party, and Kane later offered him a job ghost writing the strips "Rusty" and "Clip Carson". [Walker, Brian. "The Comics Since 1945" (Harry N. Abrams), pp. 10-12] Steranko, Jim. "The Steranko History of Comics" (Supergraphics, Reading, Pa., 1970; ISBN 0-517-50188-0), p. 44] He recalled that Kane

Finger said he offered such suggestions as giving the character a cowl and scalloped cape instead of wings; adding gloves; leaving the mask's eyeholes blank to connote mystery; and removing the bright red sections of the original costume, suggesting instead a gray-and-black color scheme. Finger additionally saidcite book |first=Bob |last=Kane |coauthors=Tom Andrae |title=Batman & Me |publisher=Eclipse Books |location=Forestville, CA |year=1989 |id=1-56060-017-9 |pages=41] his suggestions were influenced by Lee Falk's "The Phantom", a syndicated newspaper comic strip character with which Kane was familiar as well. Finger, who said he also devised the character's civilian name, Bruce Wayne, wrote the first Batman story, while Kane provided art. Kane, who had already submitted the proposal for Batman at DC and held a contract, is the only person given official company credit for Batman's creation. Comics historian Ron Goulart, in "Comic Book Encyclopedia", refers to Batman as the "creation of artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger". [Goulart, Ron, "Comic Book Encyclopedia" (Harper Entertainment, New York, 2004) ISBN 0-06-053816-3.]

According to Kane,

The character debuted in "Detective Comics" #27 (May 1939) and proved a breakout hit. Within a year, Kane hired art assistants Jerry Robinson (initially as an inker) and George Roussos. Shortly afterward, when DC wanted more Batman stories than Kane's studio could deliver, the company assigned Dick Sprang and other in-house pencilers as "ghost artists", drawing uncredited under Kane's supervision. Future "Justice League" writer Gardner Fox wrote some early scripts, including the two-part story "The Monk" that introduced some of The Batman's first "Bat-" equipment. [Kane, Andrae, p. 103; Daniels, page 29]

In 1943, Kane left the Batman comic books to focus on penciling the daily "Batman" newspaper comic strip. DC Comics artists ghosting the comic-book stories now included Jack Burnley and Win Mortimer, with Robinson moving up as penciler and Fred Ray contributing some covers. After the strip finished in 1946, Kane returned to the comic books but, unknown to DC, had hired his own personal ghosts: Lew S. Schwartz from 1946-1953 [Lew Schwartz interview, "Alter Ego" #51 (Aug. 2005)] and Sheldon Moldoff from 1953-1967. [Moldoff, in a 1994 interview given while Kane was alive , described his clandestine arrangement in "Alter Ego" #59 (June 2006, p. 15)]


Bill Finger recalled that,

Kane, who had previously created a sidekick for Peter Pupp, proposed adding a boy named Mercury who would have worn a "super-costume". ["Comic Book Interview Super Special: Batman" (Fictioneer Press, 1989] Robinson suggested a normal human, along with the name "Robin", after Robin Hood books he had read during boyhood, and noting in a 2005 interview he had been inspired by one book's N.C. Wyeth illustrations.cite journal |last=Interview, |first=|authorlink= |year=2005 |month=October |title=Jerry Robinson |journal=The Comics Journal |volume= |issue=271 |pages= |issn=0194-7869 |url= |accessdate= 2007-11-18 ] cquote|The impetus came from Bill's wanting to extend the parameters of the story potential and of the drama. He saw that adding a sidekick would enhance the drama. Also, it enlarged the readership identification. The younger kids could then identify with Robin, which they couldn't with Batman, and the older ones with Batman. It extended the appeal on a lot of levels. The new character, orphaned circus performer named Dick Grayson, came to live with Bruce Wayne as his young ward in "Detective Comics" #38 (April 1940) and would inspire many similar sidekicks throughout the Golden Age of comic books.

The Joker

Batman's archnemesis the Joker was introduced near that same time, in "Batman" #1 (Spring 1940). Credit for that character's creation is disputed. Robinson has said he created the character. [Per many sources, including Robinson interview, "The Comics Journal" #271] Kane's position is that

Robinson, whose original Joker playing card was on public display in the exhibition "Masters of American Comics" at the Jewish Museum in New York City, New York, from Sept. 16, 2006 to Jan. 28, 2007, and the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum in Atlanta, Georgia from Oct. 24, 2004 to Aug. 28, 2005, has countered that:

Later life and career

As Kane's comic work tapered off in the 1960s, Kane parlayed his Batman status into minor celebrity. He enjoyed a post-comic book career in TV animation, creating the characters Courageous Cat and Cool McCool, and as a painter, showing his work in art galleries, although even some of these paintings were produced by ghost artists. [ [ POV Online (column of March 15, 2007): "News from Me: Arnold", by Mark Evanier] ] In 1989, Kane published the autobiography "Batman and Me", with a second volume "Batman and Me, The Saga Continues", in 1996.

He was set to have a cameo in the 1989 movie "Batman" as the newspaper artist who prepares the drawing of the "Bat-man" for Alexander Knox, but scheduling conflicts prevented this. Kane's trademark square signature can still be seen clearly on the drawing. Kane died on November 3, 1998, leaving behind wife, Elizabeth Sanders (Kane), an actress who appeared in three Batman films, a daughter, and grandson. [cite web | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | title =Elizabeth Sanders (I) | work = | publisher = IMDb | date = | url = | format = | doi = | accessdate = 2007-01-19 ] Kane is interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California.



*Goulart, Ron, "Over 50 Years of American Comic Books" (BDD Promotional Books Company, 1991) ISBN-10 0792454502; ISBN-13 978-0792454502

External links

*imdb name|id=0004170|name=Bob Kane
* [ "Comic Book Artist" #3 (Winter 1999): "The Bob Kane Letter"] (September 14, 1965 open letter by Bob Kane)
* [ "The New York Times" November 7, 1998: "OBITUARY: Bob Kane, 83, the Cartoonist Who Created 'Batman,' Is Dead", by Sarah Boxer]

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