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Bob Kane---The Original Batman artist!

Updated on May 16, 2013

Bob Kane-Tremendous artwork!

As a comic book fan, I grew up reading about superheroes like Superman and Batman back in the early 60's. At first, I was exposed to Superman and was fascinated by his powers. I looked forward to seeing him in the series with George Reeves. Then, a neighbor had some Batman comics, which at the time, costed 10 cents. I got fascinated with this dark and mysterious figure dressed like a bat.

What intrigued me was that this was no Superman. He relied on acrobatics, strength and brains. Bullets could hurt him and he could not fly, yet he fought crime with the skills and talents that he had. I, also, was fascinated by his sidekick Robin. That kid had spunk and was acrobatic. The colors on the magazine was classic, mixing the blue and gray elements, this was one for the collectors.

I would, always, at the introduction of the comic in a white box see the name BOB KANE. This man was a genius in combining fantasy and drama, along with a great combination of comedy. The character villains were classic giving us the likes of the Joker, Riddler and the Penguin, among many other greats. I, especially, looked forward to the 80 page Giant which you got for 25 cents. One in particular talked about the Batman family. This family was so unique that it even had a Bathound--Classic! One thing to ask--Who was Bob Kane and how he came about in the Comic book industry?

Batman 80 page Giant---The Batman family!
Batman 80 page Giant---The Batman family!

A look at Bob Kane.

Bob Kane was born in New York on Oct 24,1915. His original name was Robert Kahn. As a child, Kane liked to draw. In 1934, he worked as a trainee animator for Max Fleischer studios. Fleischer studios drew cartoons like Betty Boop, Popeye and Superman to name a few. As he developed some experience in the cartoon world, he went on to draw comic books.

Teaming up with Bill Finger, they created one of the greatest heroes of all time----The Batman. At first, the hero was awkward with some stiff wings. Bill Finger suggested substituting the wings for the cape and cowl. Usually, the plots would be written by Bill Finger with some of the artwork done by Bob Kane. What was the inspiration behind the Batman? Kane recalls Zorro and the 1930's film named the "Bat whispers" among his influences.

Batman has gone through some transitions. At first, he was a superhero vigilante. If you read some of his early comic books, you will find that he even used a gun. As the years passed by, he was more of a detective and used his scientific skills to combat crime. The villains were classic too. One in particular was the Joker. Kane said he got his inspiration seeing the movie---The man who laughs with Conrad Veidt. I, personally, have seen bits and pieces of this movie and I have to admit the man is a dead ringer for the Joker.

Another character would be added to the Batman character. A 10 year old kid by the name of Robin. These two characters would find some common ground especially since both lost their parents by the hands of the underworld. This would attract the younger audience because they would identify with Robin. They would appear in the daily and Sunday papers with action-packed episodes in the '40's. As time passed by, the character would be toned down because of the comic code authority's concern for violence.

Other cartoon influences!

Kane would go on to drawing other cartoons. There are two that I can remember---Kool McCool and Courageous Cat. As a kid, I saw some Courageous cat cartoons and noticed how similar he was to the Batman character. He, even, had a sidekick named Minute Mouse, which was funny seeing how a cat could work together with a mouse. Ever heard the term "fighting like cat and mouse?" This cartoon was mostly a cat working with a mouse. Only in the cartoons. If you would like to see a peek on this classic cartoon, check out the link below.

Bob Kane would leave us a legacy of not, only, Batman comics but his cartoons as well. Believe it or not, Fleischer studios had approached DC comics to include Batman in their cartoons. When I hear this, I get frustrated. In my opinion, Fleischer cartoon studios had great animation and gave Disney a run for their money. Its Superman cartoons are a classic. I can, only, imagine what a Batman cartoon would have looked like.

Awards would be given to Kane for his work in Batman. Working in the 1989 movie Batman with Michael Keaton, he served as a consultant. He would be nominated for the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame among other awards. In that same year, he wrote a book by the name of Batman and me. Bob Kane, sadly, passed away from natural causes in 1998, but his art will never be forgotten. An artwork that was colorful and hard to top. Bob Kane is truly one of the greats in comic book history!


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    • lanablackmoor profile image

      lanablackmoor 5 years ago from New England

      This was fascinating to read! As much of a Batman fan as I am I had no idea he originally had wings.

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      I like Bob Kane's art. His legend has eclipsed his partner Bill Finger who has become almost forgotten, poor fellow.

      A bit of trivia; Kane was supposed to have a cameo appearance in the 1989 "Batman" film as the artist who drew the Batman picture for Knox. It didn't work out.