Robert Kane (born Robert Kahn /kɑːn/; October 24, 1915 – November 3, 1998) was an American comic book writer and artist who co-created, with Bill Finger, the DC Comics character Batman. He was inducted into the comic book industry's Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1994 and into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1996.
Kane posing with a Batmobile painting in 1966
October 24, 1915
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||November 3, 1998 (aged 83)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Beverly (m. in 1940s; divorced 1957)|
Elizabeth Sanders (1987-1998; his death)
Robert Kahn was born in New York City, New York. His parents, Augusta and Herman Kahn, an engraver, were of Eastern European Jewish descent. A high school friend of fellow cartoonist and future Spirit creator Will Eisner, Robert Kahn graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School and then legally changed his name to Robert Kane. He studied art at Cooper Union before "joining the Max Fleischer Studio as a trainee animator in the year of 1934".
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 and ink work on the serial Hiram Hick. The following year, Kane began to work at Iger's subsequent studio, Eisner & Iger, which was 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 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 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." Kane said his influences for the character included actor Douglas Fairbanks' film 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 (1908).
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. He recalled that Kane
...had an idea for a character called 'Batman', and he'd like me to see the drawings. I went over to Kane's, and he had drawn a character who looked very much like Superman with kind of ... reddish tights, I believe, with boots ... no gloves, no gauntlets ... with a small domino mask, swinging on a rope. He had two stiff wings that were sticking out, looking like bat wings. And under it was a big sign ... BATMAN.
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 said 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 an 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".
According to Kane, "Bill Finger was a contributing force on Batman right from the beginning. He wrote most of the great stories and was influential in setting the style and genre other writers would emulate ... I made Batman a superhero-vigilante when I first created him. Bill turned him into a scientific detective.
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 (backgrounds artist and letterer). Though Robinson and Roussos worked out of Kane's art studio in The New York Times building, Kane himself did all his drawing at home. 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.
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, including Lew Schwartz and Sheldon Moldoff from 1953-1967.
Bill Finger recalled that,
Robin was an outgrowth of a conversation I had with Bob. As I said, Batman was a combination of [Douglas] Fairbanks and Sherlock Holmes. Holmes had his Watson. The thing that bothered me was that Batman didn't have anyone to talk to, and it got a little tiresome always having him thinking. I found that as I went along Batman needed a Watson to talk to. That's how Robin came to be. Bob called me over and said he was going to put a boy in the strip to identify with Batman. I thought it was a great idea.
Kane, who had previously created a sidekick for Peter Pupp, proposed adding a boy named Mercury who would have worn a "super-costume". 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.
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, an 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.
Batman's nemesis the Joker was introduced near that same time, in Batman #1 (Spring 1940). Credit for that character's creation is disputed. Kane's position is that
Bill Finger and I created the Joker. Bill was the writer. Jerry Robinson came to me with a playing card of the Joker. That's the way I sum it up. [The Joker] looks like Conrad Veidt — you know, the actor in The Man Who Laughs, [the 1928 movie based on the novel] by Victor Hugo. ... Bill Finger had a book with a photograph of Conrad Veidt and showed it to me and said, 'Here's the Joker'. Jerry Robinson had absolutely nothing to do with it. But he'll always say he created it till he dies. He brought in a playing card, which we used for a couple of issues for him [the Joker] to use as his playing card.
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 September 16, 2006 to January 28, 2007, and the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum in Atlanta, Georgia from October 24, 2004 to August 28, 2005, has countered that:
Bill Finger knew of Conrad Veidt because Bill had been to a lot of the foreign films. Veidt ... had this clown makeup with the frozen smile on his face (classic). When Bill saw the first drawing of the Joker, he said, 'That reminds me of Conrad Veidt in The Man Who Laughs.' He said he would bring in some shots of that movie to show me. That's how that came about. I think in Bill's mind, he fleshed out the concept of the character.
Robinson added, however, "If you read the Batman historian [E. Nelson] Bridwell, he had one interview where he interviewed Bill Finger and he said no, the Joker was created by me — an acknowledgement. He can be credited and Bob himself, we all played a role in it. ... .He wrote the script of that, so he really was co-creator, and Bob and I did the visuals, so Bob was also."
According to comics historian Les Daniels, "nearly everyone seems to agree that Two-Face was Kane's brainchild exclusively". Catwoman, originally introduced by Kane with no costume as "the Cat", was partially inspired by his cousin, Ruth Steel. Kane, a frequent movie goer, mentioned that Jean Harlow was a model for the design and added that "I always felt that women were feline". Kane created the Scarecrow and drew his first appearance, which was scripted by Finger. Kane also created the original incarnation of Clayface. According to Kane, he drew the Penguin after being inspired by the then advertising mascot of Kool cigarettes — a penguin with a top hat and cane. Finger, however, claimed that he created the villain as a caricature of the aristocratic type, because "stuffy English gentlemen" reminded him of emperor penguins.
In 1966, Kane retired from DC Comics, choosing to focus on fine art. As Kane's comic-book work tapered off in the 1960s, he parlayed his Batman status into minor celebrity. He enjoyed a post-comics career in television animation, creating the characters Courageous Cat and Cool McCool, and as a painter showed his work in art galleries, although some of these paintings were produced by ghost artists. DC Comics named Kane in 1985 as one of the honorees in the company's 50th anniversary publication Fifty Who Made DC Great. In 1989, Kane published the autobiography Batman and Me, with an updated edition Batman and Me, The Saga Continues, in 1996.
Kane married his first wife, Beverly, in the 1940s, and the two divorced in 1957. They had a daughter, Deborah. Kane married his second wife, actress Elizabeth Sanders Kane, in 1987.
Kane married his first wife, Beverly, in the 1940s; the couple had a daughter...CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
Batman is a superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, and first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in 1939. Originally named the "Bat-Man," the character is also referred to by such epithets as the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, and the World's Greatest Detective.Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne, a wealthy American playboy, philanthropist, and owner of Wayne Enterprises. After witnessing the murder of his parents Dr. Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne as a child, he swore vengeance against criminals, an oath tempered by a sense of justice. Bruce Wayne trains himself physically and intellectually and crafts a bat-inspired persona to fight crime.Batman operates in the fictional Gotham City with assistance from various supporting characters, including his butler Alfred, police commissioner Jim Gordon, and vigilante allies such as Robin. Unlike most superheroes, Batman does not possess any inhuman superpowers. He does, however, possess a genius-level intellect, is a peerless martial artist, and his vast wealth affords him an extraordinary arsenal of weaponry and equipment. A large assortment of villains make up Batman's rogues gallery, including his archenemy, the Joker.
The character became popular soon after his introduction in 1939 and gained his own comic book title, Batman, the following year. As the decades went on, differing interpretations of the character emerged. The late 1960s Batman television series used a camp aesthetic, which continued to be associated with the character for years after the show ended. Various creators worked to return the character to his dark roots, culminating in 1986 with The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. The success of Warner Bros. Pictures' live-action Batman feature films have helped maintain the character's prominence in mainstream culture.Batman has been licensed and featured in various adaptations, from radio to television and film, and appears in merchandise sold around the world, such as apparel, toys, and video games. Kevin Conroy, Rino Romano, Anthony Ruivivar, Peter Weller, Bruce Greenwood, Jason O'Mara, and Will Arnett, among others, have provided the character's voice for animated adaptations. Batman has been depicted in both film and television by Lewis Wilson, Robert Lowery, Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck.Bill Finger
Milton Finger, known professionally as Bill Finger (February 8, 1914 – January 18, 1974), was an American comic strip and comic book writer best known as the co-creator, with Bob Kane, of the DC Comics character Batman, and the co-architect of the series' development. Although Finger did not receive contemporaneous credit for his hand in the development of Batman, Kane acknowledged Finger's contributions years after Finger's death.Finger also wrote many of the original 1940s Green Lantern stories featuring the original Green Lantern (Alan Scott), and contributed to the development of numerous other comic book series.
He was posthumously inducted into the comic book industry's Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1999. The Bill Finger Award, founded by Jerry Robinson and presented annually at the San Diego Comic-Con to honor excellence in comic-book writing, is named for him.Cavalier (comics)
Cavalier is a fictional supervillain in the DC Comics universe. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #81 (November 1943) and was created by Don Cameron and Bob Kane.Crime Doctor (comics)
The Crime Doctor is the name of two fictional supervillains that appears in American comic books published by DC Comics. The Crime Doctor is a medical expert who caters exclusively to criminals, originally an enemy of Batman.Doctor Death (comics)
Doctor Death is a mad scientist and supervillain appearing in publications by DC Comics. The character was created officially by Bob Kane as an enemy of the superhero Batman, and first appeared in Detective Comics #29 (July 1939). He is notable as the first traditional supervillain to be encountered by the Batman, as well as his first recurring foe.Doctor Double X
Doctor Double X (originally called Doctor X and Double X) is a fictional character in the DC Comics universe. The character is a supervillain who has fought the Batman and Robin several times in Gotham City.Frankenstein (DC Comics)
Frankenstein is a fictional DC Comics character based on the Frankenstein's monster character created by Mary Shelley.Joe Chill
Joe Chill is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with the superhero Batman. Created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane, the character first appeared in Detective Comics #33 (November 1939).
In Batman's origin story, Joe Chill is the Gotham City mugger who murders young Bruce Wayne's parents, Dr. Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne. The murder traumatizes Bruce, and he swears to avenge their deaths by fighting crime as the vigilante Batman.Julie Madison
Julie Madison is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with the superhero Batman. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #31 (September 1939) and was created by Gardner Fox, Bob Kane, and Sheldon Moldoff. She is best known as being Batman's first significant romantic interest.Monk (comics)
The Monk, also known as the Mad Monk, is a fictional supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, commonly as an adversary of the superhero Batman. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #31 (September 1939) and was created by Gardner Fox, Bob Kane, and Sheldon Moldoff.Penguin (character)
The Penguin (Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot) is a fictional supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, commonly as an adversary of the superhero Batman. The character made his first appearance in Detective Comics #58 (December 1941) and was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. The Penguin is one of Batman's most enduring enemies and belongs to the collective of adversaries that make up Batman's rogues gallery.
The Penguin is a Gotham City mobster who fancies himself a "gentleman of crime", often wearing a monocle, top hat, and tuxedo. The character is a short, obese man with a long nose, and he uses high-tech umbrellas as weapons. The Penguin runs a nightclub called the Iceberg Lounge which provides a cover for his criminal activity, and Batman sometimes uses the nightclub as a source of criminal underworld information. Unlike most of Batman's rogues gallery, the Penguin is sane and in control of his actions, giving him a unique relationship with Batman. According to Kane, the character was inspired by the advertising mascot of Kool cigarettes, a penguin with a top hat and cane. Finger thought that the image of high-society gentlemen in tuxedos was reminiscent of emperor penguins.The character has been featured in various media adaptations, including feature films, television series, and video games. For example, the Penguin has been voiced by Paul Williams and David Ogden Stiers in the DC animated universe, Tom Kenny in The Batman, and Nolan North in the Batman: Arkham video game series. His live-action portrayals include Burgess Meredith in the 1960s Batman television series and its spinoff film, Danny DeVito in Batman Returns, and Robin Lord Taylor in the television series Gotham.
The Penguin has repeatedly been named one of the best Batman villains and one of the greatest villains in comics. Penguin was ranked #51 in IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time.Pennyworth (TV series)
Pennyworth is an upcoming American drama television series, based on characters published by DC Comics and created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, that is set to premiere in June 2019, on Epix. The series is executive produced by Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon and will star Jack Bannon, Ben Aldridge, Ryan Fletcher, Hainsley Lloyd Bennett, Paloma Faith, and Jason Flemyng.Robin (character)
Robin is the name of several fictional superheroes appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was originally created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, and Jerry Robinson, to serve as a junior counterpart to the superhero Batman. The character's first incarnation, Dick Grayson, debuted in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940). Conceived as a way to attract young readership, Robin garnered overwhelmingly positive critical reception, doubling the sales of the Batman titles. The early adventures of Robin included Star Spangled Comics #65–130 (1947–1952), which was the character's first solo feature. Robin made regular appearances in Batman related comic books and other DC Comics publications from 1940 through the early 1980s until the character set aside the Robin identity and became the independent superhero Nightwing. The team of Batman and Robin has commonly been referred to as the Caped Crusaders or Dynamic Duo.
The character's second incarnation Jason Todd first appeared in Batman #357 (1983). This Robin made regular appearances in Batman related comic books until 1988, when the character was murdered by the Joker in the storyline "A Death in the Family" (1989). Jason would later find himself alive after a reality changing incident, eventually becoming the Red Hood. The premiere Robin limited series was published in 1991 which featured the character's third incarnation Tim Drake training to earn the role of Batman's vigilante partner. Following two successful sequels, the monthly Robin ongoing series began in 1993 and ended in early 2009, which also helped his transition from sidekick to a superhero in his own right. In 2004 storylines, established DC Comics character Stephanie Brown became the fourth Robin for a short duration before the role reverted to Tim Drake. Damian Wayne succeeds Drake as Robin in the 2009 story arc "Battle for the Cowl".
Following the 2011 continuity reboot "the New 52", Tim Drake was revised as having assumed the title Red Robin, and Jason Todd, operating as the Red Hood, was slowly repairing his relationship with Batman. Dick Grayson resumed his role as Nightwing and Stephanie Brown was introduced anew under her previous moniker Spoiler in the pages of Batman Eternal (2014). The 2016 DC Rebirth continuity relaunch starts off with Damian Wayne as Robin, Tim Drake as Red Robin, Jason Todd as Red Hood, and Dick Grayson as Nightwing. Robins have also been featured throughout stories set in parallel worlds, owing to DC Comics' longstanding "Multiverse" concept. For example, in the original Earth-Two, Dick Grayson never adopted the name Nightwing, and continues operating as Robin into adulthood. In the New 52's "Earth-2" continuity, Robin is Helena Wayne, daughter of Batman and Catwoman, who was stranded on the Earth of the main continuity and takes the name Huntress.The Comic Book Greats
The Comic Book Greats is a 1991 documentary series produced by Stabur Home Video. The series was hosted by Stan Lee. Stan interviewed a different comic book artist for each episode. The artists interviewed include Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, Sergio Aragonés, Chris Claremont, Bob Kane, John Romita Sr., John Romita Jr. and Will Eisner.Tweedledum and Tweedledee (comics)
Tweedledum and Tweedledee are two fictional characters, a duo of supervillains appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, primarily known as enemies of Batman.Vicki Vale
Victoria "Vicki" Vale is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with the superhero Batman. Created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, the character debuted in Batman #49 (October 1948). Vicky Vale is a journalist, usually based in Gotham City, who has worked for a number of publications across various iterations of the character and the surrounding DC universe. She is frequently depicted as a romantic interest of Bruce Wayne, the alter-ego of Batman.
Kim Basinger portrayed Vale in the 1989 Batman film.