Bob Kane Biography
Died At Age: 83
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: Robert Kahn
Born Country: United States
Born in: New York, New York, United States
Famous as: Comic Book Writer
Spouse/Ex-: Elizabeth Sanders
father: Herman Kahn
mother: Augusta Kahn
children: Deborah Majeski
place of death: Los Angeles
Cause of Death: Natural Cause
U.S. State: New Yorkers
education: DeWitt Clinton High School, Cooper Union
awards: Inkpot Award
Bob Kane was an American cartoonist, comic book writer and artist, best known for co-creating the 'DC Comics' character 'Batman,' 'Robin,' and the quintessential supervillain 'Joker.' A noticeable aspect of his characters is that his heroes mostly wear black and grey, whereas the villains are in bright colors. Kane began as a freelancer and then worked for a premier studio for which he had produced content. The turning point of his career came when the success of one of the first major superhero characters 'Superman' by 'Action comics' prompted editors to create something similar to sustain the cut-throat competition. The result was 'Batman,' which became an overnight success. The relative characters followed, among which the most popular ones are 'Robin,' the sidekick, and 'Joker,' the nemesis. Most of the 'DC Comics' characters have disputes over crediting the creators. Kane, too, has admitted to depriving his collaborator, Bill Finger, from being credited. Bill co-created many of 'DC comics' popular characters, including 'Batman,' 'Robin,' and 'Joker.'
- Kane was born Robert Kahn on October 24, 1915, in New York City, to east European Jewish couple Augusta and Herman Kahn, an engraver.
- He legally changed his name to Robert Kane upon graduating from 'DeWitt Clinton High School.'
- He attended 'The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art' and became a trainee animator at the 'Max Fleischer Studio' in 1934.
- Kane ventured into the comics industry in 1936. He started as a freelancer for editor Jerry Iger's comic book 'Wow, What A Magazine!' and contributed content and his artwork to the serial 'Hiram Hick.'
- In 1937, he started working at studio 'Eisner & Iger,' one of the first comic book "packagers" from the ''Golden Age of Comic Books.'' At the studio, he created the funny animal feature 'Peter Pupp' that was printed in the U.K. comic magazine 'Wags' and later in 'Jumbo Comics' by 'Fiction House.’ He also created its sidekick, 'Tinymite.'
- While working at 'Eisner & Iger,' Kane produced humor features 'Ginger Snap' for 'More Fun Comics,' 'Oscar the Gumshoe' for 'Detective Comics,' and 'Professor Doolittle' and his first adventure strip, 'Rusty and his Pals' for 'Adventure Comics.' He also produced content for two of the companies that eventually merged to form 'Detective Comics.'
- In early 1939, he created 'BatMan' to match the success of 'Superman.' The character had influences from actor Douglas Fairbanks' performance as the swashbuckler 'Zorro;' Leonardo da Vinci's ornithopter, 'Dracula;' the dark superhero 'Shadow;' and the 1930 film 'The Bat Whispers.'
- Kane met Bill Finger, his future collaborator at a party and offered him the job to ghostwrite the strips, 'Rusty and Clip Carson.' The two started as a duo in Kane's newly established studio in 1938.
- Kane created the art for Batman's real identity, Bruce Wayne, while Finger wrote the first story for the character. It debuted in 'DC Comics' number 27, published in May 1939, and was an instant and long-lasting success.
- Kane was the only person to be officially credited by 'DC Comics' for creating 'Batman.' Finger remained uncredited until 2016. He, however, acknowledged Finger's contribution in turning his superhero-vigilante character into a scientific detective.
- Within a year of Batman's success, 'DC' demanded more of the character's stories. Kane hired Jerry Robinson, who previously worked as an inker and George Roussos, background artist and letterer, as his art assistants.
- The team of three immediately began working at Kane's art studio set up in 'The New York Times' building. Kane also worked at his home, creating artworks for 'Batman' stories.
- However, the three could not meet the demand, so 'DC' contracted American comic book artist and penciller Dick Sprang and other artists as "ghost artists." They all produced drawings under Kane's supervision but were uncredited.
- In 1943, Kane stopped working on 'Batman' comics and shifted focus to the daily 'Batman' newspaper comic strip. He returned to comics after the strip was wrapped up in 1946.By then, unknown to 'DC,' Kane had already hired in-house artists such as Lew Schwartz and Sheldon Moldoff as his own personal ghosts.
- Kane and Finger's next successful character was 'Robin,' which was conceived out of a conversation between them. They both felt that 'Batman' needed a companion, and hence the character came into being. Kane suggested the name "Mercury" for the character wearing a "super-costume." It was Robinson who came up with the name Robin, inspired by 'Robinhood' stories he had grown up reading.
- 'Robin,' the other name of the orphaned circus performer, Dick Grayson, debuted in 'DC Comics' number 38 (April 1940) when the character became Batman's flatmate and his young ward.
- In 1940, he released Batman's nemesis, the 'Joker,' in 'Batman' number one. The creative credit for the character is disputed.
- Along with Finger, Kane had also created other 'Batman' villains, namely, 'Catwoman,' Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot ('The Penguin'), former District Attorney Harvey Dent (Two Face), Dr. Jonathan Crane ('The Scarecrow'), Basil Karlo ('Clayface'), psychiatrist Dr. Hugo Strange, Salvatore Vincent "The Boss" Maroni, and gangster Anthony "Tony" Zucco
- The duo also created the 'Batman' allies of Police Commissioner James Gordon, photographer Vicki Vale, Batmobile, Gotham City, (with Gardner Fox) mother Martha Wayne, father Dr. Thomas Wayne, and (with Sheldon Moldoff) the original 'Batgirl.'
- He is also credited for the TV cartoon characters 'Courageous Cat,' 'Minute Mouse,' and 'Cool McCool.'
- In 1985, 'DC' acknowledged Kane in the company's golden jubilee publication 'Fifty Who Made DC Great.'
- Kane's autobiography, 'Batman and Me,' was published in 1989, while its updated edition, 'Batman and Me, The Saga Continues,' was published in 1996.
- He was a consultant on the 1989 film 'Batman' for which he recommended Jack Nicholson to play the character of 'Joker.' He had also contributed to its first two sequels.
- Kane has been inducted into the 'Jack Kirby Hall of Fame' (1994), the 'Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame' (1996), and 'Hollywood Walk of Fame' (2015).
- Kane first married Beverly in the 1940s and had a daughter, Deborah. They divorced in 1957.
- He then married actor Elizabeth Sanders Kane, in 1987.
- He died on November 3, 1998, at 'Cedars-Sinai Medical Center' in Los Angeles, and was buried at 'Forest Lawn Memorial Park' in the Hollywood Hills.
- Kane's artworks are on display at New York City's 'Museum of Modern Art,' 'Whitney Museum of American Art,' and 'St. John's University.'
- As published in ‘Cinescape’ magazine, Kane's favorite actor to play 'Batman' was Val Kilmer.
- He publicly regretted for never allowing his creative partner, Finger, to be credited and that he had to die poor.
- He was offered a cameo in the first 'Batman' film (1989) but refused because of ill-health.
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