ANDY FISH

ANDY FISH is a comic book artist


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Friday, April 27, 2012

Bob Kane, The Story of Batman Part II

Bob Kane's original idea, re-created by Arlen Schumer
Bob Kane was a young cartoonist doing an occasional gag strip and trying his hand at a few adventure style strips for the new medium of Comic Books when he got to talking to DC Comics editor Vince Sullivan who told him that two kids from Ohio were making $800 a week producing Superman for them, and that if someone could come up with the next big thing they could be pulling in gravy like that too.

Kane heads home and traces a few Alex Raymond comic strips and starts to play around with costumes and character ideas.

Kane from all the accounts I've heard was a very nice man to his fans, and I'm sorry I never got a chance to meet him, but he did not like sharing the spotlight and his autobiography, BATMAN AND ME which was released in 1989, is filled with absolute nonsense including sketches of a Batman like character dated 1936-- three years before he had the conversation with Sullivan.

The sketches are bogus because we know Kane's original idea was for a character called Bird-Man, which itself was not all that original since there were Bird-Men in Alex Raymond's FLASH GORDON Comic strip already-- but Kane's idea was that this would be a non-superpowered character emulating Superman's fantastic exploits.

Kane's idea likely would have seen publication and disappeared forever into the annals of comic book history along with the likes of other comic heroes The Whizzer and Skitchy, had he not run into his high school chum Bill Finger.

Bill Finger was a talented young writer who hoped someday to write for Pulp Magazines like THE SHADOW and THE SPIDER.  Taking a look at Bob Kane's BIRD-MAN he suggested the character take a darker turn in the manner of his beloved pulp characters-- instead of bright red and blonde hair, he suggested the figure be dressed in black and gray with a full face mask and hood and a pair of long bat-ears.  Finger even suggested the character should follow The Shadow's lead and carry a .45 automatic for protection and dispensing justice, and he suggested a name change...

...to Bat-Man.

From the great ALTER EGO Magazine, edited by Roy Thomas
Taking the character into Vince Sullivan the following Monday DC bought it right away-- but this time they weren't going to wrestle complete ownership like they did with Superman.

Kane was smarter than that.
CON'T Tomorrow!