Bob Kane


After 1943, Kane's work was primarily concentrated on the daily comic strip  He did few comic book stories until the strip ended in 1946.  Robinson and Roussos remained with the book to provide artistic continuity, Kane was teamed up with a new inker, Charles Paris, who would be associated with Batman for the next 20 years.

dailies from 12/22/43 and 12/23/43 by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Charles Paris

Paris' style was slicker than Robinson and Roussos.  His judicious spotting of blacks provided a cleaner and clearer art style, suited to the black and white format and cramped panels of the newspaper strip.  After the strip was cancelled in October 1946, Paris began inking Batman stories in the comic book.  He also pencilled a few stories.


from Batman 35 "Dinosaur Island" by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Ray Burnley

from Batman 35 "Dinosaur Island" by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Ray Burnley

Kane also returned to the comic book, beginning with Batman 35.


His initial stories were inked by Dupree Burnley, the brother of Jack Burnley.  Ray (as he was usually called) apparently tried to make Bob's work look more like Dick Sprang's, which had rapidly become the definitive Batman style in Kane's absence.  

"Origin of Batman" by Bill Finger, Bob Kane,  and Charles Paris- Batman 47 Jun, 1948

"The Scoop of the Century" Batman 49 Oct-Nov 1948 Finger/Kane/Schwartz/Paris

 Perhaps realizing that an important story like the "Origin of Batman" demanded a more traditional look, Kane was reunited with Charles Paris for Batman 47 in July 1948. The last story specifically mentioned in Bob Kane's autobiography was the introduction of Vicki Vale in Batman 49.  Kane modeled the character on a starlet he had met in Hollywood while consulting on the second Batman movie serial, Marilyn Monroe.
In 1947 or 48 Bob entered into a new contract with National Comics, one which gave him ownership rights to the strip and a substantial boost in payments-  so much so that he could afford to turn the majority of the guaranteed work over to assistants.   In Gerard Jones' history of the early years of comic books, Men of Tomorrow, (pp246-7) he states that Kane went to the owners and claimed that he was underage at the time of his original contract signing and therefore the contract was invalid.  Unable to prove otherwise in those pre-internet days, National gave Kane a new contract with legal ownership rights of reversion and permission to veto the sale of the character to another company.  Much of the artwork produced by Kane after that date came from ghosts like Lew Sayre Schwartz and Sheldon Moldoff.
Batman 85 "Guardian of the Bat Signal" -Hamilton, Kane, Paris August 1954 Woolfolk, Kane, Kaye Batman 87-Oct 54 "Batman's Greatest Thrills"
An occasional solo Bob Kane story would slip out, however.  
Batman 76 The Danger Club April May 1953 Hamilton, Kane, Paris Kane may also have pencilled this pin-up from the back cover of Batman Annual #2.  It exhibits notable Kane features, like feet not actually touching the floor. And Bat-Mite's non connection with the rest of the drawing.

In 1960 Bob Kane created and developed a syndicated tv series, Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse. 130  five minute episodes were produced by Trans Artists Productions. Most of the concept sketches were drawn by Sheldon Moldoff, who also did story boards. He followed this with Cool McCool which appeared on NBC-TV from September 10, 1966 through August 31, 1968.
Meanwhile the editorial direction of Batman was being tampered with from above, literally.  With the launching of the Russian satellite Sputnik on October 4, 1957, the United States was launched into a science fiction craze.  DC editorial director decreed an across the line emphasis on science fiction, even in titles seemingly unsuited for such, like Batman Mr. District Attorney and Tomahawk

Although Batman's sales were probably not affected (data from this era is hard to find), the new direction did not sit well with the newly organized comic fandom, which voted Batman to be the "comic most needed of improvement" in the 1962 Alley Awards.  The awards were probably issued in the fall of 1963 and by mid 1964 Batman had a new editor and a new lead artist.

Detective 327

Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson

Batman 164

Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella

Kane strongly resisted the move, but was told by Irwin Donenfeld that unless he went along with it, the magazine was going to be cancelled.  The most was most certainly a bluff, especially considering that Kane would then have the right to take his property to another publisher.  But Kane went along with it, and got ghost Sheldon Moldoff to modify his style slightly to fit in with the new look.  New inker Joe Giella, who often worked with Infantino further modified the art so that the two styles would not clash so badly between issues.  Infantino and "Kane" alternated issues of Detective while Kane was still responsible for all the art in Batman.

In a 1965 letter to Batmania, Kane stated that he emphatically did not prefer the New Look Batman to his original version but he needed to "keep up with the times" and "follow the sheep who all draw alike".

The rise of fandom prompted other changes in the comic, some unfortunate and unexpected.  At the first comic book convention held in New York City in 1965, writer Bill Finger regaled fans with stories of Batman's creation.  This prompted Jerry Bails to write an article for  Capa-Alpha #12 (September 1965)  entitled "A Finger In Every Plot" in which he detailed Bill Finger's contributions to the creation of Batman.  Bob Kane immediately responded with a withering blast which did not see public print until the Batmania Annual of 1967.  But the repercussions were immediate.  Bill Finger's last Batman story appeared in December 1965.

The gist of Kane's blistering letter was simple.  If Bill Finger was instrumental in creating Batman, why was only Bob Kane's signature on the story?  Not much of an argument.  Kane threatened to sue Bails for "misrepresentation and distortion".  Kane claimed that Finger's main contribution was typing scripts containing ideas Kane had "silently" written. 

Kane claimed to still be drawing 90% of Batman stories even though he'd done hardly any art since the early fifties.  This status did not continue for much longer however, as, flush with profits from the new Batman TV show, National finally bought out Kane's contract, paying him more not to draw Batman than they had been paying him to draw it.

Kane moved on to other artistic aspirations. He embarked on a series of clown paintings. This one appeared in his autobiography. He had more success however with original Batman art, such as this 1978 lithograph.
Comics Scene #6  1988 Detective 577 August 1987 Todd McFarlane and Alfredo Alcala
At least some of Kane's later works showed he was familiar with the work of his successors. He particularly had an affinity for Todd McFarlane as shown in the above Comics Scene cover..

Lew Schwartz