Saturday, December 30, 2017

I'm NOT Lovin' It! ~~ A "David'Z RantZ" and "Short Shorts" Post


1. The McDonald's in my home town recently installed self-order kiosks so you can order your food without having to deal with counter people. Well, I happen to like dealing with counter people. (That way, if they fail to say "Thank you" I can tell them that they should appreciate me because I could have gone to Burger King or Wendy's.) I was concerned that the addition of these kiosks would mean that counter help could be all but eliminated. (I figured it might be a corporate backlash against all those people demonstrating for a $15 minimum wage from McD's.) But supposedly, that's just not true, as described in detail here. Well, goody for McDonald's. I still won't use these kiosks.

2. I finally got to see The Founder, starring Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc, the guy who took a restaurant run by two brothers (named Dick and "Mac" McDonald) and turned it into a thriving franchise. It's quite a fascinating story, although it plays fast and loose with some of the details, as almost all Hollywood biographies do. I'd recommend it. It's interesting to watch Kroc start as sort of an underdog and end up being kind of a prick. (Excuse the expression.)

3. Every McDonald's I'm aware of has two drive-through lanes, so I assume that's the case pretty much everywhere. Anyway, they have two lanes, which gives customers the impression that they're getting served twice as quickly. But there's only one cashier taking the orders from both lines. So the company is fooling you into thinking you're getting faster service while making their drive-through cashiers work twice as hard.

Thanks for your time.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Bob Kane, Part Three: The Glory-Hog ~~ A “Comical Wednesday” Post


In case you can't read the above inscription, here it is:

ROBERT KANE aka BOB KANE -- GOD bestowed a dream upon Bob Kane, Blessed with divine inspiration and a rich imagination, Bob created a legacy known as BATMAN.

Introduced in a May 1939 comic book, Batman grew from a tiny acorn into an American Icon.

A ‘Hand of God’ creation, Batman and his world personify the eternal struggle of good versus evil, with GOD's laws prevailing in the end.

Bob Kane, Bruce Wayne, Batman -- they are one and the same. Bob infused his dual identity character with his own attributes: goodness, kindness, compassion, sensitivity, generosity, intelligence, integrity, courage, purity of spirit, a love of all mankind.

Batman is known as the "Dark Knight," but through his deeds he walks in the Light of a Higher Power, as did his creator -- Bob Kane!

*  *  *  *  *

Well! What can I add to something like that?!?

Plenty.

Remember my saying (in Part One of this Bob Kane trilogy) that I read all of those "Bob Kane" stories as a youth? What I didn't know at the time was that most of the Batman adventures during 1953 to 1967 were drawn by an artist named Sheldon "Shelly" Moldoff. (Shelly died in 2012. My tribute post to him may be found here.)

Sheldon Moldoff

Well, as it turns out, Moldoff had been the very first artist to assist Kane on the Batman feature in Detective Comics #30, Batman's fourth appearance. Shelly drew backgrounds and lettered that story.

The second artist to assist Kane on the feature was Jerry Robinson (my 2011 tribute is here). He, too, began by doing backgrounds and lettering on a Batman story, which appeared in Detective Comics #36. Before long, Robinson progressed to full pencils.

Jerry Robinson

When Kane and Finger began talking about giving Batman a partner, Robinson came up with the name Robin. Some assumed that "Robin" came from "Robinson," but the name was actually based on that of Robin Hood.

Robin's first appearance. The cover was penciled by Kane and inked by Robinson.

Robinson also claims to have come up with the concept of The Joker, and claimed that he, Kane, and Finger all had a hand in developing the character. But in 1994 Kane said that he and Bill Finger created the character, one of the few times that Kane actually included Finger in crediting anything. Finger supposedly provided an image of Conrad Veidt in 1928's The Man Who Laughs and Kane based the look of the Joker on that.



Anyway, in relatively short order, there were several "ghosts" drawing Batman's appearances in many of DC's titles. Some worked directly for Bob Kane, and others worked for DC. Among the earliest pencillers and inkers were George Roussos, Jack Burnley (also known for his incredibly-drawn Starman feature), Dick Sprang, and Charles Paris. All of them approximated Kane's style.

George Roussos

Jack Burnley

Dick Sprang

Charles Paris

Kane almost never gave any credit to these men throughout the years, since his contract ensured that only the name "Bob Kane" would appear on the feature.

Interestingly enough, Kane persisted in calling every Batman artist a "ghost" even though artists stopped drawing the character in Kane's style during the 1960s. This applied to such varied artists as Carmine Infantino, Neal Adams, Irv Novick, Jim Aparo, Don Newton, Marshall Rogers, Frank Miller, Brian Bolland, and so many more!

As the 1960s progressed, the earliest comic book fans -- I'm talking about "organized" fandom, rather than just the average readers comics had had for decades -- started researching the histories of the characters, creators, publishers, etc. Before long, names like Bill Finger, Gardner Fox, Jerry Robinson, and the rest became known. Finger in particular was singled out as having had one hell of a lot more to do with the development of Batman and the Batman mythos than anyone had seen fit to mention earlier.

Evidently, Kane was not yet ready to give up any credit if he could help it. When Bill Finger himself was interviewed about his role in Batman's creation, Kane was livid. Here are excerpts from a 1965 letter Kane sent to the fanzine Batmania, edited by Biljo White (This letter was reprinted in full in Comic Book Artist #3, 1999.):

I, Bob Kane, am the sole creator of "Batman."

The fact is that I conceived the ''Batman`' figure and costume entirely by myself' even before I called Bill in to help me write the "Batman.'' I created the title, masthead, the format and concept, as well as the Batman figure and costume. Robin, the boy wonder, was also my idea, . . . not Bill's.

The only proof I need to back my statement is that if Bill co-authored and conceived the idea, either with me or before me, then he would most certainly have a by-line on the strip along with my name, the same as Siegel and Schuster had as creators of Superman. However, it remains obvious that my name appears on the strip alone, proving that I created the idea first and then called Bill in later, after my publisher okayed my original creation.

(Attention Jerry G. Bails; the self-appointed authority on Batman. If Bill Finger created Batman, as you wrote, where is Bill Finger 's byline on my strip' It is conspicuous by its absence. So?)

I do know one thing though, that in the "Golden Age" of Batman, I penciled, inked, and lettered my strip by myself.

My favorite part of the letter is where Kane says that the lack of Bill Finger's name on the Batman feature is "proof" that Bill didn't have a hand in Batman's creation! All that means is that the one who wasn't in DC's offices when the contracts were signed was screwed!

There's much more bragging in the full letter, believe me! And notice how no one that ever worked on the strip is referred to, other than Kane and Finger.

As I said in Part One, Bill Finger died in 1974.

As years passed, Kane mellowed a bit. A bit. In Batman and Me, Kane wrote the following:


Yeah, well, there was nothing stopping Kane from negotiating with DC to put Finger's name on the strip from that point on, was there? As years passed, a lot of people, DC Comics included, were giving unofficial credit to Finger for co-creating Batman, but it wasn't until 2015 that DC came to an agreement with Finger's family and Batman began being credited as "Batman created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger."

*  *  *  *  *

Now, for my final comments on Kane's tendency to swipe, here's my not-so-humble opinion: I believe that one of the reasons Kane swiped so much for the Batman stories -- not that this in any way excuses him for doing so -- is that he was more comfortable doing cartoonier (is that a word?) stuff like Peter Pupp, and had to "borrow" when he did adventure strips, which required more realistic drawing. I suspect that if his Rusty and His Pals and Clip Carson stories were as readily available as his Batman stories to today's readers and historians, we'd find lots of swipes in those as well.

(Now, let me say this: In all fairness to Bob Kane and his penchant for swiping, I should mention that the very first Batman story, “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate,” was written by Bill Finger, but Finger himself admittedly based it on a 1936 story from Street & Smith's The Shadow magazine called “Partners of Peril!”)

But here, from Batman and Me, are two images that I thought would show that Kane could actually draw better than his earliest Batman work when he put his mind to it!



However, I have it on good authority that the first illustration was done by -- you guessed it -- another "ghost," and the painting in the photo? Well, after all that I've discovered over the years, I just can't trust Bob Kane when he says that he actually did it!

That's it for this lengthy three-parter, fellow babies! Thanks for your time, and persistence!

*  *  *  *  *

In a series of articles discussing creative theft, I feel that I absolutely must include the following acknowledgements and disclaimers in each chapter: I could not have written this three-parter without availing myself of the research and/or “borrowed” photos and illustrations of many others, including (but not limited to) Marc Tyler Nobleman and Ty Templeton (Bill the Boy Wonder), Arlen Schumer, Steven Thompson (Four-Color Shadows and Days of Adventure), and yes, even Bob Kane himself (Batman and Me)! And I especially want to single out Kirk Kimball (aka “Robby Reed”) of Dial B for Blog, the incredible and highly-recommended blog which supplied me with much information and the composite sketch of Bob Kane swipes.

Batman, Robin, Clip Carson, Adventure Comics, the Joker, Bruce Wayne, Real Fact Comics, "The True Story of Batman and Robin," Green Lantern, Detective Comics, Rusty and his Pals, plus almost anything else I've forgotten are copyright © DC Comics, and are used for historical purposes only!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

RUDOLPH and Other Christmas Thoughts ~~ Edited and Reprinted from My "David'Z RantZ" Blog, 12/24/2008, and THIS blog, 12/25/2010!!!


I'm not Santy Claus!
You can call me Anti-Claus!
Don't bunch up your panties, 'cause...
I'm not him!

Going quite insane, here.
Love to cause you pain, dear!
What's for breakfast? Reindeer!
(I'm not him.)

I see you when you're sleeping,
I know when you're awake,
I see you when you're naked,
So give that tail a shake!

Lumps of coal to all o'you.
Anti-Claus will follow you,
Eat you up, and swallow you!
I'm not "him!"

Ask for toys, you'll get a slap.
Don't give me that "giving" crap,
And put yo' Mama on my lap!
I'm not him!

Sorry, fellow babies... I decided to post a reaction to those adults -- I'm much nicer to the children, actually! -- who keep telling this white-haired, white-bearded "Silver Fox" that he looks like Santa Claus!

*sigh*

And now, something much cheerier!


"You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen,
Comet and Cupid and Richard M. Nixon..."

Or however that goes...

Of course, I'm talking about "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

A Christmas Classic, right? Sure it is. And that's whether you're referring to the song, or the 1964 Rankin/Bass TV show, or... well... anything else concerning Rudolph.

But one thing about it always bothered me. (And when I say "always," I really mean "whenever I bothered to think about it." I don't mean it kept me up at night, 365 days a year.)

"But do you recall
The most famous reindeer of all?"

Well! I knew that the song pre-dated the TV show by about a zillion years -- okay, okay, more like fifteen -- but how could Rudolph be called "the most famous reindeer of all" in the very song that introduced him, I wondered?!?

That is, assuming that Rudolph was introduced in that song... and not before...

Which I didn't dare assume...

(Gotta love the internet... ! Google to the rescue!)

Huh. Guess what I learned? (And you may already know this, but I didn't, and it's my blog, so... ) He wasn't introduced in the song. He was created about ten years earlier, by a wage-slave who worked for Montgomery Ward. This guy, Robert L. May, was asked to come up with a Christmas story, and that's how Rudolph was "born."

I'm making a long story short, believe it or not. The whole story may be found here.

The best part of the story, in my not-so-humble opinion, is that seven years after creating Rudolph as what would now be called a "work for hire," the debt-ridden May -- whose wife had been dying from cancer at the time of Rudolph's creation, leaving him with tons of medical bills -- "approached Sewell Avery, President of Montgomery Ward and asked for the rights to publish the story commercially."

I know what you're probably thinking: "Yeah, right. Avery probably rattled off that era's equivalent of 'Sucks to be you!' and threw him out of his office!"

Nope! Avery signed the copyright to the character over to May!

Merry Christmas, indeed.

(And it's a damned good thing that May wasn't working in the comic book field, innit?)

So. I was wrong. First time that's ever happened.

Well, second, maybe...

Anyway, by the time Johhny Marks (May's brother-in-law, as it turned out) wrote the song and got Gene Autry to sing it, Montgomery Ward had already distributed about 6 million booklets, May himself had sold quite a few, and there was even a theatrically-released, short cartoon version. So, by the time the song was written, Rudolph could very well lay claim to being "the most famous reindeer of all."

But something about that blasted song still bothers me:

"But do you recall
The most famous reindeer of all?"

It's still a dumb question, but for another reason, unrelated to the actual origin of the character.

It starts by assuming that you know Dasher, Dancer, and the other six, and then asks if you recall the most famous one.

Well, duh! Wouldn't you?!?

That's like saying, "Okay, you know about Franklin Pierce, Martin Van Buren, and Millard Fillmore... but do you recall George Washington?"

Who the hell wouldn't?

Sure, it's a silly little quibble with a time-honored song...

But...

I'll bet you're going to think of it every time you hear "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" from now on, eh?

And if so? Then my job is done.

So there.

I'm the one on the right. On the right, I said!

Last but not least, I want to give you a link to an absolutely terrific Christmas story. I occasionally mention Mark Evanier's newsfromme blog on my own blog. I read Mark's blog as often as possible -- I always catch up on reading any posts I've missed -- and I've even been mentioned by name on it, two or three times! Well, here is the latest re-posting of Mark's most popular post ever. Click on the link and you'll see why.

Thanks for your time... and Happy Krimble. "See" you sometime after the Christmas holiday!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Bob Kane, Part Two: The Swiper ~~ A “Comical Wednesday” Post


Okay, fellow babies, after last Wednesday's lonnnnnng post about Bob Kane and the origins of Batman, I'm going to give you a comparatively short Part Two (text-wise, anyway, so it'll be a fairly quick read), dedicated to what are usually referred to in the comic book and comic strip worlds as "swipes."

A "swipe" is definitely not the same thing as an "homage" (alternate spelling, "hommage"), or "tribute" drawing. Generally speaking, a swipe is when an artist borrows parts of one or more examples of artwork, or a photograph, or something else that's previously appeared, and closely copies it while no doubt hoping that nobody will ever notice! An homage is an obvious tribute to a previous work. Such homages usually appear on comic book covers (and even movie posters!), although they sometimes appear inside the book as well.

The cover of Action Comics #1, the 1938 debut of Superman, is one of the most well-known comic book covers of all time.


As such, there have been countless tributes to said cover. Here are only two:

By the way, that bespectacled gent cowering in fear by the
water fountain was evidently meant to be Clark Kent!


Fantastic Four #1 is another well-known cover that's been paid tribute to numerous times.


Here, once again, are only two examples of homage covers:



And what should we call it when an artist purposely copies himself at a later date?


And what should we call it when an artist purposely... Oops. Sorry, just said that!


Anyway, now we discuss swipes, copied drawings or photos that were never meant to be obvious, as tributes are. Like this one, by Rob Liefeld:


And this one, by Greg Land:

Image result for greg land porno
Actually, artist Greg Land is even more notorious for swipes taken from porn films!

And this pair of oldies:



Swipes are a lot more common than homages, and have been since the very dawn of the comic book format. A lot of early comic book artists constantly borrowed poses drawn by comic strip artists. Those artists often stole from Alex Raymond (artist of Flash Gordon), Harold Foster (who drew Tarzan, and later, Prince Valiant), and Milt Caniff (writer/artist of Terry and the Pirates), among others.

So, why am I talking so much about swipes in an article devoted to Batman artist and co-creator Bob Kane? Well, you've probably figured out by now (especially if you read today's title) that Kane was a swiper! Not only did he "swipe" co-creator credit from writer Bill Finger for their development of Kane's initial "Bat-Man" concept, but he (Bob Kane) also insured that his name would be the only name to appear on Batman comics, movies, etc. until the mid-1960s.

At the very top of this post is a photo of the cover of the 1938 "Big Little Book" #1451, entitled Gang Busters in Action. This "BLB" was illustrated by Henry E. Vallely (1886-1950), and as it happens, Bob Kane's early Batman work owes a lot to Vallely!

The very first drawing of Batman that the world was to see, however, was not swiped from Henry E. Vallely.

It was swiped from the aforementioned Alex Raymond!

Here's the cover of Detective Comics #27, Batman's debut:


The following comparison illustration was originally published in the highly-recommended blog, Dial B for Blog. Author "Robby Reed" provides a lengthy article about Bob Kane's history and Batman's creation. In fact, several of the points I'm making in my three-parter were first discovered when I read Robby's excellent series, which begins here.


Arlen Schumer is an illustrator and comic book historian whose website is here! And if you want to read his entire article on the creation of Batman, "The 'Bat-Man' Cover Story," click here!

Now, here's a panel from the Gang Busters BLB, followed by Bob Kane's drawing of Commissioner Gordon in Detective Comics #27:



This next Vallely drawing is followed by a famous Kane drawing from Batman's origin, first told in Detective Comics #33:




However, as noted above, Henry E. Vallely is not the only artist from whom Kane stole. Check out this composite from the Dial B for Blog website:

Image result for vallely kane swipe
Top row, left to right: A Vallely swipe, then one from a Hal Foster drawing of Tarzan. Bottom row: Another Vallely swipe.

Of course, there were others whom Kane ripped off. For instance, Creig (not "Creg") Flessel...


And even himself!


And finally, to wrap up Part Two, here's another instance of Kane stealing from himself. The first Kane panel is from a "Rusty and his Pals" story in Adventure Comics #33 (December, 1938), and the second is from Batman's first adventure in Detective Comics #27 (May, 1939)! I saw the first shot in Steve Thompson's Days of Adventure blog, in his post of 12/09/2011, and commented on a similarity to the second drawing. Steve made a special post noting my observation on 12/10/2011!



By the way, if you have any interest in reading further about swipes and/or tributes, I highly recommend Panelocity, a blog devoted to that very subject!

Thanks for your time.

*  *  *  *  *

In a series of articles discussing creative theft, I feel that I absolutely must include the following acknowledgements and disclaimers in each chapter: I could not have written this three-parter without availing myself of the research and/or “borrowed” photos and illustrations of many others, including (but not limited to) Marc Tyler Nobleman and Ty Templeton (Bill the Boy Wonder), Arlen Schumer, Steven Thompson (Four-Color Shadows and Days of Adventure), and yes, even Bob Kane himself (Batman and Me)! And I especially want to single out Kirk Kimball (aka “Robby Reed”) of Dial B for Blog, the incredible and highly-recommended blog which supplied me with much information and the composite sketch of Bob Kane swipes.

Batman, Robin, Clip Carson, Adventure Comics, the Joker, Bruce Wayne, Real Fact Comics, "The True Story of Batman and Robin," Green Lantern, Detective Comics, Rusty and his Pals, plus almost anything else I've forgotten are copyright © DC Comics, and are used for historical purposes only!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Some REALLY "Short Shorts"

This is to make up for my extremely lengthy previous post!

1. I wonder if there's a gym specifically for bondage freaks that's called "Fit to Be Tied?" (And yes, I did a Google image search to find photos to illustrate this one... but do you really want to see them?!?)

*  *  *  *  *


2. I'm beginning to think that Donald Trump won't believe anything that doesn't come from his own lips.

*  *  *  *  *

I know, I know, this photo of Roy Moore is totally innocent, but I still couldn't resist using it here!

3. Of course Roy Moore is anti-abortion. He wants to save those fetuses, so in ten to twelve years, he can date them!

Thanks for your time.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Bob Kane, Part One: The Co-Creator ~~A “Comical Wednesday” Post


The above-promised "true story" of Batman and Robin (from 1946), is anything but true! (I'll be posting that entire five-page story later on in this lengthy article!) And to add insult to injury, it was published in a DC comic book called Real Fact Comics. (I guess what we're dealing with here are "alternative facts," right, Kellyanne?)

I learned to read at a relatively early age, and the first proper names I ever read were encountered in comic books. Names like Batman, Robin, Superman, and... Bob Kane!

Who?

Well, you see, as a small child many years ago, I never really thought about the people who "made" the comic books I was reading. Somewhere in the back of my mind, of course, I knew that there actually were people who wrote and drew these colorful heroes, but I had no idea who any of them were.

With one exception.

Bob Kane.

For the first few years of my life, I thought Bob Kane was the only person who had anything to do with the creation of Batman & Robin and the telling of their adventures in the pages of both Detective Comics and Batman.

Why?

Well, because Bob Kane's name was on the first page of every Batman story.


None of the other characters I encountered, whether superhero, funny animals, whatever, had their creators' names showcased like that, except all the stuff credited to Walt Disney. (I assumed that this Disney fellow was a really prolific guy, since he evidently drew all the comics featuring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and the rest, as well as making all those movies and TV shows!)

A young Bob Kane, in the early 1940s.

When I was about fourteen or so (in the early 1970s), I read the first volume in a series of books called The Steranko History of Comics, one of the first books I ever read that dealt with comics' origins. Jim Steranko was an innovative comic artist who came to prominence in the mid to late 1960s. Volume One of  The Steranko History of Comics covered the earliest years of comic books, including a lengthy discussion on the comic strips that more or less spawned them, and the pulp magazines that also inspired them. Steranko followed up by covering a relative few of the zillions of characters that debuted in the late 1930s and 1940s, focusing on such notables as Superman, Batman, Captain America, Sub-Mariner, the original Human Torch, and others.

Jim Steranko selling autographed copies of his book for a whopping three dollars!

A later photo of Steranko with a handful of his fantastic comic book covers!

This ad for Volume One of  The Steranko History of Comics claims that it covers
"comics from the golden age to the present," but the only two volumes ever
published only dealt with some of the comics published before 1950!

The amazing wraparound cover for The Steranko History of Comics, illustrated (of course) by the author!

It was in the chapter on the early years of Batman that I first learned how much a writer named Bill Finger had to do with the creation of the "caped crusader." But before I tell you about that, let me present the first three pages of the five-page "true" story of Batman and Robin.




The main problem with those first three pages is the load of crapola about the Batman costume that Bob Kane's mom supposedly made, based on Bob's design. The "Bat-Man" that Bob Kane (born Robert Kahn) came up with looked nothing like that at first!

Kane had already had stories published in comic books by 1939, the year of Batman's debut. His original style was much more cartoony. One of his features was Peter Pupp.


An early adventure strip by Kane was Rusty and his Pals. Kane admittedly based the feature and his drawing style for Rusty and his Pals on Milt Caniff's popular comic strip, Terry and the Pirates. (I'll discuss Kane's tendency to "borrow" the art style of several others in my next chapter!)


The "Bat-Man" that Kane envisioned looked very different from the version that premiered in Detective Comics #27. Kane put him in a bright red costume. The character wore a domino mask rather than the long-eared cowl which has been famous for almost eighty years. He wore no gloves. And rather than a cape, he had two bat wings. No Kane drawings remain of this take on the character, but illustrator/author Arlen Schumer drew a recreation of sorts, based on Kane's Batman illustration on the cover of Detective Comics #27.

Recreation by author and illustrator Arlen Schumer.

And this was the world's very first look at the Batman!

Enter writer Milton "Bill" Finger, who made several suggestions that Kane incorporated into the new character. (Well, maybe "enter" isn't quite the right word. Finger was already working for Kane, ghost-writing Rusty and his Pals and another Kane adventure strip, Clip Carson.) Anyway, it was Bill Finger who proposed the cowl with the all-white eyes, and the cape with scalloped edges rather than the two stiff bat wings. He also suggested gloves, so Batman wouldn't leave fingerprints.

One of the unfortunately-few photos of Bill Finger in existence!

In 2012, writer Marc Tyler Nobleman and illustrator Ty Templeton came out with a biography of Bill Finger called Bill the Boy WonderThe Secret Co-Creator of Batman. (The book was informative, but if I may be permitted to post a mini-review, I thought its writing seemed geared to younger readers.)


Here's the beginning of their telling of Batman's creation from Bill the Boy Wonder:


But Nobleman and Templeton's biography isn't the only version of the story out there! In 1989, Bob Kane came out with a ghost-written autobiography, Batman and Me, which included his version of Batman's creation.


That book included this infamous sketch, dated 1934:


BUT! It's been proven that the above sketch wasn't drawn until many years after 1934.

Back to Bill Finger: Not only did Bill's suggestions greatly influence the look of the Batman, but he ended up writing the very first Batman story and most of Batman's earliest adventures, although some were scripted by Gardner Fox (no relation to Yours Truly, The Silver Fox!). Finger is credited with contributing facets of the Batman legend such as the Batmobile, the Batcave, the names "Bruce Wayne" and "Gotham City," and writing scores of Batman stories over the years, including those which introduced the Joker, the Catwoman, the Riddler...! He did many of what are called "giant prop" stories, where Batman and Robin fought their foes on or around giant typewriters, sewing machines, even a giant Lincoln penny!

Oh, by the way -- and here's where it starts getting uncomfortable -- when I say "Finger is credited," I mean "credited" only in a figurative sense. You see, when young Bob Kane negotiated the rights to the Batman character with National Comics (later DC Comics), he sold ownership of the character for various compensations, including the condition that only Bob Kane's byline would be allowed on the Batman comics and all other adaptations.

So in terms of being a co-creator of one of the most popular superheroes ever, Bill Finger was left out in the cold.

Here are pages four and five of that "true" story of Batman! No mention of Bill Finger or of Gardner Fox (who, among other things, had come up with the idea of a utility belt for Batman). And I'll save the Joker controversy for a future chapter!



So! As the narrator in my own story "Gonif" once said, "Everythin's there. Course, s'all bullshit, but..."

You may be wondering whatever became of Bill Finger. He wrote Batman stories for many years, but didn't stop there. He was a co-creator of DC's Wildcat, a longtime writer of Green Lantern from GL's first script, and he created the character of Lana Lang, friend and occasional love interest of  Superboy/Superman. But he wrote more than just comics. He wrote a few screenplays. He even wrote a two-part episode of the Batman TV series in the 1960s. And obviously, I'm leaving out a lot.

He was known for being meticulous in his research, giving artists all sorts of visual references for the story points about which he wrote. On the other hand, he was also known for constantly being late handing in his projects.

Bill Finger died in 1974, just a month short of his sixtieth birthday. And although DC noted his passing at the time and gave him a brief eulogy in The Amazing World of DC Comics, one year later a rather shameful comic story appeared in that same magazine. The story, "Through the Wringer," written by the late David V. Reed (also a onetime Batman scripter!), parodied Finger -- transparently named "Phil Binger" -- by ridiculing his penchant for being late, and his tendency to ask for pay advances. If you want to read the full story, feel free. It's here.


Due primarily to Bob Kane's original contract with National Comics, Bill Finger wasn't given proper credit for his part in Batman's creation for seventy-five years. It's only for the last two years that DC Comics, after negotiations with Bill's granddaughter Athena, has finally begun listing credits in Batman comics and movies as "Batman created by Bob Kane, with Bill Finger."

Now, as far as Mr. Kane goes, I'm just getting warmed up! Part Two of this series will be called "Bob Kane: The Swiper" and Part Three will be "Bob Kane: The Glory-Hog." Back when I first envisioned this series as a single post, my working title was "Bob Kane, the Lying Sack of Shit," but I decided to save that designation for another time, in case I ever decide to write a post dealing with a politician.

And one last thing for now: Check out these five illustrations! 






It looks like Bob Kane couldn't get those "bat wings" out of his system!

Thanks for your time.

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In a series of articles discussing creative theft, I feel that I absolutely must include the following acknowledgements and disclaimers in each chapter: I could not have written this three-parter without availing myself of the research and/or “borrowed” photos and illustrations of many others, including (but not limited to) Marc Tyler Nobleman and Ty Templeton (Bill the Boy Wonder), Arlen Schumer, Steven Thompson (Four-Color Shadows and Days of Adventure), and yes, even Bob Kane himself (Batman and Me)! And I especially want to single out Kirk Kimball (aka “Robby Reed”) of Dial B for Blog, the incredible and highly-recommended blog which supplied me with much information and the composite sketch of Bob Kane swipes.

Batman, Robin, Clip Carson, Adventure Comics, the Joker, Bruce Wayne, Real Fact Comics, "The True Story of Batman and Robin," Green Lantern, Detective Comics, Rusty and his Pals, plus almost anything else I've forgotten are copyright © DC Comics, and are used for historical purposes only!

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