Suspended Animation Suspended Animation
by Michael Vance & Jon Suter

    May 1, 1998

    "Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot. So my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, black, terrible…a...a..."

    A bat flew through Bruce Wayne's window, and Batman was born in 1939. He was the creation of Bill Finger, a writer, and Bob Kane, an artist.

    Kane had started out as an artist in one of the first assembly-line comic book agencies in the early 1930s. He seemed more interested in the cartoonist, abstract style of art than in the realistic style. He worked on funny animal stories, and it is true that he lacked the talent of artists like Will Eisner and Lou Fine.

    When Superman took the world by storm, Kane was asked to create a new superhero.

    He choose elements from the comic strip, Dick Tracy, in particular Tracy’s weird looking villains. Kane mixed in elements from several pulp heroes, including "The Bat." He was also influenced by the hero "Zorro."

    But what came out of his pen and the mind of Finger was less like any of these influences and more like something very new and exciting.

    It was the first and only something new and exciting that Kane ever co-created.

    Although Batman was the highlight of an otherwise minor career, how can anyone deride the creation of one of America's mast powerful icons?

    Among his works are a number of funny animal characters for Henle, Fiction House, Globe and National (DC) publishers in the late 1930s.

    Kane also created Cool McCool and Courageous Cat for television animation, worked an the Batman comic strip from '43 to'46, was consulted for both Batman serials ('43, 48) and all four Batman movies.

    Bob Kane's work on Batman in the '30s and early '40s is highly recommended.

    Some older titles are expensive and difficult to locate. Price guides or comics dealers help. Comics shops, conventions, mail order companies and trade journals are best sources. Prices vary; shop around for the best values.


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