When DC actually tried to prove that Bob Kane didn’t actually draw Batman

In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed,discover how Mort Weisinger tried to prove that Bob Kane didn’t draw his Batman comic stories

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and sixty-third installment where we examine three cartoon legends and determine whether they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three legends. click here for the first legend in this installment. click here for the second legend in this installment.

NOTE: If my Twitter page hits 5,000 followers, I’ll do a bonus issue of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Good offer, right? So stay tuned my Twitter page, Brian_Cronin!


Mort Weisinger tried to prove that Bob Kane didn’t actually draw his Batman comics when Kane added Lew Sayre Schwartz as his ghost in 1948



A while ago, I wrote about the peculiar situation when it came to Bob Kane’s ghosts on the Batman wallets heading into the 1960s. The majority of the artwork done for Batman comics throughout the 1950s and 1960s was by “Bob Kane”, but of course, for so much artwork to be produced, no one believed that Bob Kane did it all himself. As it turned out, by the mid-1950s, Kane wasn’t doing it at all, with Sheldon Moldoff doing ALL the work credited to Kane, but suffice it to say that DC editorial knew that Kane couldn’t do it all, but at the same time no one cared enough to look into it, and changes were only made when DC first worked out an arrangement for Kane to do less work on the series, and then finally made a deal to stop having to buy any more artwork from “Kane” in 1967 (in a future legend I’ll describe an amusing story where Julius Schwartz had fun with Kane’s lack of involvement in the Batman comics during those years) . .

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As you know, Bob Kane worked out a sweetheart deal with DC (then National) where the company would essentially buy as much of his Batman work as he could produce, and at a particularly high page rate (I mean, I don’t think it was exorbitant or something like that, it was just more than the company was paying other artists).. It was part of an overall deal the company signed with Kane that almost certainly was to avoid Kane ever agreeing to sue DC for copyright on Batman, unlike Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster with Superman.

Kane had mostly stopped drawing the Batman wallets to concentrate on the Batman newspaper strip, and Kane also had a good deal on the comic, so Kane managed to do the strip instead of the comics (and as .any comic artist of his generation, a guy like Kane would have much preferred to be a comic artist than a comic artist if he had the choice). When the comic ended, Kane had to return to drawing the comics around 1945.

And Kane continued to produce Batman stories for DC, about one a month…

How much of these stories were saved by Kane’s inkers? I have no idea….

Eventually, though, Kane came up with the idea of ​​hiring the talented artist Lew Sayre Schwartz to draw the stories FOR him (with Kane still supplying the Batman and Robin characters in the stories, to, I guess, A. prove that Kane was still draws the stories and B. Maybe just to make Kane feel better about this deal? I really don’t know his motivations for continuing to draw the characters in this era). Schwartz was a much faster artist than Kane, and so now, suddenly, instead of Kane producing 12 stories a year, Schwartz/Kane was doing TWENTY stories a year, and Kane’s contract stipulated that DC accept as many pages as he gave, so now suddenly DC had to pay out quite a bit more than it previously paid.

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This did not sit well with the editor of the Batman titles at the time, Mort Weisinger, as Schwartz detailed to Jon B. Cooke in an excellent interview in TwoMorrows’ Alter Ego #51, Weisinger would keep trying to call Schwartz to try to get him to admit that he was the reason Kane’s output was now suddenly practically doubling. Schwartz never gave him the time of day, largely because he did well in this arrangement, even though the arrangement benefited Kane the most (again, since the rates were high enough that Kane giving Schwartz a 20% cut was still better money for Schwartz , than if he worked alone.

Jack Schiff then took over as editor on the Batman titles and probably just didn’t care either way. When Schwartz left the gig, Sheldon Moldoff took over as “Kane”, but now Moldoff did ALL the drawings (so no more Batman and Robin figures of Kane). Again, Schiff didn’t seem to care one way or the other at this point.

But for a moment there, DC was really interested in Kane using a ghost!

Thanks to Jon B. Cooke and the late, great Lew Sayre Schwartz for the info!


In the latest TV Legends Revealed – Was a Mickey Mouse cartoon the last to be broadcast on BBC-TV before the Second World War started, and then the first to be broadcast on BBC-TV when the service restarted after the war ended?


OK, that’s it for this installment!

Thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo, which I actually don’t even do anymore, but I used it for years and you still see it when you see my old columns, so it’s fair enough to still thank him, I guess.

Feel free (hell, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My email address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can also ask me legends there! If you have a correction or comment, feel free to email me as well. CBR sometimes emails me with emails they get about CBLR, and that’s fair enough, but the fastest way to get a fix through is to just email me directly, honestly. I don’t mind corrections. Always best to get things precise!

Here is my latest book, 100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know and Do Before They Diefrom Triumph Books.

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