NEW YORK--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--Nov. 5, 1998--Bob Kane, the comic book artist and writer who created the mythic hero "Batman" for DC Comics while still in his teens, died at his home in California on Tuesday, November 3. He was 83 years old.
The writer, artist and self-described "doodler," once said that he was inspired by the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci to create the iconic comic book hero. Unlike Superman, who debuted in DC Comics in 1938, Batman (who premiered in Detective Comics No. 27 in May 1939) is an ordinary human being.
The now legendary tale follows a young boy traumatized by the murder of his parents before his eyes, who vows to avenge their deaths by bringing criminals to justice. A teenaged Bruce Wayne uses his vast fortune to study criminology, train his body to athletic perfection, and assemble an assortment of vehicles and weapons to fight crime in his home of Gotham. When he is startled one night by a bat outside his window, he decides to costume himself as a "bat" man in order to strike fear in the "cowardly and superstitious" hearts of criminals.
Batman proved to be an immediate hit, not only in comic books but in newspaper strips and movie serials. In the ensuing decades, the character would star in DC Comics, animated television series, a hit live-action television show in the 1960s, and four top-grossing Warner Bros. feature films. The toys based on the character have been consistent best-sellers for more than a decade. Batman's image guarantees success in licensed products ranging from t-shirts and Halloween costumes to a NASCAR racecar. Along with Superman and Wonder Woman, Batman is the only character to remain in continuous publication, with new stories every month, since 1940. Batman currently stars in four monthly comic books (Batman, Detective Comics, Batman: Shadow of the Bat and Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight) as well as appearing in a host of graphic novels and crossovers. He also stars in the current series "The New Batman/Superman Adventures" on Kids' WB! and takes a leap into the 21st Century in the upcoming new animated series "Batman Beyond" on Kids' WB!
Besides creating the Dark Knight, Kane was also the cartoonist on the comic series when Robin, the Boy Wonder, made his first appearance, as well as the Joker, the Catwoman and the Riddler, among others. Kane also created the television cartoon characters, Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse, and Cool McCool. In recent years, he served as a consultant on the Batman films.
Jenette Kahn, President and Editor-in-Chief of DC Comics, said, "Bob Kane is a giant in the field of popular culture, one of a handful of people who launched the comic book industry and who gave the world a group of characters so colorful and inventive that they continue to captivate every new generation. Bob will be greatly missed, but he has left a legacy that will keep his memory alive."
Kane is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Sanders Kane, an actress, his daughter Ms. Deborah Majeski of New Jersey, his grandson Matthew Alderman and his sister Ms. Doris Atlas of New York.
Private services will be held at Mt. Sinai Mortuary in Burbank, California on November 6, 1998. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to "Feed the Children," "Make a Wish Foundation," the Westside Children's Center (Santa Monica, CA), the Bay Area Youth Center (Hayward, CA) or any other agency providing services to hungry, homeless, abused or abandoned children.