Unearthed Robert Kahn Arcana

By | Thursday, February 03, 2011 Leave a Comment
Robert Khan is, for those who don't know, the man who later changed his name to Bob Kane and helped created Batman. Evidently, in the mid-1970s, Mario J. Sacripante discovered a steamer trunk out by the curb awaiting trash pickup. In it were a number of original production proofs from Detective Comics #27 and some other ephemera from Kane, who had lived in the same building years earlier. These items are now being auctioned off by Heritage and are worth a look for their historical significance.

The production proofs are certainly interesting and a valuable find, but what I find more striking are the pre-Batman comics Kane had done in his early teens. The small sampling of Pat O'Molly strips below show a clear interest in cartooning as a commercial endeavor and, more to the point, Kane's conscious recognition of what work-for-hire was relative to artistic creation. Keep in mind that Kane was only 14 or 15 at the time! That he displayed such an early awareness of the idea, even if he didn't fully understand and/or appreciate its significance, speaks to how and why he was later able to strike such a phenomenal deal with DC compared to other contemporary creators like Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster and Bill Finger.
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