The Earliest Known Robert Khan Comics

By | Friday, February 18, 2022 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 were auctioned off by Heritage about a decade back

The production proofs are certainly interesting and a valuable find, but what I found 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 if you read the comics themselves, 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, and he was already making a distinction between commerical art and capital-A Art, as well as the difference between a cartoonist and the person who owns the cartoon! 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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