Bob Kane was born in New York City October 24, 1916. At the age of 15 he entered a drawing into a contest where the object was to copy the characters from the strip Just Kids (by Gene Byrne) and won second prize which was a Just Kids original. He attended the Commercial Art Studio where he trained for several months. Later he went to the Cooper Union and then the Art Students League as did hordes of local New York artists of the time.
He broke into comics as a staff artist for the Eisner-Iger shop in the middle thirties, with his first published work appearing in Wow, What A Magazine #3 (9/36). For the studio he drew Peter Pupp, Hiram Hick, Pluto, Bobby and many others staying at Fiction House (the Eisner-Igerlabel) until 1939.
Beginning in 1938 Kane also sought work at DC Comics, where Superman was just appearing and making a big smash. Here he drew a couple of adventure features written by Bill Finger.
The collaboration with Finger led to the creation of the Batman in 1939. Kane would illustrate the feature for only a short period because his art was very simply not adequate enough, with his crude design and simple layouts and before long other artists (most notably Jerry Robinson, Dick Sprang, Jack Burnley, Sheldon Moldoff, Carmine Infantino and Stan Kaye) were almost exclusively drawing the Batman stories, and Kane pretty much kept to pencilling stories until the middle forties even though he has insisted he worked on the comic as late as 1968.
But Kane had smartly been advised by a relative who was an attorney that when he sold the first Batman story to DC which appeared in Detective Comics #27 dated May 1939, that he insist on owning a copyrighted interest in Batman and he would reap a large salary throughout the decades from this advice.
In the fifties, Kane was asked to come to Hollywood to create a cartoon character and from this the Courageous Cat TV show developed, then he was asked again to come to Hollywood to help with the development of the upcoming Batman TV show in 1965 which was a huge success leading to Kane's relocation to the sunny mecca by the seventies. He also created another cartoon in 1969 called Cool McCool.
In the late sixties he began exhibiting paintings in galleries on both coasts. He has released several sets of prints since the late seventies and has otherwise led a life away from comics. Bob Kane as a comics creator helped to contribute to the tremendous explosion and popularity of costumed heroes since his creation of the Batman. His character has appeared on virtually every country on the Earth in print, film and TV, hordes of toys, coloring books and virtually every other form of merchandising known. The popularity of the Batman which was immediate when he appeared in 1939 has only grown in almost six decades since, and "the Dark Knight" has been drawn by hundreds of comics artists.
Bob Kane passed away after a long illness on November 3 1998.