Mr Flibble Talks To... Battling The Penguin
Batman creator Bob Kane passed away in 1998, leaving the world with perhaps its most famous comic book character. Before he died, Bob took some time out from a comic convention he was attending to discuss the creation of his winged vigilante, and his opinion on the Tim Burton movies, with the other penguin...
20 November, 2000
Bob Kane
Mr Flibble's right hand provided by
Andrew Ellard

How did you meet Jerry Robinson, one of your assistants?

When I was in New York in the late thirties when Batman was created, he was a young kid of about 16. And I met him at a country club, a summer resort called Grossingers, upstate New York, and he was wearing a sweatshirt with a lot of cartoons on. I thought they were very good. And at that time Batman started to grow into many magazines and newspapers and I needed an assistant. So I called him in and he was about 17 at the time, and he helped me at the very beginning in doing backgrounds and lettering, things like that.

So you'd still draw the main characters, the main action?

I did the main characters, he did a lot of the backgrounds. And then later he did do Batman himself; he evolved, and then he started to do some of the comic books that I couldn't do, drawing the Batman himself. He's a very talented man

Would you like to say a word about the late Bill Finger, your writer?

Bill Finger was an unsung hero. He actually should have had his name on the strip. Bill came in after the fact; I created a crude Batman, and then Bill came in to write the first story. He made a few changes to the costume at the beginning, that's true, but writers in those days didn't have their names on comic strips. It's generally the creator alone. Now with Superman there's two names Siegel and Shuster - and the reason for that is Jerry Siegel thought of the original conception, and he got his boyhood friend Jo Shuster to do the drawing.

But in my case, I created the first image of Batman alone, from Leonardo and Zorro, and then Bill came in as the writer. So he came in after the fact. Bill didn't fare too well as a 'secondary' - he should have fared better but he did not. He died in 1975. It makes you examine your own mortality. One day I'll be a photograph on a wall - they'll say, 'He created the Batman.'