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COMIC LEGEND: Bob Kane swiped Todd McFarlane for a Batman drawing.
STATUS: I’m Going With True
Bob Kane, as likely all of you know by now, was not exactly the world’s most prolific artist from the 1950s onward. The Batman comic books attributed to him were actually drawn by his ghosts, most notably Sheldon Moldoff.
So things got kind of weird in the late 1980s when the Batman film was coming out and suddenly there was a lot of demand for Bob Kane to produce some artwork to tie in with the film.
When Kane co-created Batman back in the late 1930s, comic artists often swiped poses and designs from the most popular comic artists of the time. In the late 1930s, that mostly meant a TON of Hal Foster swipes, as Foster was THE guy for action comics (Alex Raymond became a popular guy to swipe, as well).
As I have detailed in an old Comic Book Legends Revealed, Kane was no different and swiped heavily (you can check out the swipes here).
Kane took that same approach when doing some “drawing” in the late 1980s. You almost have to give him some credit for being aware of who the “hot” comic book artist was at the time, which would be Todd McFarlane, as Kane proceeded to pretty blatantly swipe Todd McFarlane’s work. Here is a piece that Kane drew that also appeared on some promotional items for the Batman film…
And here is a then-recent panel by Todd McFarlane…
Is that 100% proof? Of course not, but it is pretty darn close. Close enough for me to give it a true. It also did not help that Kane, at the time, referred to McFarlane in interviews as one of his “ghosts” for some reason.
McFarlane handled the situation with some sardonic humor, as seen on this cover of Amazing Heroes soon after the controversy…
Thanks to reader Jacob for the suggestion and thanks to Bob Hughes for the Kane/McFarlane comparison (do note that there’s a decent chance that it was not Kane who did the swiping, but a third party artist hired by Kane to do the drawing).
Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory produced as basically a giant ad for candy?
On the next page, was a famous one-liner from a U.S. Vice President really from a comic strip?
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