Comic Book Legends Revealed #484
COMIC LEGEND: Bob Kane actually drew the introduction of Joe Chill.
STATUS: I’m Going With True
1948’s “The Origin of Batman” was voted as the 22nd Greatest Batman Story of All-Time in our recent Batman poll.
It is a dynamite Bill Finger tale, introducing Joe Chill…
and allowing Batman to finally confront his parents’ killer (and the way his killer is dealt with is awesome)…
An interesting aspect of this story is the top notch ART in the issue. The eye bit? That’s awesome! The confrontation scene? A great sense of drama there. For years, it has been generally assumed that Bob Kane’s main ghost of the time, Lew Schwartz, drew this issue. However, that does not appear to be the case!
Comic book historian Craig Delich discussed the issue with Schwartz, however, before Schwartz passed away a few years ago. Delich and Schwartz went over a series of comics that have been presumed to be Schwartz over the years and Schwartz would confirm most of them as his work (the way he and Kane would work specifically is that Schwartz would pencil the issue in its entirety except for Batman and Robin. For them, Schwartz would just lightly pencil them in so that Kane could then draw them in himself, as Kane wanted to remain at least somewhat involved. Charles Paris would then ink the finished penciled work). With this story, though, Schwartz said that this was all Kane.
Many people think that Kane gave up on the Batman comic feature early on. However, it was more that he gave the series up in 1943 to concentrate just on drawing the Batman comic strip (being a comic strip artist was seen as a much more illustrious job back then). That strip, though, ended in 1946. Kane then returned to DC and did work for the Batman comic book series. In 1947, Kane signed a new deal with DC Comics. It was after this point that Kane first hired an official “ghost artist.” After initially having his own studio in 1939/40, throughout the 1940s, the production of Batman art under Kane’s name had been taken up by DC Comics (National Comics at the time – I use DC because it’s easier) so Kane was not directly involved with ghost artists until his new deal with DC. Lew Schwartz became his personal ghost artist in 1948 until 1953 when Sheldon Moldoff took over. Batman #47 actually came out in the spring of 1948, so it is likely that this story just happened to predate their arrangement (the first story in Batman #47, a Catwoman tale, was actually the very first story Schwartz drew as Kane’s ghost artist).
Thanks to Craig Delich for his awesome research work!
On the next page, was Robin Williams fired from being the Riddler in Batman Forever?