Who writes the narrative of the history of comics?

From the very start of comics as we’ve known the medium for the last century or so, people, and companies, have claim credit for creating characters which they didn’t. The main reason this has happened is money, then ego in order to propel their own career and in the process create a narrative that’s often adopted to become the mainstream view. The best known cases of this are Bob Kane claiming he created everything about Batman, and the likes of Jerry Robinson or Bill Finger (who actually came up with most of what we know as Batman today)  were just hired hands helping Kane out. Complete bollocks of course.

Then there’s Stan Lee who has seemingly been claiming creative ownership since his first pubic hair grew, though this is something he inherited from his uncle Martin Goodman. So over the decades people have been fighting to get the credit they’re due but the narrative is something they often have to fight against.

The video below is from San Diego Comic Con this year and it features a discussion which may well only be of interest to the hardcore comics freak like myself, but it’s a fantastic discussion of history that really does make you question the narrative of history.

Jim Steranko versus Bob Kane

According to the history books, Bob Kane created Batman. In reality, he’s one man in a team that did create Batman with Bill Finger (who created virtually everything we associate with Batman even today), and artists like Jerry Robinson who spent decades being ignored by DC Comics who’d made a deal with Kane that Kane would the sole person credited for Batman.

In most written history of comics over the decades Kane comes over badly ranging from being a dick to being an enormous fucking arsehole. The best story comes from Jim Steranko, and I’ve recounted that story of him and Bob Kane where Kane got himself a slap from Steranko.

I came across a clip of Jim Steranko talking at the San Diego Comic Con in 2014 the other night while searching through YouTube as Steranko is such a fantastic , historian, speaker and raconteur that it’s easy to get lost in his stories, but this clip details part of the story of his meeting with Kane but it deals with Kane’s deal with DC Comics and how he shafted people like Bill Finger.

It’s a fantastic clip. It’s essential viewing for any comics fan or indeed, any cultural historian of the last century.

Jim Steranko’s tale of slapping Bob Kane

Jim Steranko is and always has been a hero. Bob Kane hasn’t because frankly, he’s a liar who conned talented men out of money and a co-creator credit for Batman as any comics historian could tell you. This thread however tells the story of the time when Steranko and Kane met and I reprint it for your enjoyment…