Batman creator Bob Kane posthumously received the 2,562nd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Wednesday, three days before the 100th anniversary of his birth.
Zack Snyder, director of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” set to be released March 25, and DC Entertainment co-publisher Jim Lee were among those attending the ceremony in front of the Guinness World Records Museum on Hollywood Boulevard.
Snyder attributed the character’s popularity to the fact that he does not possess any special powers, but is just a normal man doing extraordinary things.
“We all owe him a debt of gratitude because in that hero that we carry around, we realize that the hero is us, because he’s just a man,” Snyder said. “So, in truth, we’re all the Batman. So thank you, guys. Thank you, Bob.”
The ceremony coincided with the Batman film franchise being recognized as having the Guinness world record for the most film adaptations of a comic book character.
Kane was born Robert Kahn in New York City on Oct. 24, 1915 and legally changed his name after graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School.
Kane began working in the comics field in 1936, freelancing original material for the comic book, “‘Wow, What A Magazine!” In 1938, he was selling humorous stories to DC Comics, including the features “Professor Doolittle” and “Ginger Snapp.”
In 1939, one year after Superman’s debut, DC Comics editor Vincent Sullivan decided that he wanted another costumed hero. He asked 22-year-old Bob Kane for his ideas.
“I went home that weekend, traced some sketches of Superman and started penciling different costume ideas,” Kane once said. “It was then that I got my first brainstorm.
“I remembered one of Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches — a drawing of a flying machine with bat wings. That’s what germinated the idea for Batman.
“The second influence on me was the hero with the dual identity in ‘The Mark Of Zorro.’ And then I thought about ‘The Bat Whispers,’ a mystery movie written by Mary Roberts Rinehart.”
Kane drew a character with bird wings and called him Bird Man, but realized “that wasn’t quite right.”
“So I changed the wings, made them bat-like, and called him Batman,” Kane said. “Almost every famous character ever created had a kind of simplistic, definitive design that was easily recognizable, and that’s what I was striving for with Batman.”
The first published appearance of The Bat-Man, as he was then known, was in the May 1939 issue of Detective Comics #27. The first comic book devoted exclusively to Batman was published in 1940.
Kane continued to illustrate Batman comic books until his retirement in 1968. He served as a consultant on the 1989 film “Batman” and its three sequels.
Kane died in 1998 at the age of 83.
—City News Service