Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Carmine Infantino on Bob Kane's income

In 2006, in research for Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, I phone-interviewed the uncompromising longtime DC Comics artist Carmine Infantino. In 2011, for Batman & Bill, we interviewed him on camera. The next year I hand-delivered a copy of the newly-released book.

I'm so glad we/I did what we did when we did. Carmine passed away in 2013.

Every time I talked with him, the man was a delight, saying many things I found fascinating—one in particular. It came out during the filmed interview but did not make it into the documentary, so here it is:

I had already heard that it was the 1960s Batman TV series that made Bob Kane wealthy. The story went that he sold his stake in the character as part of the deal to get the show on air.

But Carmine, who was the Batman artist when the Batman show morphed the character from superhero to supernova, knew specifics. According to Carmine, Bob agreed to $50,000/year for 20 years—that may be the rumored $1 million he supposedly got (though it would not, of course, make him an instant millionaire, which was the impression I had).

However, in an archival clip in our film, which I believe is from the late 1980s, Bob says that he still had a piece of the pie.

I've done no further verification on this. I'm simply reporting what a person on the frontlines at the time remembered and reported.

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