Bob Kane and Bill Finger were responsible for creating Batman in 1939. Unless, that is, there’s more to the origin of the Dark Knight than meets the eye.
The name Frank Foster II may not mean anything to you, but in 1932 he supposedly created and drew up sketches for a new hero—Batman! In the early ’30s, Foster apparently worked along side famous comic creator Al Capp, thinking up new ideas. In a ’70s interview, Foster claimed:
“…it seems to me that in those days, and even now, that most all of the strips were the heros of the day—such as, flying through the sky during the day and doing good deeds and so forth and so on—and I thought, well, why couldn’t that be done at night? Have a good guy do stuff at night. So, I started working, just briefly, very briefly, not too seriously, with Al Capp, and cooking up a couple of ideas.
” … one of the things was Batman … ”
In 1936, the Foster family moved to New York, home of DC comics, where, in addition to creating mural paintings and taking a number of odd jobs, Foster continued to dabble in comic ideas. This is where the story gets a bit hazy. According to Foster’s grandson-in-law, there was a time when Foster did submit ideas to DC. There is, however, no concrete evidence, nor did Foster remember with whom at DC he spoke.
From there, the evidence provided as proof that Kane stole Foster’s idea gets a bit flimsy. Bob Kane was asked to create a comic book character for DC at the 1939 World’s Fair, and Foster was creating murals there at the time. We are meant to believe Foster and Kane could have become acquainted at that time, but there’s no evidence that this happened.
The question remains, though—was Batman a stolen idea? Foster’s son believes that “the possibility of two men in 5,000 years of history arriving at the same character who’s a hero of the night, with the same name of Batman, at the same time, at the same place on the earth, is zero.” We, however, would be remiss if we didn’t point out that things get invented by different people at the same time almost constantly. The telephone, color photography, the thermometer and the microscope were all invented at nearly the same time.