In Remember to Forget, we spotlight comic book stories that I wish I could forget, but I can’t, so I instead share them with you all!
Today, sort of based on a suggestion from by pal Keith Alan Morgan, we take a look at a gross pack of lies that DC Comics released to fans as “real facts” in 1946.
First off, let met say that I get it. You get it. I get it. We all get it. DC Comics had a specific interest in protecting the idea of Bob Kane creating Batman all by himself because DC Comics had a solid deal with Kane where they didn’t have to worry about getting sued about the rights over Batman. It worked out well for Kane, as well, of course, but the main gist of it all was that DC had a vested interest in lying about how Batman was created. It is the same reason why Wonder Woman’s film appearances never even give a THANKS to H.G. Peter, because Warner Bros. worked out a deal with William Marston’s estate and so they have a vested interest in not upsetting the apple cart by acknowledging that perhaps (JUST PERHAPS) the guy who designed Wonder Woman’s costume might have an argument to be made that he should be considered one of Wonder Woman’s creators.
Secondly, I don’t know about you folks, but when I was a kid, there was a series of biographies about famous Americans that tried to relate to kids by telling stories about the famous person back when they were a kid. I don’t actually know this for a fact because I haven’t read any of those books in decades, but I would bet donuts to dollars (in New York City, at least, where I’m from, donuts now cost more than a dollar, so I’m flipping the phrase) that all of the stories are full of nonsense. That has been a standard tactic for “real stories” about famous people for CENTURIES. The whole “chopped down a cherry tree” deal with George Washington? Invented for that same sort of thing. So even if DC Comics didn’t have a vested interest in lying about how Bob Kane invented Batman to ignore the contributions of Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson, then they would probably make up a fanciful story anyways.
Still, that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t still totally messed up to read a whole comic book story based on just making up lies about how Bob Kane invented Batman.
Real Fact Comics was, on the face of it, a really cool idea and one that DC Comics (then called National Comics) likely pushed to get people off of their backs about not being educational enough. The idea of the book was, in general, to just tell quick stories about historical figures and people in the news at the time.
The first story was, bizarrely enough, a spotlight on a popular bird at the time, Raffles…
Jack Kirby did a story about the pirate, Jean Laffite, who helped warn the Americans about a British attack on New Orleans…
And Fred Ray finished the book with a look at the real life war hero, George Tweed, who evaded capture by the Japanese for two years in Guam after his garrison had surrendered…
But then came Real Fact Comics #5 and a whole bunch of nonsense…
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