That time Jim Steranko slapped Bob Kane at San Diego Comic-Con

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Jul 10, 2013

Comic-book legends don't always get along, as this particularly entertaining tale will prove.

You might know Jim Steranko best for his groundbreaking work in the 1960s on Marvel Comics books like Strange Tales and Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., but he's also just a fascinating guy who's led a huge life filled with behind-the-scenes stories from comic-book history. Steranko (or possibly a very, very talented Steranko impersonator) joined Twitter recently, and promptly began to hold court, sharing his stories and taking questions from fans about his fellow creators. The Steranko Twitter feed is always entertaining, but yesterday Steranko may have outdone himself when a comic-book store in Delaware asked him to recount how he met infamous Batman "creator" Bob Kane, a man known just as much (if not more) for his ego as for his comics.

Would love to hear a Bob Kane story from @iamsteranko . I know he has at least one really good one. #SLAP

— The Comic Book Shop (@ComicBookShopDE) July 9, 2013

 Steranko immediately launched into the tale of how he met Kane at San Deigo Comic-Con one year. They were introduced and Kane almost immediately began criticizing Steranko's chapter on Batman in his book The Steranko HIstory of Comics, claiming that he gave too much credit to Jerry Robinson and Bill Finger for their work on the character (it's widely accepted that Finger and Robinson did much of the work on Batman, though Kane's contract guaranteed him sole credit, which he has to this day). Steranko described Kane as "an intolerable ass as pompous as they come," but the real insult came when the conversation ended.

.@ComicBookShopDE The group was waiting for an elevator, which they stepped into when the door opened. Our conversation ended,

— Jim Steranko (@iamsteranko) July 9, 2013

.@ComicBookShopDE but not before he said: "See you later, Jim, baby,"

— Jim Steranko (@iamsteranko) July 9, 2013

.@ComicBookShopDE and cuffed me across the face--like some rat-pack street gesture he'd seen in some cheap flick. The doors closed...

— Jim Steranko (@iamsteranko) July 9, 2013

.@ComicBookShopDE I was stunned by the sheer audacity of a stranger--like him--to lay a hand on me, and boiling with anger.

— Jim Steranko (@iamsteranko) July 9, 2013

After a sleepless night of anger, Steranko went looking for Kane on the convention floor. Here's what happened next.

.@ComicBookShopDE That night, I couldn't sleep and the next morning began combing the halls for his Bat Majesty. Around noon, I found him

— Jim Steranko (@iamsteranko) July 9, 2013

.@ComicBookShopDE in another group, which I walked into. "Good to see you, Bob, baby!" I said, then bitch-slapped him across the face.

— Jim Steranko (@iamsteranko) July 9, 2013

.@ComicBookShopDE But this time, there was no elevator door closing between us. I stood there for about 15 seconds, waiting. He did nothing.

— Jim Steranko (@iamsteranko) July 9, 2013

.@ComicBookShopDE I turned and left. But I regret it now. I regret that he didn't do anything about it,

— Jim Steranko (@iamsteranko) July 9, 2013

.@ComicBookShopDE even though he was at least a head taller than me. I wouldn't have minded bleeding at all for one more opportunity

— Jim Steranko (@iamsteranko) July 9, 2013

.@ComicBookShopDE to give Kane the kind of Bat Lesson that Finger, Robinson, Sprang and others only dreamed of.

— Jim Steranko (@iamsteranko) July 9, 2013

 We're not sure what's more impressive, the fact that this seems to have happened or the fact that it's only one of dozens of incredible comics tales on Steranko's Twitter feed right now. Check out the full story in a single image below (read it from the bottom up, mind you), then head over to Twitter to hear, among other things, about the time Steranko met Jerry Siegel when the Superman co-creator was cleaning out the ashtrays in the Marvel bullpen.

(Via Matt Fraction)