Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bill Finger

Marc Tyler Nobleman's new book is now out. He wrote a book about Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster called Boys of Steel. It's a picture book about the creation of Superman. It's pretty good.

In the same vein, Bill the Boy Wonder is about the creation of Batman. Bill Finger came up with a great many aspects of Batman familiar to everybody today (Robin, Catwoman, the batmobile, and even the design of Batman's costume). But Bob Kane gets all the credit. Nobleman's book is part of a larger endeavor to give Finger the credit he deserves. Nobleman has recently been on NPR and TED talking about this. Those talks are pretty short, and if you're into comics on the internet these days you have probably already learned about Finger's role in the creation of Batman. But they're a good introduction to the topic.

Art by Al Plastino
Finger also wrote some Superman stories, including the influential Superman #61, which was a retelling of his origin, and where Superman finds out about his past for the first time.

There's an interesting analysis of Finger's impact on Batman and Superman in an essay called "The Dark Knight Origin of the Man of Steel" by Richard Harrison. It's in the Secret Identity Reader, edited by Harrison and Lee Easton.

The story of Bill Finger ties into creator's rights, because he didn't get any. It's a complex story, in the same way that Siegel and Shuster's stories are complex. It was a different time. And learning about it can honor the creator of Batman.

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