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Last year Bill Finger biographer Marc Tyler Nobleman campaigned unsuccessfully for a Google Doodle to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the writer’s birth, but now he’s proposing a more attainable goal: a commemorative bench in Poe Park in The Bronx, New York, honoring the uncredited co-creator of Batman.
In a blog post published Sunday — Finger’s birthday — Nobleman dusts off a Kickstarter proposal he’d written in 2013 that lays out the plan, which calls for $6,000 to install the bench and plaque as part of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation’s Adopt-a-Bench program. “If it generates enough enthusiasm here, it might embolden me to launch it immediately!” he writes.
Nobleman, author of Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, states that the project would not only “help right a wrong,” but also make pop-culture history as “the first memorial honoring a superhero creator in NYC, the Superhero Capital of the World.”
Batman is celebrating his 75th birthday this year, which may come as a surprise. I mean, look at that smooth, handsome face, or what little of it is visible beneath his cowl. Look at those ripped muscles, or the way he runs across rooftops and beats up criminals — why, Batman doesn’t look a day over 35!
Now just as it did recently for Superman, DC Comics is releasing a pair of hefty, 400-page hardcover collections that serve as a sort of survey for how the character has been portrayed and functioned in the publisher’s comics line during since his first appearance. Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years and The Joker: A Celebration of 75 Years aren’t exactly the comics equivalents of greatest-hits albums, but they are nice starting points for newcomers and/or casual fans, offering quick, compelling overviews of the title characters through the decades.
The Batman volume, featuring Jim Lee’s rendition of the character from the 2003 storyline “Hush” on the dust jacket, must have been particularly challenging to assemble, given the thousands and thousands of pages of Batman comics, featuring dozens of different takes by scores of creators.
“Speaking specifically of that particular cover, we always list the writers’ credits on the cover, and he scripted that issue. No one is denying Bill’s massive contributions to the DC mythology — not just Batman. It’s never been our take that it was only Bob Kane. But the credit by Bob Kane, that’s a very specific thing, and has been around since the creation of Batman, over 75 years ago. It’s hard to talk about this publicly other than, we love what Bill Finger has contributed to the mythology, and we’ve always acknowledged and compensated him and his estate for that work.”
– DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee, addressing Bill Finger’s credit on the cover of the upcoming Detective Comics #27 Special Edition, and renewed discussion of the late writer’s role as the co-creator of Batman
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Dark Knight, Kotobukiya is releasing the limited-edition First Appearance Batman ARTFX+ Statue.
Sculpted by Atelier Bamboo in 1/10th scale, the statue is based on Bob Kane’s rendition of the “Bat-Man” in 1939’s Detective Comics #27. (It’s worth noting that in its announcement, Kotobukiya refers to Batman as “created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger.”)
Comics | Liam Burke, editor of the essay collection Fan Phenomena: Batman, discusses the enduring appeal of the Dark Knight, who of course turns 75 this year: “This isn’t a guy who’s from an alien planet, this isn’t someone who was bitten by a radioactive spider. This is an average guy, albeit incredibly wealthy and incredibly intelligent, at the peak of human fitness, but an average guy nonetheless. That sort of aspirational quality has been identified as the reason Batman sort of stands above Spider-Man, Superman or any number of heroes.” [RN Drive]
Publishing | David Harper looks at the economics of monthly creator-owned comics, as well as how trades fit into the picture; for creators, the monthlies provide a regular stream of income so they can always be working on the next issue. Brandon Montclare, Jim Zubkavich and others provide some first-hand commentary on how things work in the real world. [Multiversity Comics]
Like many fans, biographer Marc Tyler Nobleman was pleased to see Bill Finger’s name on the cover of DC Comics’ Detective Comics #27 Special Edition, marking the first time the writer has received cover credit for the first Batman story. However, while he’s hopeful it’s a sign that change is afoot, Nobleman is keeping “realistic expectations.”
“Though this is indeed the first time that Bill’s name has been on the cover of a comic, it is far from the first time DC Comics has credited him as writer for his stories, so it is a logical extension of what they have already done,” Nobleman, the author of Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, wrote today on his blog. “Modern management is enlightened but also bound by old contracts. This is a way for them to demonstrate the former while honoring the latter.”
Characterized by Nobleman as “the dominant creative force” behind Batman, Finger is widely acknowledged with such contributions as the Batmobile, the Batcave, the name Gotham City, Alfred Pennyworth, Commissioner Gordon, the basic look of the Dark Knight’s costume, and numerous villains and supporting players. However, because of the contract Bob Kane negotiated with what would become DC, only he receives official credit for the creation of Batman and most of those foundational elements.
It may not seem like much — or enough, to be frank — but it’s noteworthy that when DC Comics releases a new, free version of the original Detective Comics #27 on “Batman Day” July 23, it’ll include a cover credit for “the uncredited, unrecognized and unsung creative force” behind Batman, Bill Finger.
Responding to a recent assertion by a DC Comics representative that “We’re all good” with the late Bill Finger and his family, the granddaughter of Batman’s uncredited co-creator has made it clear that’s not the case.
“I am currently exploring our rights and considering how best to establish the recognition that my grandfather deserves,” Athena Finger said in a statement.
Characterized by biographer Marc Tyler Nobleman as “the dominant creative force” behind Batman, Bill Finger is widely acknowledged with such contributions as the Batmobile, the Batcave, the name Gotham City, Alfred Pennyworth, Commissioner Gordon, the basic look of the Dark Knight’s costume, and numerous villains and supporting players. However, because of the contract Bob Kane negotiated with what would become DC Comics, only he receives official credit for the creation of Batman and most of those foundational elements.
Long a sore spot with fans and creators alike, the matter surfaced again last month at WonderCon Anaheim, when participants on a Batman panel were asked their thoughts about Finger not receiving “created by” credit. Larry Ganem, DC’s talent relations director, replied, “We cherish what Bill Finger did, and his contribution to creating Batman. We’re all good with Finger and his family.”
Police in Nottinghamshire, England, are on the lookout for the thief who swiped the sign for the sleepy village of Gotham. And while they don’t have any suspect, they are looking in the direction of Batman fans.
“It is of little scrap metal value, so it may be more to do with a prank, particularly given the name on it,” police community support officer Anthony Davies told the Nottingham Post. “But it is not a prank because it is going to cost Nottinghamshire County Council money to replace it, so I would ask anyone who knows where the sign is to let us know.”
Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about, as it says above, “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out. Looks like I’m flying solo this week, so without further ado, let’s get to it …
In recent years, it’s become fashionable to refer to Bill Finger as the “secret” co-creator of Batman. And while that’s an attention-grabber for the uninformed, it’s more accurate to say the writer, who died in 1974, is the uncredited, unrecognized and unsung creative force in the creation of DC Comics’ Dark Knight Detective.
Saturday marks the 100th anniversary of Finger’s birth. It’s an occasion many in the comics community have been promoting as an opportunity to correct the record in some small way, such as with biographer Marc Tyler Nobleman’s quest to get a Google Doodle in his honor.
But for the average comic fan, there are also plenty of ways to celebrate the legacy of Bill Finger and his unquestionable contribution to one of comics’ most enduring character. Here is just a handful of suggestions:
Cartoonist Ty Templeton, who illustrated Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, has thrown his support behind author Marc Tyler Nobleman’s renewed effort to convince Google to mark the 100th anniversary of Bill Finger’s birth on Feb. 8 with a Google Doodle.
To help increase public awareness of Finger as the uncredited co-creator of Batman, Templeton not only rattles off some of the writer’s contributions to the mythos — the Batmobile, the Batcave, Wayne Manor, the basic look of Batman’s costume, and key villains and supporting players, among them — but also a comic strip that imagines a Batman created solely by Bob Kane.
You can see the full strip on Templeton’s blog. He also posted some pages from Bill the Boy Wonder, including the spread below that illustrates just some of the elements Finger introduced to Batman comics.
Creators | Author Marc Tyler Nobleman tells Michael Cavna about his crusade to gain recognition for Bill Finger as one of the co-creators of Batman — including a push to have Google honor him with a Google Doodle on his birthday: “As it currently stands, even the mighty Christopher Nolan could not legally credit Bill as co-creator. However, prior to The Dark Knight, I asked DC if they could use non-subjective language to acknowledge Bill. I proposed: ‘Batman was first called “the Dark Knight” in Batman #1, in 1940, in a story written by Bill Finger.’ DC publications already regularly credit Bill for that story, and the movie’s title doesn’t even include the word ‘Batman’ — it is wholly a phrase coined by Bill Finger. Alas, they said no.” [Comic Riffs]
Passings | Tulsa, Oklahoma, cartoonist Larry Pendleton, who created the syndicated single-panel cartoon Graphic Nature, has died at the age of 59. [Tulsa World]
An effort by Bill Finger biographer Marc Tyler Nobleman to honor the uncredited co-creator of Batman with a Google Doodle appears to be gaining steam, with the likes of Kevin Smith and Brad Meltzer endorsing the campaign to their Twitter followers.
Nobleman, author of Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret C0-Creator of Batman, initially pitched the idea to Google in 2012, but dusted off the proposal again in December because this year marks not just the 75th anniversary of the Dark Knight’s debut, but also the 100th anniversary of Finger’s birth and the 40th anniversary of his death.
Don Rosa and the late Steve Gerber have been named the recipients of the 2013 Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing, Comic-Con International announced. The award is named in honor of the uncredited co-creator of Batman/
Gerber, who passed away in 2008 at age 60, was the influential writer of such Marvel comics as The Defenders, Daredevil and Man-Thing who co-created Howard the Duck and Omega the Unknown. He also created the animated series Thundarr the Barbarian and worked on such properties as The Transformers, G.I. Joe and Dungeons & Dragons.