Monday, June 21, 2010

Finger Tip #7: Bill Finger at the convergence of history, part 1 of 3

In gathering images for the illustrator of my upcoming book on Bill Finger, uncredited co-creator and original writer of Batman, I have gone to several of Finger’s former apartments in New York. One in the West Village turned out to have more history than I could’ve anticipated.

I’d taken exterior photos of it on 6/19/06. On 5/27/10, I went back to try to get inside and take interior photos. As I was standing outside about to buzz the apartment I wanted, a woman who lived in the building came past me and started to go in. I asked if she knew the resident in the apartment I’m interested in and she did. I said something to the effect of “It’s got some history to it.”

“I know, right?” she said with a smile combining pride and bemusement.

“You know about that?” I said. She didn’t strike me as a comics type and few non-comics people have heard of Bill Finger. Even most of the comics people don’t know any of the buildings in which he used to live.

She said it’s hard not to know the building’s history because tours go by frequently and stop in front of the building. I was flabbergasted—until I realized that the history she was talking about must not be Finger-related. I asked.

She said that John Wilkes Booth used to live there.

John Wilkes Booth, assassin of Abraham Lincoln.

In the same apartment.

Part 2.

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