Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"Citizen Conn" by Michael Chabon

The 2/13/12 issue of The New Yorker featured fiction called "Citizen Conn" by Michael Chabon.

art by Jashar Awan

The abstract: "Short story about the attempts of a female rabbi at an assisted-living facility to reconcile two estranged comic-book artists."

From the first sentence of the story, I thought it was an analogue for Bill Finger and Bob Kane. The name of the artist who was wronged is Morton Feather (sounds like Finger?) and the name of the writer who did the wronging is Artie Conn (Kane?).

In the Finger-Kane dynamic, Kane was the artist (at the beginning, anyway) and Finger was the writer (though he also designed Batman's costume). Job-reversal aside, however, Chabon's story read like an alternate history had Finger not died in 1974 at age 59 but instead lived till old age, as Kane did.

However, Chabon's camp confirmed that the story was actually influenced by the relationship between fellow comics creators Stan Lee (Conn) and Jack Kirby (Feather).

Funny—rather tragic—how such a misinterpretation was possible. In the Golden (and Silver) Age, too many four-color greats were got.

1 comment:

Odkin said...

I thought "Cavalier & Klay" was good until the whole gay thing pulled me completely out of the story.

Also, having read almost all the historic accounts from actual creators, I easily recognize when Chabon is swiping someone's real-life anecdote for a subplot. I get a little pissed that Chabon recycles THEIR stories into HIS stories.