Sunday, April 14, 2013

The date of a paperweight

As an author of nonfiction, authenticity is my co-pilot. But co-pilots make mistakes.

Half a year after Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman came out, I realized that my determination to visually include a particular detail obscured the possibility that I was including that accurate detail in an inaccurate period.

Among my most treasured possessions is my lone possession that Bill Finger used to own: a bronze-colored scarab paperweight his second wife Lyn purchased for him at the American Museum of Natural History.

I asked Ty Templeton, artist of Bill the Boy Wonder, to show the paperweight in a scene of Bill at his desk, and the illustration was based on a photo of Bill’s actual desk circa mid- to late-1940s.

However, Bill and Lyn were not married at that time; in fact, they may not have even met yet.

So the paperweight is an authentic detail…only a decade or two too soon.

Though not a goof that will jeopardize the integrity of the book as a whole, it did make me shake my head for a moment. However, it’s such a lovely little piece of the real Bill that, even had I realized the chronological misstep before we went to print, I think I would have left it in.

A flourish like that is worth its (paper)weight in gold (or bronze).

1 comment:

Bill said...

Agreed, the timeline can easily be forgiven, to have this wonderful tidbit included. Thanks for expanding on that, Marc!