Sunday, July 27, 2014

Comic-Con 2014: Bill Finger rises

On 7/24-25/14, I had the privilege of attending Comic-Con International (commonly called San Diego Comic-Con) to appear on three panels, two of which were Bill Finger-focused:

  • “Spotlight on Bill Finger, the Co-Creator of Batman”; 7/24/14, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., room 4; panelists: Tom Andrae, Mark Evanier, Lee Meriwether, Jens Robinson, Michael Uslan, me; moderator: Travis Langley
  • “Kids’ Heroes, Capes, and Journeys: Does One Size Fit All?”; 7/24/14, 4-5 p.m., room 29A; panelists: Frank Cammuso, Alexis E. Fajardo, Jenni Holm, Matthew Holm, Dave Roman, me; moderator: Meryl Jaffe
  • “Who Created Batman?”; 7/25/14, 2:30-3:30 p.m., (room) CAC 8; panelists: Tom Andrae, Athena Finger, Denny O’Neil, Brad Ricca, Jens Robinson, Arlen Schumer, Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson, me; moderator: Travis Langley

I came via train from Los Angeles and sat next to a DC Comics lawyer who ended up attending both Batman panels I was on. After the first panel, an attendee kindly asked if he could have my badge. While flattering, I had to say no because I could not get back in without it. 

A writer for Huffington Post Italy interviewed me with some insightful questions; he also asked if I planned to attend the screening of Gotham to publicly ask if Bill’s name will be in the credits. (I see his point but feel that would not be a proper approach.)

Before the “Who Created Batman” panel, a friend said he assumed I would simply stand up at the start of it, say “Bill Finger,” drop the mike, and swagger out. I did not do that but I did share the suggestion with the audience.

One of the most important people in Billfingerography (the study of Bill Finger) is Jim Steranko, who in 1970 became one of only three known people to interview Bill (the other two being Jerry Bails in 1965 and Bob Porfirio in 1972). I had the honor of meeting Jim in person at Comic-Con and gave him the only copy of Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman I brought. It was
also the first copy of the Scholastic Book Club paperback edition I signed for anyone. Yes, he humored me by asking me to autograph it.

Photo recap:

 Appropriate that mere minutes after arriving in San Diego,
I passed the Hall of Justice.

 First San Diego appearance for Athena!

 Hard to imagine Bill’s name appearing in a DC ad 
even a couple of years ago.

 Truly one of the biggest honors of my career: being asked to write about Bill 
for the souvenir book that went to all 130,000 attendees.

Selfie with (restored) Detective #27.

 Selfie with (restored) Action Comics #1.

 Standing room only Finger panel panorama. (Panelrama.)

 Athena and Ben accepting a posthumous Inkpot Award for Bill.

 The Finger panelists. (source: Jamie Coville)

 Another great turnout: the “Who Created Batman?” panel.

 Mark Evanier and Athena presenting the Bill Finger Awards 
during the Eisners.

 One of the great joys and honors of my Comic-Con was not only
meeting Susan Eisenberg, who portrayed Wonder Woman in  
Justice League and (my favorite) Justice League Unlimited
but also getting to hang out with her.
She is fun, gracious...a class act.

 Susan and Phil LaMarr (Green Lantern John Stewart in JL and JLU).
We also tried to see their teammate Kevin Conroy, 
whom I paneled with in May, but alas, the timing did not work.

 Susan and the official Wonder Woman of Six Flags (which one, I forget).

 Golden Age granddaughters!
The grandchildren of Shelly Moldoff, Sheldon Mayer, and Bill Finger.

The Hero Complex column of the Los Angeles Times covered the Finger panel; excerpts:

A gift for Derek Wolfford for doing me a huge (non-Con) favor and 
for running the Bill Finger Appreciation Group on Facebook... 
the Detective Comics #27 tribute issue signed by six Bat-luminaries: 

Athena Finger (top)
Denny O’Neil (below Athena)
Jim Steranko (below Denny)
Neal Adams (below Steranko)
Lee Meriwether (the second live-action Catwoman, and an articulate delight)
Michael Uslan

Name drop section:

It was fun to catch up in person with…

  • everyone on my panels
  • Chris Duffy
  • Dan Santat
  • Jeff Trexler
  • Gerard Jones
  • Josh Elder
  • Glen Weldon
  • Karen Green
  • Scott McCloud
  • Charlie Kochman
  • Melissa Wiley
  • Jamie Coville
  • David Siegel
  • Kendall Whitehouse
  • Ray Feighery
  • Chelle Mayer

It was a pleasure to meet in person for the first time…

  • Jim Steranko
  • Denny O’Neil
  • Neal Adams
  • Alethia Mariotta
  • A.J. and Erica Schultz
  • Pat Evans
  • Phil Nel
  • Dean Trippe
  • Joey Cavalieri
  • Chad Beckerman (also from Cheshire, CT)
  • Shannon Hale
  • Mike Maihack
  • Matt Keller (at DC)

Thank you again to…

  • Travis Langley and Mark Evanier for getting me there
  • Gary Sassaman for asking me to write about Bill for the souvenir book
  • Jenni Holm for inviting me to be on a panel with an impressive crew
  • Meryl Jaffe for moderating said panel with wit and depth
  • Sheila Marie Everett and Raina Telgemeier for getting me into the Scholastic party
  • Athena and Ben for making your big debut


hobbyfan said...


Lee Meriweather was the 2nd live-action Catwoman. She filled in for Julie Newmar in the feature film that came out in between seasons 2 & 3 of Batman, then moved on to Time Tunnel that fall (1966).

I am just wishing they'd do a convention that ginormous in upstate NY. I get jealous just reading about the cons in San Diego every year.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks hobbyfan. Made the change!