Friday, October 3, 2014

The greatest Batman story ever told

Mark Waid wrote the biographies of the men who wrote and drew the stories featured in The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told (1988).

Here is the beginning of the bio for Bill Finger (which continued on the next page):

Two aspects jump out:

  • Bill has since been credited with writing four of the stories in the book (“Dr. Hugo Strange Strange and the Mutant Monsters,” “The Origin of the Batman!,” “The First Batman,” “Robin Dies at Dawn”), but only one (“Mutant Monsters”) is listed after his name. The book came out before the grassroots, meticulous detective work of sites including the Grand Comics Database; at that time, comics historians simply had not yet re-established who worked on some Golden Age stories. (Proof that it was not a deliberate slight: no one else in the biography section of the book is credited as writer for the other three stories.)
  • The word “created.” Mark doesnt break down which of those four A-list villains Bill created vs. co-created, but it was still a strong statement. (By the way, Bill created the first three.)

Thank you, Mark, for taking a stand at a time when that was risky; accurate as phrasing is, I am surprised it made it into print.

The greatest Batman story ever told? If you ask me, it is not in the book. In fact, it is not yet finished. It is the story of the legacy of Bill Finger, Batman’s primary creative force, being officially instated after 75 years.

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