Saturday, October 31, 2015

A ghostly disclaimer

In 2007, my book Ghost Hunting Handbook came out. Perhaps you missed it (like a ghost itself).

Upon revisiting it recently, I saw that I missed—or rather forgot—something about it…the copyright page has no ordinary disclaimer:

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bill Finger credited in Batman-related comics, week 2

Week 1 of the corrected credit—three titles.

Week 2—six titles (not counting print series where the credit has already appeared, namely Batman & Robin Eternal): 

 Batgirl #45

 Batman ‘66 #28

 Grayson #13

Justice League: 
Darkseid War—Batman #1

Robin: Son of Batman #5

We Are Robin #5 
(but please all-cap either both names or neither!)

And we haven’t even gotten to flagships Batman or Detective Comics.

We Are Bill Finger.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Speaking to graduate students about nonfiction

Thank you, Susannah Richards, for inviting me to talk with your Eastern Connecticut State University students on 10/20/15 about the blurred lines of nonfiction.

Favorite topic! Fun group! Lets do it again!

And special thanks for your most kind comment here:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

First Bill Finger credits on TV and in comic books

On 10/10/15, we got our first glimpse of the newly worded Batman credit “Batman created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger.” It is from what some called a house ad but what actually seems to be a title page.

A little more than a week later, the credits are coming fast and furious now.

On 10/18/15 (technically 10/19/15, since the show aired at midnight), the first known Bill credit in a TV show ran—Robot Chicken DC Comics Special III: Magical Friendship:

Later on 10/19/15, in the end credits of the fifth episode of the second season of Gotham (“Scarification”), we first saw the credit in a television series where said credit will now appear each time:

Today, on 10/21/15, we encounter the first three credit appearances in comic book series: 

Batman & Robin Eternal #3

Batman: Arkham Knight—Genesis #3

Gotham Academy #11
The covers of the above (courtesy of the Bill Finger Appreciation Group):

We’ve come a long way.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

My book dedications

The Felix Activity Book (1996): To Darby, in the spirit of all the games I used to make for you when you were little [sister]

Felix Explores Our World (1999): To Leslie Moseley and Dan Tucker [two of my three first bosses, who became friends; Leslie was also co-author of The Felix Activity Book]

Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman (2008): To Daniela and Lara, my Girls of Steel [wife and daughter]

Quick Nonfiction Writing Activities That Really Work! (2009): To Andrew, whose word is always true [friend from college]

Vanished: True Stories of the Missing (2010): To Christian, who knows too much about missing someone and who has not vanished after all these years [friend since 4th grade]

Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman (2012): To Charles, Lyn, and Athena, who respectively revealed the soul, heart, and hope of Bill Finger [Charles Sinclair, longtime friend/writing partner of Bill’s; Lyn Simmons, Bill’s second wife; Athena Finger, Bill’s only grandchild]

Brave Like My Brother (2016): To my brothers by choice: Mike, Seth, Darren, Christian, Kevin, Matt, and Matt [best friends since childhood]; added here 11/1/15

The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra (2017): To Rafael, my favorite funny little fuzzball [son]; added here 3/2/17

Fairy Spell: How Two Girls Convinced the World That Fairies Are Real (2018): To Lara—don’t stop believing.; added here 7/28/18

Thirty Minutes Over Oregon: A Japanese Pilot's World War II Story (2018): To Daniela. I wouldn’t know Nobuo if not for you.; added here 7/28/18

Monday, October 19, 2015

Bill Finger action figure!

Dont miss the choking hazard.

Thanks to Derek Wolfford (yet again) and Steven Szaplicki.

(P.S. My previous post on this subject.)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

“Boys” and “Boy Wonder” “equally riveting”

Gathering Books gathered a series of kind words for Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman:

  • “equally riveting” (compared to Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman)
  • “The very extensive Author’s Note is a study in first-class sleuthing, dedicated investigation, and single-minded relentlessness in pursuing every lead he could find to look for Bill Finger’s surviving heir. Not only is this a tribute to a brilliant man’s legacy, it also honors his memory by potentially changing the life of his granddaughter whom very few people knew even existed. Truly an amazing work of investigative and comic art. Find it and add this to your library.”

I also especially appreciated this:

“Bill struck me as a man who would rather concern himself with creating and writing—his head [so] bursting with brilliant ideas that perhaps it was just way too much effort for him to stand up to Bob Kane and claim what is rightfully his.”

Thank you, GB, for lending your voice to the effort to preserve the legacy of Bill Finger.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Insulting Bill Finger early (1946) and posthumously (1976)

The calculated campaign to bury Bill Fingers role in Batman began earlier than some realize...and, in a particularly egregious manner, continued after his death.

Real Fact Comics was a DC Comics series featuring biographies of notable people. Real Fact #5 (1946) was apparently the only time the series profiled the creator of a superhero...the alleged creator, anyway.

The story was called “The True Story of Batman and Robin: How a Big-Time Comic Is Born!” (Thanks to Bill Wormstedt, Bill Jourdain, and John Wells for the scans.)

In this case, a more appropriate title for the series would have been Real Fake Comics. Not only is there no mention of Bill, but the events attributed to Bob Kane are preposterous. The capper: when Bob asks a friend to model a Batman costume his mother made.

Others including Bill Jourdain and Arlen Schumer have already covered this topic well.

Bill Finger died in 1974. Not even two years later, Amazing World of DC Comics #10 (1/76) ran a distasteful story called “Through the Wringer” about a chronically late writer named Phil Binger (get it?) who (spoiler in more ways than one) dies at the end. Even now would be too soon.

Again, others including the incomparable Robby Reed at Dial B for Blog have covered this.

Of course, since 9/18/15, this is all even more moot than before.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Showing you how big my “Brave” is...

(In other words, about 6x8.)

A novel of World War II, told in letters. Due from Scholastic in early 2016.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Bill Finger co-credit - first time in print!

On 10/10/15, I first saw the new normal...Bill Finger’s name on Batman. Not just on Batman stories Bill wrote. On BATMAN.

It appears in Dark Knight Universe Presents: The Atom #1 (a mini-comic correlated to Dark Knight III: The Master Race). Small hero. Big deal.

The language is better than what I speculated. Batman film producer Michael Uslan called this DCs most seminal moment in Batman history since Detective Comics #27 [1939] and Batman #1 [1940]:

(Too bad Jerry Siegels name is spelled wrong. Twice.)

Lets zoom in on the credit heard ‘round the world:

Friday, October 9, 2015

My history with history: visiting world-famous sites

In 6/15, I had the privilege of seeing in person one of the most beloved buildings in the world, the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. It made me wonder how many other wonders of the world I have visited.

Here are the ones at which I was photographed:

 Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, 1984

 Washington Monument, Washington DC, 1984 
(with my dad)

 Niagara Falls, NY, 1987 
(with my dad, my sister, and a rainbow)

 Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, 1993 
(with a shockingly bad shirt)

 Notre Dame, Paris, France, 1993 
(with my friend Seth,
who would also accompany me to Easter Island
almost 20 years later)

 Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy, 1993

 Colosseum, Rome, Italy, 1993

 The Vatican, Rome, Italy, 1993

 Berlin Wall, Germany, 1993

 Berlin Wall, east side

 Berlin Wall, west side 
(yes, dirtier than east)

 Little Mermaid statue, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1993

 Stonehenge, Salisbury, England, 1993

 Strawberry Fields, Liverpool, England, 1993

 Major Oak (Robin Hood hideout), Sherwood Forest, 
Nottingham, England, 1993 
(with my friend Phil)

 Empire State Building, New York, NY, 1995 
(with friends and other people 
whose names I don't remember)

 Washington Monument, Washington DC, 1995 
(with my friend Drew; including this second 
appearance due to oddball photo)

 Kitty Hawk, NC, 1996
(where the Wright Brothers first flew)

 Liberty Bell, Philadelphia, PA, 1998
(with my best friends)

 Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles, CA, 1998 
(with my mom and that tourist)

 Gateway Arch, St. Louis, MO, 2008

 Easter Island, 2012

 Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 2014
(then the world's tallest building)

 La Sagrada Família church, Barcelona, Spain, 2014
(with my wife Daniela)

Taj Mahal, Agra, India, 2015
(my second of the New Seven Wonders of the World)

 Little Rock Central High School, Little Rock, AR, 2015

 Rhea County Courthouse (Scopes trial), Dayton, TN, 2015

 Mt. Everest, Nepal, 2016 

 Petronas Towers (world's tallest building 1998-2004)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2016

 Hỏa Lò Prison (the "Hanoi Hilton"), Hanoi, Vietnam, 2016

 Hamilton-Burr duel site, Weehawken, NJ, 2017

Tikal (Mayan ruins), Guatemala, 2018

 16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL, 2018

Lorraine Hotel (site of assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., 
now the National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, 2018

White House, Washington DC, 2018

Machu Picchu, Peru, 2018
(my third of the New Seven Wonders of the World)

Rock of Gibraltar, Iberian Peninsula (Spain), 2018

Plymouth Rock, MA, 2019
Abbey Road, London, England, 2021

Bremen Town Musicians statue, Bremen, Germany, 2022
(with my son Rafael)

Big Ben, London, England, 2023

Buckingham Palace, London, England, 2023

Westminster Abbey, London, England, 2023

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia, 2023

Petra, Jordan, 2023
(my fourth of the New Seven Wonders of the World)

Dead Sea, Jordan, 2023

Western Wall (Wailing Wall), Jerusalem, Israel, ???? (postponed from 2023)

Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Israel, ???? (postponed from 2023)

4/1/23 addendum: Gallery of iconic pop culture sites I've visited.