Thursday, April 22, 2021

“The Creators of Batman: Bob, Bill & The Dark Knight”

Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman (2012) was the first published biography of Bill Finger. To date, two more have been released (one in Spain in 2014, the other in Brazil in 2019, with an English edition in the works).

The third is the first since mine to be initially published in English—and in England. Due later this year, it is called The Creators of Batman: Bob, Bill & The Dark Knight, by British writer Rik Worth.

I’ve not yet gone through the prose book in its entirety, but what I have read reveals a strong grasp of the material and some thoughtful insight, such as this (taken from pages 88-89 of a still-being-edited draft):

When looking at history, we reduce people to the events in their lives. It is easy for us to see Finger as an uncredited and unfairly treated creative who struggled to make ends meet. From this, it is easy to assume he was a perpetually unhappy man. But the truth is anecdotes and historical events only ever offer us a small glimpse of how people really felt. We can extract parts of their personality from this evidence, but we can’t fully understand what it is to know them. Likewise, we may be tempted to define Bill Finger by the actions of Bob Kane, but this reduces them both; boiling them down and diminishing the complexity of their relationship and identities to characters neatly fitting into a narrative with an over-arching theme. We want to define a life though some recurring pattern we spot, but a tragic life doesn’t mean the person who lived it spent their days in tragedy. People aren’t all good and they aren’t all bad, neither are they all exuberance or misery or indifference. They’re all these things through the course of their time on earth.

I hope to weigh in more after I’ve read the finished book.

The ninth and final chapter is a humbling look at the efforts (including mine) to get Bill credit, and yet again my last name and Bills predilection for puns align:

Congrats, Rik, and thanks for helping spread word of Bill Finger’s legacy.

1 comment:

Billy Hogan said...

I'll have to put this book on my reading list.