Best Geeky Finds – Batman & Bill

A couple months ago, not completely paying attention, I noticed the characters’ credit line in the closing credits of Gotham:

“Based on the characters created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger.”

I hadn’t thought much about this at first. Superman is famously created by Siegel & Schuster, so having two creators didn’t strike me as unusual until I picked up a Batman book from the ‘90s and realized that Bob Kane had been the only creator credited in most books. 

Bill Finger’s name was not added to the series credits until 2015, beginning with Gotham and Batman Vs. Superman.  It took many years of disagreements and potential lawsuits to allow this to happen though, all originating with a faulty deal made between the creators and the original comic publisher. Part of this was due to the lifelong efforts of Mark Tyler Nobleman.

Batman & Bill (now available on Hulu) documents Nobleman’s efforts as he searches for ways to add Finger’s name to the series credits, including the search for Finger’s descendants. While an individual’s estate may not be altered by any person, relatives of that person may request such actions. Of course, DC Comics and Warner Brothers didn’t have to add his name even if his family requested such an action.

The part I really enjoyed about this documentary was how Nobleman thoroughly explains the history of the characters and how they changed over time, through both Finger’s and DC’s involvements. Seeing Batman go from a pulp character with a small mask to a dark, gritty character whose creator had become a showman shines new light on the Dark Knight, but also explains how certain plotlines came about. Not only had Finger created the Clock King for the 1960s TV series, it was in the only script he was ever credited for before the 21st century. Finger’s artwork in the comics was also influential in the design of said series, incorporating his large-scale backgrounds with small characters.

If you are looking for an interesting documentary about the history of comics and the Dark Knight, check out Batman & Bill on Hulu.

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