That’s a trading card from a “Comic Book Creators” collector’s series put out by Eclipse Comics in ’92. For those who don’t know, Bill Finger is more or less, the secret creator of BATMAN, never credited in print, never acknowledged by the general public, and badly mistreated by Bob Kane (the “official” creator of Batman). What was done to Bill was a crime, pure and simple, and he deserves the recognition that he never got while he was alive. Somebody should DO something about this.
Well, somebody is, and I get to play along. Mark Tyler Nobleman has written a book about the creation of Batman and Bill Finger is the center of the story FINALLY. And I get to do the illustrations for this important story!! As a lifelong Batman freak, I’m thrilled to be involved. As a lifelong Bill Finger fan, I’m hyperventilating with joy that I get to be part of setting the record straight about Bill and Bob.
This isn’t Mark Tyler Nobleman’s first foray into the world of comic book origins-behind the scenes. Mark gave the world an excellent book about the creation of Superman a few years ago called BOYS OF STEEL:
Illustrated by Ross MacDonald, it’s a delightful telling of the story of Seigel and Shuster and their moment of genius in creating that strange visitor from another planet who can bend steel in his bare hands. The success of Boys of Steel led Mark to want to tell the story of Batman’s creation, and he’s done it in a succinct and touching narrative that will pull at your heart strings.
I’d love to show you some of the artwork that I’ve been working on for the last while (this is the secret Batman project I’ve mentioned once or twice here in the last few weeks) and as soon as I’m allowed I will….but for today, I’m happy to finally let people know I’m working on this. I want people to buy it when it comes out, not just because it includes my work, but because Bill Finger deserves it.
Ty the Guy OUT!
Here now, your slightly inaccurate Bill Finger Comic Card moment:
The back of Bill’s trading card needs two corrections: Finger did not die on today’s anniversary as stated…he died on January 18th. Don’t know why they got that one wrong. Also: He was born in Denver. Oops!
Wasn’t there some talk about establishing a Bill Finger award for the artist or writer who was most screwed over by the industry in any given year? Kind of a humiliating award, admittedly…..”Give ’em the Finger!”….
Not just “talk” of creating a Bill Finger Award, it’s been around since 2005, given out as part of the Eisner Award ceremony. It’s a lifetime achievement award for writers, established by Jerry Robinson (Finger’s life long friend). Each year, one living, and one dead writer is given the lifetime award in Bill’s name. It’s not about being screwed over, but for doing good work for a long career. Not QUITE the same thing…
I’ll always remember reading about Frank Miller’s keynote address in San Diego all those years ago when he blasted the industry for the shameful way it had treated the creators who had built it. I don’t have the magazine anymore, and I can’t say now how much attention was given to Mr. Finger by Mr. Miller or as a sidebar in the article, but I remember being appalled. I only hope that this forthcoming publication is taken in the light of righting a wrong. An uninterested public has a bad habit of dismissing these kinds of stories as little more than sour grapes, and shame upon any who would further marginalize Mr. Finger. I eagerly await this publication, and you can bet I’ll be back with comments once I get my grubby paws on it!
Congratulations to you are definitely in order for being chosen to handle such an important assignment to the historical record. I am sure many of us look forward to this piece of work.
Steven G. Willis
Also, the Bill Finger Award may ostensibly be for Excellence in Comic Book Writing, but I think it does focus on people who don’t get enough recognition. I was thrilled to see Otto Binder get it this year.
Incidentally, I recently bought Adam West’s Back to the Batcave and just finished reading it. Mr. Finger is mentioned in passing a few times (West was of the mind that the lion’s share of credit was owed to Mr. Kane, but does acknowledge Finger as an unsung hero). In the back of the book is an annotated episode guide, and I was surprised to learn that Mr. Finger had, in fact, scripted an episode of the TV series!
It’s off-topic, but I’d highly recommend the book if for nothing else than West’s observations and studies of the character, including the elasticity of the mythos, placing the TV show on the spectrum from camp to grittiness and even some genuinely fascinating ideas he had for returning to the role later in life. Seriously, you just haven’t contemplated Batman until Adam West convinces you–citing Frank Miller, no less–that him playing an aged Batman may well have been the cat’s pajamas.
Loved Back to the Batcave. Also loved the film, Return to the Batcave (which is about to be mentioned in an upcoming blog entry). Adam West is in the pantheon, and a big part of why Batman matters. Almost as big as Bill Finger.
All this talk got me to pop in my Return to the Batcave DVD. My wife hadn’t seen it before, and got a big kick out of it. Also, I remain convinced that Frank Gorshin was at least partially insane. Oh, and by the way: thanks for taking the time for these little asides and indulging us fellow Bat-fans. I can’t imagine my time spent with the characters and mythology without your work on The Batman Adventures, a title I still hold in high esteem after all these years…even if my paltry attempts at replicating your art have never quite worked as I’d hoped.