Pursuit Of Truth
June 7th, 2017 by Proprietor
Watched the Hulu original documentary “Batman & Bill”. It told the story of author Mark Tyler Nobleman’s quest to get DC to change the credit for the creation of Batman. It has long been accepted that Batman was created by Bob Kane, but very few people knew of Bill Finger, except for a few diehard fans or people within the comic book industry.
Bob Kane was the public face of Batman, and had been the long time artist, but Bob Kane was not the only creator. Batman had a co-creator, and it has been known for decades amongst many comic book fans, and people with in the industry that Bill Finger was the man who helped create the trope for Batman. Bill Finger created the look, the motives, the villain, the identity, everything that made Batman who he was, Bill Finger did most of the work.
The Hulu documentary does an incredible job of laying out the case, the quest, and eventual success of Mark Tyler Nobleman in getting Bill Finger credited for the creation of Batman. The journey documented was incredible. Resulting in various twists and turns, eventually resulting in finding Bill Finger’s granddaughter which was essential to overturning DC’s contract with Bob Kane. Though the lawyer representing the family of Bill Finger questioned the existence of said contract, if it physically existed, it should be somewhere.
Back when Batman was created, Bob Kane had worked on the idea with Bill Finger. Though Bob Kane went to National Publication, the company which would become DC, and negotiated a contract as if he, Bob Kane, were the sole creator. For seven decades Batman was billed as Bob Kane’s creation. Though there was a small undercurrent of acknowledgement that Bill Finger was co-creator. In his own autobiography, “Batman & Me”, Bob Kane acknowledge Bill Finger’s contributions to some extent. Yet, Bob Kane went to his grave insisting, he was the sole creator.
Over several decades and due to the work of Mark Tyler Nobleman, Bill Finger finally got the acknowledgement and credit from DC. Athena Finger, Bill’s granddaughter, and sole heir, fought Warner Brothers, the parent company of DC, and Warner Brother’s capitulated. The reason it took so long, and so much effort to finally get justice, was Batman is a billion dollar industry. Warner Brothers, the now parent company of DC, is worried about having to share profits.
To change creative credit on a character that is in comics, in television series, in movies, and who is so iconic, people in third world countries know the symbol of Batman, would potentially lead to law suits and large amounts of money. It is not simply changing a masthead or logo or byline, it is changing copyright. The changing of copyright could mean that Bill Finger was owed large amounts of money, since it was not paid, his family could receive the money with interest.
DC paid Bob Kane to have the rights to Batman. Bob Kane was given a percentage of the rights, and when Batman became a television show, then movies were based on the character, Bob Kane made millions. Bill Finger should have been co-creator and had the same rights. Bob Kane was the man who cheated Bill Finger out of those rights. Bill Finger’s family was not wanting money, but simply credit. There was money involved, but that was not disclosed.
Batman & Bill is an interesting story, even if someone is not a comic book fan, and just a creative person. It is an interesting insight into the slow progress of justice, and how even getting credit, simple acknowledgement for work done, can be stymied by laws.
Thanks to the work of Mark Tyler Nobleman, the credit is now being given. DC and the parent company Warner Brothers now print or produce Batman product acknowledging Bob Kane with Bill Finger as creators.
Thanks for stopping by.