The stories of how comics are made are half the reason we pay so much attention to the brightest and most talented creators out there today. We want to be able to say we have been paying attention to an artist right from the beginning, or that a writer has had his breakthrough arc on a particular series. Much of this idea runs parallel to following the hottest underground bands in the music business. When Simon and Kirby created Captain America or when Jack teamed up with Stan Lee to create the Marvel Universe, there was no telling the effect superheroes would have on the culture.
Marc Tyler Nobleman has written many books about comic book history. He joins Earth Prime Time today to tell us about his new book, Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, drawn by Ty Templeton, and how Bill’s legacy affects the comic market today.
DIGBOSTON: Marc, thanks for taking the time to talk with us about your book today. I don’t think I’m overstating by saying this is an important book for Batman fans or Batmanians. Has the Bill Finger story always been interesting to you?
Marc Tyler Nobleman: I don’t remember when I learned the “Batman created by Bob Kane” credit was inaccurate, other than that it was sometime after college. Soon after I sold the manuscript for my first superhero picture book, Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman, Bill’s story grabbed me as a natural (not to mention more heartbreaking) follow-up.
In a sense, his story is even more important—Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster lived long enough to win back credit and compensation for their icon, but Bill Finger didn’t.
There has not been much coverage of this topic beyond the comic book convention scene crowd. Comic book historians and other creators certainly know a bit about the story, but for the first time you are presenting the information so that there is less mystery surrounding the origin of Batman’s creation. Why did you want to write this book?
For the reason you just stated! Comics diehards indeed know the name Bill Finger, but his contribution to pop culture is so significant that I feel the mainstream should know the back story, too. That’s also why I wrote it as a picture book for older readers.
I want kids to grow up knowing the truth about Batman’s creation rather than learning about it (like me), as an adult—if at all.