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Bill Finger at NYCC

finger-batman-logoBatman. Everywhere we look, we see him. In the comic books. The movies. T-Shirts. You name it.

For over seventy-five years, we have been told that one singular man created the Batman: Bob Kane. But recent times have proven that it is simply not so. It turns out A gentleman named Bill Finger had a hand in creating the Batman as we know him. His character. His world. His very history. It turns out, Bill Finger co-created the Batman and his universe.

A new documentary coming to Hulu next year called Batman and Bill will explore the struggle of Bill Finger. It shows how he never received credit in his lifetime. How he was forced to watch as what he helped create became part of pop culture. How he died penniless and alone. It also shows how his son, and how his granddaughter, Athena, and her family had to carry that burden through their lives.

The film also shows how author Marc Tyler Nobleman decided to write a biography of the creation of Batman. It shows how he got involved with Bill’s story. Most of all, it shows how he became determined to right a wrong that had been going on for decades.

“It was the right thing to do,” says Nobleman. A sentiment that seems almost out of a superhero comic.

Filmmakers Sheena Joyce and Don Argott  (The Art of the Steal; Rock School) are the directors of this documentary. Among the familiar faces in the film are Kevin Smith, Arlen Schumer, Michael Uslan, Todd McFarlane and Roy Thomas, along with Nobleman and Bob Kane’s Batman & Me co-author, Thomas Andrae.

Having watched a lot of it with an an audience this week in a panel at the New York  Comic Con, this reporter can tell you firsthand that it is an emotional, heart wrenching journey. It is a story that you can’t believe actually happened but did. In fact, you might even be shocked how one human being could do that to another.

Athena Finger, Bill’s granddaughter sat with reporters after the panel. For Athena and her sister, Alethia Mariotta, it seemed like a weight had been lifted off them. Perhaps it because one has. (Mariotta is the one who negotiated with DC Comics the credit for Bill) Even more amazing, neither hold any resentment towards Bob Kane.

“That’s not what this is about,” said Finger. “It’s not about any resentment toward Bob. It’s just about getting Bill’s name where it rightfully belongs.”

After more than 75 years, one of the greatest injustices in history is being corrected. It shows what humanity is capable of if people work together. It’s the stuff you’d see in comic books, except this time?

This is real life. Finally, at long last, Bill has someone in his corner: all of us.

 

In addition to his career writing screenplays and comic reviews for Forces of Geek, Lenny Schwartz is an award winning playwright and writer/director of the production, C0-Creator: Bill Finger – The Man Behind the Bat.

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