Every Batman story is marked with the words “Batman created by Bob Kane.”Bill the Boy Wonder is the story of that Finger, Bill Finger, the co-creator and long-time writer of Batman.
For almost thirty years, fans did not suspect otherwise. But that is not the whole truth. Bob Kane himself said so.
A Finger had a hand in it, too.
First forced to hide his identity as a Jew (his real name was Milton) to obtain work during the Great Depression, later writing in obscurity while Batman illustrator, Bob Kane, rose to fame, and finally working (if only half-heartedly) to gain his duly deserved recognition, Nobleman chooses to present Bill, The Boy Wonder as a story with three parts, "Secret Identity 1 – Bill," "Secret Identity 2 – Writer of Batman," and "Secret Identity 3 – Co-creator of Batman." This well-sourced and researched biography is as fascinating as it is entertaining,
Bill liked to ride through the city to think. As the bus picked up passengers, Bill picked up plots from street scenes and daydreams.
He recorded stray facts – the boiling point of mercury, the Chinese character for virtue, what happens when a dog’s nose gets cold – in what he called his “gimmick book.” He routinely skimmed it for a spark that might ignite a story. In time he had a library of gimmick books at his Fingertips. He even let other writers – his competitors – hunt for story ideas in them.
Ty Templeton, a Batman artist himself, was the perfect choice to illustrate this fascinating look at Bill Finger’s work and the work of other talented artists, writers and fans who struggled to garner for him the credit he deserved. The end papers are dramatic and inspired, and the illustrations are done, of course, in comic book style with white text box insets.
|from Ty Templeton's site|
Even if you’re not a Batmanian, you’ll love this book. It's clear that it was a labor of love for the author.
(I'll be showing this one at my book club meeting!)
Can’t get enough of Bill The Boy Wonder? Check out these great sites:
- The official site of Bill the Boy Wonder: The Co-Creator of Batman - the publisher's site containing puzzles, games, a contest, educator resources and more!
- Noblemania - the author's blog
- An interview with Nobleman and Templeton that appeared on The Comics Cube blog
As I was reading this book, I could see a small child wearing the Batman symbol on his tee-shirt and his Crocs, and my own children were planning an opening night visit to the theater to see the Dark Knight’s latest incarnation. Bill Finger’s now not-so-secret-identity lives on.