Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman


Bill the Boy Wonder:  The Secret Co-Creator of Batman
by Marc Tyler Nobleman, Illustrated by Ty Templeton
Charlesbridge, 2012.  Unpaged.  Biography.

     Bill Finger, like his character Batman, had several secret identities.  For one, his real name was Milton rather than Bill, but since Jews had difficulty finding employment when Milton was looking for work, he changed his name to Bill.  Secondly, Bob Kane, the man usually given sole credit for the creation of Batman got a number of his original ideas from Bill without giving him credit, and Bill wrote most of the Batman stories as well as coming up with the characters of the Joker and Catwoman, among others. Bill created the back story for why Bruce Wayne, a man without super powers, decided to fight crime and named Bruce Wayne and Gotham City.  Bill was a get-along kind of guy and so never pushed to get a byline on the Batman comics, and Bob Kane never offered one.  But after twenty-five years in the shadows, he began to get credit from others in the comics' community. Though his name is still not on many of the comics he co-created, he has become well known to comic books fans, who are still pushing for credit where it is due.  Marc Nobleman's author's note at the end of the book describes his extensive research, and Ty Templeton's comic-book style illustrations are perfect for the text.