Written by Rachel Freeman
I love documentaries.
And even more than documentaries, even more than most things, I love Batman. Batman has been an incredibly important figure in my life ever since I was little. I remember sitting on the floor in my living room, watching Batman: The Animated Series with my older brother, towels tied around our necks like capes. Once I got older, I began reading comics. I remember in the show, in the movies, in the comics themselves, was the phrase “Batman created by Bob Kane.” Like most comic fans, Bat-fans in particular, Bob Kane was a name I knew. It was the name I associated with Batman. It is the name of the man I attributed to creating my most beloved fictional character. This story has a point, I promise.
Eventually, I was a senior in high school. I had made it almost all the way through high school before I discovered who Bill Finger was. And my mind was blown. I had heard his name here and there when Batman was involved. What I knew, or thought I knew, was that he wrote some of the old Batman stories but wasn’t super important. I was wrong. I was very wrong. Perhaps you are like me, still under the impression that Bob Kane was the man who created Batman. While I’ll give credit where it is due and say Kane was a co-creator and added some ideas here and there, Bill Finger was THE creator. He was the driving force behind Batman. He created most of the Batman villains we know and love: Joker, Scarecrow, Penguin, Riddler. He even named Gotham City and created Commissioner Gordon. Bill Finger wrote Batman’s origin, created his vehicles, and called him “the Dark Knight.”
This is why you need to watch this documentary. Even if you already know all of this, you still need to watch this documentary. Because Marc Nobleman takes us deeper into the story. Not only does he cover Bill Finger’s creations, he actively seeks Bill Finger’s heir – a relative he can pass along Bill’s credit line to. But it isn’t about the money. It isn’t about Bill’s heir getting the dollars owed. It’s about finding someone who can finally force DC to acknowledge Bill Finger’s work and display his name (along with Bob Kane’s) as Creator of Batman.
Throughout the documentary, Marc Nobleman speaks with a number of other comic creators who knew Bill Finger and also Bob Kane, as well as some more modern comic creators who know the story. There are actual audio recordings of interviews from Bill Finger and Bob Kane, as well as photos of Bill, writings of his, writings of other interviewers in the ’50s and ’60s trying to tell the world who he was but to no avail. It’s mostly because Bob Kane rejected their claims and kept Bill behind the curtains.
I was so pleased with the documentary and, in his own way, Marc Nobleman was the hero that Bill Finger needed. So support Bill Finger, support Batman. Watch. This. Documentary.
Rating: 10 out of 10
BATMAN & BILL IS STREAMING ON HULU