‘Batman & Bill’ Is The Fascinating, Little-Known, True Story About The Dark Knight’s Creation

- Advertisement -

As a hardcore fan of Batman and his world, I thought I knew everything there was to know about the circumstances of his creation. Long before Bill Finger received his first joint credit with Bob Kane for creating the character of the Dark Knight (in last year’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice), I was aware of the behind-the-scenes drama that occurred over recognition for one of the most popular fictional characters of all time. I knew that Bob Kane claimed sole credit, while in reality Bill Finger played a large role, but until I watched Hulu’s new, original documentary Batman & Bill, I had no idea about how heartbreaking Finger’s story actually is.

Batman & Bill follows Marc Tyler Nobleman, comic book fanboy and author – who had previously written about Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster – as he charts the history of the Caped Crusader and begins a crusade himself to right a wrong that long needed correcting: getting Bill Finger credit for his contributions to the character of Batman. Fans may not be aware of this, but while Bob Kane came up with the initial concept of Batman, his version of the character barely resembles the one we know today. Indeed, Finger himself supposedly came up with the name of Bruce Wayne, the iconic costume, the Batmobile, the Batcave, both Batman’s origin story and Robin’s, came up with the name ‘Gotham City’, and created many of the iconic aspects of five of Batman’s most iconic rogues, The Joker, Catwoman, Two-Face, the Riddler, and Scarecrow, amongst many other long lasting contributions to the mythos.

Batman & Bill

- Advertisement -

The documentary explores the relationship between Kane, who loved fame and money, and Finger, who was more of an artist and a comic book fan. In essence, the story goes that Kane created the character who would become known as Batman, before showing the art to Finger, who gave his notes and helped morph him into what we know Batman to be today. Bob Kane then took the concept and negotiated a contract with National Comics, which would go on to become DC Comics, that gave him sole credit and ownership of the character, even though Finger would continue to work with Kane on developing stories and characters. As the character began to blow up, Finger gave up on fighting for credit as Kane became more assertive that he was the sole creator, and Finger died, alone in his apartment at the age of fifty-nine due to heart complications.

Finger’s death wasn’t the end of the story, however, as his son Fred fought for his father to get credit until he himself passed from AIDS in 1992. And then eventually, while researching the origins of Batman for his book, Nobleman discovered that Finger has another living heir – a granddaughter named Athena – whom he ends up visiting and managing to convince to fight for Finger to get credit on all future Batman titles in every medium.

Batman & Bill

To a longtime Batman fan like myself, this documentary was incredibly heartbreaking. Not just because of how Finger died before receiving recognition for this iconic character, but because his family viewed his contributions as a curse rather than a blessing, for nobody believed their story for years as DC and Warner Bros. continued to deny Finger credit. I also found it ironic that the family of the man primarily responsible for creating a character who fights relentlessly for justice was consistently denied justice themselves.

While some documentaries can get bogged down in their research, this one remains consistently thrilling all the way through, as in the present Nobleman and the Fingers face off – like Batman himself would – against DC Comics and Warner Bros. in order to get Bill the proper “created by” credit that he deserves. The documentary also offers interesting commentary on creativity, rights, and ownership, which – as a creator myself – I found particularly fascinating. (In addition to being chilling, as the documentary revealed how often this used to happen to creators back in the day, touching on the story of how Superman’s creators sold the rights to the character for a fraction of what he would eventually be worth.)

While we already know the answer as to whether or not Bill Finger eventually received posthumous credit for his role in Batman’s creation, the documentary is still worth your time. Not only will you learn little known facts about The Dark Knight’s origins, but it’s beautifully shot and edited, and documents a fight that was far more brutal and lasted far longer than the one that took place between Batman and Superman in theaters last year. Overall, it’s a relentlessly entertaining, informative, heartbreaking, and heartwarming story about the Caped Crusader and his creators that deserved to be told and needs to be known. I’m not ashamed to admit that by the end of it, I was in tears, and as an enormous fan of Batman and his world, that’s the greatest compliment I can offer this documentary.


What did you think of Batman & Bill? Let me know in the comments below!

Save 50% on graphic novels, statues & more!

TRENDING THIS WEEK

HOUSE OF X #5 – Get Ready For Your Mind To Be Blown

This week Marvel's mutant mania continues with HOUSE OF X #5. Jonathan Hickman's brain keeps spilling brilliance right into our hearts and minds, this chapter is particularly creative.

What A Dangerous World In WONDER WOMAN COME BACK TO ME #3

Wonder Woman Come Back to Me #3 forces Wonder Woman into a setting where she can’t use her powers to solve everything. It’s a refreshing take on a character we all know and love.

Review: Sending a Message to Bane in BATMAN #79

Bruce and Selina’s beach vacation continues in Batman #79, out this week from DC Comics. Occurring before the events of Batman #77, we see...

G.I. JOE #1 Is a Joe-Tastic Start For New Readers

This Wednesday the action-packed first issue of IDW's newly rebooted G.I. Joe releases, where everyone can be a Joe, even you! The G.I. Joe comic...

Review: THE BLACK GHOST#1 Excellently Mixes Noir, Mystery and Vigilantes

The Black Ghost #1, published by ComiXology, and created by Alex Segura, Monica Gallagher, Marco Finnegan, George Kambadias, Ellie Wright and Taylor Esposito perfectly...

AfterShock Exclusive Preview: DARK ARK: AFTER THE FLOOD #1

Dark Ark: After The Flood #1 kicks off the Halloween season on October 2, but thanks to AfterShock Comics, Monkeys Fighting Robots has a...

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #9 – The Universal Chuch Of Action

This week Marvel unleashes GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #9 upon their faithful cosmic followers. Donny Cates delivers another heavy metal soaked script that artist Cory Smith packages in a fast-paced and action-packed issue.

Review: An Ending And A New Beginning In FAITHLESS #6

Faithless #6 from BOOM! Studios, is a thought provoking, love letter to fashion, theatre, and Art. A gorgeous end to the first, exhilarating arc.
Avatar
Anthony Caruso
A resident of Gotham City. A graduate of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. A survivor of the Zombie Apocalypse. A Jedi who is one with the Force. Anthony completed his BA and MA in English Literature over in jolly old England - because what better place is there to go to study English than England? An avid pop culture nerd, he is a huge movie buff (and owns almost 1,000 DVDs and BluRays, having underestimated how quickly digital downloads would take off!), comic book fan, and watches way too much T.V. He is also a strong defender of the Oxford Comma.

SPONSORS

If you want your BUSINESS to be part of something bigger than itself, you might be a good fit to partner with Monkeys Fighting Robots.

'Batman & Bill' Is The Fascinating, Little-Known, True Story About The Dark Knight's Creation 3

CONTACT US

'Batman & Bill' Is The Fascinating, Little-Known, True Story About The Dark Knight's Creation 4

Are you a creator looking for a review of your book?
Use the form below to end us a message.

Are you a fan of the website and have a comment, question, or concern? Drop us a line, and we will gladly answer all your questions.

JOIN THE TEAM

Monkeys Fighting Robots is looking for passionate writers to drive the site’s coverage of the comic book industry. Authors will be responsible for a particular niche, providing reviews, opinion and news coverage, while building a reader community using his or her multimedia storytelling skills. The best candidates have solid writing skills, WordPress knowledge, and are engaged on social media. Do you love comic books and have a strong opinion, then we would like to speak with you.

'Batman & Bill' Is The Fascinating, Little-Known, True Story About The Dark Knight's Creation 5

MEET THE TEAM

COMIC REVIEW DIGEST, sign up today! At Monkeys Fighting Robots, we strive to talk about ALL aspects of a comic book, instead of just giving you a recap of the story.
  • Did you notice how epic the colors were?
  • That was a wicked panel layout by the artist!
  • What was the letterer thinking?
  • How did this comic book make you feel?
  • Most importantly, should you buy it?

Every Wednesday you will receive an email with our latest reviews and analyses, as well as our original comic strips and exclusive editorial content.
Thanks for signing up!