The Creators of Batman: Bob, Bill and the Dark Knight, Review
Batman has quite the history. Batman creators also have quite the history and it's a wild one. Every Batman comic these days has the original creators listed, but that wasn't always the case. There's a lot of history of how their names have become synonymous with everything to do with Batman. They're listed on comics, every time he's used in films or TV. It was quite a fight to get to this stage where everyone who knows Batman knows who his creators were, but how did we get there?
Part of the description lets you know exactly what you're in for with this history. "Do you know who created the Dark Knight? Do you know how artist Bob Kane placed himself at the secret origins of Batman while his co-creator Bill Finger was forced into the shadows? Do you know how comic creators, journalists, and family members fought to have Finger credited for his work?"
You might one day, like me, in a moment of "what shall I do?" have decided to Google the problems between the paid and so think you know the gist of it. But how much do you really know? How much of what you've read previously has been skewed towards one or the other of his creators? What you need is a deep dive that's unbiased towards either of them, and that's where this book as you covered.
The Creators of Batman focuses on both Kane and Finger, as well as a cast of supporting characters from arguably the most exciting time in comics history. Everything that author Ric Worth can gather about these comics legends is laid bare side by side, bringing together the story of Batman's creators. It looks at how Finger and Kane constructed the world of Gotham and grapples with the legacy they left behind.
Like the Stan Lee book from Pen & Sword, this book isn't just about its subject matter as it also explores the comic book industry in general and so poses similar questions about attributing credit for the creators of comics. What sets this one apart though is that whilst Stan Lee is Marvel, the same can't be said for the creators of DC Comics flagship characters. As well as Kane and Finger, you also get a look at the lives of Siegel and Schuster as well as their tragic disputes with DC, which honestly could be a book in itself. It's a fascinating and a different exploration of the business side of comics that leaves neither DC nor Marvel coming off as looking good.
As for Batman, the truly interesting parts are where the inspirations and ideas that build this character came from. Some you might know, but others make you think and then you notice it. What they did was risky and innovative, making something that wasn't really seen in comics before. It obviously paid off but it was never smooth sailing.
If you know anything about the history of Batman's creators, then you will know that this is a story about conflict. What Worth does well is recognising the tragedy of the fallout and why without making it a bad vs good story. Kane liked to embellish things, as a story maker does. Finger was a silent genius. On their own, Batman doesn't exist. This was truly a two-person job and getting down to finding out what actually happened to the best of his knowledge is what Worth sets out to do and achieve. Even if you're not a DC fan, this is a must-read for many reasons. It's a story of legends, the comic industry and one of the best selling comic characters of all time.
Pen and Sword have been releasing some brilliant books on the comic industry this year and this is another cracking addition. If you're a comics fan, like the Stan Lee book, this deserves a place on your bookshelf.