REVIEW: ‘Batman & Bill’ unmasks dark comic book origins
For several decades, Bob Kane took sole credit for the creation of Batman until one man made it his mission to bring the true creator's name out of the darkness.
By Ciara Rouege
Batman & Bill (2017) shares the story of Bill Finger, the once unacknowledged co-creator of DC’s most iconic superhero, and Marc Tyler Nobleman, the superfan who brought the writer’s name out of the darkness.
Finger was a brilliant comic book artist and writer who created, arguably the most defining, elements of Batman’s story— from the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents to the crusader’s intimidating cowl and signature black cape.
For more than six decades, Finger got zero credit for his contributions with all the notoriety and money going to his childhood friend and partner Bob Kane. That’s until Nobleman made it his personal mission in life to get Bill on the show bill.
TRAGIC HERO. There’s a moment in the film when my heart sunk into the bottom of my stomach; to think a man who had such great influence lived as a ghost and died as a nobody. And then you meet Finger’s son and granddaughter who inherited his misfortune.
It’s a dark story, but it’s softened a bit with tactfully animated comic book illustrations and the promise of a happy ending.
SUPER VILLIAN. If you didn’t have clear feelings about Bob Kane, you’ll be convinced he’s one of the most conniving jerks on the planet after watching this documentary. There’s no redemption for Kane.
Of course, fanboys are going to nerd out on the little known factoids about Batman’s creation. But the emotions are accessible to anyone who can understand the pain of having your work stolen and feeling powerless to do anything about it.
I don’t want to oversell it as this heart clenching drama. At times, it does feel like Nobleman’s story is competing with Finger’s, which interrupts the pace at times.
Where to watch: “Bill & Batman” is available for streaming Hulu.