Directors: Don Argott, Sheena M. Joyce
Starring: Marc Tyler Nobleman
For 75 years, Bob Kane was credited as Batman’s sole creator. In comics, books, TV series, movies…you name it, he made sure his name was smacked on the superhero juggernaut. However, while many fans recognized Kane’s important contributions to the character, they also rallied to have credit given to another man: Bill Finger. If we can summarize bluntly what Finger had a hand in, let’s just say without him Batman could have looked like this:
Batman & Bill is a remarkable Hulu documentary that revisits the long journey to get Finger’s work on Batman recognized. The film shows us what he did for the world of Gotham City and how he never got the credit he deserved. Batman & Bill shows us that Finger had a hand in the following, just to name a few:
- The Joker
- Commissioner Gordon
- Gotham City
- Bruce Wayne’s origin
- Big typewriters
Main takeaway: he did a lot.
The hero in this story is author Marc Tyler Nobleman. An unabashed nerd (which I say in the highest complimentary way), he set out on this research journey that he never could have predicted turn out as big as it has. He looked through many documents, hunted down many leads that didn’t pan out, and never gave up (like a hero). His story even uncovers the lineage of Finger, and shows us how important his granddaughter became in solidifying the creator’s destiny.
While the story is exceptional, the way this documentary is put together is also impressive. We view the usual cuts between interviews (talking heads), but are mixed with beautiful motion comics along the way. Finger’s past appears lifted from an unreleased comic based on his life (please make this a full comic, it will sell). Mixed in is Nobleman’s epiphany of Batman’s heir.
I didn’t even mention the surprising talking heads that appear in the documentary:
- Michael Uslan
- Todd McFarlane
- Kevin Smith
- Carmine Infantino
- Jerry Robinson
There are obviously many more, but those right there should give comic fans a reason to celebrate.
What a wonderful documentary. While you thought you knew the story of Bill Finger, Batman & Bill will certainly teach you a lot more. It’s informative, emotional and gives us a much-deserved happy ending. I can’t recommend enough that you sit aside 90 minutes and watch it.
Images courtesy of Hulu