Friday, July 20, 2012

Book 40

Bill the Boy Wonder, by Marc Tyler Nobleman, Illustrated by Ty Templeton. Hardcover.

Disclosure: I received this book as part of LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program.

This YA biography tells the story of (as the subtitle says) "the secret co-creator of Batman."

The book is arranged around the 3 "secret identities" that Milton Finger employed during his life. First, he changed his name to Bill, which he thought would help him get work easier. Second, the fact that he was not credited as the writer of the earliest Batman stories, until DC Comics did so much later in reprints. And third, the fact that he should actually should be considered Batman's co-creator. This fact has never been formally acknowledged by DC Comics, due to language in Bob Kane's contract that required that he be identified as the sole creator.

This quick biography covers the highlights of Finger's creative life, including his tricks and techniques for coming up with so many comic book stories. As a fan of comics, I knew a bit of Bill Finger's life story, but this book contained many details that I had not previously heard. Nobleman is able to walk the tightrope of bringing appropriate attention to Finger without making Kane look bad.

The art style of the illustrations, done in an appropriately comic style, add to the sense of fun and adventure reflected in the text. This is a very accessible biography of a man whose contributions to pop culture are not as well known as they should be.

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