Last year Bill Finger biographer Marc Tyler Nobleman campaigned unsuccessfully for a Google Doodle to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the writer’s birth, but now he’s proposing a more attainable goal: a commemorative bench in Poe Park in The Bronx, New York, honoring the uncredited co-creator of Batman.
In a blog post published Sunday — Finger’s birthday — Nobleman dusts off a Kickstarter proposal he’d written in 2013 that lays out the plan, which calls for $6,000 to install the bench and plaque as part of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation’s Adopt-a-Bench program. “If it generates enough enthusiasm here, it might embolden me to launch it immediately!” he writes.
Nobleman, author of Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, states that the project would not only “help right a wrong,” but also make pop-culture history as “the first memorial honoring a superhero creator in NYC, the Superhero Capital of the World.”
But why Poe Park?
“Bill and Bob [Bob Kane] used to brainstorm Batman stories there … sitting on a bench (ask me if you’d like documentation),” Nobleman explains. “In the early 1940s, Bill lived on the Grand Concourse just north of Poe Park. Also, appropriately, Poe was the father of the modern detective story and Batman is known as the World’s Greatest Detective. The Batman-Poe Park connection was covered in the New York Times (though the article mistakenly states that Batman was created in Poe Park).”
Finger’s contributions to the Batman mythos received renewed attention last year due to both the 75th anniversary of the character’s debut in Detective Comics #27 and the efforts of Nobleman. Characterized by the author as “the dominant creative force” behind Batman, Finger is widely acknowledged with such contributions as the Batmobile, the Batcave, the name Gotham City, Alfred Pennyworth, Commissioner Gordon, the basic look of the Dark Knight’s costume, and numerous villains and supporting players. However, because of the contract Bob Kane negotiated with what would become DC, only he receives official credit for the creation of Batman and most of those foundational elements.
Kane long and fiercely defended his position as the sole creator of Batman and downplayed Finger’s contributions, only acknowledging in his 1989 autobiography, published 15 years after the writer’s death, that, “Now that my long-time friend and collaborator is gone, I must admit that Bill never received the fame and recognition he deserved. He was an unsung hero.”
Visit Nobleman’s blog to read the full proposal.
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