Bob vs Bill (Batman and Bill, 2017)
Everybody knows Batman. And most people know who Bob Kane is. He is the creator of Batman. Every Batman comic book tells you this. Right there in print. “Batman Created by Bob Kane”. Bob vehemently defended this idea that Batman was his creation and only his. But why? Why would he need to defend this notion?
The documentary Batman and Bill tells you exactly why. In the comic book world, it was long known that Kane had the name “Bat-Man”, but his original design was a guy with a red suit. He consulted friend and writer Bill Finger who contributed pretty everything we know to be Batman. Kane then took the idea to the publishers and presented it as solely his idea. He got a contract that established this. He promised he would share success with Finger in spite of this.
Bob Kane never did. In fact, it was long after Finger had died, and shortly before his own death that Kane changed his story and admitted Finger deserved a lot of the credit. But that is not the whole story, as author Marc Tyler Nobleman took it upon himself to try and find any heirs of Bill Finger. The path is full of surprises and heartbreak.
This is a tragic story of a creator who was not given the respect that should have been due to him. Through archival footage, we hear from both Finger and Kane. The story is expanded on through interviews with comic book pros familiar with the history behind it all. Directors Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce present everything as an unfolding mystery, befitting the famous cowled detective himself. You are drawn into it by what starts as a frustrating professional injustice that evolves into a heartbreaking story of familial loss.
The first time anyone has credited Finger for Batman was 2015’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. 21 years after he died alone in his apartment.