Wednesday, April 15, 2009
biljo White's Batmania 16-19
This is interesting:
Bill Schelly wrote that one "key reason for the formation of comics fandom was to provide collectors with data about their favorite comic books. Who were the artists? The writers? For the most part, no one knew, until the information was gradually ferreted out by tenacious fans." Bill Finger's rare appearance at the 1965 New York ComiCon began to shed light on his immense contributions to the character of Batman, and his role in scripting — and co-creating — most of the key aspects of the strip, including the character itself. This appearance led Jerry Bails to write in CAPA-alpha #12 (Sep 1965) about "The Silent Legend Behind the Batman!", namely Finger. Describing Kane's hiring of Finger and likely becoming the first source to state that Finger "put words in the mouth of the Guardian of Gotham," Bails attributed the status of co-creator of Batman to Finger. This led to a "lengthy retort" from Bob Kane himself appearing in the Batmania fanzine, "written just days after seeing the Bails piece," but unprinted until the 1967 Batmania Annual (issue #17), publication delayed because Finger had communicated to Tom Fagan that he and Kane were intending to talk things through prior to the letter's publication.
Bob Kane's creation assertion
Kane's 6-page letter (reprinted by Roy Thomas in the pages of Alter Ego, as published by TwoMorrows Publishing was written on September 14, 1965, and after congratulating White on Batmania aims to rebut the various "myths" surrounding the creation of Batman. Opening his attempts to "explode the myths" about the creation of Batman, Kane writes:
"I, Bob Kane, am the sole creator of "Batman." I created "Batman" in 1939 . . . and I signed the first strip.."
The letter sparked a debate among comics fandom over the contributions made by Kane, Finger and Jerry Robinson (among others), a debate that continues to the present day. The letter itself, while much less charitable towards Finger than Kane would later be, appears carefully worded to rebut "the impression that he [Finger] and not myself [Kane] created the "Batman," as well as Robin[, etc.]" rather than to address Bails' issue of co-creatorship. Part of Kane's logic hinges on Finger's signature/by-line not appearing on the strip, even though such anonymity and relinquishing of credit was commonplace in the comics industry of the 1930s and 1940s. Kane further threatens legal action against Jerry Bails, asserting that, while Finger "was influential . . . in shaping up the strip", the idea was conceived solely by him prior to bringing Finger in to script the work, and therefore was created solely by him. Batmania — and other forums — have since debated whether the "influential" assistance of Finger was deserving of more credit than Kane was — at the time — willing to apportion him.