Batman & Bill

Synopsis: Documentary about the uncredited co-creator of Batman, Bill Finger.
93 min


(camera shutter clicking)

(cat meowing)

(soft whirring)

Good morning, guys.

Good morning.

Have you heard of Batman?


Just checking and just kidding.

Of course you've

heard of Batman.

So I have had the honor

of getting invited to

speak all over the world

to tell the story that

you're about to hear.

And everywhere I go,

whether it's Tanzania in Africa

or Chile in South America

or Hong Kong or Thailand

or the United Arab Emirates,

everywhere I go,

I show that symbol,

and I have not been to a school

anywhere in the world where

someone doesn't know it.

Now don't worry if you're

not interested in superheroes

because I've done

this many times,

and I can guarantee everyone

here, including staff,

that you will walk out

of this room in an hour

with a different perspective

than you have right now,

I guarantee it.

On every Batman story

since the first in 1939,

there was only one name

in the credit line.

"Batman created by Bob Kane."

Here he is.

And here's the thing

about that credit line:

It is not true.

The reason I do explain why

that I like superheroes

is a little bit pat,

and it maybe is a

little bit disingenuous

because I wasn't thinking

like this as a kid.

But I do like stories

of selflessness

and I like stories of sacrifice,

and superheroes sacrifice

something on a daily basis.

Superheroes are not doing this

to get paid or praised,

and it is not about them.

They are doing something

for the greater good,

then they disappear

into the night.

The notion of that is

so rare in real life.

I mean, we know so few people

that can afford to be selfless.

As a six-year-old,

I wasn't thinking like that,

even as a 12- or 15-year-old.

I just liked a good story,

a good adventure,

and I still do,

so it was a combination

of those things,

this purity of purpose

and then just a

great cliff-hanging,

rollicking adventure.

Here is the Batman section.

One, two, three, four

full... almost full shelves.

And compare that to Superman.

Not knocking Superman,

but just looking at the reality.

Here's Superman

up to about there.

Batman is not only

the most identifiable

and recognizable and famous

and beloved superhero,

but he is one of

the most recognizable

fictional characters

of all time.

Can take almost any

Batman book off the shelf

and open to the title page.

"Batman created by Bob Kane."

Bob, for the few people who

come from another planet,

who may not know what you do,

what is it that

you're known for?

You've got to be kidding.

I am, of course.

Bob Kane is the original

cartoonist of Batman

and the man who has

been credited on Batman

for most of Batman's history.

When I was 18, I tripped across

a character called Batman.

Bat... how do you

pronounce that?

- Batman?

- B-A-T-man.

It was called

"Batman by Robert Kane."

In 1938, two gangly kids

from Cleveland, Ohio

sold an idea for a

character named Superman.

Superman was a huge

influence on Bob Kane,

not the creative side,

the financial side.

So I thought of, yeah,

"How much money is

Siegel and Shuster making?"

They were the

creators of Superman.

And in those days, in '39,

they were making

$800 apiece a week.

When Bob Kane found

out how much money

the Superman creators were

making on a weekly basis

which was $800 at the time,

he went to an

editor at National.

He said, "Listen, Bob, can

you do another superhero?"

I said, "For that kind of money,

you'll have it on Monday."

For that kind of money,

you'd be the superhero.

Boy, you better believe it.

I'll steal it somewhere.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Batman & Bill" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 18 Oct. 2021. <>.

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