22 juin 2015

Vous connaissez Bill Finger?

Comme tout le monde, j'avais toujours cru que Bob Kane était le créateur de Batman. Après tout, c'est lui qui reçoit tout le crédit de la création du personnage dans les BD et les films du Dark Knight.

Imaginez mon étonnement lorsque j'ai découvert que le véritable créateur de Batman est en fait... Bill Finger.

Voici la vraie histoire de la création de Batman:

Bob Kane, The Official Creator Of Batman, Didn't Create Jack Squat

In 1938, Bob Kane was a young comic book artist trying to come up with a new superhero that could rival the extremely popular Superman. (...) Kane decided to enlist the help of a friend, a freelance writer named Bill Finger, to help develop the paper-thin idea he had. This translated to getting someone else to do the bulk of the work for him.

"Bob's original vision included no story of any kind," Marc explains. "He drew the first sketches, which Bill then completely overhauled, including pointing to 'bat' in the dictionary and suggesting Batman's cowl resemble [an actual bat]." Finger also wrote Batman's "murdered parents" origin story, as well as the first stories to feature Robin, Catwoman, The Penguin, The Riddler, The Scarecrow, Commissioner Gordon, Gotham City, the batmobile, Batman's secret identity, and the nickname "The Dark Knight." Essentially, Bill Finger gave life to Batman in every sense of the word other than magically transporting himself into one of the comics and impregnating Martha Wayne. To reiterate, he did all of that work based on one Bob Kane illustration, which looked like this:

That drawing is pretty much all Bob Kane contributed to the creation of Batman, and Bill Finger reworked it because it was so clearly, painfully stupid.

"I give Bob credit for initiating the creation of the character," Marc says. "That's it. In those days, there was no platform from which Bob could reach people regularly (they didn't do store events or TV appearances). Batman became popular because of the stories." And Bill Finger wrote all of the stories. However, the reason why so many people still haven't heard about Finger is ...

Bob Kane Was Almost Cartoonishly Evil

According to Marc, "Bob Kane did not write a single Batman story in his life." And that's fine, considering that Kane was initially meant only to provide the art ... but he also barely did that. For the first few issues, he produced much of his output by copying and/or outright tracing stuff from other publications.

However, when even tracing started to feel too much like work, Kane simply hired ghost-artists. It got to the point where Bob Kane was the sole person credited on every Batman story, despite often not writing or drawing a single panel. So why does every Bat comic still include the credit "Created by Bob Kane"? In the 1940s, writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, the creators of Superman, were trying to get the rights to the character back from DC, and hoped to recruit Kane for a joint suit against the company. Faster than you can say, "Holy dick move, Batman," Kane allegedly ratted them out to DC, giving the company plenty of time to mount a legal defense, and scoring Kane a lot of points with DC.

He cashed in those points to negotiate a better deal for himself, and his new contract included a provision that Kane would always and forever be credited as the sole creator of Batman. 

(...) Impossibly, things actually managed to get worse for Finger, as Marc found in his research. In 1965, after learning that Finger had finally begun telling people that he'd created most of Batman, Kane flipped out. "Bob wrote a six-page letter for the fanzine Batmania in which he essentially called Bill a liar with 'hallucinations of grandeur,'" Marc says. Kane's argument? Finger couldn't possibly have been the creator of Batman because he wasn't officially credited as such, which is sort of like stealing someone's watch and then insisting that it never belonged to them because it is currently on your wrist.

Bill Finger Died In Poverty

Bill Finger died in 1974, shortly before his 60th birthday, alone and poor, with no obituary, no funeral, and no gravestone to mark his passing.

La version de l'histoire qui fait de Bob Kane un gigantesque trou d'cul est corroborée par le légendaire bédéiste américain, Jim Steranko, qui raconte cette anecdote fort révélatrice:

I'd hadn't encountered Kane in my travels, but at one rockin' SDCC, an associate asked me if I wanted to meet him and walked me into a hallway. There he was, in a small group of people, wearing patent-leather shoes-- and an ASCOT, like he was Vitamin f******g Flintheart in a Dick Tracy cartoon. 

For years, I'd heard how he'd taken credit for Bill Finger's contributions (in addition to half his pay) and other despicable tales from his associates. But nothing aces an in-person encounter. We were introduced and Kane began talking about my Batman chapter in the HISTORY OF COMICS,  which treated him--and everyone else--very respectfully. He felt I credited Robinson & Finger (both of whom I knew intimately) too much. 

Kane (aka Kahn) was beyond pretentious, an intolerable ass as pompous as they come. I bit my tongue while he regaled us with his many achievements. The group was waiting for an elevator, which they stepped into when the door opened. Our conversation ended, but not before he said: "See you later, Jim, baby," and cuffed me across the face--like some rat-pack street gesture he'd seen in some cheap flick. 

The doors closed... I was stunned by the sheer audacity of a stranger--like him--to lay a hand on me, and boiling with anger. That night, I couldn't sleep and the next morning began combing the halls for his Bat Majesty. 

Around noon, I found him in another group, which I walked into. "Good to see you, Bob, baby!" I said, then bitch-slapped him across the face. But this time, there was no elevator door closing between us. I stood there for about 15 seconds, waiting. He did nothing. I turned and left. 

But I regret it now. I regret that he didn't do anything about it, even though he was at least a head taller than me. I wouldn't have minded bleeding at all for one more opportunity to give Kane the kind of Bat Lesson that Finger, Robinson, Sprang and others only dreamed of.

5 commentaires:

fylouz a dit...

Quelle histoire horrible, mais chapeau bas à Steranko !

fylouz a dit...

Et en attendant que la vérité se répande, cher Bob :


Guillaume a dit...

Je me rappelle avoir lu à quelques reprises que Bill Finger a fait beaucoup pour Batman, sans en recevoir le crédit, mais je ne savais pas à quel point. Je me rappelle lire que Kane avait d'abord conçu un superhéros proche de Superman et surtout des autres en vogue à l'époque: coloré, simple, simpliste même.

Étienne a dit...

autre source sérieuse:

Prof Solitaire a dit...

Étienne, tu affirmes que Bob Kane était autiste, c'est ça? ;-)