Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Who's who in the "Batman & Bill" credits

The documentary Batman & Bill, about the fight to get Bill Finger credited on Batman, is premiering on Hulu on May 6. It is the first-ever film based on a nonfiction book for young readers. Thank you again to all who agreed to appear in the film.

The Special Thanks section is lengthy; here are screen grabs that include people I requested we thank, and an explanation (some of them may not remember/realize!):

(in order of appearance in credits)

  • Big Planet Comics—my local comic shop, which let us film inside
  • Joel Pollack—co-owner of my local comic shop
  • 92nd Street Y—New York City cultural center that allowed us to film a talk I gave there

  • Lara—my daughter
  • Rafael—my son
  • Steven Parker—Maryland school librarian who arranged an assembly for us to film (on short notice, during the last week of the school year, amidst a move from one school building to another)
  • Gerard Pelisson—helped me find Bill's yearbook photo
  • Mark Evanier—pulled some strings for us at San Diego Comic-Con
  • Lee Sosin—optioned the story in 2009 (even before the book was under contract) for Time Inc. Studios, connected me with the filmmakers, covered the first two interviews shot (Lyn Simmons and Charles Sinclair in 2008)
  • Robert Sharenow—brought me in to pitch A&E Indie Films, which funded initial footage
  • Molly Thompson—A&E Senior Vice President, Feature Films
  • Jordan Monsanto—Kevin Smith's assistant

  • J. David Spurlock—agent of Jim Steranko (see next bullet); patiently responded to multiple requests to interview Steranko for the film and tried to make it work 
  • Jim Steranko—legendary comics artist and second person to interview Bill professionally; unfortunately, his schedule did not allow him to participate in the film though he remains an outspoken Bill Finger advocate
  • Jens Robinson—son of Jerry Robinson 
  • Christian Simonds—my lawyer
  • Ty Templeton—artist of Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman
  • Chris Duffy—loaned us his hotel room to film interviews at San Diego Comic-Con 2011
  • Kirk Kimball (AKA Robby Reed)—sent scan of Bill from Paul Levitz's book 75 Years of DC Comics
  • Bob Hughes—ditto
  • Paul Kupperberg—ditto
  • Robert Greenberger—ditto 
  • John Wells—ditto

  • Marita Sherburne—Maryland elementary school principal who granted permission to film me doing an assembly 
  • Wood Acres Elementary School, Bethesda, MD—the school where we filmed (though the school was in a temporary building while the actual building was undergoing renovation)
  • Alyssa Mito Pusey—editor of Bill the Boy Wonder
  • Charlesbridge Publishing—publisher of Bill the Boy Wonder
  • XYZ: Nate Bolotin, Nick Spicer, Aram Tertzakian—filmmakers who were interested in making the documentary

Friday, April 21, 2017

Trailer for "Batman & Bill" documentary

Hulu has debuted the trailer for our Bill Finger documentary Batman & Bill, which is premiering on May 6:

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Communal puzzle at library checkout

At Benbrook Middle School in the Fort Worth, TX, area, I encountered a simple, clever idea: a puzzle on the library checkout desk for all to contribute to. 

I'm told the puzzles get solved faster than I would've guessed. Guess the library has so many students eager to read that the checkout line is so long that more students have more time to participate!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

My AASL tweet for School Library Month

I'm honored to be one of the authors quoted in the American Association of School Librarians tweet series in honor of School Library Month.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

"Chupacabra" tweets (plus a pop culture reference)

The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra released on 3/7/17 with the goal of making people laugh, and I'm happy to report that several have. Here is proof:

Though I like Star Wars, I am also not a MEGA fan, and as such, this allusion...

...was unintentional.

However, there IS a pop culture reference in the book…in fact from the same decade…but it goes beyond a one-off phrase.

A hint: "activate."

An easier hint.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Thank you letters from Thompson Elementary in Arlington, MA

Courtesy of goes-above-and-beyond librarian Liza Halley, I was honored to receive a stack of heartening notes from the students of Thompson Elementary School in Arlington, MA, where I spoke on 3/2/17 (and first signed my latest book, The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra).

Among my favorite comments:

  • "You gave a breathtaking story. I walked out feeling different. I felt like I could do things I didn't know I could do."
  • "Your performance was a once in a lifetime opportunity. To me and friends, it changed our lives. It truly changed my life."
  • "In the beginning you told us 'I know some of you don't like superheroes, but you are going to leave this gym with a different perspective.' And not only was that true, it was incredible."
  • "I am really, really excited to watch your movie coming out in early May. I hope that early May means May 4 because that's my birthday and that means it would be my spirit movie."
  • "I like theories. But you took it to the next level."
  • "Just to show you what a difference you made, when I went home and asked my mom and dad who Bob Kane was, they said 'Who's that?' and when I asked if they knew who Bill Finger was, they said 'He created Batman.'"
  • "I got lost in your world of Batman and Bill Finger."
  • "I am happy that I know who create Batman. I told my dad and this is what he said: wow."
  • "You showed me that authors are much more than just people writing down stories: they're explorers, inventors, and creators."
  • "When you told us you got Bill Finger's BEETLE, I really wanted it."
  • "I loved how you said we should be curious. I went out to the woods with those words in my head and I found a huge spider the size of my hand!!!"
  • "I miss you already."

Friday, March 24, 2017

The DC Comics Trinity…of grandchildren

In 2008, DC began publishing a limited series headlined, for the first time, by only their big three: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.

While on the subject, here's Christie Marston, granddaughter of William Moulton Marston, co-creator of Wonder Woman, and Athena Finger, granddaughter of Bill Finger, co-creator of Batman.

photo arranged by and courtesy of 
Art Cloos, Overstreet advisor

Seeing this prompted me to contact Laura Siegel Larson, daughter of Jerry Siegel, co-creator of Superman, to ask about the possibility of arranging another photo, this time with an addition: a grandchild of Jerry's. Must complete the Trinity!

 2016 series (issue #3…of course)

Laura kindly forwarded my message to her two sons, Jerry's grandsons. As of this writing, one has responded to say he's game and that (how did I not know this?) he and his brother have already attended comic conventions. As do Athena and Christie.

So while we haven't planned a specific date/time for a Trinity Legacy photo to be taken, I am confident it will happen.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Batman credit line changed from "with Bill Finger" to "and Bill Finger"

At least as far back as December 2016, in snuck a change that only a certain elite would notice, a change at once startling and straightforward. 

Here are examples as pointed out in posts on the Bill Finger Appreciation Group Facebook page:

 Batman: A Celebration of the Classic TV Series

Justice League Dark (2017 animated film)

Dark Horse Comics/DC Comics: 
Justice League, Volume 2 

When the "Batman created by Bob Kane" credit was changed in October 2015, it read "Batman created by Bob Kane WITH Bill Finger." As you can see above, these publications and films list the Batman credit as "Bob Kane AND Bill Finger" [emphasis mine, wish come true many].

The first time I came upon this, I assumed it was
simply an inadvertent, isolated break from protocol. But now that there have been multiple sightings, it seems that this is instead the CORRECTED version of the corrected credit.

Once is a fluke. Thrice is a new normal.

That said, I have not yet seen it in monthly comics nor was it in the most recent first-run episode of Gotham ("Mad City: The Gentle Art of Making Enemies," aired 1/30/17). But unless we learn otherwise, I will presume that it is being rolled out across the board.

I'm told it was not as a result of any recent conversation between the Finger family and DC Comics. So until we learn who at DC lobbied for it, we can chalk it up to that old Bat magic...

As I've said numerous times, no matter the wording, I'm just thankful Bill's name is there...

...but yeah, "and" beats "with," big time.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

"No weak links here" - "Chicago Tribune" on "The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra"

Review of The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra from the Chicago Tribune (3/7/17):

  • "fresh, funny and genuinely suspenseful, thanks in part to a winning text by Nobleman"
  • "the visual storytelling is impressive"
  • "both the text and the illustrations can stand by themselves, and they complement each other beautifully"
  • "no weak links here"

Thank you, Nara Schoenberg!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

"The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra," day 1

The Chucapabra Ate the Candelabra (illustrated by Ana Aranda, edited by Nancy Paulsen) released on 3/7/17. Some friends who pre-ordered and got it that day (or shortly after) voluntarily sent me photographic evidence.

Some showed the book on a marble countertop (names are the adults who sent me the photos, not the kids):

 Karl, NY; know from my first job after college

 Tracy, CT; know from my hometown

 Christian, VA; one of my best friends since 4th grade

Non-marble backgrounds:

Lauren, IL; know from college

 Dawn, OR; know from my cartooning days

 Alicia, CT; know from my hometown 

 Mark, NY; know from college 

 Melissa, CA; know via her brother, a longtime friend 

 Nadia, CT; know from a former neighborhood 

 Rebecca, NJ; know from my current town 

Some included the recipients:

my adorable nephew!

 Mimi, UT; know from Footloose, then because I interviewed her

 Aryeh, CT; know from camp

Colette, MD; know from my street

 Shana, DC; know from friends

 Dara, MD; know from college

 Jonathan, GA; know from my hometown 
Ryan, DC; colleague of Christian (see above) 

 Douglas, TX; know from college 

 Brett, TX; know from my hometown 

The book is for anyone who likes to laugh:

 Amanda, WA; know because I interviewed her

Sabine, DC; know via my wife

I recommend experiencing it inter-generationally:

Lindsey, TN; know because she's a librarian!

Or even inter-species:

 Betsy, FL; know because I interviewed her, too 

3/13/16 addendum: The first weekend after the release, my son and I even got to hand-deliver a copy to a neighbor who happened to call a bookstore while I was right there signing stock:

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