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Bill the Boy Wonder
Bill the Boy Wonder
By author: Marc Tyler Nobleman   Illustrated by: Ty Templeton
Product Code: 
Binding Information: Hardback 
8  - and up
In Stock
Price: $17.95

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This is the true story of how Batman began.

Every Batman story is marked with the words "Batman created by Bob Kane." But that isn't the whole truth. A struggling writer named Bill Finger was involved from the beginning. Bill helped invent Batman, from concept to costume to character. He dreamed up Batman's haunting origins and his colorful nemeses. Despite his brilliance, Bill worked in obscurity. It was only after his death that fans went to bat for Bill, calling for acknowledgment that he was co-creator of Batman.

Based on original research, Bill the Boy Wonder is the first-ever book about the unsung man behind the Dark Knight.

This book is good for your brain because it provides:
Biography, character and plot development, point of view

  • Visit the Bill the Boy Wonder Website.
  • Download the cover image.
  • Download the Activity & Discussion Guide
  • Listen to author Marc Tyler Nobleman on NPR's All Things Considered.
  • Listen to an interview with author Marc Tyler Nobleman on Destinies-The Voice of Science Fiction on 90.1FM, WUSB, Stony Brook, New York.

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  • Awards
  • A Junior Library Guild Selection

  • Reviews
    I loved the graphics! The illustrations are lively, bright and bold drawing the reader into the book and storyline! Amazingly, I learned the history and little known secret of the TRUE inspiration and creator of BATMAN! This book is a fantastic read for young readers and adults! This summer we are featuring a Superheroes and Villains camp at our bookstore and this will be our featured book!
    --Kim Krug and Kathleen Skoog, Owners and Book Lovers
      Kirkus Reviews - May 15, 2012
    It turns out that Batman--the orphaned, shadowy, well-heeled defender of an embattled Gotham--had another embarrassment of riches: two fathers.

    Spend any time with Batman in DC Comics and you will have seen it: "Created by Bob Kane." Only half true. Cartoonist Bob did come up with a prototype, but it was writer Bill Finger who fashioned Batman into the night-tripping, class-and-trash, hero-and-villain intimidator in the pointy-eared cowl whom we have come to love, the superhero without superpowers. This testament to credit due from Nobleman is seriously researched--as the six-page author's note attests--yet light on its feet, and the artwork from Templeton has all the lush, emotive brushwork one expects from Batman. But what makes this sketch of Finger so memorable is its intimacy with the characters, the way in which it coaxes out an engaging vulnerability in Finger and, by association, with Batman. "Bob's greatest talent may have been the ability to recognize other talent. His greatest flaw may have been the inability to honor that talent. Bill's greatest flaw may have been the inability to defend his talent. His greatest talent was the ability to forge legends."

    Though Finger has been a known commodity to comics cognoscenti for years, this salute in his own format will make the lasting impression he deserves.

      Michael Uslan, executive producer of The Dark Knight Rises and author of The Boy Who Loved Batman - June 6, 2012
    Purposefully and meaningfully (and beautifully) written.
      School Library Journal - August 1, 2012
    This eye-catching biography of Bill Finger is quite unique. It's the first picture book written about the co-creator of the comic-book character Batman. And until quite recently, Finger wasn't recognized, as Bob Kane accepted full credit. From the cover depicting a bust of Finger set against the backdrop of Batman, and the end pages that include the shadow, quotes, and teasers to the story, to the engagingly told story, this biography will be a hit. The illustrations are done in colorful, classic comic-book style, with text offset in boxes. The story begins with a young Jewish man, Milton Finger, changing his first name to Bill because of discrimination. It proceeds to his chance meeting with Kane and his uncredited collaboration. After 25 years of writing increasingly creative adventures for Batman, his contribution was discovered, though Kane was still reluctant to share credit. Finger died rather poor and largely unrecognized. After his death, a comic-writing award was named in his honor. The easy-to-read text is short and interesting. An author's note presents more detailed information on Finger and Nobleman's complex and thorough research. This title will appeal to children because of their interest in superheroes and their creators, and will be a draw for teachers as a read-aloud for language arts or social studies as an engaging look at a pop art icon. Source notes, a selected bibliography, and three photos round out the book.
      Booklist - August 1, 2012
    Bill Finger is not a household name, but he embodied many of the traits of the superheroes he had a hand in creating--secret identity, modest personality that eschewed the limelight, and extraordinary talents and abilities. Finger met Bill [sic] Kane, who is widely credited as Batman's creator, at a party, and the two began an informal collaboration on creating DC Comics' newest superhero. Nobleman asserts that Finger not only conceived of Batman's appearance but that he also wrote the hero's entire backstory and independently created Robin, the Riddler, the Joker, and Catwoman. Yet Finger never received any public acknowledgment for his contributions during his lifetime. The claims that Nobleman makes are bold, but he carefully documents his research, which included examining documents and interviewing members of Finger's family and well-respected DC employees. Big, colorful, comics-style illustration makes Nobleman's assertions even more dynamic. A fitting tribute to a largely overlooked comic-book hero.
    Every superhero has an origin story, and Nobleman parallels his picture-book history of the literary creation of Superman (Boys of Steel, BCCB 10/08) with the equally riveting story of Milton "Bill" Finger, whose vital role in the development of Batman has not been fully credited--or remunerated--since the character debuted in 1939. Whereas the Shuster/Siegel vs. DC battle royale is relegated to the epilogue of Boys of Steel, the injustice suffered by easygoing Bill Finger at the hands of Batman's more assertive co-creator, Bob Kane, is the main event here. Boxed narration is heavily and delightfully laced with "bill" and "finger" puns and wordplay: "Bob publicly accused Bill of exaggerating. Despite that, Batmanians believed Bill. They began to murmur that he should be credited as the co-creator of Batman--that his Bill was long past due." Templeton's color artwork is a stylized homage to the period, with large frames, boxed insets, and splash pages that suggest rather than rigidly emulate the flow of a comic book. Engrossing and appropriate as the information in the main text may be for young listeners and readers, a six-page appended author's note once again saves a heckuva lot of the good stuff for the older readers who will tackle its denser, sparsely photoillustrated prose. Here Nobleman discusses his research into the life of Bill Finger, which begins as a photo hunt and ends by uncovering an entire branch of the family that had lost all public connection with Finger, and who now collect royalties from DC: "And it may be as close to a happy ending as Bill Finger will ever get. He just didn't live long enough to experience it." Older readers will enjoy the vindication, and they will never again read the words "Batman created by Bob Kane" without a mildly disdainful snort.
      Tablet - December 4, 2012
    I’m not a huge superhero fan, but I found this fascinating; I can only imagine how Batman and comics history fans will rejoice. Of course, even clueless wonders like me know that Batman was created by Bob Kane ... but guess what! This is wrong. Bill the Boy Wonder argues that for years, Kane suppressed the creative role of another writer, Bill Finger, in the invention and development of Batman. Finger, who changed his name from Milton Finger because Jews faced discrimination in getting writing jobs, allowed Kane to take all the credit for Batman. But Finger was the one who came up with Batman’s scary and poignant origin story; Finger was the one who gave Gotham City its name; Finger was the one who created the series’ liveliest villains. After he died, obsessive Batman fans began calling for DC Comics to give him credit. Today, like the Dark Knight himself, those fans still fight for Finger’s rights and for justice. The author’s note at the end explains Nobleman’s own detective work in seeking Finger’s heirs who might be entitled to royalties from DC. It’s illustrated in the style of a comic book, but with blocks of text plunked down on white backgrounds; I do wish it were a true graphic novel, with the text better integrated into the pictures.