Before I get into Olympic talk, I want to mention that this past Saturday (February 8) would have been Bill Finger’s 100th birthday. Who is Bill Finger, you ask? Bill Finger is the unofficial co-creator of Batman. You may think that Bob Kane, as the official creator of the Dark Knight, would be the one who created all the aspects of the character we know and love. Unfortunately, that thought would be wrong. By all accounts, pretty much everything you know about Batman was created by Bill Finger. According to the contributors at Wikipedia, Bob Kane came up with the basic concept of the Batman character, but made him look really goofy, giving him a domino mask, red tights and stiff bat wings. Bill Finger changed the costume by giving Batman a cowl and a cape, and by taking away the red parts of the costume. Bill Finger also created the alter ego of Bruce Wayne and wrote the first two Batman stories (as well as many other early stories). If that wasn’t enough, he is also credited with creating the name of Gotham City.
So why doesn’t Bill Finger get credit for creating one of the most recognizable characters of all time? Apparently Bob Kane showed the character to an editor and then signed an agreement to give away the rights in exchange for a “created by” credit on all Batman comics and adaptations, pretty much leaving Bill Finger out in the cold.
There was a big online push to have a Google Doodle in honour of Bill Finger’s 100th birthday, but it didn’t happen. If you want more info on Bill Finger (he did a lot more than what I have mentioned here) look him up on Wikipedia or check out the children’s book “Bill the Boy Wonder” by Marc Tyler Nobleman. I haven’t read it myself, but I heard an interview with the author and it sounds like he knows his stuff.
Okay, on to the Sochi Olympics!
Like many of you, I spent a fair bit of time watching the Olympics this weekend. Here are a few of my thoughts (that I know you can’t wait to read!):
Something has already confused me (shock, I know). I know there are often qualifying events that take place prior to the opening ceremonies, but this year some of the figure skating took place before the official opening of the games. I’m not a fan personally, but isn’t figure skating popular at the Olympics? Shouldn’t it happen right in the middle when people will know to watch? Oh well, what do I know?
As an old man, I usually don’t like new things, but I must say I am a big fan of Slopestyle snowboarding. How those guys manage to jump high in the air, spin around a million times and then land on their feet is beyond me. The only thing I don’t get are the rails. I understand it’s a technical aspect of the sport, but it is not nearly as cool as the jumps. Give the people what they want, yo!
It’s probably no surprise that my favourite Olympic event is hockey (I am Canadian after all). I want to give kudos to the organizers for changing the women’s tournament this year so that the top ranked teams play each other in the round robin. Having the Canadian and American teams play each other makes for a much better matchup than if they had to play teams from weaker nations. It also helps make the lower seeded teams not look as bad as they would if they had to play a top tier team.
Next to hockey, the event I am most looking forward to is short track speed skating. It’s like watching NASCAR, but actually exciting. I distinctly remember in the finals of an Olympic short track speed skating competition a number of years ago, the competitors who led the race the whole way (who I want to say were from the US, Canada and… South Korea… maybe) all fell down right before the finish line, which let an Australian who trailed the entire time win a gold medal. It was epic.
So that’s all I have to say on the Olympics for now. Maybe I’ll have more to say next week. Or maybe not. Who knows?