In 1965, Bill Finger, uncredited co-creator and original writer of Batman, gave an interview which led to an article that (who knows when) went missing for decades.
In 2009, I was finally able to obtain a copy of that article. In doing so, I saw that it was the source for several previously unknown quotations in Batman: The Complete History. (In 2008, I'd asked the author, Les Daniels, but he didn't recall where he'd gotten them from nor had he saved his notes.)
There is much else to discuss about the article, but since it’s not been published yet, I have to hold off on most of it for now. In the meantime, one odd observational overlap.
In the article, Finger is quoted as saying, “The artist is important, certainly. But in working with him you are all at once at the same time writer, director, artist (in visualizing the scene), prop man, dialogue man, and in a sense cameraman in describing angles and focal points of attention for various panels.”
The summer of that year, Finger made his first professional appearance at what most consider the first official comics convention and sat with three other comics professionals on the first creators panel. The panel is transcribed in Alter Ego #20 (1/03).
One of those fellow panelists was DC Comics editor Mort Weisinger. One of his comments during the panel is as follows: “So, when you are a writer in this business, you have to be a combination of photographer, artist, director, dialogue man, prop man.”
The Weisinger version is, without question, a direct quotation; the panel was transcribed from an audio recording. The Finger version appears in quotation marks in the original article. While there’s always a chance he was misquoted or that the words were outright fabricated, both scenarios seem unlikely to me.
These quotations are not identical, and not especially profound, so I am not filing an accusation of high plagiarism. Yet the similarity of the statements does strike me as odd for two reasons: they come from the same year and both men were present when one said his.
That makes it a question of timing.
We don’t know precisely when Finger made his statement whereas Weisinger’s can be pinned down to the day. So we don’t know who said it first, and therefore, we don’t know if one was a conscious or subconscious lift of the other rather than a coincidence.
Another timeline puzzler tomorrow.