In 1939, a 6-page story appeared in the 27th issue of Detective Comics, introducing a mysterious masked crime known as The Batman. The character became an instant sensation. The Batman received his own title shortly afterward and he is among the most recognized fictional characters in history, retaining that fame over 80 years later.
Credit for this character went to comic book artist Bob Kane. Only his name appeared on most stories and for decades, he was credited as the sole originator of Batman. But others were involved. Kane hired ghostwriters and ghost artists, who wrote and drew the stories without receiving any credit. Most significant among these was writer Bill Finger. Many people have suggested that Finger had at least as much input as Kane in the Batman's creation.
"The Mark of Kane" explores the relationship between Finger and Kane. Kane was an adept salesman and self-promotor, who negotiated ownership of the character and credit for each story. Finger was shy and lacked confidence, but contributed far more ideas than Kane. Finger received a small fee, but never the credit he deserved nor financial rewards commensurate to his contribution. He died anonymous and destitute at the age of 59.
"The Mark of Kane" debuted this season at the City Lit Theater in Edgewood this season and I was fortunate enough to see Friday night's performance. It was a powerful story of arrogance, hubris, and manipulation. A strong cast was led by Josh Zagoren and Todd Wojcik as Kane and Finger, respectively. As the play progressed, we grew to despise Kane and pity Finger.
I do not know how accurate is the story presented in "The Mark of Kane"; but I found its telling to be very entertaining.