Bill Finger’s story has been growing over the past few years, thanks in part to the publication of ‘Bill, The Boy Wonder’ by Marc Tyler Nobleman, which points out the many contributions that the comic writer made to the mythos of Batman, which include the name Bruce Wayne (Batman’s alter ego) as well as heavy input into the creation of Robin and The Joker.
According to Nobleman, he even came up with Batman’s familiar origin story, the fact that Bruce Wayne saw his parents murdered in front of him as a child. “Bill Finger came up with that story, and that was unprecedented at the time. That was more depth than anyone had ever applied to a comic book character before.”
But over the years, credit for Batman and all related elements has gone solely to Bob Kane, who indeed came up with the basic idea. (Although rumor has it, Kane’s creation was actually BIRDman and that it was Finger who convinced him to go with Batman. It is a known fact that even after the switch, it was Finger that persuaded Kane to make the character’s suit gray and black instead of red.)
Finally, Warner Brothers, who owns DC Comics, the publisher that has chronicled the Dark Knight’s exploits since 1938, has announced that going forward, Bill Finger will share creator credits on not just comics, but adaptations including the Fox TV series ‘Gotham’– a name that Finger came up with– and next summer’s highly anticipated ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice’.
DC Entertainment released the following statement:
DC Entertainment and the family of Bill Finger are pleased to announce that they have reached an agreement that recognizes Mr. Finger’s significant contributions to the Batman family of characters. “Bill Finger was instrumental in developing many of the key creative elements that enrich the Batman universe, and we look forward to building on our acknowledgement of his significant role in DC Comics’ history,” stated Diane Nelson, President of DC Entertainment. “As part of our acknowledgement of those contributions,” Nelson continued, “we are pleased to confirm today that Bill Finger will be receiving credit in the Warner Bros. television series Gotham beginning later this season, and in the forthcoming motion picture Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Why hasn’t Finger gotten credit until now? Part of the blame is the poor record keeping of the time, but Nobleman explains that Kane was more of a salesman than the low-key Finger who was just happy to have any work in the Depression Era. “Bob was the one who got it sold and was the one who was the face of Batman for many years, but that’s because he orchestrated that in his contract. Bill was not a promoter,” Nobleman said in an interview with NPR in 2012. Why did Finger allow only Kane to take the credit? “Partly because that’s what was done at the time, but also partly because it was the end of the Depression and if you could get any work in your chosen field in the arts, you’d take it.”
Nobleman, who has spoken and read at many occasions on Finger’s contributions to Batman, summed up the reason for his mission by saying,”This is going to sound like I’m milking this, but he literally died alone, poor … and unheralded. No obituary ran for him, he didn’t have a funeral and he doesn’t even have a gravestone.”
Kane and his descendants, on the other hand, have reaped huge monetary compensation as Batman has swooped into movies, television, video games and everything else under the sun over the decades.
The announcement that Finger will receive credit comes just in time for Batman Day, a nationwide event taking place on September 26. DC Comics, Warner Brothers and various licensees are sponsoring events at comic shops across the country. What better forum is there to get the word out about Batman’s true co-creator?
To learn more, buy ‘Bill The Boy Wonder’ here. An excellent read– and hey, it’s a children’s book with illustrations, so it’s not that time-c0nsuming!
Are you happy to see Bill Finger finally get the credit her deserves?