Maybe some of us have now gotten used to this, but when the Dark Knight appears, you’ll now see credit being given to Bill Finger, often referred to as “the co-creator” and “co-architect” of the Batman mythology.
When the announcement via the Hollywood Reporter that this was going to happen was released a while back, I was overjoyed… and I still am!
WHO IS BILL FINGER?
“I must admit that Bill never received the fame and recognition he deserved.” That’s what Bob Kane, the well-known creator of Batman, said in Batman and Me, his 1989 autobiography.
Finger had a lot to do with laying the groundwork for the character we often refer to as the Dark Knight, according to many sources. For instance, when Kane had created his first drawings of Batman, he asked Finger to look them over. Instead of having him wear reddish tights and a small domino mask, Kane took Finger’s suggestions and removed the red portions of his costume as well as giving him a cowl and a cape, as noted in Wikipedia.
Finger wrote the script for the first appearance of Batman, and he would go on to co-create Robin, come up with Batman’s secret identity as Bruce Wayne, and play important roles in forming Catwoman and, most importantly, the Joker. He also would go on to come up with the name of Gotham City, then help develop the Batcave, the Batmobile, Ace the Bat-Hound, Lana Lang, and Bat-Mite, among others.
Probably not so well known were his contributions to Alan Scott/Green Lantern. Finger wrote scripts based on that character developed by Matt Nodell, artist for the hero.
Finger passed in 1974. When Marc Tyler Nobleman’s biography of Finger, Bill the Boy Wonder, was released in 2012, he referred to Finger as “Batman’s Biggest Secret,” something many fans of Batman had felt for years was sadly true and needed to be corrected.
DC’S RELEASE AND OTHER UPDATES
Recently, during Batman’s 75th anniversary celebration, DC released a re-issue of Batman’s first appearance. What caught many fans’ attention was that Finger was given cover credit for his work on that issue.
And then, more recognition! The aforementioned Hollywood Reporter article contained an exclusive release, which you can read below:
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.”
Personally, I was overjoyed when I saw this! I see this kind of credit on a regular basis now, but I still delight in it!
CREATORS DESERVE TO RECEIVE CREDIT
I know that this is a thorny issue, giving comics creators recognition. For instance, there was a rumor several years back that, after his reworking of the character, John Byrne wanted his name included with Siegel and Schuster any time Superman appeared, being listed as “co-creator” or something. I didn’t think that was warranted since the Man of Steel gets changed on a semi-regular basis. Just look at the last few years, for instance, with the New 52 and now in the upcoming Infinite Frontier.
I do see a lot more recognition being presented, such as in DC’s direct-to-disc videos. You’ll often find Marv Wolfman and George Perez listed as creators of any of their characters from the New Teen Titans. I agree with that!
I have some friends who are royally miffed at Stan Lee when it comes to giving Jack Kirby credit. Yes, I wish “The King” had received more notice than he had, but I’m not completely sure that “Stan the Man” intentionally grabbed more credit than he deserved.
What would really be terrific would be giving credit when the creators are alive instead of after they’ve passed. As great as it has been for Mr. Finger’s family to see this happen, I imagine how wonderful it would have been if Bill himself had seen this take place.
The thing I puzzle over is exactly how to recognize creators fairly. Maybe some of you have ideas on how to accomplish that? If so, please share your thoughts! I’d really like to hear them! And if you feel some creators need more credit, be sure to list them as well!