Many people credit Bob Kane as the sole creator of Batman, but in truth, Batman was a co-creation with Bill Finger (1914-1974). It was Bill Finger who suggested the iconic costume for Batman–the cape, the cowl, the gauntlets. Finger also came up with the name Bruce Wayne as an alter ego, and Gotham City as his home. Finger wrote many of the early Batman stories and helped define the Caped Crusader as a two-fisted scientific detective; Finger also created or aided in the creation of Robin (Dick Grayson), The Joker, Catwoman, The Riddler, Two-Face, The Penguin, Clayface, and The Batmobile.
In short, the Batman that we know and love owes so much to the work and contributions of Bill Finger and less to Bob Kane (more on that in a second). And yet most people were unaware of Bill Finger–I didn’t even hear about him until a makeshift San Diego Comic Con panel by Arlen Schumer in 2002. It took forever, but Bill Finger is finally starting to receive credit for his work.
Over at Heat Vision/The Hollywood Reporter, it was announced that Bill Finger would receive an on-screen credit as co-creator of Batman on the show Gotham and the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Here’s an excerpt from the official statement from DC Entertainment that was given exclusively to THR:
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.
Finger died in poverty and obscurity, and sadly, much of that has to do with Bob Kane. Bob Kane was notorious for half-assing work and hogging the limelight from his collaborators. Not just Finger. Bob Kane also tried to downplay the significant contributions of Joker co-creator Jerry Robinson and artist Dick Sprang. Bob Kane hired ghost artists to do his work for him (Sprang was one of them) and took all the credit for himself. (If you want to be nauseated, read this Comics Alliance piece by Chris Sims on why Bob Kane was a total a-hole.)
In short, Bob Kane was probably one of the worst people to ever work in the comic book industry, and that is probably not hyperbole. (Glad that Jim Steranko supposedly slapped him.)
But to end on a positive note, let’s all have a toast for Bill Finger and his family. This is a long-time coming.[via THR]