I hope that got your attention.
Now before I say anymore, I want to clarify something; I don’t hate Bob Kane, I hate what he did to Bill Finger. I came across this article on cracked.com today entitled 5 Ways Batman’s True Creator Got Screwed Out OF His Legacy, and I have to tell you I was very happy when I read the article, because Bill Finger deserves recognition for his tremendous contributions to comics. Among other things he co-created Batman, and most people don’t know that.
The only thing Bob Kane created alone was the name “The Bat-Man,” and legacy that is built on lies.
Any of you who have read Ramblings Of A Comics Fan for any length of time, or who have gone back through the archives, may have noticed that I will link back to my first post with any opportunity that I can. I truly feel that seventy five years ago a huge injustice was done Bill Finger when Bob Kane sold the rights to to Batman to the company who would become DC Comics in exchange for some cash and the infamous byline “Batman created by Bob Kane.” DC didn’t know about Bill Finger because Bob Kane didn’t tell them about him, so his name was never added to the byline, robbing one of Batman’s creators of the credit that should have been his for more than seventy five years. *
Legally they still can’t add his name to the byline.
The annals of comic book history are littered with people not getting all the credit they deserve, Bill Finger isn’t the only person this happened too over the past seven decades, but his creation is the most famous. I’m not saying that Bob Kane did nothing; he came up with the name The Bat-Man (Bill shortened it), and provided the artwork for the first few comics, although he was famous for “borrowing” other artists work with tracing paper. Bill Finger wrote more than five hundred Batman stories across Detective Comics and Batman, and created (or co-created) almost every hallmark of the Batman mythos we all know and love today.
The image to the left shows just how much input Bill Finger had from the initial sketch that Kane showed to him. If you notice the gun, that’s because in the early stories Batman did carry a firearm. It was later that the gun was removed from his arsenal. The image below is an excellent comic from artist Ty Templeton who illustrated Marc Tyler Nobleman’s Bill The Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator Of Batman. I highly recommend you track down the book if you want to learn more about The Legend That Should Be, the underappreciated co-creator of Batman, Bill Finger.
In his book, Marc Tyler Nobleman states that as much as Bob Kane wronged Bill Finger, Bill Finger’s lack of standing up for himself also contributed to his lack of recognition for his work. Whether that is true or not, and I have every reason to believe it to be so, as a fans of comics of comics we’ve all been taught that “with great power there must also come great responsibility”. We read stories every week of heroes standing up for those who cannot defend themselves, so now it’s time we do the same for a man who died penniless in 1974, who allegedly almost ended up in an unmarked paupers grave.
DC have finally added his name to the byline after decades, in part because of the phenomenal efforts of Marc Tyler Nobleman, so the next time you read a new Batman comic, or watch something that features the Dark Knight released after November of 2015 you’ll see “Batman created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger” as the new byline. It has been a long time coming, and it’s certainly a step in the right direction. And, with what would have been his 102nd birthday on February 8th, an early posthumous birthday gift.
Bill Finger should be a household name. He should be a legend.
I may only be one person on the blogosphere, and I certainly make no claim to be any kind of hero, but I will continue to try and bring awareness to Bill Finger as often as I can.
I hope you will too.