Today would have been Bill Finger‘s 102nd birthday.
I’ve been somewhat vocal about trying to bring awareness to Bill Finger ever since I started Ramblings Of A Comics Fan, but this is just another blog about comics among so many other great blogs, and Bill Finger‘s name isn’t as well known, yet, as it should be. Indeed, many people, when asked if they had ever heard about Bill Finger would respond with “Bill Who?“
Bill Finger is the uncredited and largely unknown co-creator of Batman. He also contributed much to the Batman mythology in its formative years, from the Batcave, the Batmobile, and much of the Dark Knights supporting cast. For a man who gave comic books so much, why is his name omitted from the famous “Batman created by Bob Kane” byline? Well, in a large part because of a contract signed by Kane that sold Batman to the company who would later become DC. Before DC is unfairly blamed, when the contract was drawn up they had no idea that Bill Finger existed.
The tragic tale of Bill Finger was written by pop culture archaeologist, and the driving force behind Finger finally receiving official credit from DC for co-creating Batman, Marc Taylor Nobleman and the talented Canadian artist Ty Templeton in the book Bill The Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator Of Batman, and it is certainly worth looking out for.
Today would have been Bill Finger‘s 102nd birthday were he still alive, but sadly he died in 1974. He died largely forgotten, without his name ever appearing on the front of a comic. Well that, at least, has been rectified; DC issued a special seventy five year anniversary issue of Detective Comics #27, and Bill Finger‘s name was right there on the cover.
The comic book world has an award named after him, created by his frequent collaborator Jerry Robinson, The Bill Finger Award For Excellence In Comic Book Writing, awarded annually to two writers; one alive an one dead. Mark Evanier, the chair of the awards committee said in 2003 that the premise of the award was “to recognize writers for a body of work that has not received its rightful reward and/or recognition. That was what Jerry Robinson intended as his way of remembering his friend, Bill Finger. Bill is still kind of the industry poster boy for writers not receiving proper reward or recognition.”
On this day Bill Finger would have been 102. Think of him today, and raise a glass to an unsung comic book legend.