You may not know Bill Finger’s name, but you should, because he was responsible for pretty much everything that makes Batman cool. Oh sure, the credited creator of Batman, Bob Kane, was the first to come up with the idea for a character named “Bat-Man”, but his original Batman looked like this…
Everything that makes Batman, well, Batman — his cape, his cowl, his gadgets, his origin story, his rogues gallery — sprung from Bill Finger’s fertile mind, but early on Bob Kane got it in writing that only he would be credited as Batman’s creator until, apparently, the end of time. Bob Kane died a well-off and respected figure, while Bill Finger died broke and largely unknown.
Anyways, at a recent Batman panel at Wonder Con, an audience member asked several guys who work on contemporary Batman comics, including Brian Buccellato, Francis Manapul and editor Larry Ganem what the deal with Bill Finger being denied credit was. Larry Ganem stepped up with this response…
“We cherish what Bill Finger did and his contribution to creating Batman, and we’re all good with Finger and his family.”
All good! Case closed! But wait, yesterday Bill Finger’s granddaughter (and only heir) Athena Finger released a statement indicating things might not be so good after all…
“75 years of Batman! No one could have predicted the longevity and the continued relevance of this comic book hero that has become a cultural icon when my grandfather, Bill Finger, collaborated with Bob Kane back in 1939. My grandfather has never been properly credited as the co-creator of Batman although was an open secret in the comic book industry and is widely known now. It is now my time to come out of the shadows and speak up and end 75 years of exploitation of my grandfather, whose biggest flaw was his inability to defend his extraordinary talent. Due to what I feel is continued mistreatment of a true artist, I am currently exploring our rights and considering how best to establish the recognition that my grandfather deserves.”
Ruh oh. You kind of have to feel for DC because you get the sense they want to credit Bill Finger, but on the other hand, you don’t have to feel for them, because for 75 years they’ve been pretty content to just shrug and say, “Sorry guys, we signed this thing with Bob Kane, nothing we can do.”
I mean, there must be some tricky wording that would get around Bob Kane’s contract. Something that doesn’t outright say Finger co-created Batman, but makes it clear that, yeah, he really did — “Batman created by Bob Kane and based on the writing of Bill Finger” or something. You can’t just shrug this one off anymore DC.
via Bleeding Cool
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