Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bill Finger named co-creator in DC Comics publications

Happy (what would've been your) 98th birthday, Bill.

My gift: credit, in the form of the following list of statements acknowledging you as co-creator of Batman. All statements were either published by DC Comics or said by a DC Comics associate in good standing.

“Now that my long-time friend and collaborator is gone, I must admit that Bill never received the fame and recognition he deserved. He was an unsung hero. … I often tell my wife, if I could go back fifteen years, before he died, I would like to say, ‘I’ll put your name on it now. You deserve it.’”
—Bob Kane, Batman and Me (1989), page 44

“The Darknight Detective debuted in #27, the creation of Bob Kane and Bill Finger”
—Paul Levitz, DC Comics President 2002-2009, Detective Comics #500 (published by DC Comics, 1981), inside back cover

“Kane, along with writer Bill Finger, had just created Batman for National Comics, the company that would eventually become DC Comics.”
—DC Comics press release “DC Comics Names Legendary Batman Artist Jerry Robinson Creative Consultant,” 10/26/07

“Last February, The Batman lost a father. One of his two real fathers, that is. …his chief fame will always rest on his co-creation of the Batman legend.”
—Carmine Infantino, DC Comics Publisher 1971-1976 (during which time Finger died), Famous 1st Edition: Batman #1 (published by DC Comics, 1974), inside front cover

“Bob Kane and Bill Finger combined to produce a character that fit right into the Detective Comics bag, but changed the entire direction of the magazine and of the comics industry itself.”
—uncredited editorial, World’s Finest #184 (published by DC Comics, 1969)

“…Bob was only 23 when he and collaborator Bill Finger sat on a bench outside of Edgar Allan Poe’s house and talked about a different kind of comic character”; also refers to Finger as Bob’s “most important collaborator” and details some of the iconic aspects that Bill alone contributed
—Jenette Kahn, DC Comics President and Editor-in-Chief 1976-2002, “Bob Kane 1915-1998,” published in DC Comics titles

“…best scripter in the business and the true cocreator of Batman”
—Julius Schwartz, DC Comics editor 1944-1986 and Editor Emeritus 1986-2004, Man of Two Worlds (2000), page 155

“I’m glad somebody’s writing about him. You ought to call it The Father of Batman. You wouldn’t be wrong.”
—Carmine Infantino, personal interview 2006

“It was such a great creative effort by so many people over so many decades that really ‘created’ Batman. But you still have to look at Bill Finger as one of the two essentials. It’s Kane-and-Finger—and I say that in one breath—who were there at the beginning.”
—Michael Uslan, producer of the Batman movies and close friend of Kane’s, “Unmasking Batman,” Wizard #135 (12/02), pages 88, 90

“The Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing falls under the auspices of Comic-Con International … The [first annual] 2005 awards are being underwritten by DC Comics … Bill Finger (1914-1974), the unsung hero and co-creator of Batman, scripted the first and many of the best Batman stories during the Golden Age of comic books. He created many of the series’ most notable characters, including the Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, and Two-Face, and he made significant refinements to Batman’s concept and persona. Finger wrote the scripts that introduced the Bat Cave, Batmobile, Batplane, and Batsignal. Many terms he created, such as the Dynamic Duo and Gotham City, have become part of our lexicon.”
—from the official site of Comic-Con International

“Created by Bob Kane in collaboration with writer Bill Finger…”
Batman: The Dark Knight Archives, Volume 2 (published by DC Comics, 1995), inside front flap

“Bill Finger was one of the true innovative talents and legendary figures of the comic industry … He collaborated with Kane on the development of Batman…”
Batman in the Sixties (published by DC Comics, 1999)

“There was Bob Kane, 22 years old in May of 1939, and Bill Finger …Kane produced the art … Finger wrote the scripts. … So Kane and Finger fashioned something old, something new in the Batman.”
—Rich Marschall, Batman Archives, Volume 1 (published by DC Comics, 1990), Foreword, page 4

In Fifty Who Made DC Great (published by DC Comics, 1985), Bob Kane and Bill Finger biographies are side-by-side. Kane’s subtitle is “Batman Takes Wing.” Finger’s is “The Darknight Detective Emerges.” Neither is described as “creator” or “co-creator.”

Batman: The Complete History (published with DC Comics, 1999) introduces Kane and Finger on the first page in equal measure, never stating Kane alone is the creator

“He…laid the groundwork for a legend.”
Batman in the Seventies (published by DC Comics, 2000), memoriam to Bill Finger

“[Bob Kane and Bill Finger] co-created the feature and Bill wrote it.”
—Jerry Robinson, one of the first people besides Kane or Finger to work on Batman, joined the strip the year of its debut, in the 1970s was the driving force in convincing DC Comics to give Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster credit and money for Superman, named a DC Creative Consultant 2007, The Comics Journal #271 (2005), page 80

“Bill Finger deserves co-credit for the creation of Batman, simple as that.”
—Jerry Robinson, “Unmasking Batman,” Wizard #135 (12/02), page 90

See also
: Bill Finger, the Superlative Man.


Anonymous said...

You know DC can't legally give him co-creator credit for one simple fact
that his heirs/estate would go after DC Comics for a share of the 70+ yeas decades of revenue. (and it would give his heirs cause to go after Kane's Estate as well.)

It's never going to happen.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Anonymous, I do know; I have been immersed in this research for five years. But never say never. In fact, you've explained just how it COULD happen.

Read this post:

Bob Buethe said...

IANAL, but my understanding is that the reason for the controversy over who owns the rights and revenue to Superman (and Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Captain America) is that the characters were created before the creators were hired. I thought that Kane (and Finger?) were already working for DC when they created Batman, therefore the character was created as work-for-hire and fully owned by the company. No?

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks for writing, Bob. Yes, Kane was already drawing for DC (then National) and Finger was already writing for Kane when they came up with Batman in '39, but they (mostly Finger) brainstormed Batman on their own and then Kane (without Finger's involvement) pitched it to DC. In other words, they were not hired to create Batman, or any particular character, so it was NOT a work for hire.

Unknown said...

Im glad this is being discussed. Bill Finger created everything about the story that is memorable. Another artist, Frank Foster, should receive credit for his 1932 drawings of "Batman and Raven".

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Unknown, my take on Frank Foster: