One of the most influential comic book creators has died in obscurity

Bill Finger is the almost forgotten comics genius who co-created Batman.

by Douglas Helm | published

Bill Finger is a name that only dedicated comic-book fans might know. However, Bill Finger is a name that should be kept at the same time as comic book giants like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Frank Miller and all the other greats. If it weren’t for Bill Finger, Batman and many of his best villains wouldn’t be the characters we know today.

batman caped crusader bill finger

Unfortunately, like many great artists whose works last beyond their own lifetimes, Bill Finger died in obscurity and poverty in 1974. At this time, Batman was already an internationally known superhero with comics, merchandise, and a TV series. Finally, Finger would get the recognition he more deserved in 2015, when DC Comics’ parent company agreed to recognize Finger as Batman’s co-creator and to add his name through a credit line going forward. Name added.

Bill Finger started from humble beginnings. He was born in Denver, Colorado in 1914 and ended up in the Bronx, New York, where he began his career as an aspiring writer and part-time shoe salesman after high school. He then met comic artist Bob Kane at a party, which led him to a job at Kane’s studio in 1938. Finger’s first work was ghostwriting comic strips.

Soon after Bill Finger began his career at Bob Kane’s studio, Superman comics exploded in popularity. This is when Kane showed Finger his portrait for a character named Bat-Man, though it was a far cry from the brooding caped crusader we know today. According to Finger, the picture was a character with red tights, boots, a domino sign and bat wings.

Bill Finger had some notes. He would transform the domino mask into a cowl, remove the feathers and replace them with a cape, add gloves, cut out the red squares of the costume, and suggest the secret identity of Bruce Wayne. In short, Finger transformed Batman from the Superman knockoff to the shadowy detective character we know and love.

Bill Finger wrote the script for Batman’s debut and his second appearance, along with several early Batman stories, which helped launch Batman into comic book royalty. Not fingered there though – he also made major contributions to the Joker and Robin’s backstory and design. It was Finger’s idea to base the Joker’s creepy permanent grin from Conrad Weidt laughing man Instead of making him look like a basic clown.

As well as co-creating Batman, Joker and Robin, Bill Finger was also the creator or co-creator of characters and ideas such as the Batmobile, the Batcave, the ‘Dark Knight’ moniker, the Gotham City name, Ace the Bat, among others. Hound, Bat-Mite, Clayface, The Riddler, Calendar Man, Scarecrow, Catwoman and the original Batgirl. It’s pretty safe to say that the Batman character and mythos wouldn’t be the same without Finger’s input. Bill Finger also contributed heavily to another major DC hero by collaborating with Martin Nodell on the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott.

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Original Green Lantern, co-produced by Bill Finger

Despite these contributions, Bill Finger did not receive public credit for the Batman story until 1966, when he co-wrote the live-action two-part episode. batman TV series with Charles Sinclair. When he passed away eight years later, it would be the only Batman credit to his name. The silver lining is that Bill Finger’s story didn’t die with him.

In 2006, Mark Tyler will begin research for a biography of Nobleman Bill Finger. At the time, it was believed that Finger had only one known child, Fred Finger, who died in 1992. However, Nobleman’s research revealed that Fred Finger had a daughter named Athena, who was born two years after Bill’s death.

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Nobleman quickly contacted Bill Finger’s granddaughter and only surviving heir to encourage him to approach DC Comics about receiving his grandfather credit for his work on Batman. Athena agrees and the campaign to get the bill credit will begin. Nobleman Comic Will Rally Through Fans her blogPodcast appearances, social media and live events.

In 2012, Nobleman finally released his book Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, The campaigning eventually bore fruit, and DC Comics held talks with Athena in 2015. The conversation resulted in Bill Finger receiving credits in films with Bob Kane such as Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeTV program Gothamand all comic books, graphic novels and other print publications related to Batman.

While this story eventually got a happy ending, it’s a shame that Bill Finger never got any of it. If you want to know more about Finger’s story, you can check out Nobleman’s book. You Can Also Do the 2017 Hulu Documentary batman and bill which the book is based on.


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