Batman mastermind Bill Finger

Bob Kane is recognized as the creator of Batman, but lesser known writer Bill Finger is responsible for much of the dark knight’s world from the villains to much of the classic adventures.

Finger wrote Batman tales uncredited but has recently been brought into the spotlight by devoted Batfans online and in print. Kane was a wily and charismatic businessman during Batman’s early years, drafting in other talented folks he met as he rose to prominence in the field. One of those creators was Bill Finger, a young artist who saw the first glimpses of the character who would become Batman. Many of the key components of Batman were in place in these images, but Finger offered up suggestions such as naming the character’s alter-ego after Robert the Bruce, borrowing the cowl design from Lee Falk’s the Phantom, etc.

Bill Finger passed away in 1974, but fans are still talking about his amazing talent and contribution to the world of  comic books.

Here are a couple of fascinating reads on the man now recognized as the co-creator of Batman:

The Many Faces of Batman

(See more faces of Batman here: http://batmanimagesgallery.com/)

Some Batmaniacs believe that only one obstacle stood between Bill Finger and official co-credit for Batman alongside Bob Kane: Bob Kane. The Bobstacle.

Others might argue that there is another villain in the saga of Bill Finger: Bill Finger. The Billain.

The man with so strong an imagination and so weak an ability to lay claim to it.

In this sense, he was his own archenemy.

To be clear, Finger did publicly reveal his role in the creation of Batman, and I believe it took courage for him to do so. Sure enough, when he did, Kane wrote an open letter excoriating Finger for his long-overdue honesty. This was in 1965, at which point Finger had been hiding in the Batcave, so to speak, for more than twenty-five years. (Clarification: Finger’s personal network and other comics creators had known of his Batman work, but fans didn’t.) From then on, Finger did publicly take credit for his ideas (while also crediting Kane and others for their contributions).

But what Finger did not do is take a stand against Kane. He took credit but did not demand credit.

Or, to be more accurate, if he ever did do this, there’s no known record of it. (I do have one personal letter that Finger wrote—to be fully shared here as we near publication—in which he claims he spoke firmly to Kane to correct errors of memory, but that doesn’t mean he actually did it; even if he did, it didn’t improve his overall station.)

But it was neither the Billain nor the Bobstacle who first publicly linked Finger to Batman. That distinction goes to editor Julie Schwartz. In the letter column of Detective Comics #327 (5/64), Schwartz wrote that Finger had “written most of the classic Batman adventures for the past two decades.”

(Read more here at Marc Tyler Nobleman’s blog, author of “Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman” http://noblemania.blogspot.com/2010/11/bobstacle-and-billain.html)

But don’t think that Bill Finger was only active in print, he also tried his hand at writing for the big screen as this reviewer found in his piece on the B-Movie classic, The Green Slime. (Finger also wrote Track of the Moon Beast featured on MST3K and famous for the song ‘California Lady’):

John Carpenter, Ridley Scott and George Lucas might have to cite The Green Slime as an influence on their work if this release from the Warner Archive catches on. An American production filmed entirely in Japan with an all Caucasian cast, The Green Slime is not only a ridiculously bad movie, it’s also ridiculously entertaining. Contributing to the screenplay is Bill Finger, the forgotten co-creator of Batman and Charles Sinclair (the duo also co-wrote for several television series including 77 Sunset Strip and the Adam West Batman series).

The film is played dead serious by the cast which includes Robert Horton, Luciana Paluzzi, Richard Jaeckel, Bud Widom and Ted Gunther and as a result, is unintentionally hilarious. If you like rubber monsters running amok and pure entertainment, The Green Slime is not only a must see, it’s a must have. Highly recommended.