You may have never heard of him, but you know his work. The shadowy rooftop avenger, the clown prince of crime, and the boy wonder owe their lives to, Bill Finger.
That's right, not Bob Kane. His assistant, whose artistic and writing skills created characters that have been known and loved by fans of all ages for the past 75 years were celebrated as the creation of Bob Kane, and those fans have been lied to.
But, the contributions of Mr. Finger are coming to light with credits added to the Fox TV series "Gotham" and to the 2016 Batman V. Superman movie.
The man who for so many years held the sole credit for the creation of Batman, his costume, the bat cave, Robin, the Joker, and even Catwoman was Bob Kane. But according to several historians and contemporaries this was not the case.
"I give Bill Finger major credit for the success of Batman; almost all the good ideas were his," says SDCC special guest Jim Steranko, a comics illustrator and historian who infamously slapped (Bob) Kane at one Comic-Con. "According to Bill, it was he who created the Joker, inspired by the imagery he spotted on a Coney Island ride. He was the real talent behind Batman."
"Bob Kane himself admitted to Bill’s contribution in several instances and articles, but relented later in life. In fact, in his own autobiography (I think it’s the one titled, BATMAN AND ME), Kane actually published a *fake* page of “original sketches” of the character to claim all design credit!" - Batman’s biggest Secret: The Bill Finger Story./SDCC-2012
Unfortunately , for the comic book industry , especially in it's early years, such atrocious theft and manipulation happened. Although Rob Liefeld, Jim Lee, and the other founders of Image were famous for walking away to start over, Bill Finger and other creators were not so lucky. The comics industry in it's early years was a rough racket , and the salesmen like Kane, and those who were quick with the lawyers often came out ahead.
Bob Kane, (who may or may not have ratted out Siegel and Schuster, the creators of Superman, when they demanded their rights), was awarded a contract by DC comics that he solely get credit for all of Batman, until the END of TIME !!!
That's right kids, the man who was best known in the comics industry for 'borrowing' ideas from other artists, and for giving Batman a red suit and a domino mask, got credit for every idea Bill Finger and any other writer or artist who worked in his studio for him.
According to sources, Mr. Kane had a high turn over for assistants, who did his work for him, and over the years he enjoyed the fame, fortune, and glory of being the 'creator' of Batman and all Gotham City had to offer. While Mr.Finger died virtually broke, and unknown despite his work over the years as a write.
So, the next time you hear an old story about the comics industry and how a property came to be don't take it for granted, and if you ever work for the comics industry yourself, remember the phrase, "don't let yourself get Fingered".