After 75 years of being in the shadow of Bob Kane, Bill Finger's granddaughter calls for credit to be set where credit is due.
While the Wikipedia page lists Finger, along with Bob Kane, as the creator for the caped crusader, the official credit for his creation goes to Bob Kane. The fact that Bob Kane’s father was a lawyer who insured that his son would get his due credit left Finger out in the cold. Kane himself, in his autobiography, commented that Finger was the “unsung hero”, and expressed regret for not giving Finger his credit. There is even a book on the subject – Bill the Boy Wonder.
When asked about this sensitive subject at this years Wondercon in Anaheim, DC Comics’s Larry Ganem had this to say,
“We cherish what Bill Finger did, and his contribution to creating Batman, and we’re all good with Finger and his family.”
Apparently not so much. Just days later Finger’s granddaughter, Athena Finger, made statements quite to the contrary in a report on ComicBook.com.
“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 it 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.”
While DC has felt pressure from die hard fans and their strong feelings about Finger’s exclusion, little has been done to change the status.
This isn’t the first time in comic’s history one side of a collaboration has lost out. In 1968 and 1969 Jack Kirby, who had worked with Stan Lee to create such greats as The Fantastic Four, the original X-Men, and Iron man, signed over his rights to the character of Captain America to Marvel comics in solidarity during a copy right dispute Marvel was having with Joe Simon. Sadly Marvel did not repay the loyalty to Kirby, who became unhappy with Marvels treatment of him. Aside from the increasing frustration that Marvel was not giving him creator or co-creator credits, there was his partner Stan Lee getting all the press. In the end Kirby left Marvel after changing the face of the company forever, and though he gained some notoriety, his contribution to some of Marvel’s greats has never been legitimized by the company.
While it is unlikely that Finger will be given credit over night, that fact that the fan base is well aware of his work alone shows his impact on the comic. Finger was credited with co-creation of Batman’s most iconic villain, The Joker, but until credit is given where it is due the Finger family certainly isn’t laughing.
Image: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.