After 75 years in Bob Kane's shadow, DC is finally giving Batman co-creator Bill Finger some credit.
Of course, legally DC can not give Finger full co-creator credit. You see, Kane, while only partially responsible for the finer details of the Batman character, did have business sense and a lawyer father. After pulling a move worthy of some of Batman’s lesser foes, Kane lied about his age when he signed his first contract and in order to avoid a hefty law suit DC, one arm pinned behind its proverbial back, signed a new contract with Kane listing him as sole creator and ensuring that he would be financially compensated for what would become the remainder of his life.
But what about Bill Finger? The man who had actually developed many of the most popular aspects of the Dark Knight would go on to have a career of ups and downs. And while die hard comic fans know his name, he has received very little official credit, and thus no financial compensation for his work. DC did give Finger credit for his work co-creating The Joker, though the credit lacks the clout and financial recompense the family and fans would like to see go to Finger’s legacy.
Earlier this year Finger’s granddaughter spoke out on the artists behalf,
“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.”
Even Bob Kane, who won out over all, was quoted by comic historian Ron Goulart as saying,
“Bill Finger was a contributing force on Batman right from the beginning… I made Batman a superhero-vigilante when I first created him. Bill turned him into a scientific detective.”
Though Kane publicly waffled on just how he viewed Finger’s contribution, ranging from suggesting he deserved more credit to discrediting his claims in full, fans of the series have cried out for him to to be recognized.
Well, it appears that the powers that be at DC have heard the call from the family and fans of the late and great Bill Finger. On July 23rd DC will be releasing, free of charge, a 75th anniversary edition of Detectives Comics #27. The comic will include some of the classic content from the 1939 release of the same name, as well as some content from the New 52 Detective Comics #27. Best of all, Bill Finger will finally get some of the credit he deserves. While full co-creator credit isn’t something DC can do, they have given Finger cover credit as the comics writer on the special issue.
While this is only a small drop in the bucket of what is owed to Bill Finger’s legacy, it is good to see that DC listens to the voice of its fans and seeks to reach out to the artists and writers that have been forgotten.
Further showing themselves as good guy DC, a new payment structure was also announced by the comic giant giving flexibility to how they sell their comics, as well as granting eligibility for royalties and cover credit to colorists and digital-first creative teams previously forgotten.
DC’s understanding that all artists and writers involved in the production and creation of comics are equally important is a step in the right direction and a promise for the future of the comic book industry as a whole.Though it seems that Bill Finger will never get the full credit for Batman that he deserves, we are glad to see that the new generation of comic readers will at least know his name.
Images: DC Comics