“Either you die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain.” This quote became famous in Chris Nolan’s, The Dark Knight, where Harvey Dent foreshadows his downfall as a hero and rise as the villain, Two-Face. Does anyone know where this came from? It came from Bill Finger (his birthday is today), the co-creator of Batman. Bill Finger, sadly, isn’t well known to most fans, but among Batman fans, he was considered to be the one who gave Batman his signature look and feel. According to IMDB:
Came up with the origin story of the Batman, and also consulted Bob Kane to have white eyes on Batman, instead of just black.
Proposed the look of the batman to Bob Kane, including the gray body and the white eyes.
Bob Kane’s original concept for a super-hero was called Birdman. It was Finger who convinced him to change the design of the character to that of a bat, discarding the feathered wings, opting instead for a cape and cowl.
With artist Irwin Hasen, Finger created the DC Comics character Wildcat in January, 1942.”
As one can see, Bill Finger has accomplished a lot. But why isn’t he well known? The answer is that Bob Kane, through some legal magic and paying the writers not to take credit, became the sole credited creator of Batman.
Recently, Marc Tyler Nobleman and Athena Finger (Bill Finger’s grand-daughter) have begun to speak out about this and have been campaigning DC Comics to give Finger his credit alongside Kane’s. Nobleman argues, “When you watch the credits for the Dark Knight, there’s got to be a thousand people on that credit list. None of them would have had that job if it weren’t for Bill Finger. You would not have that movie! That was really hard for me. That’s why I started the effort to have people recognize that with this show “Gotham,” it wouldn’t have a name without Bill Finger.”
Athena reiterates that, “My dad was really proud of his father, so he would tell me stories…He had fond memories of helping him with his stories, going to the museum with him, going to every kind of movie. He would talk about it, but he wouldn’t talk about it very much, because it was painful. Nobody really gave his dad the recognition he deserved.”
DC Comics did give Bill Finger a cover credit when they released the 75th anniversary edition of Detective Comics #27 in 2014 and last year, beginning with the second season of Gotham and Batman v Superman, Finger will finally get his name in the credits!
Overall, Bill Finger had a huge impact on Batman’s legacy and the comics world. It’s thanks to the efforts of Marc Tyler Nobleman, Athena Finger, and others who have fought for so long to get his name credited with co-creating Batman that DC Comics, finally did what was right and gave him the credit he so rightfully deserved. In the end, without Bill Finger’s contributions to the legacy of Batman, the world of Batman might not have endured for over 75+ years.