It’s a well known legend in the comic book industry that Bob Kane, the sole credited creator of Batman, was kind of a self-aggrandizing jerk, and one of the examples of that is how he’s the sole credited creator of Batman, when all of the good stuff we known and love about the Dark Knight came from a man named Bill Finger. He crafted the look, he invented the Batmobile and most of Batman’s villains, he named Bruce Wayne, created Robin, Commissioner Gordon, all of that. Hell, he also co-created Green Lantern, but that’s a whole other thing.
By way of illustration, artist Ty Templeton, who illustrated the Marc Tyler Nobleman book about Finger called Bill The Boy Wonder, made a comic strip illustrating what Bat-Man would be like if Finger hadn’t been around to put in his amazing ideas.
In that spirit, a Kickstarter campaign has been started to try and fund The Cape Creator, a documentary explaining to the world what Finger brought to the table and why he hasn’t been credited ever before. It’s appropriate now because February 8 marks what would have been Finger’s 100th birthday, not to mention the fact that this is the 75th anniversary of Batman. Even Kane, conniver that he was, admitted that Finger should have been credited, even though he fought that credit when Bill was alive. “Now that my long-time friend and collaborator is gone,” he said in his autobiography, “I must admit that Bill never received the fame and recognition he deserved. He was an unsung hero.”
He was also something of a mystery – he died 40 years ago, and once his son Fred died, he was thought to have no living descendants, but it turns out he has a granddaughter and a great-grandson, and they’re involved with The Cape Creator, as is Dennis O’Neill, a legendary Batman writer/editor himself, and the son of Jerry Robinson, one of the crucial early writers working on Batman along with Finger and the guy who actually founded an award named after Finger to recognize unsung comic creators.
Here’s the Kickstarter video pitch.
So if you’ve got money to spare and you want to raise Bill Finger’s profile to the level he deserves as the heavy lifter behind Batman’s creation, maybe you’ll want to throw a few bucks towards The Cape Creator. Failing that, maybe just mentally add ‘and Bill Finger’ anytime you see the legally required ‘Batman Created By Bob Kane’ credit anywhere.