At least once, anyway. It’s for the 75th anniversary of Batman’s debut.
After nearly 4 decades of unjust obscurity, the writer who helped create half of the cash machine that keeps DC Comics afloat is finally getting credit where credit is due. To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the first appearance of Batman in Detective Comics #27, DC will finally credit Bill Finger as co-creator (well, writer, but the placement of his name just below Bob Kane cannot be accidental) of Batman in a special issue of Detective Comics whose story draws both from the comic in which he debuted and from the New 52.
Though Batman has long been credited solely to artist Bob Kane, Kane is mainly responsible for having sketched a winged man inspired by a da Vinci drawing, along with the name “Batman”. In fact, it was Bill Finger who came up with most of the elements considered essential to the Batman mythology, including: commissioner Gordon, the iconic cape and cowl, Batman’s secret identity as Bruce Wayne, the Batmobile, Robin, the setting of Gotham City, and several of his most important villains, including The Joker.
This comic illustrates how seriously awful Batman would have been without Bill Finger. Really, it’s probably fairer to say Finger himself created Batman with a little visual inspiration from Bob Kane, but Kane was a much savvier businessman and managed to secure a very favorable contract from DC that, among other things, robbed anyone else of credit.
Though Bob Kane eventually admitted that Finger should have gotten some credit for his work, this admission only came a few years after Finger’s 1974 death; Kane notably did not make any effort to follow through. DC for its part has never officially given Finger his due, but in recent years comics professionals and fandom have rallied behind the cause of bringing attention to this long-forgotten comics pioneer. In response to this pressure, DC has begun to acknowledge his work unofficially, most recently at Wonder Con, when Larry Ganem said during a panel about the origins of Batman that “we cherish what Bill Finger did and his contribution to creating Batman…”.
Of course, he also claimed that DC comics was on good terms with Finger’s surviving family, a claim his family immediately disputed in no uncertain terms, indicating at the same time that they may pursue legal action against DC.
DC’s decision to honor Finger here may simply be a means of getting out in front of any potential lawsuit. Even so, it’s a long overdue tribute to one of Comics’ great legends, and if it doesn’t make everything better, at least for now more people will be aware of his contributions.
DC has, by the way, declared July 23rd to be Batman Day. The special edition of Detective Comics will be released for free on that date.
Source: Comics Alliance.
Update: Headline amended for clarity.