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Bill Finger, Batman's unsung co-creator


The 75th Anniversary of DC Comics’ Dark Knight Detective superhero known as “The Batman” could not have come at a better time, as 2014 would also have been the 100th Birthday of the OTHER man behind the character, one who’s legacy includes creating the very first Green Lantern Alan Scott and writing stories on other popular DC heroes such as Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and even Marvel Comics’ own star-spangled avenger, Captain America.
 
While the world knows legally that artist Bob Kane “created Batman”, it’s an actual fact that writer William “Bill” Finger is the other face of the Dynamic Duo responsible for bringing “The Bat-Man” to life.

A shoe salesman who loved comics with a passion and enjoyed stories on Doc Savage and The Shadow, Finger met Kane and collaborated together on several works prior to the Golden Age of Superhero comics.

When Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman in 1938 leading to a wide array of success for DC Comics, the publisher commissioned Bob Kane to do the same and create a new character that could equally be as popular as the future Man of Steel.
 
 
While initially coming up with the concept of Batman, Bob Kane’s original sketch of the character was totally different from the Caped Crusader we know today. Showing his drawing to Bill Finger, the writer remarked that the character looked too much like Superman, so he suggested some changes that would prove to be everlasting to the character’s legacy. 
 
Click to view larger version“I got Webster's Dictionary off the shelf and was hoping they had a drawing of a bat, and sure enough it did. I said, 'notice the ears, why don't we duplicate the ears?' I suggested he draw what looked like a cowl... I had suggested he bring the nosepiece down and make him mysterious and not show any eyes at all... I didn't like the wings, so I suggested he make a cape and scallop the edges so it would flow out behind him when he ran and would look like bat wings. He didn't have any gloves on. We gave him gloves because naturally he'd leave fingerprints." 
 
Thus was born the Batman we know today – Cape, Cowl, Utility Belt, prowling through the night and using his own intellect, detective skills, and physical prowess to combat crime and fight for justice. In fact, Bill Finger wrote the first Batman stories, giving the character his alter ego of Bruce Wayne and later on naming his sidekick Dick Grayson as “Robin”. Finger also contributed to the creation of Batman’s vast rogues gallery, with names like The Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, and Catwoman under his belt.
 
Although he passed at the age of 60 in 1974, Bill Finger’s legacy remains entrenched among those who know their comic book history and Batman. Without his influence, the character would have certainly turned out so much different, as interpreted by Ty Templeton, who has illustrated “Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman” and done this hilarious piece looking at a “Bat-Man” with a bright red outfit and Da Vinci Bat Wings, but without the cowl and intimidation added to him. He has backed up Marc Tyler Nobleman’s cause to convince Google to commemorate Bill Finger’s 100th Birthday on February 8 with a Google Doodle, and we can only hope that comes to pass.
 
Happy 100th Birthday to Bill Finger, and Happy 75 years to The Batman! — TJD, GMA News
Tags: batman, dccomics
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