To create something and then be silently pushed into obscurity by that creation is a story Bill Finger knew only too well. Bob Kane may have had his name plastered practically over any incarnation of Batman (movie, comic etc…) and credit should be given where credit is due. However, according to author Marc Tyler Nobleman, Bill Finger deserves equal acknowledgment for constructing the initial Batman universe. For Marc Tyler Nobleman, this sad truth has been brushed to the side for long enough. Now he seeks to give Finger his credit, whom he dubs the “Secret Co-Creator of Batman.”
In other words, he seeks to give the finger to those who have fingered Finger.
During July 2012, when The Dark Knight Rises debuted in theatres, a book called “Bill the Boy Wonder” was released.
This book followed on a similar formula as the 2008 “Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman,” which told the story of co-creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
In “Bill the Boy Wonder,” Nobleman portrays Kane as the one who brought the rough idea to the table, which included a general outline and initial character design. Finger was the one who developed these ideas further. For Nobleman, “Batman is 99 percent Bill Finger.”
The book is already about a year old, yet new information is constantly cropping up for Nobleman, who is still researching the subject. While writing the book, he met the sole surviving member of the Finger family: Bill Finger’s granddaughter, Athena. Initially, Nobleman found Athena to be quite hesitant when confronted with the issue that she is eligible for royalties on Finger’s stories. She thought it was “just too big” an issue to approach.
Nobleman’s reply prompted her to reconsider:
“Well, that’s the point. Batman’s huge, and your grandfather didn’t benefit from it, and neither did your father. Is this going to be the legacy of the Finger family? That nobody fights for this credit?”
Soon after Athena contacted DC in 2007, she began receiving royalties from reprints that Bill Finger was involved in. “Nothing major,” reported Nobleman, “but more than she expected to receive.”
The major hurdle lies in amending the “created by” credits, which will include Bill Finger’s name as well as Bob Kane. This amending, for now, is very much impossible to employ since the preexisting arrangements deny any alteration. However, Finger’s co-creator status has been mentioned and even acknowledged over the years by former DC President Paul Levitz. Even Bob Kane himself, in his 1989 autobiography “Batman and Me,” mentioned that the writer “deserves” a credit.
Nobleman’s hopes are realistic. He does not envision change any time soon and does not consider his plea to be thoroughly addressed. Batman has become a Billion Dollar property and he sincerely feels that Bill Finger’s family is entitled to a share.
His endeavors are not the only attempted in history. Other writers and researchers have embarked on this nearly impossible task to credit Bill Finger. He addresses the notion that this task is somewhat “crazy,” because he is going out of his way to credit a person he has never met nor will ever meet. However, Nobleman feels that it is the right thing to do. It is shedding light on a fact that has long been suppressed and kept in the shadows. He also feels that he became more emotionally connected with Bill Finger and his story.
“Justice has no expiration date. You just don’t give up on someone.”
This story is beyond the comic medium or the super hero genre. This is beyond a story about Batman.
This is “a story about a real person who did something on the level that few can ever claim to have done. This kind of accomplishment is rare.”