Hello fellow Bat-Fans and welcome to my little write up for my DC World, March 2018, Hall Of Fame nomination.
For this month, I have doubled up on the nomination – the reason? Well, these two guys are jointly responsible for the creation and look of my favourite DC Superhero, Batman.
Therefore, I say step forward Mr Bob Kane and Mr Bill Finger.
Among casual comics book fans, I believe that if you ask them who the creator of Batman was, the name of Bob Kane would immediately spring to mind (and let’s not talk about those who are so young that they’d give the names Tim Burton or Christopher Nolan). Anyway, the name of Milton “Bill” Finger doesn’t generally pop up, which is a shame as he had as much input as Bob Kane himself in the creation of The Dark Knight.
First of all, I shall tell you that Bob Kane was born in New York in the year 1915, Bill Finger the year before in Denver. In 1938, they met, worked together on non-Batman material and in 1939, still working together, The Batman was born.
So, 1939 and, thanks to the massive success that was Superman in Action Comics, more superheroes, of this like, were needed. Bob Kane had come up with the idea of a new character called Batman and Bill Finger was asked to take a look over the character designs that Kane had come up with. Well, the original design was more Superman than Batman, to quote Bill Finger, Kane…
“…had an idea for a character called ‘Batman’, and he’d like me to see the drawings. I went over to Kane’s, and he had drawn a character who looked very much like Superman with kind of … reddish tights, I believe, with boots … no gloves, no gauntlets … with a small domino mask, swinging on a rope. He had two stiff wings that were sticking out, looking like bat wings. And under it was a big sign … BATMAN.” **
As you can see, the Batman we all know and love now, could have looked so much different.
The story goes that, Bill Finger took a look at the drawing he was shown and suggested some changes, such as giving Batman a cowl rather than the mask, adding gloves, a cape as opposed to wings, leave the eyeholes blank, creating a mysterious character and doing away with all the red and going with the black and grey colour scheme everyone is familiar with. From here, Batman, and of course Bruce Wayne (credited to Bill Finger), was born.
Between the two of these gentlemen, the first Batman story was written, by Finger and drawn by Kane. The character debuted in Detective Comics #27 (May of 1939) and was an outstanding success and has stood the test of time.
Unfortunately, Bob Kane is the only one of these two men given an official company credit for the creation of Batman but it has become well know over the many years that Bill Finger, to quote Bob Kane himself,
“… was a contributing force on Batman right from the beginning. He wrote most of the great stories and was influential in setting the style and genre other writers would emulate … I made Batman a superhero-vigilante when I first created him. Bill turned him into a scientific detective.” ***
The two men also had input in to various other characters that were introduced to the Batman universe, such as Robin, The Joker, Two-Face etc. However, it’s the Bat where they will be more fondly remembered.
Despite what you may read elsewhere, what you may be told by others, the creation of Batman was down to, not one, but two men. Bob Kane and Bill Finger should go down as Legends within the DC Comic Book Universe, in fact I am sure they already are, it’s a given. Therefore, I ask that you make them legends here, within the DC World Hall Of Fame. Their influence on the comic book history, and the wider superhero universe, is second to none (well, maybe a tie with the creators of another, red caped superhero). I hope that this can be recognised on our site, a fitting tribute.
I thank you for reading and I hope that you feel you can vote for these gents.
Ypu can vote on this months Hall Of Fame here.
*** – Kane, Andrae, p. 43, Batman And Me