Bill Finger was one of the greatest minds behind silver age and golden age comic books. However, because of the work-for-hire contracts that were common at the time, he never got the credit he was due for co-creating Batman, Green Lantern, Robin, Catwoman, the Joker, and Lana Lang. DC has finally given him posthumous recognition.
Milton “Bill” Finger was born February 8, 1914, in Denver, Colorado. The family moved to New York City when he was young. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School, graduating in 1933. In 1938, he began working with artist Bob Kane.
Kane came up with the original image of Batman, but Finger named him, developed his personality, and created his backstory. Kane said in his autobiography, “I made Batman a superhero-vigilante when I first created him. Bill turned him into a scientific detective.” Finger said of his greatest creation, “My idea was to have Batman be a combination of Douglas Fairbanks, Sherlock Holmes, The Shadow, and Doc Savage as well.”
Finger worked on many comic books over the years: Detective, Batman, All-American Comics, Superman, Superboy, House of Mystery, Weird War Tales, Star-Spangled Comics, Captain America, and more. He also wrote TV and movie scripts, including the episode of the Batman TV show with Clock King. Unfortunately, he was a notoriously slow writer, known for being tardy with deadlines, which hurt his career.
Finger died January 18, 1974, in New York City.
Finger was posthumously inducted into the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1999. The Bill Finger Award For Excellence In Comic Book Writing was established in 2005. Granted each year to two comic book writers, one living, one dead, it is named in his honor.
Mark Evanier said, “Bill is still kind of the industry poster boy for writers not receiving proper reward or recognition.”
If you’re interested in learning more about Bill Finger, check out Marc Tyler Nobleman’s biography, Bill the Wonder Boy. If you’re interested in learning more about superheroes, science fiction, fantasy, and/or the fandom lifestyle, listen to SCIFI.radio or check out our page on Facebook.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.