This week I wanted to talk about one thing. Bill Finger. Bill added so much to the world of Batman, or The Bat-Man as he was called then. We'll never know how popular Batman would've become without Bill. But, for the most part, the world largely didn't even know who he was, or that he had any connection to Batman. Bob Kane has been credited as the sole creator of Batman, and because of tricky legal reasons was credited as such. This week DC announced that they would be adding Bill Finger's name to Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, as well as the TV series Gotham.
It is amazing to read just how much input Bill finger added to the character. For starters, the secret identity of Bruce Wayne was Bill's idea. Bill also provided Bruce Wayne with a keen scientific mind and extraordinary detective skills. As far as the look of Batman; Bill suggested Bob Kane's original sketch of Batman be altered (see original Bob Kane version below). Bill Finger recommended the domino mask be removed and replaced with a cowl, as well as removing the red and adding a cape instead of stiff wings.
Bill Finger created and/or co-created many other elements to the world of Batman. The Batmobile, Batcave, Robin's origin are a few of those elements. Even the name of Batman's city: Gotham was conceived by Bill.
Villains such as The Riddler, The Penguin, Two-Face were in part created by Bill Finger as well. There's another villain who's popularity has, at times, rivaled that of the Dark Knight himself. The Joker was a collaboration of Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson.
With all this being said, I also want to add that without Bob Kane, there would be no Batman. I do not believe that Bob Kane was an evil guy. But it wasn't until very late in Bob's life that he began to open up about how much influence Bill had on the creation and success of Batman.
The character of Batman has been a big part of my life. I realize how stupid that sounds. The very first comic book I ever owned was Batman #498. I saw it on a spinner-rack at the Osco Drug Store in Wanamaker, IN. and had to have it. The issue was released in August of 1993 (I was 10 years old), and was the next issue immediately after Bane broke Batman's back. I must've read that issue a hundred times (the issue itself looks like hell now). Batman is what started me down the road of comic books and have been a part of my life ever since.
DC Comics has appointed September 26, 2015 as Batman Day. How should you celebrate? Go into a comic book store, or better yet; take a child into a comic book store, and pick up an issue of Batman (or any of the various Bat related titles).