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Bill Finger

The DC hero Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27. The first Batman story was scripted by Bill Finger with the art by Bob Kane.

Silver Collectible Batman #1 by New Zealand Mint – 35g Pure Silver DC Comics
Silver Collectible Batman #1 by New Zealand Mint – 35g Pure Silver – Officially licensed by DC Comics

Bill Finger Biography

Born Milton Finger in 1914 in Denver, Colorado, he would later be known to the world as Bill Finger.

His family moved to the Bronx, New York where he attended the same high school as his future comic book collaborator, Bob Kane. He began working professionally with Kane in 1938 and the following year the pair co-created Batman.

At DC, Finger’s work on the iconic characters of Batman, Superman and Green Lantern included significant contributions to the mythos and lore that comic book fans know and love today.

He also worked at Fawcett Comics, Quality Comics and Timely Comics, the precursor to what is now Marvel Comics.

Bill Finger passed away in 1974 at fifty-nine years old. He too was inducted into the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame and the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in the late 1990s. In 2005, the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing was established in his honour.

Creating Batman

Following the success of Superman, Bob Kane conceived of the idea for a new superhero named Batman in 1939.

Bob Kane approached Finger with his initial ideas of the Batman character to get his input.

The original sketch that Kane presented to Finger had Batman as a blond-haired figure with a small domino mask. he wore a bright, red outfit with black wings sprouting from the back.

Pure Silver Collectible Detective Comics #31 Replica by New Zealand Mint
Pure Silver Collectible Detective Comics #31 Replica by New Zealand Mint

It was Finger who suggested a black and grey costume and that the mask should be a cowl. Finger had the idea that the wings should be a cape and that Batman’s gloves should be stylised gauntlets.

The inspiration for the look and personality of Batman came from a wide array of sources. Kane and Finger cite The Mark of Zorro (1920) and The Bat Whispers (1930) as movies that helped with the character development.

Other literary characters such as Doc Savage, Dick Tracy, The Shadow and Sherlock Holmes also inspired the creation of Batman.

Credits for Batman

The original contract negotiated with DC Comics (National Comics at the time) signed away ownership of the character. The only credit agreed to was a mandatory byline on all Batman comics that Bob Kane was the creator.

Bill Finger was not officially credited as co-creator until 2015. In 2015, DC announced the credit on all Batman stories and movies would now read: “Batman created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger”.

Green Lantern

Bill Finger collaborated with artist Martin Nodell to create the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott.

Green Lantern debuted in All-American Comics #16 (July 1940).

Both Finger and Nodell received a byline on the strip, with Nodell using the pseudonym “Mart Dellon”.


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