We’re coming up on an anniversary on Feb. 8th of this year.
That will mark the 100th Birthday of Milton (Bill) Finger, the REAL creator of Batman.
Now according to the official story, Batman was created by Bob Kane (and no one else) but most comic fans know that’s not the true story. While there’s no doubt that Bob Kane did contribute something to the character of Batman (apparently he came up with the name), the overwhelming creative force behind the super-hero we all love was Bill Finger.
Without Bill writing the scripts and shaping the visuals, we don’t have Robin, Bruce Wayne, the Bat-cave, the Batmobile, the Penguin, Gotham City, the Signal, Commissioner Gordon, Alfred the Butler, Wayne Manor, the Batarang, Catwoman, the basic look and color scheme of the Batman costume, the Joker, The Riddler, The Scarecrow (as well as Green Lantern, Wildcat and a host of other characters!)
But Bob Kane, did, in fact, come up with the name…so let’s see….
This Feb 8th, you can do something to give the comics industry the Finger and give Bill his proper due.
Send a note to: firstname.lastname@example.org — and suggest that Google give Bill Finger a Google-Doodle on his 100th anniversary. Holy Justice, Batman, it would be spiffy!
For more about this subject, check out my friend Marc Tyler Nobleman’s blog…. Marc is a bit of an expert on the story of Bill Finger….he literally wrote the book on it!
Ty the Guy OUT!
Some unseen pages from the book about Bill Finger that Marc and I did a while ago: This two page sequence shows just a fraction of the stuff Finger created…
and here’s another unseen two page spread from the Bill Finger book…Marc didn’t like the image of Bill and Bob working together as his research suggested Bill didn’t hang around Bob Kane while Bob drew…and let’s be honest….Bob didn’t draw all that much.
You’ll have to get your own copy of the book “Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman” yourself to see that pages we finally went with for these sequences…
And please, go pester the Google people about Bill’s doodle. It would make Batman proud. The real one with the pointy ears and the blue cape.
I assume all the panels in your strip were swipes of other people’s work, as well….
This is not quite accurate. There is no way that Bob Kane could have drawn those story panels
Given enough time, there were likely panels by Hal Foster, or from the comic book “Gangbusters” to get Kane through that sequence. The first and third panels are in fact, famous Kane swipes (used on purpose).
I sent a request, too.
Ty’s Kane “Bat-Man” character in his hilarious Sunday strip is based on my cover illustration/design for my 1999 cover story for Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego #5, that i based on Kane’s own published verbal descriptions of the first sketch (never published) of the character he showed to Finger: http://arlenschumer.com/images/stories/history_pdfs/BATMAN_coverstory.pdf
It’s actually based on a sketch Marc Tyler Nobleman sent me (that I believe Marc drew) when I was working on our Bill Finger book together, but I suspect Marc’s sketch was based on your cover, so in the long run, it’s the same thing. Considering the trunks, belt and blonde hair were suppositions of yours, and are more or less intact in Marc’s sketch, no doubt he used your research in his sketch. This was my interpretation of Marc’s sketch, based on your cover, and based on my Bob Kane style pose…
Well, it woulda been nice if either of you had given me a little shout-out/credit, similar to the way Robby Reed of the great comics history blogazine DIAL B FOR BLOG did when he did his Bob Kane/Finger expose a couple of years ago (and a couple of years before yours & Marc’s book) and used my image: “Did Bob Kane create the first sketch of “Bird-Man” from his own fertile imagination? The history-making answer, as Arlen Schumer first pointed out in Roy Thomas’ ALTER EGO magazine vol. 2 #5, was that Kane made a direct SWIPE from a panel in the January 17, 1939 Flash Gordon Sunday comic strip, drawn by Alex Raymond (panel shown right)!” http://dialbforblog.com/archives/389/
Well, since you ask for a shout out, I did a little research and discovered you don’t get one. As I said, I based my version of “Kane’s Bat-Man” on Marc Tyler Nobleman’s sketch, done for BILL THE BOY WONDER, which didn’t include the trunks or belt. (That drawing can be seen here on Marc’s blog:)
The drawing Marc had sent had some minor differences from the descriptions given by Kane in his autobiography, (“…At this point, the Bat-Man wore a red union suit; the wings, trunks, and mask were black. I thought that red and black would be a good combination…”) and Finger’s description from an interview (“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”), so I adapted the Marc Tyler Nobleman drawing to include black trunks and boots as the Kane descriptions suggested and you can see that interpretation both inside the book BILL THE BOY WONDER, and here…
Though I have seen your interpretation of the character (and it’s possible Marc gave him blonde hair based on your drawing), nothing in my version comes from your version directly ..it comes from Marc’s drawing, and the descriptions Kane and Finger gave of the image. You’ll notice, although we both gave “Bat-Man” a belt, you used the Utility Belt Batman wore in the 40s, and I chose the rounded belt buckle Batman wore in the earlier issues, which I wouldn’t have done, were I basing it on your interpretation. If Marc gave him blonde hair based on your research, take that up with Marc, but I hardly think “Bat-Man has blonde hair based (possibly) on the interpretation of Arlen Schumer” is a useful thing to include in the original parody strip. Seriously…blonde hair? That’s where you want a shout-out? The rest comes from original source material and research Marc did. Relax Arlen, you’re not being taken advantage of. I didn’t base this on your work…but Marc’s work and my own ability to read English. You DID discover the source for the swipe of the cover of Detective #27, no doubt…but I didn’t base my drawing on that. So again…why do you need a shout-out?
Jeez, Ty, overreact much? I used the words “based on,” and even the softer “shout out” while praising your own Sunday page. You overreact here like I accused you of “ripping me off” or something. You doth protest too much, methinks.
Arlen, you posted a comment on my facebook page, on my blog, and in the comments section of at least a half dozen people who forwarded this Bun Toon online…that I’d based this strip on your work (with a link). At a certain point, I got tired of you leaping onto this Bun Toon everywhere it was being talked about as though it had something to do with you. It doesn’t. Stop pretending it does. It’s not based on your work, and you don’t get a “softer” shout out.
Your overreaction here speaks volumes, Ty; feeling a little guilty? Maybe you and Marc should. I’m merely trying to spread more info about the fight for Bill Finger, and the fact that this is not something only recently done by you & Marc, but that I was also doing 15 years ago, when no one else was. Only Robby Reed did the right thing by me. See you in the funny pages!
Arlen-you based your cover entirely on the work of someone else and now are laying credit to all future instances of anything resembling that, as well as suggesting you’re owed some acknowledgement by Nobleman (when he’s documented the depth and reach of his research).
For someone claiming you just want to help the Finger legacy, you’re acting a lot more like Bob Kane.
Hey “Dissy”–I based MY work on verbal descriptions only by Kane; no one had done that before. Robby Reed gave me a shout-out for it when he did his piece, which he felt was the right thing to do; Nobleman and Templeton didn’t. That’s all I was pointing out. And for you to compare me to Bob Kane shows you know NOTHING about me or my works. Go “diss” someone else who deserves it, “Dissy.” And while you’re at it, tell us your real name–your pal Bob Kane changed his too (Kahn).
Alan Moore does it all the time!
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I sent the following request to Google:
February 8, 2014 will be the 100th anniversary of the birth of comic book writer Bill Finger, who “co-created” Batman with artist Bob Kane for DC comics, as well as co-created original Green Lantern Alan Scott with Martin Nodell. I, as well as many others, feel that this deserves a Google Doodle in honor of his work and legacy.
Unfortunately, Finger died largely unappreciated for his contributions not just to comic books, but to culture, helping to create a modern mythology. Artist Bob Kane is given sole credit in the pages of DC comics for the creation of Batman, but Finger, along with Jerry Robinson crafted most of the Batman mythology, including the character of Robin (Dick Grayson), the Batmobile, the name “Gotham City”, and Batman’s eternal archnemesis, the Joker.
It’s a tragedy that Mr. Finger’s works go largely unrecognized by the majority of the media and readers alike. Without Finger, there would have been no Dark Knight, certainly not the multi-million dollar industry that revolves largely around the Caped Crusader and his fight against the darkness that took the lives of his parents.
Please don’t ignore this man and his work. Honor the name and work of Bill Finger with a Google Doodle.
Thanks, Michael. Every request pushes the idea further into the Google Doodle brain pan.
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Holy Bat Guano! Jason Christner from Hall of Fame City Comic Con just turned me on to your punctilious BATMAN page–and believe I can confirm (as an old friend) that BILL FINGER is applauding your nifty fact-squaring statement regarding who created what in early Gotham! We all–including Jerry Robinson and Dick Sprang–owe you and Marc TN a debt of gratitude!
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