This fascinating bit of news appeared over the weekend:
For those who don’t know about this, since Batman’s first appearance way back in Detective Comics #27 released in 1939 and until today the “sole” creator of Batman has been listed as Bob Kane but most people who followed the character/creation knew that many, if not most, of Batman’s concepts were created by the series’ writer, Bill Finger.
To be fair, Bob Kane was the artist and person who thought up the idea of a “Bat-Man”. But the concept he originally conceived of was radically changed to what we are more familiar with in the hands of the series’ writer, Mr. Finger.
Ty Templeton offered an amusing take on the Bob Kane Batman which gives you an idea where it went from his initial concept:
People have blasted the late Mr. Kane for taking credit for everything Batman related and snubbing all others. It wasn’t until well after Mr. Finger died in 1974 that Mr. Kane finally copped to the fact that Mr. Finger should have been given a lot more credit for the creation/concepts behind the Batman character.
So, I’m happy to hear that Mr. Finger is getting credit where it is due…
I’m not trying to be a smart-ass here, but the character of Batman also owes a considerable debt to the works of Walter B. Gibson. Mr. Gibson was an insanely proficient writer (it was said he could write up to 10,000 words a day) who wrote most of The Shadow pulp novels released from 1931 to 1949.
He was also the man who came up with many concepts which were subsequently cribbed (for those who don’t want to play nice, “stolen”) by Bill Finger and re-used in the Batman comics. In fact, the very first Batman story, the one published in that 27th issue of Detective Comics mentioned above, was pretty much a scene for scene comic book adaptation of the Shadow story “Partners in Peril”, only with Batman sub-ing for The Shadow.
But don’t take my word for it. Check it out for yourself:
I believe the reprint book is still available for a reasonable price via Amazon. Happy hunting!