Robot 6

Comics A.M. | Author’s crusade to get Bill Finger credit

Bill Finger, by Ty Templeton

Bill Finger, by Ty Templeton

Creators | Author Marc Tyler Nobleman tells Michael Cavna about his crusade to gain recognition for Bill Finger as one of the co-creators of Batman — including a push to have Google honor him with a Google Doodle on his birthday: “As it currently stands, even the mighty Christopher Nolan could not legally credit Bill as co-creator. However, prior to The Dark Knight, I asked DC if they could use non-subjective language to acknowledge Bill. I proposed: ‘Batman was first called “the Dark Knight” in Batman #1, in 1940, in a story written by Bill Finger.’ DC publications already regularly credit Bill for that story, and the movie’s title doesn’t even include the word ‘Batman’ — it is wholly a phrase coined by Bill Finger. Alas, they said no.” [Comic Riffs]

Passings | Tulsa, Oklahoma, cartoonist Larry Pendleton, who created the syndicated single-panel cartoon Graphic Nature, has died at the age of 59. [Tulsa World]

Robert Venditti

Robert Venditti

Creators | Brian Truitt interviews Robert Venditti — he’s writing X-O Manowar for Valiant and Green Lantern for DC Comics, and is about to step in as writer of The Flash – about reading comics, writing superheroes and taking on his new gig: “You have something like Green Lantern that has a very large mythology that surrounds that character. The Flash is somebody who’s much more grounded. He’s a guy who runs fast and calls himself the Flash. There’s something that’s really attractive about that.” [USA Today]

Creators | Tom Spurgeon talks to writer Ron Marz (The Silver Surfer, Green Lantern, Witchblade) about his new comic, The Mucker. [The Comics Reporter]

Creators | Artist Chris Burnham discusses his work on Batman Incorporated and the upcoming creator-owned title with Grant Morrison, Nameless. [Flickering Myth]

Creators | Artist Bob Kain, who created the character Chirp for the children’s magazine Owl and has illustrated kids’ comics for the Toronto Star, talks about his life as a freelance artist and animator. [The Barrie Examiner]

Creators | The Comics Journal unearths a 1993 Gary Groth interview with artist Ed Sorel. [The Comics Journal]



Commentary | Jed Alexander argues that Archie comics are important and deserve more attention from comics fans, pointing out that the digests outsell a lot of single-issue comics and that because they are widely available, they draw in casual readers as opposed to the serious fans who frequent comics shops. He makes some interesting points, but I’m deducting half a point because he doesn’t seem to know that Shonen Jump is no longer available as a print magazine. [Jed Alexander]

Awards | The nominees for this year’s Manga Taisho Awards have been announced, and three of the 10 selections are available in English: A Bride’s Story, The Seven Deadly Sins and One-Punch Man. [Anime News Network]

Comics | Runa Mukherjee Parikh reports on “grassroots comics” created by young people in the Mirzapur area of India to tell stories they cannot otherwise express. [Times of India]



Venditti doesn’t seem to have much respect for the “very large mythology” of Green Lantern, since he has been attacking it since he started on the book. R.I.P. Brother Warth.

Brian from Canada

January 20, 2014 at 8:45 am

Bob Kane locked Bill Finger out of the credit with his last contract. DC is not going to open themselves to a lawsuit on it from Kane’s estate — even if Finger was screwed over on purpose.

(Though I was surprised that Detective Comics #27 last week honoured him at the end of the story, but made no mention of Bob Kane. Clearly the creative community wishes Finger get the credit he deserves.)

sadly as much as bill finger should finaly by dc be given the credit that he is batmans co creator given how bob kane got his cotract to state batman created by bob kane there is no way dc and warners is going to risk a lawsuit by kanes estate by going and finaly fixing the over site or have future batbooks say batman created by bob kane and bill finger . plus it would also risk them being opened up to the other co creators bob screwed over like jerry robison on the joker. even though dc should really finaly give batmans other parent his due.

Lol. character creation happened days before finger was involved with batman. only bob kane created that character. however, bill finger was front and center with martin nodell on green lantern alan scott. why cant he get credit for that? whats this? u say u never heard of that before? thats because shills are sooo jealous of bob kane and the fact that he, and only he created batman. period.

It shows a huge flaw in the legal system that it allows a contract which forbids someone or a group from stating the truth. How is it ethically sound that a man is legally barred from getting due credit for his work and creations?

I would be ashamed if I were one of Kane’s heirs or part of his estate.

“Lol. character creation happened days before finger was involved with batman. only bob kane created that character.”

Yes, Kane created the initial concept for Batman. However, there are vast differences between that and what finally saw publication and that was mostly due to Finger’s contributions. Do some research before talking about something you clearly don’t know much about.

I liked the piece on the Archie sales. It is pretty interesting to see the number. I had heard that the digests and double digests are what makes the money and the comics are made for future digest material. But Archie is doing more with their trade issues that are also pretty funny and accessible, like Archie meets Glee. However, the digest is sold in the checkout line at the grocery store and is amazingly accessible. Someday, we will get a Kevin Keller double digest out there near the register and heads will explode. That will be great.

When Afterlife with Archie hits the trades, look out. It is going to be big.

I don’t think anyone is suggesting that DC unilaterally elevate Finger to credited co-creator of Batman, violating whatever terms might be in Kane’s contract. While DC has apparently had no problem unilaterally modifying creator credits and compensation in the past, that was for characters with only the smallest fraction of the value of Batman. If someone with authority to do so at DC was interested in properly crediting Finger, the thing to do would be to bring in whoever represents the Kane estate and ask to modify the existing contract. None of us have any idea what Kane was making while alive, and what his estate receives now, but I’d be willing to bet it’s considerably less than what a modern creator for a similarly successful character (a dozen monthly comics, multiple movies, tv shows, video games, etc) would be getting. If that’s the case, offer them a bump in their compensation (say, arbitrarily, 10%), in return for allowing the additional credits, with various other conditions if necessary (Kane’s name is always first, other names can’t be any larger or more prominent than Kane’s). It’s quite possible that whoever has the authority to make such a change for Kane’s estate would say no, or would want an unreasonable increase to say yes, in either case making it a non-starter (but you can leave it on the table in case that increase looks more enticing next year, or the person making the decision changes). And for all we know, someone at DC made that effort with exactly that result (though I doubt it). But if DC was going to do it, that would be the responsible way to go about it.

In the meantime, of course, the rest of us aren’t bound by any contract with Kane, so we’re free to say “Batman created by BILL FINGER with bob kane” whenever we have occasion to mention the character.

Batman created by BILL FINGER and JERRY ROBINSON.

Yeah, Robinson didn’t have a hand in creating Batman himself, but he had such a contribution to early Batman, he deserves more credit than Kane.

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