New York City officials on Friday formally renamed a portion of E. 192nd Street in the Bronx as Bill Finger Way, in honor of the DC Comics writer who died in 1974. Finger initially received no credit for his role in the character’s creation due to a stipulation in Kane’s contract, according to the New York Post.
“It’s a real honor for him to be recognized with a street named after Bill, along Poe Park in the Bronx, where he and Bob Kane would collaborate on Batman stories,” Finger’s granddaughter Athena Finger said at the brief ceremony Friday, according to comic-book fan site 13thDimension.com.
Finger was also integral in the creation of Batman villains such as the Joker and Catwoman as well as Batman’s sidekick, Robin. He also was a writer on Green Lantern books early in the run of that DC Comics superhero.
But despite his seminal work, Finger long remained a relatively obscure figure in an industry where figures such as Kane; Stan Lee (Spider-Man, X-Men); and Jerry Siegel and Joel Shuster (Superman) went on to become household names for their roles in creating beloved all-American superheroes.
Comic aficionados and industry talent took efforts to change all that in recent years.
In 2005, Comic-Con San Diego debuted its annual Bill Finger Award, an award designed to recognize the talents of comic-book writers who have been overlooked. Seven years later, comic-book historian Marc Tyler Nobleman published a Finger biography titled “Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman.”
“Almost everything iconic about Batman … that have lasted all these years came from Bill Finger’s imagination,” Mr. Nobleman said, amNewYork reported. “But he worked anonymously and died poor, alone and virtually unknown in 1974.”
It was only in 2015 that DC Comics formally recognized Finger’s essential role in many aspects of the Batman character, including elements of his iconic costume and the name of his billionaire playboy identity, Bruce Wayne, the New York Post said.
For his part, Kane himself acknowledged the contributions of his sidekick, including appreciation in his 1990 autobiography.
“Bill Finger was a contributing force on Batman right from the beginning. … I made Batman a superhero-vigilante when I first created him. Bill turned him into a scientific detective,” Kane wrote, according to the Post.
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