If you’ve ever read a Batman comic or watched a DC cartoon, you’ve seen that big credit: “Batman created by Bob Kane.” Kane was indeed the artist on the original Batman comics and created that iconic character’s look. However, writer Bill Finger has gone decades without receiving similar name recognition or credit. Starting today, that might change. In a statement, DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson announced that the late Finger will receive writing credit on Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and the upcoming season of Gotham.
“Bill Finger was instrumental in developing many of the key creative elements that enrich the Batman universe, and we look forward to building on our acknowledgement of his significant role in DC Comics’ history,” Nelson said in the statement.
At this time, DC representatives would not comment on whether Finger will receive credit on all Batman projects going forward, the way Kane does.
The question of credit has long been a thorny one in the world of comic books, and has gotten messier since superhero blockbusters took over Hollywood. Stan Lee has a cameo in every Marvel movie, but it took much longer for Jack Kirby (the artist and co-creative force on most of Lee’s books) to get credit. His heirs only recently settled their dispute with Marvel out of court last fall, in advance of a potential Supreme Court ruling.
And Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster originally sold their character to DC for a small sum (they were basically freelancers) and spent the next few decades locked out of all profits for the mega franchise they spawned. Only in the ’70s, when a near-blind Schuster was living in a nursing home, did the Superman duo’s lawsuits finally succeed in gaining them credit and royalties.
These struggles are recounted in industry histories like Sean Howe’s Marvel Comics: The Untold Story and Grant Morrison’s Supergods, and dramatized in novels like Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. And in a recent comic book biography, Bill the Boy Wonder, Marc Tyler Nobleman and Ty Templeton covered Finger’s contributions to Batman (such as the iconic origin story) and his family’s struggles to get him the same credit as Kane.
Season 2 of Gotham premieres Mon, Sept. 21. Batman V Superman is still set for a March 25, 2016 release.