In yet another turn of events that brings to light the problems with copyrights and creator’s rights, the man who could-have-maybe created Batman, Bob Kane, will be getting his own star on the Walk of Fame. This might be all fine and dandy, except the majority of what we today know as Batman isn’t exactly Kane’s creation. He just happens to be the guy that first came up with the name and, as things go, the real brain behind Batman, much like the character himself, remained in the shadows.
The man truly behind the Batman was Bill Finger. While Kane first developed the concept of the character, Finger ghost-wrote for him, eventually providing the costume design, the design of Gotham City, the characters of Commissioner Gordon and the Joker, the Batmobile ideas and even the title of “Dark Knight”. And this is just a short list of what Finger put together for Kane. He also happened to be one of the chief writers for the Caped Crusader’s adventures, turning out hundreds of stories over the years.
But, seeing as how Kane was better with contracts and paperwork than Finger was, the credit for creating Batman is still his – no matter how angry those who know better get over the situation. Now the Walk of Fame thing is happening and people are once again crying “foul”.
One of the loudest voices is a comic writer and historian by the name of Mark Evanier (Garfield and Friends, Thundarr the Barbarian). He’s been sharing his two cents courtesy of his blog and his two cents doesn’t have too many positive words for Kane.
“We’re talking about Bob Kane, the man who in his autobiography, regretted that he never put the name of his collaborator Bill Finger on the comics…but who never somehow got around to rectifying that and allowing it.”
“And will there be protesters at the dedication ceremony with big signs that say WHAT ABOUT BILL FINGER? It wouldn’t surprise me.”
Needless to say, this is a problem that plagues the creative industries and the comic book world is no different. We’ve seen Stan Lee douche his fellow artists for fame and a buck, we’ve seen Alan Moore get pissed on by the companies he’s worked for and Bob Kane is just one more prick at the glory hole.
Maybe someday artists will be able to get some sort of copyright laws in place that protect, at the very least, their byline? We can always hope there will be justice in the world someday. But probably not.