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Portrait of Bill Finger
by Jerry Robinson
About Bill Finger
Bill Finger (1914-1974), the unsung hero and co-creator of Batman, scripted the
first and many of the best Batman stories during the Golden Age of comic books.
He created many of the series' most notable characters, including the Penguin,
Riddler, Catwoman, and Two-Face, and he made significant refinements to Batman's
concept and persona. Finger wrote the scripts that introduced the Bat Cave,
Batmobile, Batplane, and Batsignal. Many terms he created, such as the Dynamic
Duo and Gotham City, have become part of our lexicon. Finger was a craftsman,
and his Batman's adventures were carefully plotted, as well as being imbued with
humor and sprightly repartee. Above all, he was a visual writer-he knew
instinctively what the artist could translate into compelling pictures and
Finger's comics writing credits include many other DC characters, including the
Green Lantern and Wildcat, and many titles for Quality Comics, Fawcett
Publications, and Timely Comics. His television credits include episodes of 77
Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, the animated New Adventures of Superman, and the
primetime Batman series.
Siegel, Drake to Receive First Bill Finger Award
Jerry Siegel and Arnold Drake have been chosen as the first recipients of the
Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing. They were chosen by a
blue-ribbon committee chaired by Jerry Robinson. The committee decided to give
two awards, to honor both a deceased and a living writer who exemplify the
Jerry Siegel was, of course, the co-creator (with Joe Shuster) of Superman and
Superboy and wrote the Superman comic books and comic strip from the character's
first appearance in 1938 up through the late 1940s. He also co-created The
Spectre (with Bernard Bailey) for DC. After leaving DC (in a well-publicized
dispute) in 1948, he continued to write comic books for a variety of companies
and served as the comics art director at Ziff-Davis in the 1950s. He returned to
DC in 1958, where he wrote uncredited Superman and other scripts through 1964.
He died in 1996.
"There is a poetic sense of rightness that Jerry Siegel, co-creator of Superman,
and Bill Finger, the unsung hero and writer of Batman, be symbolically united
after three quarters of a century after their iconic characters' debuts," says
Robinson. "Although both men led tragic lives, by launching the superhero genre
and the Golden Age of comics, they left legacies that have enriched our
Arnold Drake's comics writing career spanned the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. His
credits include Doom Patrol (creator), Deadman (creator), Batman, Superman,
Plastic Man, X-Men, Captain Marvel, Star Trek, Twilight Zone, Mighty Mouse, Bugs
Bunny, Bullwinkle and Rocky, Stanley and His Monster (creator), Little Lulu,
Space Ranger, House of Mystery, and Dark Shadows. His It Rhymes with Lust, with
art by Matt Baker and Ray Osrin, published by St. John Publishing in 1950, was
one of the very first graphic novels.
"Like Finger and Siegel, Drake is a consummate professional writer," says
Robinson. "As the author of hundreds of stories from the Silver Age to the
present, his credits demonstrate an amazing versatility, ranging from the
superhero and adventure such as Doom Patrol to the wry humor of Little Lulu."
The other members of the Finger Awards jury were comics writer and historian
Mark Evanier, cartoonist/screenwriter/playwright Jules Feiffer, comics
writer/editor Denny O'Neill, and comics writer/editor/historian Roy Thomas.
The awards will be presented during the Eisner Awards ceremony at this summer's
Comic-Con International: San Diego. Joanne Siegel will be present to accept the
award for her late husband. Arnold Drake will be on hand to receive his award.
The Finger Award falls under the auspices of Comic-Con International and is
administered by Jackie Estrada. The 2005 awards are being underwritten by DC
Comics; sponsorship will be open to other companies in future years.
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