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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.
Fox, Gladir Receive Third Annual Bill Finger Award
Gardner Fox and George Gladir have been selected to receive the 2007 Bill Finger
Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing. The choice was made unanimously by a
blue-ribbon committee chaired by writer and historian Mark Evanier.
The Bill Finger Award was instituted in 2005 under the supervision of comic book
legend Jerry Robinson. The awards committee is charged each year with selecting
two recipients, one living and one deceased.
"Each year, we ask ourselves who, among all the fine writers who've contributed
to comics has a body of work out there deserving of greater recognition,"
Evanier notes. "Gladir and Fox not only have that but both men laid down
important groundwork on which other writers could and did build...just like
Bill Finger did."
Gardner Fox received a law degree in 1935 but instead opted for comics, writing
his first stories in 1938 for the pre-Batman Detective Comics. He was also the
first writer after Bill Finger to contribute to Batman's adventures and was
responsible for several components of the character's mythology. Perhaps more
notably, he created or co-created a bevy of important characters in comics' so-
called "Golden Age," including The Flash, Hawkman, The Sandman, Starman, and
Doctor Fate, and he launched what some call the first-ever superhero team, The
Justice Society of America. In the late fifties and sixties, he worked on the
revivals of most of those features, including the Justice League of America, and
also co-created new characters such as Adam Strange. In his amazing career, he
wrote an estimated 4,000 comic book scripts and also found time to author more
than 100 novels, many of them under other names. Fox passed away in 1986.
George Gladir has been a full-time comic book writer since 1959, when he got his
first assignment from Archie Comics. At first he wrote mainly one-page gags for
Archie's Joke Book, but he quickly went on to write stories for the many Archie
titles, including Archie's Madhouse, the book in which he created "Sabrina the
Teenage Witch," drawn by the legendary Dan DeCarlo. In the early 1960s, he
simultaneously started writing for Cracked Magazine, MAD's most successful
competitor. He became Cracked's head writer, and over the next 30 years wrote
some 2,000 pages for the magazine, many of them illustrated by Hall of Famer
John Severin. In addition to still writing for Archie, George recently co-created
(with Stan Goldberg) Cindy and Her Obasan, a fantasy adventure about an
American 10-year-old and her Japanese fairy godmother.
The Bill Finger Award remembers William Finger (1914-1974), who was the first
and, some say, most important writer of Batman. Many have called him the "unsung
hero" of the character and have hailed his work not only on that character but
on dozens of others, primarily for DC Comics.
In addition to Evanier, this year's blue-ribbon selection committee included
writer/historian Jim Amash, comics and animation writer Paul Dini, writer Tony
Isabella, and writer/editor Marv Wolfman.
The 2007 awards are being underwritten by
(the major sponsor), along with supporting sponsors
Comics Buyer's Guide (CBG) and
The Finger Award falls under the auspices of Comic-Con International: San Diego
and is administered by Jackie Estrada. The awards will be presented during the
ceremony at this summer's Comic-Con on Friday, July 27.