Fans Push to Memorialize Overlooked Batman Creator Bill Finger With NYC Park Bench

Bill Finger (center) died alone and penniless, according to his biographer.
Bill Finger (center) died alone and penniless, according to his biographer.
Courtesy of Athena Finger

As we wrote in a recent cover story, the tale you've been hearing your whole life about the creation of the world's most famous comic hero is bogus. Bill Finger, the quiet and shy writer who came up with all the major elements behind Batman, was never truly credited for his creation. Instead, the Caped Crusader's original illustrator, Bob Kane, walked away with the bragging rights -- and financial windfall -- related to the Dark Knight.

But, as our recent feature examined, a dedicated pro-Finger following online has been pushing to raise the late writer's profile. Their latest idea is for a commemorative bench in New York City.

The engine behind the Finger bench -- and behind most of the efforts to keep Finger's name alive and well -- is Marc Tyler Nobleman, author of the Finger bio Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman. Besides doing the definitive research on the topic, Nobleman has also steadily come up with ways to get Finger's name out there. Last year, for the writer's 100th birthday, Nobleman led an online campaign to get Finger a Google doodle -- a campaign that unfortunately failed.

But Nobleman's latest idea seems more doable. On his blog, the author recently outlined a possible Kickstarter pitch for getting Finger a commemorative bench in Edgar Allan Poe park in the Bronx.

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The park has a key place in Finger -- and Batman -- lore. As Nobleman writes on his blog, "In the early 1940s, Bill lived on the Grand Concourse just north of Poe Park. Also, appropriately, Poe was the father of the modern detective story and Batman is known as the World's Greatest Detective."

When Finger was first coming up with Batman plots with illustrator Bob Kane, the two would meet in the park to discuss plots and brainstorm details. So much of the Batman mythos was created there.

Nobleman is setting a target of $6,000 for the bench, which includes $2,500 for the bench and plaque as well as travel and time expenses for navigating the bureaucracy. The donation schedule he's proposing on his website has a number of goodies, from signed copies of his book to a pretty sharp-looking iPhone case.

Obviously, a bench in the Bronx doesn't go the whole way in correcting the grave wrong here. Bill Finger's name is now a pop-culture footnote, unlike Kane's. But every little bit helps as Finger's supporters and heirs battle to keep his name fresh -- even if it's just a bench.

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