JUSTICE, writer Marc Tyler Nobleman likes to say, has no expiration date.
And tonight, Fox’s “Gotham” launches a season in which the Batman-prequel show will soon make history by correcting history — because justice will finally be served.
The man who co-created Batman will finally be properly recognized. Bill Finger reportedly will officially share screen credit.
Three years ago, Comic Riffs wrote a rant upon the release of the “The Dark Knight Rises” about how yet again, DC was denying the Batman studio artist his due credit:
“Once again, more than 70 years later, Batman is still giving the finger to Bill Finger.
” Even as comics-industry awareness continues to grow in honoring the contributions of legends like Jack Kirby , Warner Bros. and DC Comics and even the Kane estate still can’t seem to find a way to fully, rightfully, legally credit Batman’s long-silent partner — the talent for too long unmasked. “
At that time, I asked Nobleman, who has long championed proper recognition for Finger, whether he was hopeful. “There is little chance of Finger being credited as anything other than a writer as long as the Kane ‘sole creator’ contract stands,” replied the Maryland-based Nobleman, who wrote the excellent illustrated biography “Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman” (created with artist Ty Templeton).
Well now, DC has finally — legally — seen the Bat-light.
DC Entertainment announced the weekend ahead of “Gotham’s” new season, in a statement provided to the Hollywood Reporter:
“DC Entertainment and the family of Bill Finger are pleased to announce that they have reached an agreement that recognizes Mr. Finger’s significant contributions to the Batman family of characters.
“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 acknowledgment of his significant role in DC Comics’ history,” stated Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment. “As part of our acknowledgement of those contributions,” Nelson continued, “we are pleased to confirm today that Bill Finger will be receiving credit in the Warner Bros. television series ‘Gotham’ beginning later this season, and in the forthcoming motion picture ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.’ “
The dawn of justice, indeed. Finger’s “Gotham” credit will come later this season, perhaps ahead of “Batman v. Superman’s” release next March.
This long-overdue decision makes me think of the late Captain America co-creator Joe Simon, who wrote in his biography about overlooked DC staffers like Whit Ellsworth: ““The loudmouths there like Bob Kane would say they had done everything, and then people [internally] would give most of the credit to Bill Finger.”
I think back to discussing this with the late Joker co-creator Jerry Robinson, who successfully spearheaded the Bill Finger Excellence in Comic Book Writing Award as part of the Eisner Awards at San Diego Comic-Con. This announcement would please him.
I think of former DC publisher/artist Carmine Infantino, who called Finger “the father of Batman.”
And I think of Finger himself, and his rightful legacy — four decades after his death, at age 59 — and how Nobleman’s campaign ultimately won.
“On my timeline, this news is nine years in the making, but really it’s 76 years in the making,” Nobleman tells The Post’s Comic Riffs. “Bill Finger created a great fighter in Batman … and in his granddaughter Athena, whom he never met. I’m thrilled — borderline speechless — the Finger family will now be officially linked to this legacy, and I’m thrilled Bill Finger is closer to becoming a household name with Batman fans worldwide.
“As I’ve said all along, if you’re a Batman fan, you’re a Bill Finger fan,” Nobleman continues. “I owe untold thousands thanks for supporting my efforts — from the Google Doodle campaign to the book itself — on the path to this culturally historic moment. …
“If it’s cornball, it’s only because I am, too.”
Yes, Gotham, justice is finally at hand.
“Gotham’s” second season debuts tonight at 8 on Fox.