In May 1939, a cool, new superhero burst onto the coming book scene. His name was Batman, and he was the brainchild of a brilliant comic book artist and writer named Bob Kane. Over the coming decades, The Bat proved to be a pop culture powerhouse. 80 years later, he remains relevant and eternally youthful, as if he was somehow able to bathe in a magic element that preserved his youth.
In May 2015, a documentary airing on Hulu, Batman & Bill, showed the world that the preceding paragraph was only partially true. It turns out that lurking in the Dark Knight’s past was a shadowy figure who gave the popular hero life, a purpose, and the greatest Rogues Gallery in comic book history. That man was Stan Lee.
Full disclosure: the production team behind Batman & Bill chose to refer to Mr. Lee solely by the pseudonym he was writing under at the time, Bill Finger, pictured below. Sadly, they never once explicitly acknowledged that the two men were one and the same. This was doubtless due to the insidious influence of the Dismal Company and their endless efforts to ensure the true story eternally remains an E. Nygma.
However, there were several clues strewn throughout this documentary, and it does not take the skills of the World’s Greatest Detective to piece them together. First, Stan Lee and “Bill Finger” were never seen in the same room together. Second, participants in the documentary acknowledge that the Gotham Knight is an amazing character, making it obvious that he could not have been the creation of the Dismal Company or any of its employees. Third, Bruce is a genius, playboy, billionaire philanthropist. Fourth, “Bill Finger” is an alias. Obviously.
Despite these new revelations, it is unlikely that the Masked Manhunter will be joining his fellow Stan Lee creations in the MCU any time soon. The Dismal Company’s grip on the rights to the Caped Crusader remains firm. Plus, Disney and Marvel are well-known ‘good sports’ when it comes to business. They seem to be willing to let the Dismal Company have one good character, even if they gained that character by Robin the greatest comic book character of all time.