In 1985, DC Comics published an odd bird, and the kind of thing rarely if ever done since. It was a comic called Fifty Who Made DC Great.
It consisted of fifty half-page profiles of key individuals or entities who contributed to the company’s success.
Two of those profiles were Bob Kane and Bill Finger.
DC Comics is contractually bound to credit only Bob Kane as the creator of Batman. As such, these profiles contain a few telling statements.
First, neither subtitle seems more weighted than the other. Neither uses the words “creator” or “co-creator.” The subtitle for Kane’s is “Batman Takes Wing.” The Finger subtitle is “The Darknight Detective Emerges.” (Perhaps that was a reference to the fact that it was Finger who made Batman a detective, but the text does not elaborate on it.)
Second, Finger’s profile also doesn’t credit him explicitly as co-creator.
But neither does Kane’s.
Third, Kane says, “I drew a character with bird wings and called him Bird Man, but that wasn't quite right. So I changed the wings, made them batlike, and called him Batman." This contradicts what he would write four years later in his autobiography Batman and Me. There, he describes this as a decision he and Finger made collaboratively—whereas Finger (in The Steranko History of Comics, Volume 1) says ditching the wings was his idea without co-crediting Kane.
Yet take another look at the statement quoted above. I think it's an example of Kane employing some dodgy wordplay, as he did at other times as well. Perhaps it was Kane who changed bird to bat wings, since both he and Finger stated elsewhere that the first design Kane showed Finger did depict a character wearing unwieldy stiff bat wings attached to his arms.
But Batman doesn’t have wings.
In other words, Kane conveniently left out the next step, which was the suggestion (by Finger) to convert the bat wings to a scalloped cape.
(To Kane’s credit, here he calls Finger the “unsung hero of Batman,” which he would repeat in Batman and Me. Related: Kane’s profile manages to avoid mentioning Finger; Finger’s does mention Kane. )
Finger’s bio at the end of the profile (shouldn’t they just have been combined?) states that he wrote the first stories featuring now-iconic characters including Robin and Catwoman. This also seems like dodgy construction—but dodgy in a good way.
It seems as though DC was using facts to get as close as they could to crediting Finger for co-creating these characters. After all, if one writes the story in which a character is introduced, isn’t that an undeniable claim to co-creation, even if the term “co-creator” is not used?