But what does it really mean? Should we be excited?
But with realistic expectations.
Though this is indeed the first time that Bill's name has been on the cover of a comic, it is far from the first time DC Comics has credited him as writer for his stories, so it is a logical extension of what they have already done. Modern management is enlightened but also bound by old contracts. This is a way for them to demonstrate the former while honoring the latter.
But what of that fabled (infabled?) contract between DC and Bob Kane? Neither DC nor the Kane estate have made it public, which is no surprise. So while we can be nearly certain there is a contract (after all, it was a business deal), what if it does not contain a “sole creator” stipulation? Given Bob’s hubris and greediness, I am quite sure he would’ve asked for it, and since this was before creators of major superheroes were suing comics companies, I am inclined to believe that DC would have included it...but what if, for any number of reasons, they said no?
Maybe all those years, Bob was also lying about that...
DC would have no incentive to disabuse the public of the notion that such an ironclad contract existed. The less they reveal, the harder it is for anyone to raise disputes.
As was widely reported recently, Bill’s lone grandchild Athena Finger (whom I discovered in 2007 during my research for Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman) issued a statement indicating that the Finger family is “not okay” with DC Comics…meaning not okay with DC not giving Bill co-creator credit on all Batman stories.
Of course I agree with that.
Some fans speculate that this inclusion of Bill’s name on the cover is a Bat-signal of a different kind: a first step to bigger, imminent change.
Of course I hope so.
But such a move makes no guarantees. Change won’t come simply because the management, as aforementioned, is enlightened. In the comics, Batman has big bank…and in real life, too. He’s a batzillion-dollar property. No matter how decision-makers at DC feel personally, nothing about something so valuable will budge without diplomacy. Or failing that, a fight.
Good thing no one is better at fighting than Batman. I just wish Bob Kane was still here to step outside...