Many fans of DC Comics will recognize the name Black Hand, even if it belongs to one of Green Lantern’s lesser known foes. For those who do, know that Black Hand will go down as one of Green Lantern’s first and most powerful villains, but even die hard fans of the super villain might not know that his character was based off of DC’s most influential comic authors, Bill Finger.
First appearing in Green Lantern (vol. 2) #29 (June 1964), William Hand is a genius inventor, who later uses his smarts to become a criminal that no one seems to be able to catch. He obtains the name “Black Hand” since he was always called the “black sheep of the Hand family”, which is partially what drove him to leave his normal life behind. After his years as a mastermind, he decided that he needed more power. He needed to amp up his crime sprees; he believed that he could do more with it. So, he created a device that would change anything for him. This device could absorb the same amount of energy that a Green Lantern ring harnesses, but he could absorb it from anything. Thus creating a new era of super powered crime, and ultimately landing himself on the top of Hal Jordan’s rogue list, along with infamous characters such as Sinestro and Parallax.
Bill Finger is now known as one of DC’s most famous comic creators, but that is an extremely new development. This is due to the sad, yet true fact that despite his assistance in the creation of Batman, along with many other characters, he didn’t actually get much credit until the 2000s. Although he was inducted into Jack Kirby and William Eisner’s Hall of Fames in the 90s, his name wasn’t featured on his own works until 2015, almost forty-five years after his death. While the general public not knowing of his influence of comics today, his co-workers did because they saw it first hand. So, that’s why two of them, John Broome and Gil Kane, created Black Hand.
Now, Black Hand’s “origin story” is pretty average considering how many super villains there are in comic books, and one might wonder how this ties into an actual comic author; the same author who created Green Lantern. Well, Black Hand was actually created to honor Bill Finger by representing him in super villain form. The relation between the two is solely based on irony. For example, Black Hand’s real name is William Hand, which is a play on the name Bill Finger, since Bill can be short for William and there is a finger on a hand. The next similarity is their personality in general. While Bill Finger was obviously not a villain, he does have the same exact traits that Black Hand does. An example of this would be the fact that Black Hand carries around a “gimmick book” in which he writes his ideas for new crimes, while Bill Finger used to carry around the same, only his was filled with comic ideas.