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Black Hand, the DC Comics Villain Who Talked to the Readers!

This is "A Wall Between Us," where I spotlight notable examples of comic books breaking the fourth wall. What I'm looking at here is mostly examples from characters other than She-Hulk, Deadpool, Ambush Bug, etc. You know, the kind of stuff that is a bit more of a surprise to the reader. If you have any suggestions, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

Reader Matthew O. suggested this one. I've written about Black Hand in the past, but his distinctive fourth wall-breaking is still a fascinating wrinkle to the character that I'll spotlight here.

The villain Black Hand became a major part of the Green Lantern mythos under writer Geoff Johns, as Black Hand was a key component of the smash hit "Blackest Night." Johns created a new origin for the character. However, in his original origin, he was essentially Bill Finger, co-creator of Batman (as well as the original Green Lantern)!

People have long known that Black Hand’s real name was a reference to Finger (Black Hand’s real name was William Hand…get it, William Hand…Bill Finger…), but the connection goes deeper than that, as he really is “What if Bill Finger was a super-villain?”

Finger, you see, was a well-known idea man. He would always carry around “gimmick books,” little notebooks that he would jot down interesting ideas. When he later went to write a story, he would consult his notebooks for ideas he could use for the story. He was famous among creators for his gimmick books.

Well, check out Black Hand’s introduction, in 1964’s "Green Lantern" #29, by John Broome, Gil Kane and Sid Greene, where we learn Black Hand's set-up, as BLACK HAND HIMSELF TELLS IT TO US!!!

Julius Schwartz confirmed the connection at a San Diego Comic Con panel with John Broome (moderated by Mark Evanier) in 1998, stating:

I’ll tell you who Black Hand really was! Black Hand was Bill Finger, who created Batman. Literally created him – and the Green Lantern. Bill Finger would always carry around a notebook and make notes, and Black Hand is really Bill Finger.

It's worth noting that someone (Broome? Kane? Greene? It's someone drawing, so it SHOULD be Kane or Greene, but comics sort of played fast and loose with stuff like that back then, so it could be Broome. I have no idea what any of them looked like back then) breaks the fourth wall even before Black Hand does, as one of the creators first introduces us to Black Hand in Green Lantern #29...

Black Hand kept this approach up over time.

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