BATMAN REDRAWN part 3 — THE DESIGNS

Friday, April 9th, 2010

By Alex Segura

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Happy Friday, Source gang. As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve been taking a moment to spotlight the stellar work of Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely and Philip Tan timed to the release of BATMAN AND ROBIN: BATMAN REBORN. Well, we’ve saved two more posts for you to close out the week. First up, Grant and company discuss the process behind designing Batman and Robin. Come back later for a look at Quitely’s take on the collection of new characters that cropped up in the first six issues of the series.

THE DESIGNS

BATMAN & ROBIN

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The new Batman and Robin first appeared in a flash-forward scene at the beginning of BATMAN #681, but artist Tony Daniel was asked to draw them in silhouette so as not to reveal any potential costume changes before they’d been approved. I’d suggested some major revisions, including a yellow bat symbol in a black circle - the reverse of the traditional chest shield - and a yellow and gray Robin outfit, derived from the uniform of the Earth-2 Robin from the 1960s.

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Frank Quitely added his own touches, such as longer boots for Batman and a more articulated, plated hood, but in the end all of these redesigns were regarded as being too “off-model” for the characters and we settled on something a little more familiar.

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THE BATMOBILE

We didn’t want our global warming/recession-era Batmobile to resemble the chrome-piped, gas-guzzling, Techno-Deco road leviathans of the past, so the Batmobile of 2009 was created to be compact and curvy. As you can see from Frank’s sketches, the new Batmobile comes fully equipped with hydraulic suspension, which enables it to assume various driving configurations.

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The idea for the flying Batmobile in BATMAN AND ROBIN was suggested by this beautiful and exuberant Alex Ross sketch, done as a potential BATMAN cover in 2007.

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THE RED HOOD AND SCARLET

The Red Hood is a venerable Bat-villain name. In 1951 The Hood was introduced as a mystery villain dressed in a tuxedo, a red cape and a red, reflective, pill-shaped dome helmet. The story revealed the unlucky man beneath the Red Hood to be a petty criminal who promptly fell into a vat of chemicals, only to emerge, vastly more famous, as Batman’s arch-enemy The Joker. The same story was, of course, woven into the flashback plotline of THE KILLING JOKE.

When a new version of the Red Hood appeared in Judd Winick’s “Under the Hood,” he was revealed to be the presumed-deceased second Robin, Jason Todd. A leather jacket and jeans replaced the dapper formal wear of the original, while the new red hood itself resembled a motorcycle helmet rather than a crimson bell jar.

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We decided that Jason’s second attempt at anchoring the Red Hood identity in the public consciousness would be more self-consciously super-heroic - cape, tights, secret HQ, the lot. In his latest effort to get noticed, the former Boy Wonder would imitate more blatantly the basic look and M.O. of Batman, his mentor. The weird pill helmet and cape were brought back as a nod to the original design.

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The brief for Scarlet was simple - an ersatz female Robin whose beautiful young face was hidden beneath a shriveled mask of horror.

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10 Responses to “BATMAN REDRAWN part 3 — THE DESIGNS”

  1. mambazo says on :

    That Scarlet design is excellent, why wasn’t that the one that was chosen?

  2. kennypick says on :

    Thanks again for posting this “behind the scenes” stuff. It’s totally fascinating and very generous!!!

  3. praetor says on :

    It’s funny to see how fearfully conservative DC is regarding its main assets. Changing the Batman costume into a more armored Chrisopher-Nolan’s-Dark-Knight type is not only attractive but also logical: by these days, no one would really buy a guy beating up criminals in spandex(even though we fans know it is armored despite not looking so), unless there were some serious superpowers that made it unnecessary.

    Yet DC clearly fears to do away with the traditional Batman (and Superman’s) outfit for good, so as not to kill the myth nor take any risk in sales.

    I guess I understand them… however, a more realistic suit (i.e. that not only is but actually also looks armor-protected) is definitely in order (Lee Bermejos’s version is quite a nice example of how good the outcome may be).

  4. kennypick says on :

    I have to say I was glad to see the 60’s Earth-2 Robin costume make an appearance here too. I’ve always loved that gaudy thing! I do however like the current Robin Costume quite a bit. It integrates all the prior incarnations with a modern twist.

  5. meisterlegion says on :

    I’m hoping Alex ends the week with a HUGE SNEAK PREVIEW!
    I need a good “wow-moment” to hold me over until Monday.

  6. nightwing89 says on :

    i’m very glad the armoured batman costume wasn’t used. the batman costume may not exactly look realistic, but it’s a comic book, it doesn’t have to.

  7. epc1122 says on :

    I’d just like to say that i think that the article is incorrect when it says that the flying batmobile was first introduced by alex ross in 2007. While that is accurate for the comics, we were first introduced to a flying batmobile in batman beyond. I don’t think that Dick Grayon should have upgraded the suit so much. I think they are trying to make it more faithful to bruce and when bruce comes back, then i think they should change the suit to a more nolanesque type bat suit. I dont think they will, but i think that would make for a great opportunity to link the movies and the comics more. But then when they eventually do change it in the comics to look more like the movies, batman 3 will change the suit to look more like the comics lol.

  8. Арсений says on :

    Прив

    Хм..

  9. kingrockwell says on :

    All this said and no one’s said anything about Jason wearing an update on the Red Mask’s costume. Given Morrison, I hardly think that’s an accident.

  10. Fearing says on :

    @kingrockwell: You mean the Red Hood’s costume? Since Jason calls himself the Red Hood now, I’d assume it’s not an accident, kinda obvious actually, but it was still mentioned. Just above the description of Scarlet…

    “When a new version of the Red Hood appeared in Judd Winick’s “Under the Hood,” he was revealed to be the presumed-deceased second Robin, Jason Todd. A leather jacket and jeans replaced the dapper formal wear of the original, while the new red hood itself resembled a motorcycle helmet rather than a crimson bell jar.”

    We decided that Jason’s second attempt at anchoring the Red Hood identity in the public consciousness would be more self-consciously super-heroic - cape, tights, secret HQ, the lot. In his latest effort to get noticed, the former Boy Wonder would imitate more blatantly the basic look and M.O. of Batman, his mentor. The weird pill helmet and cape were brought back as a nod to the original design.”

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