Concept Art: Part One
In this, the third entry of the Year of the Batmen, we will examine what is to represent Batman visually and how the artwork conveys a certain mood, message, or characterization. Since all the printed word for upcoming stories aren’t out yet we’ll look at this artwork with “thumbnail” sketches of each drawing and what I think they exemplify.
The Rags Morales Batman
This Batman, featured in the “First Wave” comic along with Doc Savage is often depicted in some type of movement. This suggests he is youthful and athletic. It also suggests that this particular Batman relies on surprise or guile rather than experience to catch his opponents off guard. Seemingly springing out of nowhere his abrupt appearance is meant to bewilder his foes to make up for his lack of sophistication.
The Gary Frank Batman
This Batman is designed to intimidate. Note the furrowed brow of the unmasked Batman. Even as a youth there is a certain grimness that suggests a purpose full of anger and determination. The cowled head-shot with the gritted teeth characterizes a brutal strength fused with a hair trigger temper. As for the full body shot, this Batman looks almost military in presence. The Bat suit looks like something a paratrooper might wear. Also important to note the lack of “over-musculature” in the body, this Batman is drawn to represent a real person.
The Frank Quitely Batman
The thing that most impresses me about this Batman is how Quitely captures the youth of the Dick Grayson Batman. This Batman’s posture is more relaxed. The head is always seems to be tilted in some manner that suggests a callow cockiness that is both vigorous and arrogant. He is not a coiled spring of vengeance and his body type shows also a lack of the over wrought musculature that makes the other Batmen artificial.
The Tony Daniel Batman
Daniel draws one of the more gothic of Batmen. His Batman is definitely a creature of the night. Daniel makes much use of the cape and it is to suggest that this Batman is an almost unworldly being that is terrifying to behold and quite possibly capable of flight. Almost Vampiric in nature this Batman is exemplified by a musculature that is almost beyond human and quite probably impossible.
The David Finch Batman
I couldn’t resist including the cover to Batman #700 by David Finch. Here we have the quintessential Batman. Even more gothic than the Daniel version. Its chief component (at least in this picture) is the lack of facial features something that Daniel also employs to great effect. As seen in this illustration what we have is two predatory eyes set into a dark visage mounted on a coiled figure. This menacing figure is a vengeful spirit wrapped in black crepe. A crepuscular wraith poised to strike at any transgressor. Finch also makes good use of perspective. Note the baroque structures that tower into the night sky slowly giving way to the bat signal as if it was a full moon. Quite striking.
There are so many artists out there now drawing the Batman that I’ve decided to divide this entry into several sections. Coming soon, the artwork of Bagley, Syaf, Alex Ross and others
Posted by Dark Knight Dave