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Year of the Batmen: Part 10


Return of the Bruce Wayne Batman
Concept Art

 

It won’t be long before Bruce Wayne makes his dramatic and long awaited return as the Batman. Before that time arrives I thought it might a good time to look at Batman as he is conceived conceptually by such luminary artists as Finch, Paquette and Kubert amongst others.

 

 

First up (above) we see the return of the Bruce Wayne Batman as envisioned by David Finch. Note the use of light and shadow. A heavily muscled Batman emerges from the darkness as much as he returns to the pages of comic books after a long exile. The artistic light is cast above and to the left of Batman. Finch draws attention to Batman’s head by use of a reflective glint atop the bat cowl. I don’t think this is a technique normally employed by Batman artists as we normally see Batman either in shadow or some type of darkened profile. The glint adds a certain regal aspect to the crown of the head. But more than that it has a certain star like quality to it. Stars, in ancient times, we often seen as portentous they acted as heralds to important events. Is there any more important event than the return of one of American cultures most iconic heroes?

 

 

Next we have Batman as envisioned by Yanick Paquette. Batman makes his return in a virtual tornado of bats. Yet, despite this storm, Batman is seen in a tableau of daylight. Or, at least, a setting sun. Perhaps the amber sunlight in the background set behind buildings whose lights are aglow is meant to convey the coming of a night soon to fall. Batman’s cape is fully evolved. It represents not only the nature of flight as he descends to street level. But it shares the physicality of real bat wings. This means not only do we get the normal funereal and gothic aspect of the cape; we also get an actual organic look. As if Batman really is a creature of the night set apart from normal human man. Foreboding indeed.

 

 

Andy Kubert authors our next visual. As we see from Paquette’s art, Batman is in the foreground of looming architecture. The artistic perspective of buildings behind and above Batman as they disappear into the night is common to interpretations of Batman. This visual tells us Batman is a denizen of the city. Cities are often portrayed as cavernous, cold and dangerous. The perfect setting for a Bat like creature. This city, however, has an international flair, iconic buildings from around the world, a message that Batman or “Bat-Men” are no longer confined to Gotham.

 

The blue tone of the above art gives it a cold quality, again to accentuate the inhospitable nature of most major cities. It also adds steel like attribute to Batman himself. It’s as if Batman is an armored knight ready to do battle as he stands astride the city around him. The sharpened knife like quality of the cape contributes to this effect. This art also reveals one of the first clean looks we get to Batman’s new costume.

 

 

Lastly we return to the art of David Finch. This is one of my favorite visuals. First we see Batman atop gothic granite angel. Angels such as these are common to cemeteries which thematically underscore the dark nature of Batman. However, Angels, as well as stars, have a heraldic purpose to their nature. It’s as if Batman rides the wings of this spiritual messenger as his return is announced. (Note: The Angel is holding either the hilt of a sword or some kind of hammer. Either way, thematically, it is an intimidating device.)

 

Batman himself seems to be cut from granite. A bold and Homeric hero fashioned from the tales of ancient Greece. He is obviously strong and courageous. His left leg exhibits forward movement as if he is ready to step into conflict despite the fires that set aflame the darkened backdrop he is set in. Again a gothic architectural structure (a cathedral?) looms behind Batman. The perspective of Batman standing above us also adds to his monument like quality. It is meant to represent a being larger than life and possessing features unfamiliar to the common man. No eyes are visible as in the first Finch drawing. There, the eyes add a menacing quality. Here, the absence of clearly visible eyes does the same. Only this time the lack of eyes portrays a sculpture like characteristic to this foreboding effigy that is both man and granite icon.

 

How do you feel about Batman’s depiction as seen in the art above?

 

Posted by Dark Knight Dave

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