BATMAN REDRAWN part 3 — THE DESIGNS
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.
BATMAN & ROBIN
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The brief for Scarlet was simple - an ersatz female Robin whose beautiful young face was hidden beneath a shriveled mask of horror.