27 February 2011

The Saga of the Golden Age Bat-Mite Part II

The 1949 Kurtis Racer
Man, I have fallen in love with the Kurtis Midget Racer and damn, do I hate yellow paint.  I did the body shell of the Golden Age Bat Mite in Tamiya spray and it took forever and a half.  The red is also Tamiya, with a shot of dull coat over it.  Every day this week I did another light coat and by Friday I had the yellow I wanted.

The 1949 Kurtis.

The dashboard was a mix of photo-etched metal, decals, and more plastic.  I also used the optional photo-etched steering wheel, which added a lot to the quality of the scale replica.  You can just make out the blue under body, which was painted in (yet another) Tamiya spray.

The next job was to figure out the front end of the car.  Sadly, the Golden Age Bat-Mite is the only car not fully pictured on the cover of WORLD'S FINEST.  Ahh, who can resist a challenge?

The Golden Age Bat Mite (R. Aikins).

A quick call to Pops and the man set down to business!  He came up with a proposal for the front grille design, which omitted the Bat symbol from the hood.  

It's brilliant.  

Pops kept all of the genre intact by using the bat-shield idea and placing bat eye inserts into the face. I also liked his idea of working red into the body.  The main problem?  He removed the bat symbol, citing concern about clutter in the design.  He may be right, but it's on the cover of the book, so...

The Bat Mite, v2 (R. Aikins).

Take II: A fully rendered image with the symbol back in (gotta love a man with time and pens!).  I love it and this is my goal to re-create in pulse-pounding 3 Dimensions.

Tune in next week.  

Same Bat Time,

Same Bat Channel!


08 February 2011

Comic Art Tuesday: Golden Age Batman

There's already been a bit of writing about the original design of Bob Kane's Bat-Man, and how much he was influenced by Bill Finger's bat-related revisions.  Needless to say, it worked.

Steve Leiber, of WHITEOUT fame, did this homage to the cover of DETECTIVE COMICS #27.  Clearly, Steve is a man who is not afraid of ink.

Michael Lark, from my favorite GOTHAM CENTRAL book, tore the roof off the joint with this amazing commission.  Clearly inspired by the classic BATMAN movie serials, I love his use of shadow and textures in this picture.


06 February 2011

The Saga of the Golden Age Bat-Mite Part I

Another crazy invention of the Golden Age of Batman included his friendship with Superman.  The idea that Superman needed Batman and Robin is a crazy one and probably defines the logic of post-modernist comix authors, but there is great charm in seeing these guys get along.  The relation between The Man of Tomorrow and The Dynamic Duo is no more evident than on the covers of WORLD'S FINEST.

Each issue had a cover depicting another event that the World's Finest Heroes were engaged in, most of them a variant of Middle Americana.  In 1949, that included Midget Racing.  The Kurtis Midget Racer is a milestone of the 20th Century racing.  First outfitted with an Edelbrock V-8/60 Ford Flathead, the Midget tore the roof off of post-WWII racing.  If you want to learn how to race, you start with a gear box, an engine, and a tube frame.  Holy be-jeezus, there ain't much between you and asphalt.  Once you get the rhythm of the track, it's like nothing else.

A friend sent me this image, knowing of my fondness of Batmobilia.  It just so happened that a new scale model kit of the Kurtis Midget Racer with the Edelbrock engine debuted at the same time.  Such Kismet is undeniable and so off to the shop I went...   

The 1949 Kurtis Racer, with V-8/60.  Revell 1/25 (2011)
At 1/25 scale, I've never built something so fragile.  The suspension and nerf bars could break if you held them too tightly.  Or sneezed.  The kit is beautiful and comes together like an intricate snowflake.

The next steps are to assemble the cockpit (with etched metal steering wheel and dash board) and get the two-tone paint scheme onto the rear cockpit.


The more I study the comic cover, I realize that everyone is likely driving the Offenhauser.  Sigh.  Perhaps the motivation to build one for Robin?  Do we need Superman too?

Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel...