In my last installment I mentioned how writer Bill Finger and artist Bob Kane had originally devised for the mysterious Bat Man to fly over Gotham in a large "Bat Gyro". While that made for a great visual, it probably was hard to contrive ways for him to get down to the scene of the crime.
Eventually, he was gonna need wheels.
|The original Batmobile, circa Detective Comics #48 (1941)|
|Plenty of space for a Bat-cape to blow in the wind...|
Shortly thereafter, artist Jerry Robinson steps it up and designs the first Batmobile of note. Remarkably, he jettisons most everything from the Batmobile Mark I and starts anew, using a sedan as the base car, with a scalloped dorsal fin and menacing bat shield on the hood as a proper method for bursting through garage doors.
|The Batmobile as of BATMAN #5 (1941)|
|The last time red is used in a Batmobile design until 1966|
BATMAN comics expanded into several comic publications including BATMAN, DETECTIVE COMICS, and WORLD'S FINEST. He also enjoyed a daily newspaper comic. Whereas Bob Kane took sole credit for all of the art produced for these publications, it was becoming increasingly clear that a number of artists contributed significantly to this work.
|1949: The beginning of something different from artist Dick Sprang|
In 1949 artist Dick Sprang introduced a slight variation to the Batmobile. Possibly inspired by the Hudson Commodore, the new Batmobile emerged as a sleek and powerful sedan with rear wheel skirts.
Over the last decade, the Mark II Batmobile was often drawn without the red pinstripes. Here, Mr. Sprang returns to the two-tone concept with a bright blue highlight. For the first (and last) time, the Batmobile was depicted as having amphibious abilitles. Perhaps that fastback was hiding some real horsepower?
|The Batmobile Mark III, as it appeared in Detective Comics #142 (December, 1948)|
A design feature that was played with during the Golden Age was a "Bat-head" emblem, most notably on various Batplanes. This was invariably short-lived, as most folks could figure out it was Batman's car or plane without it.
The Batmobile Mark III lasted about 6 issues. Artist Lew Sayre Schwartz filled in on an issue or two and went back to the traditional Batmobile. It was short lived, but a herald of what was to come.
In the span of a decade, Batman went from vigilante pulp hero to super-lawman.
In the early months of 1950, Dick Sprang would define the next era of Batman facing a bright future.
|The first 10 years of Batmobiles!|
COMING SOON: Batmobile History Part III: The Atomic Age (1950-1963).