20 November 2014

Happy 50th to the New Look Batmobile!

In 1963, BATMAN comics weren't so hot.

There are conflicting reports regarding motives, some focused on low sales, other speculate about leveraging the Bob Kane studio off the books.  Nonetheless, the facts remain the same: editor Julius Schwartz was brought in to revitalize the Batman and he did so with sweeping mandates.  Gone were most of the (now 20 year-old) villains.    Good bye Batwoman, Bat-Girl, Bat hound, and Bat-Mite alien cosplayer.  Hello new artists Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella.  Hello new costume designs.

Hello new Batmobile.

BATMAN #164 (May, 1964)

Artist Carmine Infantino bucked 20 years of Batmobile design tradition with an open sports coupe, flared rear fenders and a minimalist bat head decal on the hood to replace the bat shield.  I loved it so much, I had his collaborator Joe Giella re-create the following panel, with the Dynamic Duo in costume:

New Look Batmobile (Giella, 2003)

There were two artists who worked on the BATMAN comics, with Giella finishing the black and white ink art for both: Shelly Moldoff drew most of them, and his interpretation of the New Look Batmobile is pictured above.  Infantino, in contrast, NEVER DREW IT THE SAME WAY TWICE!  He was always tweaking his art and I loved that.  I flipped through all of his comics and decided to pick one issue to base my version -DETECTIVE COMICS #351- which featured the Batmobile racing against a new villain, the Cluemaster.

Infantino's New Look Batmobile, circa 1964.  It always looked like it was propelled.

More often than not, he drew this view of the car

Great side and front shots

I based my model on a 1953 Corvette.  The front end was modified to capture the Batmobile hood and fender design and I added resin wings and rocket tubes to the rear fenders.  

A few details from the Corvette were retained, especially the interior and windscreen chrome.

The interior was flocked.  I picked grey upholstery to stay consistent with my ongoing Batmobile garage.

The angle of the bat fins were never the same twice!

This is my favorite Batmobile from the 60's comics and I am especially happy to have Mr. Giella so willing to re-create it's dynamic debut!

Joe would later go on to design the next Batmobile, which first appeared in the BATMAN newspaper comic strip.

Happy 50th to the New Look Batmobile!  Enjoy!

13 November 2014

Thankful for Strange. Adam Strange.

All the cowhands here at the Flying Batmobile Ranch love settling down after a long day in the shop and watching another episode of BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD.  They were bright, entertaining blasts of Batman awesomeness with guaranteed guest heroes and villains in each and every episode.  Among those guest team-ups, Adam Strange gets big votes.

Adam Strange was DC Comic's sci-fi answer to Buck Rogers mixed with Flash Gordon: An archeologist gets zapped to a galaxy far, far away, where he is the hero of every story.  He grabs a rocket jet pack, teams up with the local scientist and his lovely daughter, and shots things with a ray gun.  Every now and then, the zap wears off and he finds himself back on Earth.  Boom, that's the pitch.

My first memory of an Adam Strange comic was when the Justice League came to visit Adam and were dissolved by his Evil Villain, Kanjar Ro:

I liked how he could dissolve the Super Heroes, but left behind the super suits.  I was five.

As you can imagine, that's a perfect fit for Batman ha ha.  Sure enough, it really could work:

  Adam Strange never really joined a super hero team, probably because of that zap thing to the galaxy far far away thing, but he was always fun.  Hence, we had to make his Brave and Bold figure:

Adam was made from that clean-shaven Aquaman figure that is now on sale in most Target stores, along with a Black Manta holster and two resin cast Christmas light bulbs for his jet pack.  Mrs. Bosslady figured out where the caps to the toothpaste tubes went and we went looking for that zap beam to the galaxy far far away thing.  Ray gun courtesy of Captain Action.


In Adam Strange's early appearances in MYSTERY IN SPACE, he wore a helmet.  We found some of Miss 8's gum ball trinkets and constructed accordingly.

Our favorite Batman now gets another favorite Batman toy.  That's something to be thankful for!