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!

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