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Friday, March 16. 2012
I just received a link to a post made about the first Batmobile (the red convertible drawn by Bob Kane for Detective Comics #48). In this post, the author presents a case that the base car used for this car was not a Cord 810/812, but a Graham Paige.
Though the Graham is a common guess, the Cord remains the more likely base model. The confusion generally comes from the image used on my site, which was used because it is the only "full view" of the car to appear in that issue. Unfortunately, it is also a view of the car speeding and shown from a low angle, so to add drama to the scene it has the typical "leaning forward" look that was common at the time.
Compare that to the above image, which shows the car from a higher angle and stopping after having crashed through a wall. Without the extra motion distortion, the fenders have relaxed to a look that much more closely resembles the Cord. There are also a few other "tells":
As for the headlights, while the Graham did have the unique square lenses, the Batmobile had them mounted much lower - right where the Cord's headlights are when they're in the "closed" position. Odds are that Kane drew the headlight doors and he (or whoever did the coloring for this story) colored them as lenses rather than solid doors.
So although the Graham nose does indeed look like it may have been the inspiration for this Batmobile's hood, the rest of the car just has too many Cord-specific details for it to be anything else.
Monday, March 5. 2012
Work continues on the Batman #5 Batmobile!
Continue reading "Building a Batmobile: The First Finned & Masked Batmobile Part 6"
Monday, February 20. 2012
Work continues on the Batman #5 Batmobile; this week the focus was on body work.
Continue reading "Building a Batmobile: The First Finned & Masked Batmobile Part 5"
Tuesday, February 14. 2012
If you need a last-minute idea for Valentine's Day, check out Party City and get that special someone these Batmobile-themed cards with poster (not recommended for actual romance):
UPDATE: Doc over at When Batmobiles Fly has some scans of the individual cards.
Monday, February 13. 2012
Work continues on the Batman #5 Batmobile; this week I had to redo part of my work after encountering one of the hazards of parts swapping.
Continue reading "Building a Batmobile: The First Finned & Masked Batmobile Part 4"
Saturday, February 11. 2012
New York Toy Fair is right around the corner, but Warner Brothers has already showed off a few of the new Batmobiles we can look forward to this year:
Monday, February 6. 2012
Work continues on the Batman #5 Batmobile, this week focusing on the chassis.
Continue reading "Building a Batmobile: The First Finned & Masked Batmobile Part 3"
Monday, January 30. 2012
Work continues on the Batman #5 Batmobile. Work on the chassis began as planned, but I was able to make greater strides than I expected with the body so I'll be sharing photos of that instead.
Continue reading "Building a Batmobile: The First Finned & Masked Batmobile Part 2"
Monday, January 23. 2012
Last year, I had started a new feature here that detailed the work that goes into building a model Batmobile. That first project was Frank Quitely's "Flying Batmobile" from Batman & Robin #1, and unfortunately personal life took over and I had to shelve the project for the time. Since then, comic legend Jerry Robinson passed away, and I wanted to pay tribute to him by building the Batmobile he helped create: the very first one to feature the roof fin and Bat-Mask grille shield. So tonight I return to the garage, but this time to build the car that first appeared in Batman #5.
Continue reading "Building a Batmobile: The First Finned & Masked Batmobile Part 1"
Wednesday, January 4. 2012
Item: Batmobile T-Shirt (Product #TVBM1902AT)
The '66 Batmobile is appreciating a nice surge in popularity recently, including Mattel's 1/18 diecasts, Fiberglass Freaks' official replicas, Round 2's 1/24 model kits, and a Hallmark Keepsake ornament. One more item that can be added to that list is this T-shirt from T-Shirts.com.
I don't wear nearly as many graphic T's as I used to (one of the hazards of working in a hobby work shop or garage is the abuse shirts endure), but I do have to say this is a very cool item. It's 100% cotton, and the art is a two-tone gray/orange on a dark black. Fortunately, the black does not look too "new" against the distressed art like a brighter color would, and the overall appearance should only get better with washing and wearing it. It's also nice and comfortable, and will be a good choice for conventions and shows. if you're a Batman fan looking for a decent graphic T, this is definitely a good choice.
Friday, December 9. 2011
Wednesday, November 2. 2011
Press Release: Warner Bros. Consumer Products Extends Agreement With DC Comics Master Toy Licensee Mattel
Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP), with DC Entertainment, announced today that it has extended its successful relationship with leading worldwide toy manufacturer, Mattel, Inc. The new multi-year agreement allows Mattel to continue as master toy licensee for the complete universe of DC Comics characters. Under the terms of this strategic alliance, Mattel is granted unprecedented access to the complete breadth and scope of the DC Comics vault of characters, which includes more than a thousand world-famous DC Comics Super Heroes and DC Comics Super Villains, such as Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and The Joker. Further, the agreement includes popular characters such as The Flash, Aquaman, Shazam!, Green Arrow and Hawkman.
“We have developed an incredibly successful partnership with Mattel and we are very excited about taking the relationship to new levels,” said Brad Globe, President, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment have an unrivaled slate of content support across all key platforms essential to our global consumer products business which is anchored by our alliance with Mattel.”
“The DC Comics Super Heroes enjoy a worldwide fan base that keeps the demand high for consistently imaginative new product,” said Karen McTier, Executive Vice President, Domestic Licensing and Worldwide Marketing at Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “The extension of the Mattel agreement ensures that these fans will continue to be amazed by our DC Comics Super Hero offerings for many years to come.”
As part of the ongoing relationship, Mattel is set to develop toy lines for two of Warner Bros.’ most highly anticipated theatrical releases: on July 20, 2012, The Dark Knight Rises, and on June 14, 2013, Man of Steel. Future television-based collaborations include Warner Bros. Animation’s upcoming television series, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, along with their ongoing product support for Young Justice, also from Warner Bros. Animation. Both animated series are exclusive to Cartoon Network and will be the tentpole programming for “DC Nation,” the new multiplatform, branded block of original programming and exclusive content, featuring DC Comics’ library of legendary character properties, which will debut in 2012. A special Green Lantern: The Animated Series hour-long movie event airs Friday, November 11 at 7 p.m. on Cartoon Network. In addition to the rights to existing DC Comics characters, animation and motion pictures, the extension includes Mattel’s rights to produce toys based on future DC Comics films and animation projects that are developed and produced during the term of the agreement.
“Mattel has been a longtime, valuable partner to the DC Comics creative team,” stated Diane Nelson, President of DC Entertainment. “We look forward to working with Mattel and the Warner Bros. Consumer Products team to bring new DC Comics Super Hero toys to life for our fans around the world.”
Mattel supports the universe of DC Comics characters across all of its portfolio of core brands, including Hot Wheels®, Matchbox®, Barbie®, Mattel Games and Fisher-Price®, where the DC Super Friends products featuring the Imaginext®, Shake ‘n Go®, GeoTrax® and HeroWorld™ lines have introduced the DC Comics characters to an increasingly vast audience. The addition of the new Little People® product line that features DC Comics characters will expand consumer appeal even further. Mattel continues to bring the talents of its world-class sculptors, designers and developers to create product lines that target kids, collectors and pop culture enthusiasts. In combination with their deep knowledge of kids and expertise in kid-targeted marketing, product and content development, Mattel has developed DC Comics Super Heroes sections in the toy aisle designed to attract a new generation of kids to the universe of DC Comics characters for the first time, while fueling the flames of collectors’ and fans’ passion for these popular characters. In 2012, Mattel will partner with Diamond Comic Distributors to help extend its presence globally with exclusive European distribution rights for the DC Comics 6? action figure line. With the broad scope of category rights granted, Mattel is uniquely positioned to leverage this rich portfolio across many different categories.
“We are thrilled to further our long-standing partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and support the extensive DC Comics portfolio’s franchise development,” said Tim Kilpin, Executive Vice President of Mattel Brands. “The DC Comics characters are rich in story and we look forward to bringing these popular characters to life through innovative product design.”
During its 10-year relationship with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Mattel has created and delivered a number of successful toy lines that bring the fun, action-packed heroism and excitement of DC Comics’ characters to life, including top-of-the-line action figures, vehicles and role play accessories across all DC Comics brands, including the 2005 release of Batman Begins, the 2008 release of The Dark Knight and the 2011 release of Green Lantern, along with a collection of heroes and villains from the popular animated series Batman: The Brave and The Bold and Young Justice, as well as the Batman and Superman family of DC Comics Super Heroes action figure lines.
Monday, October 17. 2011
Figure of the Day launched its site on May 6, 2011. It features a different pop culture collectible on a daily basis, ranging from action figures, bobble heads, busts, dolls to statues and everything in between at an affordable price with free shipping.
The site dedicates a whole day to one figure. However, during events http://www.figureoftheday.com will dedicate the site to a whole franchise offering various figures throughout the day.
On Monday, October 17, 2011, in commemoration of the new video game release of Batman: Arkham City, Figure of the Day will host a Dark Knight Event. The event will start at 6:00 am PST Monday morning, selling a figure from the Batman Franchise every hour until 12:00 am PST. Every purchase will enter the buyer in a raffle to win the brand new Batman: Arkham City video game. If the buyer purchases three or more figures throughout the day, they will receive a free Batman: The Dark Knight #1 comic book. For orders of four or more, the buyer will receive the comic book and a poster based on the Arkham Asylum or City video game. To close out the event, on Tuesday, October 18, 2011, a limited edition Batman statue will be featured. If a figure sells out during the hour it is featured, Figure of the Day will have a Striking Deal until the next hour.
New York Comic Con 2011 has come to a close, and once again it was a great time for all. Now in its sixth year, the organizers have grown tremendously from their earliest days with a show that continues to grow and attract more fans, artists, and celebrities.
There are a couple of places where the organizers still have room for improvement, most notably their crowd control. The number of attendees has increased dramatically, but the logistics have not quite kept up: lines were frequently adjusted on the fly, without the benefit of ropes to help keep things organized. Fortunately, everyone that I encountered remained in good spirits, and incidents of line jumping were essentially nonexistent. Also, day one was a bit of a write-off: the workers were still setting up after the doors opened, and many artists and exhibitors were not there for the three-hour day. Ideally, the folks behind NYCC ought to return to a longer first day, or make other arrangements to make the day more worthwhile. Finally, the mobile network was another area that needs to be improved, as the circuits were often too busy for texts and calls. But again, the friendly nature of the crowd kept things cool.
The attendees were generally great at keeping things moving. Most people were courteous enough to avoid causing roadblocks on the convention floor, by moving along or stepping aside as needed. The volunteers also deserve a big congratulations for their efforts. No matter how friendly the crowds are, it takes a lot of work to keep several thousand people informed, safe, and happy. Everyone I encountered seemed up to the task, from security to janitorial services. Last but certainly not least, a big thanks to the artists for taking the time to interact with their fans in such a great way. I was able to talk to several artists, and now have quite a few updates for the site.
The panels this year were better than ever. With Arham City, the New 52, and The Dark Knight Rises all on deck, this is a great time to be a Batman fan. There was even a preview of the upcoming Batman: Noel included with the show program. On a personal note, it was also great to see not one but two Batmobiles on hand thanks to a local enthusiast and owner. The '66 and '89 were both beautiful replicas of their screen counterparts, and the impromptu photo session with a bunch of Bat-Family cosplayers made it even better.
With NYCC 2011 now committed to the history books, it's time to start looking ahead to NYCC 2012, scheduled for October 11 - 14 next year. As the organizers continue to step up their game, I'm already looking forward to it...see you there!
Be sure to check the BatmobileHistory.com Facebook page for photos from NYCC 2011!
Wednesday, October 12. 2011
Jerry Robinson is best known as one of the men who created the Joker, but he is also in many ways responsible for the Batmobile as well. Many of the concepts we take for granted now - the roof fin, the bat mask, the black paint job - came from him. I was able to get a few minutes of his time recently, and asked him about his work on the Batmobile.
BatmobileHistory: Starting with Detective Comics #27, when Batman started, the design of his car varied wildly...but then in Batman #5, the design with the bat mask and roof fin appeared and stayed constant for years afterwards. Who was responsible for that "final" design?
Jerry Robinson: I drew most of the cars and the other materials during that period of time, but it was a combination I suppose. You'll probably find that the design progressed initially...when was the first appearance of the car again?
BH: The generic sedan first appeared in Detective #27, then the finned sedan in Batman #5.
JR: Yeah, that was when I was already doing most of the penciling...I had nothing to do with the first version [Bob Kane was drawing the earlier comics].
BH: Was there a specific origin or inspiration for that design? It's really the first superhero car...most of the other detectives at the time were just genric sedans, including Batman. So what pushed you to the "fins and mask" design?
JR: Well it had to look like a Batmobile owned by Batman. So we designed a car, streamlined it a bit and added the mask and the fins.
BH: It seems to draw inspiration from a few American cars of the time, which I thought was nice touch.
JR: Yeah, at that time we wanted a big American car.
BH: Many of the early stories used other modes of transportation - why the switch to the Batmobile from the Autogyro (or other vehicles)?
JR: A lot had to do with the story, so it really evolved out of that.
BH: Had Bill Finger considered any other names for the car?
JR: Not that I recall, no...it was almost self-evident what it should be called.
BH: You'd think so, but there were a lot of things in the comics that were half a tick away from noteriety
JR: (laughs) Right. Well names were always very important. We always put a lot of thought into the names of anything in the strip...you know, "The Joker" - the name was an important thing, or "Robin." We had a long list of names we considered. That was true of all the characters and so forth: for them to have an identity.
BH: Since it was created, the Batmobile has appeared as a relatively simple high-powered car to a rolling laboratory with everything from security features to forensic analysis to AI. How does that compare to what you guys had originally envisioned? Did you always want it to be cutting edge, or did you just want it to simply be the best transportation available?
JR: Well, both: it was transportation and it was on the cutting edge, and it has evolved over the years as you see. I went on the set in London for the last movie The Dark Knight, and the actual machine is quite impressive now. You can't give [Batman] an ordinary car. And so with all the things they have now, it reflects the time.
BH: Kind of along the same lines, the Batmobile is arguably the first hot rod and was probably the first "famous car." It worked as inspiration for a lot of future car designers...the bat fin occured before fins in Detroit. Any thoughts on how the Batmobile was turned into real world cars?
JR: (laughs) I think they copied us in fashion.
BH: (laughs) It certainly seems that way in a lot of cases.
JR: Cars - well, not anything like the Batmobile - were popular feature of the comics for a long, long time. Ever since they started Gasoline Alley, the famous comic strip...they played a role in a lot of the comic strips. I documented that in An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art that I wrote. There's a new edition of that book published by Dark Horse this spring.
BH: I think that pretty much wraps it up. Thank you very much.
JR: OK, good luck.
My thanks to Mr. Robinson for taking the time to talk with me and share some insight on the Batmobile's early days. Be sure to check out the updated edition of his book, An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art.