How It’s Done features spectacular examples of official superhero redesigns, in comics, film, tv, and videogames. Today, I’m taking a look at cover artist Andy Kubert‘s time-displaced Batman redesigns for the upcoming Grant Morrison-penned mini-series, The Return of Bruce Wayne. For more Batman at P:R, check out our Batman 2.0: The Dynamic Do-Over contest winners. (And for more time-lost Batman, head over to Twitter.) – Dean Trippe
See this guy? He’s the best. Batman’s the best a person can possibly be. He got that way by training his mind, body, and spirit to absolute perfection. Following the death of his parents, Bruce Wayne worked hard to become the greatest crime-fighter in the DCU. Writers and artists in our U worked hard at making him awesome, and somehow turned a guy dressed as a bat into a global, generationally transcendent superhero icon. As hero stories go, Batman’s tough to beat. But as superhero costumes go, he’s untouchable.
Batman’s costume has been updated plenty of times through the years, but the changes have usually been fairly subtle. The utility belt’s been swapped out, the bat-symbol has been altered, and every now and then (for whatever reason) folks stop drawing on the bat-shorts. Like Bruce is trying to subtly peer-pressure Clark into ditching the “overwear” look. But for the most part, if you wanted big crazy costume changes for Bats, you had to pick up the Elseworlds books or an action figure. (Though, for the record, I will never understand the neon-paint camo variant Batmans. Batman has had legit, mission-specific, alternate costumes! USE THOSE, TOY-MAKERS!)
With The Return of Bruce Wayne, Morrison and Kubert have worked out an in-continuity reason for some glorious Bat-Mashups, as Bruce jumps through what seem to be different eras of what will become Gotham City on his way back to the present. Below, I’ve assembled comparisons of Kubert’s final cover art and his initial sketches. For a close up look at these images, head over to IGN, where they’ve got a great interview jam and image gallery in anticipation of the mini-series.
Even with these dramatic changes to the uniform’s design and functions, the identity of the character is never in question. I can’t wait to see these redesigns in action, and here’s hoping they pop up even after Return concludes.