Over these past 76 years of comic history, DC Comics’ famed Caped Crusader has reigned our hearts as Gotham City’s saviour and always appealed to the readers and viewers alike. Published by DC Comics, Batman was first penned back in 1939 in Detective Comics #27 by artist Bob Cane and writer Bill Finger who very recently got his due credit from Warner Bros.
Since then as the world’s greatest detective, Batman has influenced our lives, so much that recently in a certain turn of events, even the US court ruled out that the Batmobile, Batman’s iconic ride, is entitled to copyrights protection. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals cited that the Batmobile’s bat-like appearance and other distinct attributes including its high-tech weaponry make it a character that can’t be replicated without permission from DC Comics and the ruling came in DC Comics’ lawsuit against Mark Towle who sold replicas of the Batmobile for over $90,000 each in South California.
As our Dark Knight’s Batmobile get copyrighted, we at TheGraphicSlate.com take a peep under the hood of some of the best Batmobiles driven on-screen.
Batmobile – (‘Batman’ TV Series – 1966) – Although the first modest looking Batmobile featured on TV way back in 1943 with the first Batman television show, it was not until the Adam West’s Batman series in 1966 that brought the Dark Knight’s ride into the limelight. Built in merely 3 weeks by George Barris, this Batmobile was a prototype version of the 1955 Lincoln Futura. Apart from the unique Red and Black design, this Batmobile boasted some cool Bat-gadgets including atomic turbine engine, a nose mounted chain-slicer, lasers, rockets, on-board radio, radar, onboard computer and even a police beacon. Equipped with two-rear mounted parachutes, this Batmobile could make a quick 180 degree turn too. To avoid pursuits this Batmobile could even emit smoke and nails from its rear end. The original Batmobile from the 1960s TV series was auctioned on January 19, 2013, at the Barrett-Jackson auction house in Scottsdale, Arizona for $4.2 million.
Tim Burton’s Batmobile – (Batman 1989 and Batman Returns 1992) – Throughout the mid-1980s in the comics, Batman drove a range of convertibles and sporty looking Batmobiles following which an aged Batman in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns series brought on a Bat-tank in the comic pages to crush the mutant criminals. However on-screen with Warner Bros. hiring Tim Burton to bring his gothic-style to the first big screen Batman venture, the Batmobile introduced was totally unlike those seen before. This customized Batmobile designed by Anton Furst had a two seater cockpit with modernized voice-command recognition technology. Among other Bat-gizmos, this drive flaunted some amazing weaponry including grappling hooks, disc projectile launchers, spike dispensers along with smoke emitters and oil dispensers and machine guns. In Batman Returns, when chased by Gotham Police, the Batmobile was capable of shedding all the excess parts at the sides and reconfiguring itself into a sleeker machine to fit through narrow lanes. How cool is that!
Joel Schumacher’s Batmobile – (Batman Forever) – With a new director on-board, the Batmobile certainly underwent some high-production cost changes. Schumacher’s Batmobile had a sharper, jagged look with Bat-emblem wheels and neon-lit engines. The overall Batmobile looked more life-like with certain enhancements including the rear wing and modified fins. However the overall chassis of the Batmobile was lifted off Tim Burton’s ride with a similar two seater cockpit and almost all of the previous Bat-gadgets. Apart from that, this Batmobile could also drive up walls, Woah! However Schumacher’s successive effort in his next Batman and Robin (1997) starring George Clooney as Batman was a total disaster from Bat-nipples to the Batmobile that sported neither a wind-screen nor a head protection for the superhero making it one of the most impractical designs.
Christopher Nolan’s Tumbler – (The Dark Knight Franchise) – Enter the 21st Century and the Batmobile undergoes a complete overhaul in the hands of the Christopher Nolan who flaunts his prowess in The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005-2012). Envisioned and created by the American production designer Nathan Crowley and Christopher Nolan, this new Bat-ride was christened as the Tumbler. Moving beyond a sedan or sporty looking wheel for the Caped Crusader, the Tumbler looked like a cross between a Formula One race car and a military- grade tank. Reports are that Nolan shelled out over $250,000 to build four identical complete drivable cars for performing stunts, interior shots and other close-up shots.
Built for a specific purpose by Lucious Fox in Wayne Enterprises as a bridging vehicle this robust beast has the ability to eject both of it front two wheels and convert itself into a Bat-pod (Batman’s coolest motorcycle seen on-screen). Apart from this the bullet-proof Tumbler came in complete with an array of weapons and gadgets including massive built-in firepower, rocket launchers, and grappling hooks and also allowing Batman to use-its boost rear engines for jumping off roofs in his night-time crusades. Totally badass!
Zack Synder’s Batmobile – (Batman v Superman – Dawn of Justice) – While we all shall miss the famous Tumbler with Christopher Nolan stepping down from taking the Batman franchise any further, Warner Bros. isn’t hesitating to bet further on their cash-cow, Batman. Handing the bat-reins to the 300 director, Zack Synder, the upcoming Man of Steel sequel, Batman v Superman – Dawn of Justice has Ben Affleck as the new Dark Knight and there of course we have a new Batmobile. Although the sequel doesn’t release before March, 2016 makers of the film have provided a fair view of the upcoming Batmobile. Spawning a 7000 pound beast which is 20 feet long and 12 feet wide, this mean-machine on the road also boasts a horsepower capable of clocking 205 MPH. It is reported to flaunt some seriously cool looking gadgets in the movie including its twin .50 caliber retractable machine gun turrets and its anti-ballistic protection system installed making it also stealth-capable.
As a marketing gimmick, Warner Bros. Tour Hollywood recently announced a new contest that will give the winner an exclusive chance to fly out to Los Angeles to get an up close look at this beast.
So what do you think about these Batmobiles? Has the jump from comic-pages to screen built-on any further character for the Batmobile which is as per Judge Sandra Ikuta of the US court carries the sleekness and the power, allowing our Dark Knight to maneuver quickly while he goes after the bad guys? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!