Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Reasons I Love Comics (issue#6): To The Batmobile!

Batman has no superpowers. He may be one of the best detectives in the world. He may be an accomplished athlete and gymnast. He might even be shit-hot at unarmed combat. He can do all of this because of his training and his iron will to carry out his driven mission of vengeance and justice. But when it comes to superhuman ability, he is severely lacking. This means he needs a method of conveyance to get from A to B, because he can't fly or bamf! or run super-fast or slide along on an icy carpet. He can't even catch a bus (his cape gets caught in the doors.) This means he needs a car; and when you are billionaire businessman Bruce Wayne, this means you can afford the coolest car on the planet- The Batmobile.
I'm obsessed with the Batmobile. I have six different large die-cast batmobiles on my mantelpiece. (If anyone has a 1/16 scale Batman Begins die-cast they don't want, I'll have it! I'll be your friend!) It's a brilliant idea; give the hero a car that's as cool as him, a car that could only belong to him. Any other superhero's rip-off vehicle is rubbish in comparison (they came after the Batmobile, vehicles like the Arrowcar or the Fantasticar or Wonder Woman's stupid fucking invisible plane!).
Although the gadget-laden batmobile (as opposed to just a black custom car with fins) only really appeared after James Bond's DB5, Batman's car, in all it's various incarnations always looks cooler than 007's. Also, the batmobile always changes to suit the mood of the times. Compare the 1966 Adam West cute- looking car with it's red 'go faster' stripes to the recent tank-like batmobile of Batman Begins. It suggests to me that the criminals of today are a greater threat than they were in '66 and need more sophisticated weaponry to take them down. (The idea of a Bat-tank was nicked from The Dark Knight Returns, set in a dystopian future where the bad guys really did need taking out with heavy artillery.)

I mean, just look at the late Anton Furst-designed Batmobile from the '89 Tim Burton movie. It is a beautiful machine. It just exudes cool. That particular movie has its flaws, but the look of it, and the car were exactly right. It is big, dark, powerful and menacing. Just like its owner.

My all time favourite Batmobile has to be the one from the 1966 TV series, probably the most accurate comic-based TV show ever. The primary colours, the wacky camera angles, the ridiculous deathtraps and super-imposed sound-effects. You pick up any silver age Batman comic and it is almost exactly the same as the TV show (except the comics Batman of that era fought more alien foes than he did in the TV series). Batman's car in that was cool. It was jet-propelled, it had a mortar cannon, and Batters had a carphone at least twenty years before anyone else did. What cracked me up was the fact that that car had a number plate! It's bleedin' obvious who it belongs to! This car is probably the quintessential Batmobile. The one I fell in love with as a nipper. The one I had a Corgi model of that I used to fire matchsticks with. The one bloody Blogger won't let me upload any pictures of!
More Batmobile stats n' pix here!


DanProject76 said...

The latest issue of Batman is the first issue with the new creative team of Morrison & Kubert. How can that be anything less than perfect?

mick said...

Although Grant Morrison is one of my faves, and has been since Zenith, I thought the Batman of his Arkham Asylum was too introspective and wishy-washy, that whole book was trying to be too clever for its own good. However, I thought Gothic from Legends Of The Dark Knight was brilliant.
I don't know what I'm trying to say! Wait and see?

Jemima said...

The Munsters' cars were better. And, indeed, battier.