I know, I’ve continued to be bad at updating my blog in a timely manner. However, at least this time I can say that it’s because I was actually drawing and coloring and I didn’t want to stop to write a blog post!
Today I’m presenting the first two parts in a series of re-designs of Batman’s many “sons.”
I’ve been thinking about Batman a lot since I watched The Dark Knight Rises (which I loved). My enjoyment of the movie really just led me down a path of remembering how much I love Batman and his extended ‘family.’ I started doodling Batman characters in my spare time, and it wasn’t too long before I started messing with their look.
My doodles started taking shape when I started to think of them as an assignment for a hypothetical cartoon series. These re-designs imagine a future timeline combining elements from the comic book continuity (pre-New 52) and the Bruce Timm animated universe. For context as to how far in the future this timeline exists–Damian Wayne is in his mid-20s. More on him in a future installment!
For now, let’s kick things off with Dick Grayson, AKA Nightwing:
- Age: Late 30′s
- Dick is the heart of the Batman family. He stepped out of Batman’s shadow with ease and confidence, and is his own man. Even-handed, approachable, and reliable, he’s a de facto big brother and field commander to the other heroes.
- Color symbolism is very important in these costumes. I kept Dick in black, blue, and yellow, because it symbolizes that he’s completely graduated from Robin status, and he is truly Batman’s peer.
- I brought the collar back as a nod to the first Nightwing costume, which was itself a nod to the Flying Graysons’ costumes. It’s a subtle reminder of Dick’s non-vigilante heritage.
- Batman Beyond-style retractable wings allow for gliding.
- Batons are hard light constructs which can materialize almost instantaneously.
- The crescent eyes, scalloped wings/capes, and hard light weapons will be unifying motifs through out these re-designs. I definitely didn’t want to stray into the realm of matching uniforms for these characters, but I did want a few elements to tie everything together visually. Additionally, the wings and hard-light weapons are there to help push the idea that this is a future timeline.
Up next is the troubled Jason Todd, AKA Red Hood:
- Age: Mid 30′s
- Whatever may have transpired in the past, Jason has found some degree of redemption and inner peace, and he’s now ‘back in the fold,’ as a trusted member of the Batman family. However, he’s definitely the “Wolverine” or “Raphael” of the group–a maverick who does what he sees fit and frequently comes in conflict with the others.
- This probably doesn’t qualify as a re-design, really it’s just a minor tweak of the Frank Quietly-designed Red Hood costume. To me, the white, black, and grey represent the ill-defined boundary between right and wrong, which plays into Jason’s persona perfectly. The red symbolizes Jason’s connection to both the Joker and Robin, but also represents the violence in Jason’s life.
- I did however change the emblem on his chest from a skull to a more abstract face. It’s meant to invoke the “face” that was often found on Batmobiles (and other Bat-vehicles) of the 40′s and 50′s. Just a little something to tie the design closer to Batman’s visual motifs.
- In imagining a rehabilitated Jason Todd, his appropriation of the Joker’s former identity as Red Hood is even more powerful. I’ll probably always think of The Killing Joke as the definitive Batman story, so the poignant irony of Red Hood as a ‘good guy’ really strikes a chord for me.
- His kris is a hard light construct, and a nod to his past connection to Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Shadows. No longer armed with pistols, his holsters hold non-lethal weapons–perhaps a dart gun and a taser?
I should mention that the pieces in this series are colored with a Photoshop gouache brush setting that I picked up from an excellent tutorial on DeviantArt.
I’m having fun with these, so I hope you’re enjoying them as well, dear reader. I would say tune in again, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel, but I’ve been posting so erratically, I can’t guarantee the time. But I guess it is the same Bat-channel no matter what. Listen, I’m over-complicating this. Just come back soon, okay? THANK YOU!
(These 2 drawings cover the end of last week and the beginning of this week. Still hanging in there at 2 missed posts, BUT, it looks like I’ll be able to zero out that deficit with the rest of this series. ALMOST THERE.)