Superhero Costumes: Batman

Batman is another iconic costume design.  Interestingly enough, he was originally designed as a detective wearing a domino mask, and was little more than a knockoff of The Shadow at first, but his design was revised to the big batlike guy we know today before his story went to print.

Now when it comes to concealing identity, he’s not quite as thorough as Spiderman.  The bat costume has changed over the years, but it has the same basic elements.  The cowl, the cape, the dark suit, and the ears.  The cowl would become the standard for most superhero masks.  Previous heroes had typically used small domino masks that did little to conceal identity.  Batman went with a more hood like approach covering the upper half of his face, and only exposing his thick masculine jaw.  Later revisions added lenses to the cowl as well concealing his eye color.  The ears tend to shift lengths depending on the artist, but all serve the same basic purpose.  They don’t look much like a real bat’s ears do they?  No they have a more psychological purpose.  They resemble demon horns adding to Batman’s menacing appearance.

Batman’s cape serves several purposes.  It resembles a pair of wings adding to his winged demon bat motif.  It also obscures his movements, and adds to his mystery.  Furthermore as someone who fights from the shadows, Batman isn’t often seen very well, so the cape makes it even more difficult for someone to judge his height and build at a glance.

The suit its self probably changes more than the mask or the cape ever did.  The original was based on a circus acrobat and was focused on ease of movement, but over time Batman’s suit has changed to be more of a suit of armor protecting him from knives and bullets, but more importantly is something as simple as its color.  The bat suit is always dark either dark gray or black.  It serves much like his cape to obscure his movements in the shadows, and give shim a ninja like quality.

Batman proves to the the prototype and archetype for the dark hero character.  Others who’ve come since all borrow from Batman’s design (including my own character Nailbat).


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