Artists and painters love working on pieces which draw their inspiration from the world of comic books. No subject more so than the dark knight himself, Bruce Wayne aka the Batman. The complicated vigilante conjures fear, anxiety and complex human behavior which is ripe for a talented artist looking to express dark moody imagery and complicated physiological psychosis.
So adding all that together it should then be no surprise that the sum of these things has created very memorable art over the years using Batman as a muse. Here are 5 great pieces you should take a look at and consider purchasing in the after market, I threw in a kicker as well. I also encourage, if you like these, to track down these artists and explore their library of work.
This is just the tip of the iceberg but these pieces are great examples of when talented artists are given a subject with unlimited potential. Enjoy…
1. Artist – Ken Taylor
This Ken Taylor piece could easily be a screen shot from the film. Taylor is a popular artist for Mondo commissioning and you can see why with his penchant for wonderfully dreary brush strokes and incredibly detailed human features. He drew Michael Keaton’s face perfectly, so much it looks like a photo of Keaton. Also, nice little detail in the playing cards using a joker of course but also an “8” and “9” representing the year the film was released.
2. Artist – Nicolas Delort
Nicolas Delort does “moody” better than anyone, just see his Where the Wild Things Are or Peanuts pieces. This Batman Returns piece is nothing short of stunning. The depth of view and layered perspective is something to behold and almost seems like it’s moving in front of your eyes. Of course the Penguin is an easy spot, but each time you look you’ll spot something else, it’s full of nods to the film and a wonderful example of an artist representing the work to perfection.
3. Artist – Brandon Holt
Another Mondo release, this Brandon Holt piece shows off his now recognizable illustration skills and his easiness with themes of death and decay. This “nightmarish” image of Batman plays more like a Scarecrow induced hallucination than the usual prolific hero worship we’re used to. Everything here screams darkness and rot and that’s entirely the point. When Batman speaks of using fear as a weapon, this is what he’s talking about.
4. Artist – J.C. Richard
It’s tough to beat the iconic cover art for the Frank Miller classic The Dark Knight Returns, but J.C. Richard came close with this one. His signature use of shadows and light come together for this iconic shot of Batman on the horse which most people wouldn’t even touch. The way the light from the bat signal hits Batman’s front half and then bleeds into black is stunning. The “Mutant” posse is a nice touch.
5. Artist – Jock
This motion capture piece by Jock is a wonderful POV sonar vision scenario taken from the Batman: Year One film. You don’t get this point of view in the film so for Jock to extrapolate and expand to a wide angle image is extraordinary work. It truly does place the viewer in a 3rd person situation better than most pieces and to see the events unfold in front of your eyes is a great presentation of composition and skill. Jock has done many Batman pieces but this one might be his best.
Bonus: Artists – Stan & Vince
Bonus time. This was a “what do you take out” situation but I truly love this Stan & Vince classic Batman piece. The flash from the gun seems necessary at first but the more look the more you realize it’s key. The shadow’s from the underpass are rich and Batman’s cowl darkening the brilliant lettering in the title is a great touch. It’s a timeless piece and difficult to place this “Batman” amongst the others making it retro grade but not campy in the least bit.
So, that’s it! Hope you like these pieces and once again Batman is a very popular muse so if you choose to go down that rabbit hole, be prepared to spend quite a bit of time down there.
Till next time…