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Inspiration: Comics and Graphic Novels - Part Two: Batman

In Part Two of my Comics and Graphic Novels inspiration articles, I will be looking at the caped crusader, Batman. Arguably the most famous superhero without super powers, "he makes use of intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, and intimidation in his war on crime" (Wikipedia, 2008). Our second look at comics and graphic novels takes us to the most enigmatic hero of them all: Batman. With the amazing success of Superman (see Part One), DC Comics requested more characters for their titles, and artists Bob Kane and Bill Finger came up with the Bat-Man. Originally intended to wear a domino mask, Finger suggested using a cowl instead of a simple domino mask, a cape instead of wings, and gloves, and removing the red sections from the original costume. With the disguise complete, now the task was to think of alter ego's alter ego. The name Bruce Wayne was devised from the Scottish patriot, Robert the Bruce and former American army general Anthony Wayne. Much of the inspiration for Batman's look and personality came from the films of that time, including The Mark of Zorro, The Bat Whispers and older characters such as Doc Savage, The Shadow and Sherlock Holmes, for his master detective skills. From then on, Batman's adventures began, starting with The Case of the Chemical Syndicate in the Dark Knight's debut in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939). As the issues rolled on, Batman's character grew and grew with every new villain, but with the war in full flow, DC Comics decided to alter the dark and bleak atmosphere of Gotham City and change it to that of a "bright and colorful" environment, where Batman became the commendable "father" of Gotham. By the 1960s, Batman's popularity had begun to wane dramatically, thanks in part to the lack of interest in the genre. In order to regain fans, massive changes were made, including the yellow background added to the Batman logo, the removal of characters such as Batwoman, Bat-Mite, Ace and butler Alfred and a redesign of the Batmobile. In 1966, the well-known Batman TV series was released, starring Adam West as Bruce Wayne/Batman. The show was in initial success, with Batman comic sales of nearly 900,000. However, the camp undertone of the show began to wear thin on fans and it was eventually cancelled in 1968. The 70s saw a return to the Gothic feel of Batman, but this wasn't enough, and by 1985, sales had reached an all-time low. It wasn't until a year later that Batman became reinvigorated, thanks to the famous comic book mini-series Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. With Batman now 50, and witnessing the death of second Robin, Jason Todd, the hero decided to retire his cape and turn to drinking. Without Batman, Gotham became a Dystopia, with crime rife and overwhelming. According to Wikipedia, Bruce retook the mantle of Batman after he encountered a group of gangs known as the Mutants in the alley where his parents were murdered. A new Robin was introduced, name Carrie Kelly. The change of characters and darker feel of Batman had fans buying the comics once more. This was then perpetuated with the Crisis on Infinite Earths series, redefining the origins of the Caped Crusader and one-shot comic Batman: The Killing Joke, starring infamous villain The Joker. Coupled with Tim Burton's Batman film in 1989, Batman had become popular once again, and the fame hasn't waned since. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, 1986 Batman: Knightfall, when Bane breaks Batman's back, leaving Azrael to take the role of Batman. Azrael as Batman Without Frank Miller's mini-series, there would be no Batman Begins, and certainly no Dark Knight movies. Batman is one of the few superheroes people can feel especially close to, having lost his parents at a young age, and seeking vengenance, with nothing but his own body and mind, as he possessed no superhuman powers. People may also draw parallels with the change in character between the solemn Batman and the flamboyant billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, seemingly a two-faced character, but made so as to detract any kind of suspicion of a familiarity between the two identities. With the dark undertone of Batman comes some of the best designs, which tie in very well with the popular grunge designs of today. And who could forget the Joker, Batman's long term counterpart. Some may say one could no longer exist without the other, something I tend to agree with, especially if you've watched the movies. Related sites

Inspiration: Comics and Graphic Novels - Part One: Superman

Comics and graphic novels feature some of the greatest and underrated works of art in the world of design. In this article, I will attempt at showing you just a glimpse of the wonders from the likes of Superman, Batman and Spider-Man. For the older generation, reading comic books was the ultimate pass time, well before TVs and computers became easily accessible. Unfortunately, I'm a member of the modern generation, where comics just aren't what they used to be. Targetted mainly for younger kids now, pages are splashed with lots of colours and the stories are lacking in gripping plots. It seems Marvel have gone down this route considerably more than the likes of DC, who have kept tradition with darker and more adult storylines for their legendary characters, such as Superman and Batman. This can be seen as half the tandem, with the film industry pedalling on the other end with recent renditions of the superheros' pursuits. But don't feel despondent. Much can be praised and remembered from the past. They weren't called the Golden and Silver Age for nothing. Superman, without a doubt, is the most famous superhero in the world and has become part of our reality, as well as on paper. He first appeared in Action Comics back in 1938, a year before the Second World War had begun, which could be seen as poignant timing. A mint condition copy of this first issue can fetch up to a massive $350,000, due to its rareness. Be careful not to pick up yourself one of the reprints; they aren't worth anywhere near as much as the originals. It is claimed that there are only 100 left in circulation. Superman took different routes during the 40s, 50s and 60s, featuring in a number of different publications, some good, some less so. By 1986, 48 years after his creation, Superman saw himself relaunched (due to the Crisis on Infinite Earths series). With the relaunch came a slightly darker personality and also his unfortunate death at the hands of Doomsday. However, his death wasn't permanent (well, he is Superman!) and he returned, with longer hair and later married Lois Lane in 1996. Since then, Superman has reprised his role as savour of the USA, as well as the world, adhering to his strong moral code and helping to protect the planet he has called his new home. I'll leave you here with some more pictures of the Last Son of Krypton. See you later for part two! The many faces of Superman. The classic "S" Related sites P.S. While I'm here, I'd just like to mention, I'm thinking of starting a comic of my own and need some artists and writers. If you're interested, please feel free to email me at munchester2cool[at]hotmail[dot]com or tell Abduzeedo to pass on the message. Thanks!

Akira: The Live-Action film

Akira is probably the most famous anime ever. It introduced a generation to the world of Japanese animation and showed western cultures that animation (which at the time was dominated by Disney movies) can be dark, experimental, and very artistic. For years now, probably since the mid-90's, I've been hearing about a remake of this anime classic into a live-action film. Time went by and I just assumed it was never going to happen. Looks like it's now back on track and Leonardo DiCaprio's production company is behind it and there's even a script. Anime is such a huge influence in our culture now. If you look at cartoons on television now (in the U.S., I can't speak for the rest of the world) they are either imported from Japan or they are copies of the Japanese style. It's also a big influence on young designers. The flashy bright and colorful style of anime can be seen in the work of many designers, illustrators, and graffiti artists these days. Click here to read a review of the script. source: NewYork-Tokyo

Inspiration: Mark Brooks

Mark Brooks is an awesome American comic book artist who is currently signed to an exclusive contract with Marvel comics. He's known for his manga-influenced style, and detail in drawing backgrounds and scenery. His work is absolutely breathtaking, so you should definitely check it out. I first found him a few years ago in DeviantArt, and the fact that he's constantly updating his portfolio is pretty great. There are 2 places to check his work out. The first one is at Marvel's site. There you'll see every single cover he's done. The other is his DeviantArt profile, with several sweet comics. I never get tired of looking at these... and I bet you'll enjoy them as well. Cheers! ;) Editor: David Parrott

Inspiration by Super Heroes Color Schemes

When we start thinking about a new design, one of the first things we start researching is cool colors that we might use. But how about researching Super Heroes color schemes? Yes! We love comics. From DC to Marvel, and other indie studios as well. This time, I bring to you guys only the highest shots from the biggest studios. Time to get inspired!! Hope you like it. Superman Flash Green Lantern Wonder Woman Green Arrow Batman Ironman Captain America Wolverine Spiderman Author: Paulo Antunes | If you want to write an article and have it published here send it via email to abduzeedo[at]