Holy Car Parts Batman!
It’s the middle of the night in Gotham City and word goes out that a serious armed robbery is going down. In the sky appears the sign of the bat calling Gotham’s devoted protector — the one and only Batman — to come and save the day. He arrives within seconds in his custom Batmobile, the all-purpose roadster that enables him to travel, catch criminals, and more. The Batmobile is almost as fascinating as Batman himself, having been adapted and changed to meet Batman’s needs over the years.
- The Origin of Batman — short two-page history of the Batman
Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in 1939, but it would not be until Batman #5 in 1941 that the famous Batmobile would be seen. The very first Batmobile was unlike the gadget-laden car that would later become as well known as the Caped Crusader himself; instead, it was a simple red convertible with a bat ornament on its hood. The general shape of the car, however, would be carried on throughout the 1940s. Eventually, fins were added and a grill mask that looked like a bat’s head was put on the front of the car. This would become one of the most recognizable looks for the Batmobile.
- Batmobile History — page devoted to all of the Batmobiles from 1941 to today
In 1950, Batman created an entirely new Batmobile that retained the grill mask while adding several different features. This Batmobile looked more like a Studebaker, and it had a complete mobile laboratory inside the vehicle to help Batman on his crime-fighting escapades. Radar screens and other devices on board the car helped Batman track his enemies and bring peace to the streets of Gotham City. This style of Batmobile lasted for several years and was tweaked several times by artists, but in 1966 the Batmobile received a decisive change whose influence is felt to this day with the advent of the “Batman” television show. Based on the 1955 Lincoln Futura, this Batmobile is probably the most recognized Batmobile in the world. Lasers, saws, telephones, and a host of other gadgets were found on board this Batmobile, taking Batman’s crime-solving abilities to the next level.
- 1966 Batmobile — all about the Batmobile from the 1960s “Batman” television series
- The Batmobile!! — page on the relation of the Lincoln Futura to the 1960s Batmobile
During the 1970s, DC Comics made a concerted effort to eliminate the “campy” influence of the Batman television show and return Batman to his darker roots. Part of this was a redesign of the Batmobile in the comic books into a car that did not look much different from other vehicles on the road to help Batman with undercover missions. Batman continued to star in television programs, most notably the “SuperFriends” cartoons, and the Batmobile in these shows looked much like the 1960s TV version except that it was blue and not black. 1989 saw the release of Tim Burton’s Batman film featuring a Batmobile unlike any that came before it. A huge jet engine was featured in the center of the car, and trademark fins lined its back. It had the capability to put up a defensive shield and was also equipped with offensive weapons like machine guns. The popularity of the movie ensured that it would influence the comics and new Batman cartoons for years to come.
- Super Powers Batmobile — details on the Batmobile toy from Kenner’s Super Powers toyline
- Chicks Love the Car — good information on the Batmobiles in movies and cartoons from 1989 to the present
- Replica of the 1989 Batmobile — one fan built this replica of the Batmobile from Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film.
After the 1992 film “Batman Returns,” the two succeeding Batman movies directed by Joel Schumacher featured two different Batmobiles, and Batman comics from 1997–2005 had many different vehicles that were inspired by different designs over the previous decades. With the release of “Batman Begins” in 2005, a new tank-like design was adopted. Its tires were 44” Super Swamper tires and the vehicle could jump up to 30 feet without assistance. Front-mounted machine guns gave it both offensive and defensive capabilities.
- 2009 Wayne Industries Tumbler — U.S. News and World Report page on the Batmobile from “Batman Begins”
- How the Batmobile Works — explains how the Batmobile from “Batman Begins” was created
It is not yet clear what the Batmobile will look like in the future. Yet one thing is clear: Artists and writers will continually toy with its design to give the Dark Knight transportation that suits his unique needs to the tee.
Written By: Edson Farnell | Email |