Friday, April 4, 2008

Grant Morrison: Batman and Costume

If you don't know, Grant Morrison, who's just about the best writer ever to have written comics is writing Batman. And Batman hasn't been this good since I don't know how long. And now that we have out recap paragraph out of the way, lets get on.

Morrison recently did an interview where among other things he teased that he'll be doing a lot of stuff to Batman in the upcoming issues which would have permanent ramifications on the Bat mythos as well as setting up threads going upto 2010. One small thing that he mentioned was that he would also change the costume.

"What else? We finally get to see the Club of Villains we hinted at in the “Club of Heroes” storyline from last year – Charlie Caligula, Scorpiana, Pierrot Lunaire, the murder mime…and a bunch of other cool freaks. And there’s a new Batmobile, a new costume, more Bat-Mite…"

All DC characters in general, and Batman in particular are considered iconic. And an element of that, something that seems to highlight that fact, has always been the costumes. They have existed as long as the characters have, virtually unchanged. So, one would think tinkering with them is something simply not done. But I think otherwise. The fact that most superheroes wear underwear on the outside of their skintight spandex has often bugged me. Even if they are not going for realism, these superheroes are still supposed to exist in a world where the equivalent of real people, real thoughts etc etc exist. And in that world, such costumes would be, simply put, silly. I hypothesize that originally these costumes were conceptualized with inspiration from wrestlers, who wore only underwear. Possibly artists wanted their heroes to look iconic and wrestlers seemed to naturally fit that role. But that doesn't mean it still makes sense now.

When Morrison came onto New X-Men, a change of costume was one of the points he made in his proposal. He wanted them to wear uniforms rather than spandex. Which seems to suggest that Morrison may have similar feelings about others as well. And quite possibly thats what he'll be trying to do when he finally unveils the new costume for Batman. The absence of underwear on the outside of the costume. The only obstacle could be WB restricting him from doing so, but seeing as Batman costumes wouldn't be a very happy topic among WB execs, maybe they'll let it go. Besides Nolan is already going for a more realistic approach. That line of reasoning may convince them if need be.

How about he does the same to Superman next. Although it'll be tougher there. The Superman movies have made that particular costume too visible in the general consciousness of people. But if possible, redesigns are in order. A more Kryptonian looking costume possibly. And once thats done, Wonder Woman should be next. That costume often interferes with my enjoyment of the Gail Simone penned series which is rather well written. Its impractical in every sense of the word.

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