Saturday, August 17, 2013

Utility Belts Overview


The 60's utility belt was one of the very few things that differed from the comic book counterpart of the time. The most noticeable difference was that it didnt have pellets and instead had an actual compartments for the gadgets. The list of gadgets from the 1960's series is very long, but one of the most recognizable ones i the Batarang, folded in half and hidden in the utility belt


 The Batman utility belt heavily resembled the comic book one. It was yellow/gold ,and consisted of rows of ampules that held most of the smaller accessories. That type of a belt was the original Batman belt which survived in almost unchanged form for decades, which he prominently used from 1939 to 1999 ( with the rare appearances of variants). However, unlike in the comics, the movie belt was entirely made of metal

The comic book belt

Bigger things like Batarang, Grappling Gun and Batmobile Communicator are on the back of the belt and are sliding to the front on a mini motor device. It's an interesting take on the fact that in comics and cartoons the heroes always pull something out from behind.



In comic books, the Dark Knight doesn't carry a gun that shoots bullets. In the film, he is armed, however, with this weapon, the Grappling Gun: A spring action, speargun-like device that shots a grappling hook and, when needed, paralyzing gas. It's an original device designed for the movie


The Batarang is beside bat-grapple Batman's usually assigned defensive weapon. It resembles a boomerang, and it can come back to its thrower. It can be folded up in the center in order to be attached to the utility belt.


Batman uses this in the museum scene. This weapon can shoot two steel nails that pull wires at opposite directions, and then it serves as a trolley for a quick escape.

Some other larger accessories included are BOLO GUN (with which he ties Joker to the statue with) and a swept-bladed SHURIKEN which wasn't used in the movie but was shown in the Official Movie Magazine

The smaller accessories are kept in the golden ampules, just like in the comic books.


Batman used them throughout his long history, and they were one of the first accessories shown from his utility belt



The Batman Returns belt is the same as the one from the first movie. The one difference is that the launcher was now on the lower part and it was operated with the thumb


Something that changed was the look of the batarangs. This time the batarang looks more similar to the comic book, apart from the fact that it has a small LSD screen. The screen was used to target the enemies around Batman. After the weapon was thrown, it would seek and hit the targets wherever they were.


The grappling hook in Batman Returns is based on the first model from the previous movie. It is revised around the handle. Now it has more chrome parts. The launcher now is not at the lower part, but on the upper surface and it is operated with the thumb.


These little tubes are hidden in the utility belt, and contain several mixtures of chemicals. They have several effects when thrown separately or mixed together. The blue is napalm, the red explosive and the green KO gas.


A completely revised version of the first movie’s Gauntlet. This is a more elaborate gadget than the Speargun, allowing Batman to fire hooks connected to wires and pulleys, which he can ride to safety.


B A T M A N  F O R E V E R

The Batman Forever belt was significantly redesigned to reflect a new generation of Batman movies. The extreme redesign that the entire suit got was Joel Schumacher's idea, and the coloring changed as well - black was now mixed/accented with silver. By the end of the movie Batman switches to the new costume which "looks futuristic. It's not black but dark silver"(JS).



This film saw a dramatic change to Batman's basic weapon, the batarang. This version can be folded in the center, then the two wings are shifted apart. The process is automatic


The look of the grapple changed dramatically for Batman Forever, to fit with the ''new'' Batman. Now it can cut through hard rock, as seen in the bank sequence.


A strange variation of the batarang. It is hidden in the utility belt, and it is driven out by a launcher and placed automatically in Batman's hand.


This weapon is thrown around the feet of Batman's enemies and ties them with a thin rope. Then, with the push of a button in Batman's glove it can cause an electro shock.

B A T M A N & R O B I N

The Batman & Robin belt was a cousin of the Batman Forever version. Batman & Robin was the first Batman movie which didn't have Bob Ringwood designing and working on the costumes.
Batman also wears another Bat costume by the end of the movie, however his second silver and blue costume is the first Bat costume that doesn't have a utility belt



This proven weapon appears in two new versions. Batman has now a launcher for the Batarang on his lower arm. Similarly as the rope the Batarang is shot by an easy movement of the arm.


The Grappling gun this time is very different from Batman Forever. It can be attached on Batman's glove or the utility belt. The 90m rope it launches can carry as much as 400 kg.


This bat-shaped portable bomb can be either thrown or attached with a magnet.


This tool is used in the film to melt ice. With the push of just one button Batman can control the intensity and range of the laser beam. With the laser one can cut alloys as well as ignite inflammable materials.


B A T M A N   B E G I N S 

The Batman Begins utility belt features small compartments, like the belt worn on the TV show and first shown in comic books such as Year One and The Dark Knight Returns
Batman's Utility Belt is a customized Wayne Enterprises high-tech climbing harness, usally worn over the nomex survival suit that serves as Batman's body armor. Magnetized impact-resistant pouches and canisters line the belt at ergonomic points for ease of reach. In these storage spaces, Bruce has relaced the harness' original complement of carabiners and pitons with the crime-fighting tools of his trade. Finally, Bruce removed the shoulder and chest straps because they constricted his movements.



Christopher Nolan's borrowed a couple of elements from the original Tim Burton movies, like Grappling Gun (among the sculpted expression on the mask, black makeup on the eyes and the suit being an armor). The pneumatic grappling gun features a magnetic grapple and monofilament de-cel climbing line tested to 350 pounds maximum holding strength. Early renditions borrowed from centuries old musket design, as well as modern firearms. The final version, in keeping with the design of much of the film, is streamlined, simple, and extremely effective


Mini Mines and explosive packets can be used for a variety of offensive and defensive purposes, including creating diversions, disabling getaway vehicles, or defeating locks


Based on the Ninja throwing stars called Shurikens, Bruce designs these weapons in the shape of a Bat, the symbol he adopts to strike fear into the hearts of criminals.


The Cell Phone and Palmtop computer all-in-one, this high speed processor is encrypted for maximum security. Voice-activated for hands free use, all calls are "Piggy-backed" on WayneTech satellite transmissions and are therefore completely untraceable.

Other accessories include:
-Flexible, fiber-optic periscope (to see around corners)
-Ninja spikes for the hands and feet (used to climb sheer walls)
-Medical kit

T H E  D A R K  K N I G H T

The Dark Knight belt is the same as the one from Batman Begins, although one notable addition was made to the utility belt; an air-powered charge-firing rifle, which allows Batman to fire timed explosive charges from considerable distances and can be folded into two halves into a box-like shape to fit into his utility belt's compartment.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Blue Batman?

Some fans believe the colors of Batman's costume in the TV series are incorrectly interpreted, believing that Batman wasn't blue in the comics, but black instead. There's a belief that blue only meant to highlight the black. But was it really? It's safe to say it was both. It is possible that Batman truly did start  in black, but certainly in latter years he was officially wearing a blue suit.

The idea of Batman really being black in the comic books is supported by following quotes:

Bob Kane: The wings, trunks, and mask were black (Batman & Me 1989)

The cowl and cloak remained black, but since comics conventions demand that black objects be highlighted in blue, Batman’s uniform in effect became blue and gray.Batman: (The Complete History ~ Les Daniel 1999)

In Batman’s debut story, the key elements in his mythos were established; his eerie [black and gray] costume… Batman’s debut in Detective #27 has the estimable value of revealing Bat-Man (as he was called at first) exactly as envisioned by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. (Batman in the Forties ~ intro Bill Schell 2004)

However, some may point out that Kane's quote and first claim of Batman being originally black originated in 1989, coincidentally when the movie presented him as black for the first time. It's possible that it was just a retconning statement to support the movie. However, there are certainly elements in early comics which are undoubtedly black but colored in blue, such as Superman's hair. The early art also tends to support this thesis since Batman really was primarily black with small blue highlights

It wasn't later on when the colors were reversed and he was blue with black highlights. And then there comes a point in the artistic history of Batman where cops are shown wearing black uniforms highlighted with blue, and Batman is shown wearing a blue uniform highlighted with black. At that point, Batman is clearly supposed to be wearing blue
In this picture, for instance. If Batman is suppose to be wearing black, then what is Alfred wearing?

In the story The Super-Key to Fort Superman, Batman melted an identical wax-statue of himself to take it's place. And Superman clearly thinks to himself about the BLUE and gray blob of melted wax. He even tells it to Batman himself how the Batman figure is BLUE and gray.

 In The Strange Costumes of Batman! Detective Comics No. 165, Nov '50.  the suit is also described as blue: "Yes, it is the flashing figure of Batman, clad in the shadowy colors of blue and gray."

Verdict: It's very possible that Batman at first was black, but there is no doubt his costume was changed into blue down the road. therefore, Adam West's costume is spot on accurate with his comic book counterpart of the time


Friday, August 17, 2012

Comic Book references in movies Part VII: 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Every writer of the Batman movies had either an extensive prior knowledge of the Batman comic books or did an extensive research before writing the script. Each and every one of the theatrical Batman movies has numerous subtle and not so subtle nods and references to the comic books and reveals an impressive knowledge of the comic book back catalog.
One of the last posts focused on differences and deviations from the comic books from each movie, listing the number of things which were changed to fit the story more and serve it better ( This time we'll focus on all the references and similarities to showcase the writers' knowledge of the Batman stories and to point out what was taken from the comics


'The Dark Knight Rises' draws heavily and primarily from vengeance of Bane, Knightfall and Legacy saga. Naturally, it also reflects and borrows from various issues of the Modern Age era

1. John Blake, while being an amalgam of the Robin character, is actually a minor character in early Batman comic books. Panel below from Batman #13

2. Gordon's capture is very reminiscent of what happened with robin during the Knightfall saga. Robin, like Gordon, have been captured and brought to the sewers, facing Bane. He also escaped the same way by falling into the stream. Panels from Detective Comics #660

3. Batman took a decade long hiatus in The Dark Knight Returns. While in the movie its 8 years, its still close to a decade

4. In The Dark Knight Returns, he also had to use enhancements for his limbs

5. In the movie, Bruce is not in the top form when he faces Bane for the first time. He is older, has been out of shape and action for 8 years, and has problems with his knee. In the comics, when Batman first fought Bane, he was also very out of shape, having been completely exhausted and under influence of a sickness called Epstein-Barr Syndrome. 

6. The fight itself is quite reminiscent of the first fight they had in the comics, where Batman cant really hurt Bane and Bane seems unaffected by all the hits he gives him, despite Batman giving everything he can at the time. Bane however, completely thrashes Batman. And as in the comics Bane doesn't just want to kill Batman, he wants to break him physically and psychologically, and make him watch how he takes over Gotham

7. The fight ends with a recreation of the famous panels where Bane breaks the caped crusader

8. The way Bane talks is very much in vein with his tone and style in the comics.

9. While for different reasons, Gordon was out of the action and in hospital for quite some time, starting with Detective Comics #626

10. Selina Kyle used to have a blonde companion (Arizona/Jen) that she sort of took under her wings. Or claws if you will. Panel from Batman #460

 11. Gordon's marriage problems and eventual separation is also a subplot originating from comic books. Panel below from Batman: Year One

12. As in the comics, Bane joined Ra's Al Ghul and then was casted out, and also had a love affair with Talia

13. Bane was responsible for jailbreak during Knightfall Saga. In the comic books, it was Arkham, in the movie it was Blackgate

14. In 'No Man's Land', Gotham City gets cut from the world, with its bridges blown up, devastated by earthquake and sanctioned by the military.

15. As in 'Vengeance of Bane', Bane was most likely born in prison, as he admits to being born in the darkness

16. As in the comics, Batman damages Bane's mask which aids in his defeat

17. When in disguise, Catwoman likes the old fashion look with a big hat

18. The newspaper titles are nods to the earliest Batman comics that featured Catwoman

19. Bane and Catwoman worked briefly together in the Knightfall saga

20. Bane's objective of completing Ra's al Ghul's campaign against Gotham is similar to the plot of Batman: Bane (May 1997), a one shot that rounded off the Legacy story arc.
In this story Bane plans to destroy Gotham by overloading the reactor core of a nuclear power plant. Much like the movie, the nuclear core was meant to be an energy source, but Bane repurposes it into a bomb. Credit for find goes to

21. The Pit is Nolan's version of the Lazarus Pit. Bruce went into the pit with a broken back, a bad knee, and he was very weak. He was also mentally crushed, and probably depressed. He came out of the pit with a healed back, virtually no knee problem, as strong as he was in the two previous films, and he was mentally stronger too. While it's not the classic supernatural healing pit, it's still the real life version of it

22. In Detective Comics #489, a leader of League of Assasins uses a phrase that Bane, co-leader of the League of Shadows uses as well

23. Bruce and Selina got married in Superman Family #211. Credit to for the find

24. With long gloves and thigh high boots, Catwoman's outfit is pretty much Jim Balent's Catwoman suit, just in black

25. A veteran cop, recognizing Batman, grins to his rookie colleague that they're in for a show; that sequence comes from The Dark Knight Returns