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  1. #1
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    Why is Batman's costume gray/blue or gray/black?

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    Ok, I know Batman's costume has always been gray/blue, or gray/black, but why? I've just never really understood this color choice, isn't Batman meant to look threatening, his appearance is suppose to drive fear into his enemies and petty thugs. But what is so scary about gray/blue? I think it looks kinda goofy to be honest, don't get me wrong I love Batman, but why gray?

    I've always thought Batman's colors should be black/yellow, in which it would look very close to his costume in the Tim Burton films (main color black, with yellow around the bat insignia and yellow utility belt). Or black/gray (main color black, with gray around the bat insignia and gray utility belt). I think it would look especially better in animation than the gray/blue or gray/black threads. I mean Terry's costume is mainly black, with a red bat and it looks more threatening than Bruce's costume, and it looks great!

    So why is Batman's costume gray?

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    1) Because most bats have dark colors. Lots of bats are grey or black.

    2) Symbolism. Bruce Wayne chose the bat motif because bats are scary and (all together now) "criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot". Wearing black invokes images of the sinister, like Dracula and The Grim Reaper.

    3) Real-world practicality. The grey bodysuit contrasts with the black/blue cape, making it easier to distinguish between Batman's body and cape when printed with 1930's printing presses.

    4) Camouflage. Batman works mostly at night and dark coloration helps him hide in the shadows.

    5) Pop Culture. Bob Kane ripped off Batman's signature look from Zorro and The Shadow, two crimefighters who make Batman look like a wuss.

  3. #3
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    Also, as much as I like Batman's all black costume, it would make him hard to see during night scenes. He would disappear against the dark Gotham backgrounds.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Weed Of Cri View Post
    Symbolism. Bruce Wayne chose the bat motif because bats are scary and (all together now) "criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot". Wearing black invokes images of the sinister, like Dracula and The Grim Reaper.
    All the more reason to make his costume primarily black rather than the gray.

    Real-world practicality. The grey bodysuit contrasts with the black/blue cape, making it easier to distinguish between Batman's body and cape when printed with 1930's printing presses.
    Ok, I'll give you that one. Batman being all black would've been hard to do on the printing systems of the 1930s. I didn't think of that one.

    Camouflage. Batman works mostly at night and dark coloration helps him hide in the shadows.
    Again, all the more reason to make his costume primarily black.

    Pop Culture. Bob Kane ripped off Batman's signature look from Zorro and The Shadow, two crimefighters who make Batman look like a wuss.
    Zorro's and the Shadow's costumes are black.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackstar
    Also, as much as I like Batman's all black costume, it would make him hard to see during night scenes. He would disappear against the dark Gotham backgrounds.
    Not really, Terry's costume in Batman Beyond did night scenes just fine. And it looked fantastic.

    All I'm saying is a primarily black costume for Batman would be more suitable for the dark image that he's trying to represent to his enemies. Not there's anything wrong with the gray/blue or gray/black costume, I just think a costume with black as the main color works much better for Batman's character.

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    I thought his costume performed both as stealthy and intimidating because he could remain relatively unseen as well as providing an ominous presence when facing an enemy, and as said above Terry's costume was fine in BB. And anyway can anyone here imagine Bruce in a Pink and White Batman outfit?
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    Bob Kanes' original design had Batman in red costume (or just some red in it, I'm not quite sure), but he consulted with Bill Finger who suggested he change it too a blue & grey scheme. I think Bill also changed some of the other things as well; like the gloves and the mask.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASAYLM View Post
    Ok, I know Batman's costume has always been gray/blue, or gray/black, but why? I've just never really understood this color choice, isn't Batman meant to look threatening, his appearance is suppose to drive fear into his enemies and petty thugs. But what is so scary about gray/blue? I think it looks kinda goofy to be honest, don't get me wrong I love Batman, but why gray?
    I think the answer is that Bruce Timm didn't want to go far from the classics. Since the classic Batman has a blue/gray or sometimes black/gray costume, they decided to go that way.

    In the movie, Tim Burton didn't pay attention to the classics and re imagined the Batman costume, turning it to an all black one, which I find much more interesting. I think they did that too, because a gray/blue cloth outfit would not look cool on the screen. That idea worked so well that Nolan kept it in his reboot franchise.

    In the comics, they tried that too for a while but I think it didn't hold. It was in the period just after KnightFall when Bruce just returned to being Batman. He used an all almost black costume, and looked amazing in the drawings from Kelley Jones and Graham Nolan. It was a shame that this idea was dropped afterwards.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASAYLM View Post
    ... I've just never really understood this color choice, isn't Batman meant to look threatening, his appearance is suppose to drive fear into his enemies and petty thugs. But what is so scary about gray/blue?

    ... I've always thought Batman's colors should be black/yellow, in which it would look very close to his costume in the Tim Burton films (main color black, with yellow around the bat insignia and yellow utility belt).
    I've stated this several times, but I'll say it again --- What's with the desire for a yellow utility belt?


    I mean, I realize how it no doubt actually came about. I can picture Kane and Finger looking at the black-and-gray costume they had settled on:

    Finger: You know, this costume is dark and menacing and all; but he kind of ... gets lost in the panel, don't you think?
    Kane: Yeah ... yeah, I see what you mean. He needs something to sort of make him jump off the page a little bit, doesn't he?
    Finger: Maybe we could throw in a splash of color somewhere; maybe ... a nice bright yellow belt.
    Kane: Yeah -- that's it! A yellow belt! A BIG-ass yellow belt!


    But when you mention things like how intimidating the costume is to criminals, you're moving beyond just the artist's/animator's concerns, and into the realm of "practical" issues (from Batman's perspective) with the costume design. And if we are taking those practical concerns into account, I can somewhat see your argument for the yellow oval around the Bat symbol: Frank Miller assigned that element the after-the-fact justification that the yellow serves as a target, because if Batman draws gunfire, he wants it to be to the one part of himself he can effectively armor without too much impeding his movement, his chest. Okay, fine. But then, please tell me, what's the "practical" rationale behind having the utility belt yellow? To draw gunfire to the groin? NOT a great "practical" plan if you ask me.

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    Okay, here's the real reason: originally, Batman's costume was all-black, but Alfred's had to bleach out the bloodstains so many times, it faded to gray in the wash.

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    Don't forget about the fact that Batman's a comic book character, and making him visually pleasing and interesting is important, even if it doesnt always "make real-world sense". Like, in the real world, Batman would never wear a cape.

    The blue you can also relate to night, bats, etc, and I think it makes sense and looks great, particularly in BTAS/TAOBR.

    I'd love to see a bt drawing of an all black suited Batman. But I love the BTAS design and TNBA one, and think those designs were jaw-droppingly beautiful and I'm glad they didnt use an all-black suit like in the Burton movies, although I love those too (but I dont really care for the BBegins suit. Its boring to me).
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    My 2 cents:

    While I personally prefer the all-black costume overall (it best suits the Dark Knight, IMO), I can deal with the grey-and-black. The only costume I never agreed with was the grey-and-blue suit. I never liked that costume; it always gives me flashbacks of the campy Adam West series, where he danced the Batusi and had a surfing costume against The Joker wearing swim trunks over his costume.

    BTW, what's with all the Batman threads on here all of a sudden?
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Weed Of Cri View Post
    Okay, here's the real reason: originally, Batman's costume was all-black, but Alfred's had to bleach out the bloodstains so many times, it faded to gray in the wash.
    That explains it! Bruce you gotta be more careful.

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    I personally can't stand the ALL black costume for Batman. I like the dark blue/black and grey contrast. The night isn't entirely black btw. If walk outside the night is really more dark grey/blue than actual black to my eyes and the classic duds work better in every way shape and form. I find the ALL black boring and overrated.
    Last edited by Tempest; 01-10-2008 at 11:29 PM.

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    What I never understood is why Batman (and Superman) wear speedos over their tights. I've sorta come to accept it subconsciously, but whenever I think about it while watching the show I always wonder where the idea came from and why it stuck. I much prefer how the Justice Lords version of Batman and Superman don't have speedos over their tights. It's not like any other heroes do that, so it's hardly necessary for animation purposes.
    'Nuff said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alph View Post
    What I never understood is why Batman (and Superman) wear speedos over their tights. I've sorta come to accept it subconsciously, but whenever I think about it while watching the show I always wonder where the idea came from and why it stuck.
    It came from the original superhero, Superman. In his Batman: The Complete History, Les Daniels relates how, when Bob Kane sat down at his drawing board to design the look for the new hero he had in mind (Batman, of course), he started by drawing a general pencil outline of a man in tights with the outside-the-pants underoos, and then began to fill in more details from there. And even though Bill Finger convinced Kane to significantly modify the character's look from his original design, neither of them apparently ever even considered the idea of moving Batman's underwear inside his pants. So it seems that Superman's impact had so ingrained that general image of a superhero costume (at least in Kane's and Finger's consciousness) that the speedos were just assumed as a sine quo non, without any conscious thought given to it.

    ... As to why that was done on Superman to begin with, I have no idea. Maybe Daniels reveals that in Superman: The Complete History.

    It's worth noting, though, that not every artist of the time assumed that model for a superhero costume as unthinkingly as Kane did --- Captain Marvel (Shazam), who was for a time more popular than any of the other superheroes, being a prime example.

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  16. #16
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    The whole "underwear outside the pants" probably evolved from circus performers such as acrobats. When the early comic book artists were dreaming up ideas for costmery that was flashy and eye-catching, circus and sideshow performers were something that most of them had seen and were stuck in their memories. Male performers often wore trunks over their tights to keep their wedding tackle from sticking out in what was supposed to be a family-friendly show, so the outside underwear became a part of the package (no pun intended). Why is became the industry standard for forty years I can only blame on the popularity of Superman and Batman, because not all early superheroes dressed that way. Take a look at the Golden Age Flash and Green Lantern. They were regular pants that even had folds in them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BonyT View Post
    It's worth noting, though, that not every artist of the time assumed that model for a superhero costume as unthinkingly as Kane did --- Captain Marvel (Shazam), who was for a time more popular than any of the other superheroes, being a prime example.
    Maybe I'm wrong but Shazam and The Phantom didn't also wear their underwear over the pants? The only difference is that the underwear was the same color as their pants.

    By the way, The Phantom began publishing in 1936, two years before Superman. Maybe it was the Phantom that defined the super hero look with tight clothes and underwear over the pants.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Young Justice View Post
    Maybe I'm wrong but Shazam and The Phantom didn't also wear their underwear over the pants? The only difference is that the underwear was the same color as their pants.

    By the way, The Phantom began publishing in 1936, two years before Superman. Maybe it was the Phantom that defined the super hero look with tight clothes and underwear over the pants.
    Nope, the Captain kept his skivvies strictly undercover, right from the start:


    The Phantom did go with the exterior underoos -- but they definitely didn't "blend in" with his purple costume (at least not if the design below reflects the '36 model -- not really sure; couldn't locate a great pic from the old comics/newspaper strips on the spur of the moment):

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by BonyT View Post

    The Phantom did go with the exterior underoos -- but they definitely didn't "blend in" with his purple costume (at least not if the design below reflects the '36 model -- not really sure; couldn't locate a great pic from the old comics/newspaper strips on the spur of the moment):
    Try this one:



    When discussing the origins of Batman's design, I think it's also important to note that it was Lee Falk's Phantom that pioneered the idea of the pupil-less eyes behind the mask:




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