BATMAN’s suit : A Comic Book History

BATMAN’s suit : A Comic Book History

Clothes makes the man… -Mark Twain. Let us now take a look at the suits of one of the greatest if not the greatest superhero of all time. Article request by @Jolt17

The Batsuit
The costume of the fictional character Batman. The look of this suit varies depending the style of the artist currently drawing the character but there are the staplse of the costume are a scalloped cape, a bat-like cowl, a pair of gloves, boots, and a utility belt over a tight-fitting body suit with the image of a bat emblazoned on the chest.

The purpose of the suit is to conceal BATMAN's identity, and to frighten off evil doers. Most versions of the Batsuit incorporate some form of body armor and a utility belt containing a variety of crimefighting equipment.

Bruce Wayne came up with the batsuit after an encounter with a bat which terrified him. Even after his parents death Bruce was still distraught on their murder, decided to use what scared him to instill fear to the criminal institution that he believes was the reason of his parents demise.

Basic Suit
Similar to many superheroes the basic foundation of the Batsuit is a tight-fitting bodysuit. the early desings has a ballistic vest sewn into the costume. Later version of the bodysuit is not constructed from simple fabric, but from fictional advanced materials that give it resistance to tearing. In addition, the suit also contains various defense and protection mechanisms layered into the suit's fabric. The basic version of the Batsuit is insulated against electricity and is mildly fire resistant. Batman utilizes many different body armor designs, some of which are constructed into his Batsuits, and others which are separate. In its most basic version, the suit is bulletproof around the upper torso and back. Other versions are entirely bullet proof to small arms fire, and have advanced flexible armor plating.


As different artists have taken over the responsibility of drawing the character, the details of the suit have changed considerably. The original incarnation of the cape was a wing-like structure inspired by drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci.
Like many in comics this eventually evolved into a more cape-like design of varying length. Some artists includes protrusions on the shoulders to mimic the "thumb" part of a bat's wing. The cape is occasionally depicted as bulletproof, fire retardant. The cape also serves as a gliding apparatus.


A unique feature of batman gloves are the three (3) fins protruding at the side of it. Batman has used these defensively and offensively.
On early depictions BATMAN either used an ordi


In addition to concealing his features and contributing to his imposing appearance, Batman's cowl has sometimes served other purposes. Occasionally, the cowl is depicted as having defense mechanisms such as electric shock or stun gas. The cowl is also equipped with shifting specialized lenses for an array of purposes, one of it is a digital camera useful in obtaining evidences.
The cowl's ears also carries a high-gain antenna for an internal comm-link on the sides of the cowl, allowing Batman to stay in contact with his allies. The comm-link can also scan police radios and other communication frequencies.

Utility Belt

Batman's utility belt is his costumes most famous or notorious equipment. The exact contents of this belt are not known because Batman usually changes it to suit his needs. His uncanny ability to carry unusually appropriate tools is legendary. Batman's belt has defensive properties against theft, and the compartments are locked and only Batman knows how to open them.

His suit is in constant state of being updated, as the world changes the Batman adapts with these changes, and this reflects on the suit he is wearing.


Lewis Wilson

Batman first appeared in live media in a 15-chapter serial released in 1943 by Columbia Pictures. The serial starred Lewis Wilson as Batman. The batsuit here is pretty simple, reflecting the times that they were made.

Robert Lowery

Another 15-chapter serial was released in 1949 by Columbia Pictures it was entitled Batman and Robin. This time Batman is played by Robert Lowery. There is not much development on the batsuit from the previous serial,

Adam West

The next outing of the caped crusader is in 1966 with Adam West now as Batman. The Batman here is mostly remembered for his campiness. The suit did not veer much from the "cloth" feel of its predecessors. The suit also is the first in live media to wear the yellow oval batlogo.

Michael Keaton

The next Batman was Michael Keaton in the 1989 Batman movie and the 1992 Batman Returns movie. His suit here is more armored looking. One noticeable feature here is that 1989 batlogo is different from the 1992 logo.

Costume designer Bob Ringwood worked on this Batman costume. Ringwood found it difficult designing the Batsuit because "the image of Batman in the comics is this huge, big six-foot-four hunk with a dimpled chin. Michael Keaton is a guy with average build," He stated. "The problem was to make somebody who was average-sized and ordinary looking into this bigger-than-life creature". Burton's idea was to use an all-black suit, and was met with positive feedback by Bob Kane. Ringwood studied over 200 comic book issues for inspiration. 28 sculpted latex designs were created; 25 different cape looks and 6 different heads were made, accumulating a total cost of $250,000. Burton opted not to use tights, spandex or underpants as seen in the comic book, feeling it was not intimidating.

On Batman Returns the Batsuit was updated, which was made out of a thinner, slightly more flexible foam rubber material than the suit from Batman (1989).

Val Kilmer

Val Kilmer then inherited the role from Keaton in Batman Forever.
For the costume design, producer Peter MacGregor-Scott claimed that 146 workers were at one point working together. Batman's costume was redesigned along the lines of a more "MTV organic, and edgier feel" to the suit.

The costume on the left is nicknamed the Panther suit. This is similar with the Keaton batman suit in 1989 movie with the addition of the bat "nipples".

George Clooney

George Clooney then went on to star for Batman and Robin with the returning director of Batman Forever, Joel Schumacher.
The costume for this movie came under heavy attack due again to the bat "nipples" and the enlarged codpieces to Batman and Robin suits. Schumacher stated, "I had no idea that putting nipples on the Batsuit and Robin suit were going to spark international headlines. The bodies of the suits come from ancient Greek statues, which display perfect bodies. They are anatomically erotic. Batgirl was given a similarly designed suit.
This movie also have a specialized batsuit to fight off Mr. Freeze.

Bruce Thomas

A brief cameo of Batman was seen on the TV show Birds of Prey. He was played by actor Bruce Thomas.
The costume for this Batman is derived heavily from the Keaton Suit.

Christian Bale

Eight years passed before a new Batman movie was seen in the theaters. This time around the movie was a reimagination of the origin of the Batman mythos directed by visionary director Christopher Nolan and starred Christian Bale as Batman.
Batman Begins(2005) is followed by two sequels The Dark Knight(2008) and the Dark Knight returns which would be out in 2012.

Batsuit (Batman Begins)

The filmmakers intended to create a very mobile Batsuit that would allow the wearer to move easily to fight and crouch. Previous film incarnations of the Batsuit had been stiff and especially restricted full head movement. The Batsuit's basic design was a neoprene undersuit, which was shaped by attaching molded cream latex sections. To avoid imperfections picked up by sculpting with clay, plastiline was used to smooth the surface. In addition, the team brewed different mixtures of foam to find the mixture that would be the most flexible, light, durable, and black.

For the cape, the director wanted it to have a "flowing cloak property that blows and flows". The team created the cape out of their own version of parachute nylon that had electrostatic flocking. The process was used by the London police force to minimize night vision detection. The cape was topped by a cowl. The cowl was created to be thin enough to allow motion but thick enough to avoid wrinkling when the actor turned his head in the Batsuit. The cowl had been designed to show "a man who has angst", so his character would be revealed through the mask.

(Dark Knight)

Designers improved on the design of the Batsuit from Batman Begins, adding wide elastic banding to help bind the costume to Bale, and suggest more sophisticated technology. It was constructed from 200 individual pieces of rubber, fiberglass, metallic mesh, and nylon. The new cowl was modeled after a motorcycle helmet and separated from the neck piece, allowing Bale to turn his head left and right and nod up and down.

The cowl is equipped to show white lenses over the eyes when the character turns on his sonar detection. The gauntlets have retractable razors which can be fired.

If the suit makes a man, the Batsuit definitely makes the Batman!

This is the 2nd article on my Comic Book Movie History segment. If you have any questions and request feel free to write it down on the comment section below.
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Filed Under "Batman" 3/17/2011 Source: DCMU
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albieg25 - 3/17/2011, 12:09 AM
cool article
skidz - 3/17/2011, 12:28 AM
Good research!!! There are also the recently added retractable blades in his boots and the small gas tube-piping in his gloves and going along his forearms with the finned/bladed scallops from Batman Incorporated and Batman: The Return.
chubakka - 3/17/2011, 12:35 AM
Good article. Any chance we can get one on Spiderman's suit? I'm sure a full fledged article on the different version will help tone down the bashing of the new suit.
Jolt17 - 3/17/2011, 12:41 AM
HEY I'm so pleased with this, thanks Poll buddy!

; )

Do more like this, enjoying so much, maybe from the comics this time like Spidey's suit, Supes suit, or others etc...

Sorry for that many requests lol, but I really enjoy stuffs like this!
RedeyeJedi - 3/17/2011, 12:46 AM
When you look at the changes to bale's suit vs the comics, It's hard to see why people hate the new spidey suit so much. The new batsuit is very different, while spider-man has only suffered minor changes.
parascythe - 3/17/2011, 12:49 AM
UPNEXT: The Bat-Voice: a comicbook history
l0rdleg0las - 3/17/2011, 12:55 AM
i don't know why, but i have never cared for the cowl in Begins or TDK. it just seems strange, i can't place why but to me it just looks odd in comparison with past incarnations.

also, the TDK suit makes Bale seem way too skinny. big motorcycle helmet and skinny body makes Batman look like a walking candy apple

Best suit remains to be the original Michael Keaton Batsuit. and that annoys me because i absolutely hate Tim Burton.
l0rdleg0las - 3/17/2011, 12:59 AM

i think the reasoning why the Batman suits get away with being changed so dramatically is the realism factor. the character is a billionaire who can make sure his suit is the most advanced it possibly can be. also, the tights look from the Adam West and prior incarnations isn't really that intimidating.

with Spider-Man, you have this teenage kid who made his suit, he isn't realistically going to be updating the suit often.

the Spider-Man suit works to be mainly a disguise for Peter Parker. The Batman suit is used as a disguise as well as for intimidation.
clogan - 3/17/2011, 1:11 AM
Impressive work PollMaster! I really like it.

Instead of doing those battle polls, work on this kinda stuff! Heh.
kierancatwitch - 3/17/2011, 1:21 AM
"the Dark Knight returns which would be out in 2012"

the Dark Knight rises which will be out in 2012.
Gattsu - 3/17/2011, 1:31 AM
I don't understand why they just don't make the suit look like the suit from the video games: Arkham Asylum or Arkham City.

The suits in the games have a realistic and comic book look to them.
Xandera - 3/17/2011, 2:19 AM
Nice Article! Enjoyed reading that...

Guys, check out the latest in White Fire!!

White Fire Chapter 3: Shades of Grey
NeoBaggins - 3/17/2011, 2:23 AM
This may sound crazy but, I wish the Nolan cowl was shaped more like the Burton and Schumacher designs. I like the long, comicbook, Batman ears on it. The face and nose parts I like too. The Nolan cowl is too skull-like and it has little ears that sit further back and are more like Cat ears. I know that real Bat ears are crazier than Yoda's, but I think Bale would be menacing with the a more pointy ear and comicbook mask. Good job on the new suit though. They broke the rubber suit trend with TDK.


Best CBM suits I like.
Drelyon - 3/17/2011, 2:23 AM
I agree with Gattsu. I mean they've made it all black but like in the comics/games they body armour is grey with black everything else. Except the belt of course.

I see why they've done that though and I love it. But I just hope they sort've..... Complete the batsuit in the new movie! Turn it into the batsuit we've seen for years and years, but with a stable and meaning behind every piece of that armor.
BlackSands - 3/17/2011, 2:55 AM
Keaton's Batsuit in both incarnations from the first and second film are probably the most iconic to me. Though they still classified it as armor, it wasn't too obvious unlike the Bale versions which were obviously armored to the hilt and not subtle at all. The one in TDK made him look real thin - made me wonder if he actually bulked up at all for the second film.

NeoBaggins, the suit in TDK was still partly made of rubber, so it wasn't completely out of the picture as a non-rubber suit. I agree that the cowl in Begins and TDK wasn't all that impressive and not at all scary to me, especially when HE sounded like an asthmatic coughing up a lung when he spoke while in costume. Like the movies, hated the Bat-voice.

Other than the cowl, that was my only gripe with Bale's Bat - for a fine actor such as him, he didn't deliver on the voice - which was sad because Bale also did Voice acting work on Howl's Moving Castle and he was barely recognizable since he portrayed a younger man. He could have gone that route - he could've changed the pitch higher as an airhead playboy Bruce Wayne and used his normal, deeper voice as Batman. For him - per Nolan's way of writing it (coupled with the speech Katie Holme's character told him at the end of the first film) - Bruce Wayne was the mask while Batman was his true "face". In fact, since Nolan's Batman was more technologically inclined, why didn't they incorporate a voice box changer/modulator along with the costume to mask his natural voice? And that is even actually possible with today's tech.

Hell, Keaton mostly nailed it in delivering a more intimidating Batman that didn't yak a lot and when he spoke, the voice was a subtle monotone and the pitch was way lower on the octave that turned the intimidation factor up.

And as much as everyone keeps saying that Nolan did a great job (which he did) - but no matter how you try to ground it in reality - it still goes out the window because when it comes right down to it - it IS a COMIC BOOK MOVIE. There is NOTHING real world about it.

With a slight variation of NeoBaggins's list, my fave costumes currently are:

NeoBaggins - 3/17/2011, 3:18 AM
BlackSands If were going to throw less costume-ish outfits on the list like Ghost Rider, I have to add BLADE. And I have to say, despite everything, Ghost Rider looked like he came right off the page.

And yeah, the TDK suit had rubber on it. Kinda like a sporting goods outfit. I'm just glad to see the departure from the FULL rubber suit.

I really hope they get the voice together for TDKR. There's a certain range he uses in Batman Begins that is perfect. He was real nasal in TDK and when he had long sentences of dialog, it was hard to listen too in certain scenes. Really, only two for me. When talks about how the people of Gotham showed the Joker that they were GOOOOooooougghhhd. And the scene at the end with Dent and Gordan. I know he's probably trying to ACT through that voice and bring feeling to what he's saying. But he really needs to pull it back.
CaptainPresley - 3/17/2011, 3:38 AM
I think it's funny that the Adam West suit is still the closest to it's comic book counterpart of it's era. I like the real approach Nolan has taken, but let's get away from the all black look! Let's get the suit back to the gray/black colors of the comics. I'm even cool with a gray/navy look.
TheBatman938865 - 3/17/2011, 4:10 AM
the Batman Begins suit was the most intimidating one..and the cowl was perfect and finally they got the cape just like in the comics! The Dark Knight suit was the most technologically advanced had everything, cool security system, the computer lenses just like in the comics. but it wasn't as intimidating...then again Bale is pretty it still worked. but the cool part is that he actually got to move like Batman....unlike Keaton's suit where he [frick]ing moved around like Frankenstein's monster...and he was not intimidating...because you could out run him! haha Keaton is not scary..Bale's Batman interrogated people..he [frick]ing dropped a dude from a building he wasn't like oh I'm gonna throw you off the building if you don't tell me where Joker is...he threw him off! then asked him questions! Bale's Batman doesn't [frick] around lol
Amazo - 3/17/2011, 4:24 AM
The Bruce Thomas suit looks alot more like the Clooney suit than the Keaton suit to me.....
SavageWolf12 - 3/17/2011, 4:31 AM
Good article. All this time I haven't been able to put my finger on just what it was that bothered me about Bale's suit and then it hit me when comparing. The opening for the jaw seems just too small. He's said before that the cowl gave him headaches and it's no wonder, there wasn't enough room for his head.
marvel72 - 3/17/2011, 5:09 AM
michael keatons suit is the best without doubt,come to think everything about the burton batman films was better.

the suit
the joker
the look of gotham
paulyd3 - 3/17/2011, 6:17 AM
The Best Batman on film was Batman Dead End.


Superbatprime - 3/17/2011, 6:35 AM
Dude you forgot Sandy Collora's films!
The Bat in the Sun suit is really faithful to the comics, the most faithful actually.

It proves the grey "spandex" look can work on film.

Check 'em out if you haven't.
NERO - 3/17/2011, 6:37 AM
@Tea: I agree, mate. I love the simplicity of the lines on the Batman Returns suit, and though I dislike the film, that version of the suit was my favorite. The only alteration I would have made was to give a more natural-looking chest plate, but still one less detailed than Batman (89) and certainly Forever or Batman and Robin.

The Nolan suits have been very original and I like his ideas about the suit, but not the execution. The large head of the Begins suit and the hyper detail and multitude of pieces of the TDK suit have always distracted me. TDK version is simply too busy and when coupled with the frenetic motions of fight scenes it gets a little like watching Transformers. "Was that his arm or leg?" You know.
marvel72 - 3/17/2011, 6:59 AM
@ paulyd3

thats the suit i want to see used in the movies.
Digitaria51 - 3/17/2011, 6:59 AM
Great Job!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
drfate - 3/17/2011, 7:10 AM
I'd love to see the Arkham Asylum suit on film, NOLAN: go GREY and BLACK dude!!
hatrick3 - 3/17/2011, 7:23 AM
Teabag-Nice work! I really like your image for TDKR. I also agree that the Returns suit is great if, Bats is just standing there. Watching the film Keaton is too stiff. Bats needs to be able to move his head! I'll give Nolan credit for finally addressing that.
GodzillaKart - 3/17/2011, 7:36 AM
@ paulyd3. Couldn't agree more, the best batsuit (and actor, visually speaking) on film was in Dead End. The suit from the Arkham game is awesome as well.
paulyd3 - 3/17/2011, 7:42 AM
BEAST !!!!


dnno1 - 3/17/2011, 9:07 AM

Bruce Thomas in the Baman OnStar Commercials

Great article, Pollmaster, but you forgot to mention that Bruce Thomas was also in the Batman OnStar commercials.
Technoman - 3/17/2011, 9:11 AM
Needs some editing, but overall very good.
thewolfx - 3/17/2011, 9:50 AM
greatest SUPERhero of all time HAH!

anyways i like batmans suit i prefer his arkham asylum suit , TDK suit is just horrible .. he looks like tron/robocop bobblehead spray painted black
Icaro - 3/17/2011, 11:35 AM
You did it again, dude!! Nice article!!!
PurpleHaze92 - 3/17/2011, 1:37 PM
I totally hate the Nolan Bat suits and Cowls. The mask dosnt even look like batman. It looks like a [frick]ing demmon or something. The best in my opinion is the suit in Batman Forever, the one he wears at the begining of the movie with the yellow in the batsymbol.
DaiRaion - 3/17/2011, 2:42 PM
@PurpleHaze92 - Before someone inevitably makes the usual "nipple" cracks about the "Batman Forever" suit let me just say that I agree with you. The "'Forever" suit was, IMHO, the best looking live action batsuit to date. And I think that it's as close to its' actual comic book counterpart that we're ever going to see in a film.

@CaptainPresley - I totally agree with you! For Nolan's final bat film I want to see Batman finally in a suit that reflects his actual iconic costume from the books!
marvelguy - 3/17/2011, 2:43 PM
Schumacher suits look stupid. Keaton's suit was great but the yellow logo looks silly. Batman Begins was the best suit. I'm glad the others recalled Birds of Prey, Dead End, and the OnStar ad.

And Bale did bulk up for TDK. Uh, there was a scene without a shirt. hello?!
DaiRaion - 3/17/2011, 4:11 PM
@marvelguy - I'm just glad that you didn't say "Helloo Megan"! Hahahaha!
TheBatman938865 - 3/17/2011, 10:42 PM
@PurpleHaze92: thats why the cowl in Batman Begins was bad ass...because it looked scary! lol and god no...the Forever suits sucked ass...
Amazo - 3/18/2011, 4:18 AM
The sculpted muscle suits just look like they're covering up the actors lack of conditioning.And they're immovable.
The spandex idea is nice in theory but they always look like spandex and you just know that Bruce would be freezing his tits off,soaking wet,and vulnerable to everything from a bee sting up!
I prefer the armoured look because it looks great and works storywise.I've never thought TDK cowl looks bad or anything like a 'bobblehead'.That just seems to be a vaguely witty comment thats caught on.
If they could do a spandex suit that looks thicker and armoured,yet still has the flexibility,I think that could be a winner.
When it comes to colour,black makes sense.Grey could work if it was dark like charcoal.The Dead End suit is too light.You'd spot Batman a mile away.Teabag's second pic looks to be heading the right way for me :)
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