Batman’s iconic costume has been reimagined many times over his 75-year career, but it’s never been seen like it will be at SDCC 2014. To celebrate Batman: Arkham Knight from Rocksteady Studios , DC Comics and Vice have teamed up to present a one-of-a-kind art exhibit show called Cape/Cowl/Create!
Over twenty hot artists from DC Comics, the tattoo art scene, the graffiti world, and the edge of cool have all been given the ultimate blank slate—a white latex reproduction of Batman’s famous cowl and cape. Each will bring his or her own unique sensibility to decorate this piece however they see fit.
Lee Bermejo, the acclaimed illustrator behind Joker and Batman: Noel and one of the artists participating in Cape/Cowl/Create, found it was an “amazing opportunity to do something different, yet still contribute to the Batman legacy by trying to bring to life a more personal interpretation of the iconic character.”
“I decided against drawing directly on the cowl,” he elaborates, “and wanted to try something a bit ambitious by extending the costume past just the mask and cape. It was a great look inside how to bring this character to life, which is what I try to do every time I tackle the Batman mythos in my comics.”
Intriguingly, the opportunity to contribute such a unique tribute to the Dark Knight also revealed some of the challenges that artists must overcome when adapting iconic comic book characters for live action film and TV.
“I wanted to try and utilize the mold as my starting point and really get to bring the costume to life,” Bermejo explains. “This was a huge challenge because it introduced me to a problem costume designers have been trying to solve in film and TV for years: How do you dress a masked vigilante/superhero and maintain the power and vitality of the character?”
Jeff Lemire (who recently tried his hand at drawing the Dark Knight in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Vol. 1, but is better known these days for his work on Animal Man, Green Arrow and Justice League United) also found it a singular challenge. “After staring at the amazing pure white sculpt of the cape and cowl in my studio for two weeks,” he says, “I finally worked up the courage to ‘paint’ the entire surface with a coating of instant coffee (yes, instant coffee) to give it a really unique, almost rusted look. Then I drew on top of that with blue acrylic ink, covering the cape and cowl with ornate decorations, designs and a giant BAT on the cape, whose wings fold with the cape pleats.”
Bermejo adds, “Being a part of this project has been a huge honor because Batman, unlike most other comic book characters, is open to such rich and diverse interpretation while always remaining true to the core of what Batman is. It also is an amazing way to portray the importance of the ‘look’ itself. Possibly one of the most recognizable fictional characters in the world, you can’t deny the sheer power of that silhouette. No matter the interpretation, this always remains the foundation.”
Over twenty acclaimed artists have come together for the Cape/Cowl/Create art exhibit. Catch the bulk of the cowls on display at “Legends” in the Hard Rock Hotel, which will be open to the public from July 25-27 from 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.
To see Jeff Lemire and Lee Bermejo’s cowls, stop by the DC Comics booth (#1915), where they’ll be on display with cowls by Zack Snyder, Rocksteady and more.
For photos of the cowls when they’re unveiled, follow DC Comics on Twitter or keep an eye on DCComics.com throughout Comic-Con weekend.