See the evolution of Batman's costume in film and TV | The Verge

See the evolution of Batman's costume in film and TV

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(Warner Bros. / IMDb)

Batman turns 75 this month, so it's altogether appropriate that director Zack Snyder should rock the internet with his new take on the Caped Crusader and the iconic Batmobile. Ben Affleck looks every bit the brooding superhero in the new photo, and the Batmobile already promises to be the beast of a machine fans have been trained to expect since at least 1989. Still, 75 years is a long time, and Batman has had a particularly storied history on TV and in cinema — with plenty of hits and misses along the way. Taking a look back at just a handful of those classic looks should prepare us for what Snyder has in store for 2016. Now we only wonder what all the other superheroes in Batman vs. Superman will look like.

Hint: Use the 's' and 'd' keys to navigate

  • Batman was born on the pages of 'Detective Comics' #27 in May 1939, written by Bill Finger and drawn by Bob Kane. Early on, Batman was a fully-fledged pulp hero, terrorizing the criminal element in Gotham City to avenge his slain parents. To that end, Kane and Finger used Zorro and The Phantom as influences in drawing their crime-fighter with an unmistakable cape and cowl. Here is where it all began. (Credit: Bob Kane)

  • Live-action Batman was off to a rocky start in the 1943 serial 'Batman,' released by Columbia Pictures. Lewis Wilson starred in the title role, setting the stage for the low-budget look that the TV series would adopt years later.

  • Batman, along with his sidekick Robin, made his way to television in January 1966. Starring Adam West and Burt Ward, the '60s series saw Batman's tone change to be far more campy and light-hearted. With that came brighter colors, zany performances, the Batusi, and even the first ever Batman movie. This aesthetic held sway until the grim-and-gritty 1980s (and a certain Frank Miller) changed everything. (Courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

  • Following the successes of Frank Miller's 'The Dark Knight Returns' and 'Batman: Year One,' audiences were starting to respond more to a darker vision of Gotham. 1989's 'Batman' saw Tim Burton bring the character to the big screen again, only this time Michael Keaton played a brooding, almost otherworldly creature veiled in shadow. That same look carried over into 1992's 'Batman Returns,' which was somehow darker thematically than even the original. (Courtesy of Warner Bros.)

  • 1992 saw the birth of what many fans consider the finest representation of Batman on any screen, and perhaps the best cartoon ever made. 'Batman: The Animated Series' shows the character returning to his pulp roots. Bruce Timm's character design is simple but timeless, and his style (along with Paul Dini's writing) gave birth to what's now known as the DCAU, or the DC Animated Universe. (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Animation)

  • Then it all went south. After Joel Schumacher took over directing duties for the films, costume design (and the movies themselves) started to become overwrought and cartoonish. That all culminated in the unabashedly "toyetic" costumes in 'Batman & Robin,' complete with ice-colored accents and those famous Bat-nipples. (Courtesy of Warner Bros.)

  • Yes, those Bat-nipples. (Courtesy of Warner Bros.)

  • While the film franchise was withering, Batman was doing quite well on the small screen. With 1999 came 'Batman Beyond,' which follows the adventures of Terry McGinnis as he takes up the mantle of Gotham's futuristic Batman. Instead of a cape, Terry gets a cybernetic batsuit suit that gives him super strength, agility, and the ability to fly. (Courtesy of DC Entertainment)

  • Christopher Nolan rebooted the entire Batman franchise with 2005's 'Batman Begins.' Here, the suit Bruce Wayne wears is a great deal more like heavy armor, giving him an incredibly imposing presence when he's onscreen. (Courtesy of Warner Bros.)

  • With the release of Nolan's 'The Dark Knight' came a leaner, meaner batsuit that was just as imposing as the first. What's notable about this suit, however, is the fact that it, for the first time, allowed the wearer to turn his head. (Courtesy of Warner Bros.)

  • The latest batsuit looks like more of a return to the form-fitting costumes of yesterday — it definitely resembles Frank Miller's take on the costume and even work by such artists as Jim Lee. We have to admit: it looks pretty badass. If only he weren't so sad. (Image Credit: Zack Snyder)

  • This is Ben Affleck's costume straight from the convention floor at San Diego Comic-Con. Looks like he won't be able to turn his head.


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