“Foam Rubber Latex Batman”

This is the search term that keeps coming up in my site’s web stats. I think what this refers to is people who are either fetishists of some kind (probably not the kind that want to stick around and look at my small plastic sculpture fetishes, but you’re welcome anyway!) and/or people looking to make Batman cowls out of foam rubber latex.

Via fuckyeahbrucetimm.tumblr.com

My advice: find another way to go.

When designing for the 1989 Tim Burton BATMAN movie, costume designer Bob Ringwood’s concept was that the costume would not look like a suit of clothes, but would blur the line between man and bat. It was neat idea, with a sculpted bodysuit more similar to an armored cuirass (pronounced queer-ass: another word combo for the search engines!) than sweatshirt. (Ringwood also included the much-maligned nipples from the third movie in that series. They never bothered me too much: he was trying to suggest a stylized human body, not a cartoon). He also designed a beautiful sculpted cowl.

via http://mydisguises.com/

This is the one from BATMAN RETURNS. They laser-scanned Keaton’s head to assure a tighter fit for the cowl. Note the strange, industrial musculature; beautiful, but inappropriate for Batman.

The problem is that while it looked great, the damn thing didn’t move.

The new movies have also opted for a sculpted headpiece and a separate neckpiece. Apparently it moves better, but looks worse, removing Batman’s distinctive silhouette.

Personally, I think the sculpted, stiff cowl as a piece of costuming had its time, but modern cosplayers routinely come up with much better looking and practical solutions than time-crunched movie costume designers answering to everyone from studio heads to McDonalds liaisons for merchandise tie-ins. Batman should be flexible and capable of lots of movement. I urge all you amateur costumers to try different options and come up with something better than you’d see on-screen.

And as someone once said to me “Batman doesn’t need armor, his psychosis is his armor.”

Vengeance, the night… All that.


UPDATE 5/13/14:

Well pictures of the new movie costume from the upcoming Batman Vs. Superman movie have been posted. Still utilizing a stiff, foam-rubber sculpted cowl. Well… It’s recognizably Batman this time, seemingly without a ton of geegaws hot-glued to it, so that’s something I guess.