nolan’s batman comes to life
Concept artists discuss adapting The Dark Knight for a more modern movie-going audience
Going from comic book to silver screen is anything but easy for a Golden Age hero, and what works for film-goers doesn’t always impress hardcore fans of a given comic book character.
Christopher Nolan’s recent run of films – Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises – has certainly been a success. The Scottish comic book artist Jock, who’s worked on numerous Detective Comics covers, was drafted in for some concepts for the first film. “My brief for that was to imagine a real guy in a bat suit, and what he might look like in a Gotham environment. I hadn’t seen Christian Bale’s costume or anything, so I had total freedom to come up with different shots. It was to show Christopher Nolan where the comic artists were coming from, to inform his decisions with the suit. It was interesting applying a comic aesthetic to a more real-world approach.”
Moving on to The Dark Knight, it was Rob Bliss who contributed to the film’s most notable character, The Joker. “You just start drawing, producing as much of it as you can with the hope that someone above you in the food chain likes some of it,” says Rob, whose main comic book influence was Simon Bisley. “It changes every time depending who you are working with. The ideas just come out of your head or conversation as you’re talking it over.” He continues: “My approach with The Joker was to try and produce someone who looked crazy, like a person who was half hyena. I was mainly interested in him from the neck up. The Joker was a great character in that film, but I’m not sure how close mine is to the one in the film. Heath Ledger’s is probably more functional. The one in my head was
barely holding it together.”
GARGOYLE Concept artist Jock brought the gargoyle pose, so favoured in the comics, to his concept art for Batman Begins.
GED Concept artist Rob Bliss helped director Christopher Nolan settle on a look for the Joker and his bank-robbing goons.
making Two-Face Another Rob Bliss piece, this concept of the creation of Batman’s arch foe Two-Face set the feel for the movie bad guy.