The Evolution of the Batmobile


3 of 5 stars
What’s this?

A genuinely entertaining information graphic from, of all sources, this exhaustive inventory of the many, many designs of the Batmobile over the years unearths a fun history most of us probably never suspected existed.

There are dozens of iterations here, and maybe what’s most interesting about the vast majority of them is not so much how each design reflects the ideas of its particular time (they do), but rather how little imagination is really at work throughout this long string of reinvention opportunities. The Batmobile is a blue-sky design brief if there ever was one, and yet time and again, these designs are little more than a mildly interesting variant on the notion of a hot rod or muscle car — basically the kind of ride a middle-aged guy buys when he gets divorced.

The exception, and the notable standout, is the “tumbler” design produced for Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins.” This Batmobile is not only a novel departure from what came before, but it was actually inventive enough to inspire a real world tank design from a military contractor. Honest.

See the full, very, very tall graphic over at my friend David’s Mlkshk page.

  1. Businesses pay for infographics like this all the time in the hope that bloggers will post them and link to the totally unrelated business to improve SEO. Bloggers get paid to post them, too.


  2. The Tumbler is a standout, for sure, but I don’t think it’s the only exception to your otherwise spot-on observation. The Batmobile’s from Tim Burton’s movies and the one from the 1992 animated series are both great examples of seizing the blue-sky design brief, imo.

  3. John: I guess I did exactly what The Man expected me to. All the same it’s a great graphic.

    Kyle: I guess Tim Burton’s 1989 Batmobile is fairly interesting, but I disliked his Batman movies so much I’m reluctant to really think much of it. To me, it seems to be a riff on the 1950 version.

  4. I always loved the classic from the TV series. There is a scene in the movie Rock Star where Mark Walberg’s character owns that bat mobile. That would be exactly what I would do if I was a freakin rock star.

    So many hate on the Burton movies but they were the most true to the combination of comics and television show. Tacky and Corkey… On purpose. Personally I hate the tumbler.

  5. John Pavlus: Too right, it’s hard to believe they forgot “The Dark Knight Returns,” and that version is very obviously an influence on Nolan’s tumbler — so he definitely doesn’t get all the credit for thinking outside of the box. Good catch.

    Cpawl: the Lincoln Futura-based Batmobile from the Adam West television show is my favorite as well. Actually, Adam West is probably my favorite Batman period.

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