Reviews: Batmobile: The Complete History & The Dark Knight Manual

BATMOBILE: THE COMPLETE HISTORY
 
As far as coffee table books go I’m a fan, though it really depends on the subject matter whether I’m really going to invest the time and money into purchasing and reading one. Luckily these books have a common theme between them, they’re about Batman (a favorite subject of, well, almost anyone). Though this first book isn’t specifically Batman, it’s one of his tools, the Batmoblie. In the words of Val Kilmer’s Batman, “Chicks dig the car.”
 
What I really like about this is the very deep amount of history that is offered here. Starting with the first iterations of the Batmobile in “Batman” comics, it’s evolution and the direction of the car is very well dissected and shown. There’s also plenty of trivia about the car here for fans that might think they know everything about it. Plus with insight from big time folks like Dan Didio, Chip Kidd, and Chris Nolan, you can’t help but love seeing the history of the car and the appreciation that so many have. Their love for the character and his car really show.
 
Fans of the Adam West “Batman” show will be glad to know there is an entire chapter dedicated to the atomic powered Batmobile of the 1960s. It covers the transition from the comics’ use of the car to how it worked in the show, as well as an interview with George Barris, who built the car. The only problem with this section is that, while there are plenty of great glamour shots of West and the car, there’s not much talk about the functionality of the car and the gadgets that it supported. A blueprint of the car with a detailed analysis of the gadgets and their inspiration would have been very cool. I also like the way the other Batman films are handled in the book. Lots of good interviews and pictures that actually make you want to go back and watch the old flicks.
 
As expected, this book hitting shelves at this time is no coincidence so there’s a lot about the Tumbler from Chris Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy. I also understand that since this is a newer franchise, there’s a lot more supplemental material readily available than from the ’89 Batman movie or the ’66 Batman show but there have been a lot more Batmobiles before this one. But, if you’re totally in love with this version of the Batmobile, and it’s little sprout the Batpod, you’ll like this a lot. There’s plenty of action shots, concept art, interviews with Nolan and his production designer that it really is worth a peek.
 
The back of the book offers a few peeks at The Dark Knight Rises but really focuses on huge pictures of the cars themselves. Though the best part of this is of course the cars all lined up together so that we can see the evolution of the vehicle. Plus just seeing them all in the same room is a fanboy’s dream. This is a great book. While many will skip the written portions of the collection to just stare at the cars, it’s actually worth a look, even if much of the text is separated by pages of pictures before continuing which can be annoying. My biggest complaint though is the lack of tracking how the Batmobile changed through the comics or even a simple look at how it was used in defining runs on the character, but when you have a giant book solely about the Batmobile, it’s hard to seriously complain about anything.
 
Rating: 7.5 / 10
 
Head over to Page two for a look at “The Dark Knight Manual”…