By Greg Mowry
Ever since I was a kid, Batman has been my favorite superhero. Since I was born in 1957, I grew up on the old style Batman drawn by Bob Kane and that is still my favorite one.
Before the Adam West TV show, there were two movie matinee serials of The Batman from the ’40’s. The first in 1943 and the second in 1949. I chose the former purely out of personal preference. It was an extremely low budget project starring Lewis Wilson who was a bit paunchy for the role. His costume was a very baggy cotton stretch jersey long underwear thing with a simple cotton cape and cowl with bat ears that looked more like devil horns. Freeze framing some shots from the film also revealed sweat stains in the armpits. Another interesting feature of that costume was it was the only time when the fins on Batman’s gloves go down and forward instead of up and back.
I sculpted the body especially with sagging pecs and a bit of a paunch over his utility belt. I was also able to sculpt the head since most of it was hidden by the cowl (otherwise, I’m not much of a personality likeness sculptor. I am always dependant on other, more talented sculptors for that.).
I set the piece on a base covered with decorative indoor-outdoor carpet to simulate the interior of a 1940’s theater lobby with a reproduction of the original serial poster on a brass easel with an added placard advertising a special, personal appearance of The Batman for the neighborhood kids. This way, I was able to present The Batman through the eyes of the kids who probably would not notice his belly and sweat stains but only see their (Gosh! Gee Wizz!) hero come to life before them.
The first three photos show the statue itself, the fourth shows the original 1943 poster, and the fifth shows myself, age 8, in the Batman costume my Mom made for me. Dad made the batarang.