Batman: The Animated Series celebrated its 25th anniversary this week and in a Q&A with 13th Dimension, comic artist Kevin Nowlan who created the original character designs for the series opened up about his role as he shared his best designs from the classic series.
Nowlan was asked about how he first came to be involved with the series when he revealed it was thanks to his work on “The Secret Origin of Man-Bat” that the legendary Bruce Timm took notice of him:
“Bruce Timm just called me up out of the blue. He said he got my number from an old family friend, Bruce Smith, who lived nearby in Hutchinson, Kansas… I think Bruce Timm had seen my Man-Bat Secret Origins story and made note of the pared-down style I was using. I remember him talking a little about how the heavy rendering approach that other Marvel and DC artists were using at the time just wouldn’t work with cel animation. Everything had to be reduced down to the bare essentials, which lit a fire under me because that was my obsession at the time.”
The comic artist was also asked about his process behind designing the characters for the iconic series when he explained that he tried to challenge himself by saying:
“‘How can I say as much as possible with just a few lines?’ I tried to focus on personality with the supporting cast and the thugs. For some, Bruce would suggest a real person as a starting point or inspiration. A tough little gun moll (Jesse) was based on Rhea Perlman. The Ventriloquist was based on George Will.”
As for collaborating with Timm, Nowlan revealed that he didn’t have much involvement beyond his initial design for the characters, save for Man-Bat:
“He’d call me up and tell me what he wanted. I’d send in a batch of drawings and that was it. There wasn’t much back and forth. Except on Man-Bat. He kept asking for him to be bigger and I couldn’t figure out how to do that. I gave him a thicker neck and a hump, but nothing seemed to work. I didn’t do any of the turnarounds, just a shot or two from the front.”
You can check out 13 of Nowlan’s character designs for Batman: The Animated Series in the gallery below.
The iconic art style of The Animated Series can be seen in the latest DC animated film Batman and Harley Quinn. The film features the voice cast of Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman, Melissa Rauch as Harley Quinn, Loren Lester as Dick Grayson a.k.a. Nightwing, Paget Brewster as Poison Ivy and Kevin Michael Richardson as Jason Woodrue a.k.a. The Floronic Man. Here’s the official synopsis:
“In Batman and Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue (a.k.a. The Floronic Man) embark on an ecological quest to save the planet – and, unfortunately, eliminate most of humankind along the way. To save humanity, Batman and Nightwing are forced to enlist Harley Quinn to catch Poison Ivy, Harley’s BFF and frequent partner-in-crime. But Batman’s patience is put to the test by the unpredictable and untrustworthy Harley during the twists and turns the reluctant companions face during their bumpy road trip. The result is a thrill ride of action, adventure and comedy no Batman fan has seen before.”
Batman and Harley Quinn is now available on Digital HD, Blu-Ray, Ultra HD and DVD.
Source: 13th Dimension