In 1964, editor Julius Schwartz took over stewardship of the Batman titles (which, to tell you how long ago this was, consisted only of ‘Batman’ and ‘Detective Comics’) and brought in new artists and writers to usher in a new era of Batman tales.  This ‘New Look Batman’ was one of the factors that led to the Adam West series of 1966, but it also became a major breaking point for Batman stories, in that they added the yellow oval around Batman’s pectoral bat.  I’ve known far too many people who complain that this is an “unrealistic” choice for a creature of the night, and Frank Miller even made it a minor plot point in ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ (“Can’t armor my head!”).  Still, by the time I started reading comics in the very early 80s, it was an accepted part of the Earth-1 Batman suit, to the point where I’ve never thought he looked quite right without one.  These days, depending on the artist and the intent of the story, the oval seems to come and go, which leads us to today’s symbolic query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) should also point out the theory that the oval made the symbol somehow uniquely trademarkable is itself apocryphal, asking: How do you like YOUR Dark Knight: New Look Batman yellow oval or NO yellow oval?

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

4 Comments

  1. Daniel Langsdale on

    I honestly don’t ever really notice the difference unless someone points it out. I think I’m much more bothered by those little hooks on his forearms; they just seem goofy to me.

    • actually after a quick think, i think oval might win out. Jim Aparo really knew how to milk that “batman in silhouette with the yellow oval poking out from underneath the cape” imagery.

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