As a kid, I would gleefully plunk down my $.35 and buy any comic book that John Byrne made. Whereas I dug his MARVEL COMICS books, UNCANNY X-MEN and ALPHA FLIGHT, the most, I always wanted to see him draw BATMAN.
Mr. Byrne later wrote a series for DC COMICS with the premise that Batman and Superman’s appearance occurred at the time of the comic book publications, 1939. The GENERATIONS series then depicts how these two crime fighters mature over the years, with the stories often taking the tone of the cultural themes of the decades there are written in. Batman and Robin both age, and a new “Batman II” takes over in Gotham in the Sixties. In one chapter, Batman II and Batgirl arrive to the scene of a crime driving a Batmobile that is both new and somehow familiar…
The Lincoln Futura was a 1955 concept car, designed by Ford Motor Company and built by the legendary Italian Ghia studio. Concept cars are one-off builds, not meant for production but to showcase unique designs and features. The Pearlescent white Futura was notable for it’s twin-bubble canopy and gadget-laden cockpit. Automotive designer William M. Schmidt was inspired by the Mako Shark and Manta Ray. The Futura was so popular, toy cars were produced and a plastic model car kit was produced by Revell in 1956.
The charmed life of the Futura continued when it was purchased by MGM Studios to be featured in the 1959 film, IT STARTED WITH A KISS. The car did not film well and was painted red for production.
And then it sat.
And rotted. Forgotten.
It was then purchased by automotive painter and customizer George Barris, who used it as the basis for the 1966 BATMAN television show. With all of the numerous incarnations of the Batmobile in both print and film, the Barris design is the most recognizable Pop Culture Batmobile by car enthusiasts and most requested design in toy form. George Barris allowed one mold to be cast from the existing Batmobile to build a replica Futura, the only remaining evidence of the car in it’s original form.
This build was based on the 1990’s re-issue run of the Revell 1/25 model. The kit is a simplistic “curbside” model that creates a hollow car shell, plastic tires, a minimal interior, and two metal axels. I used Tamiya TS-15 Blue for the body colour and a slight wash of Flat Black acrylic to bring out details in the chrome grills. Bare Metal Foil was applied to the canopy to simulate the chrome details. I designed the bat symbol and printed it on clear decal film using an Ink-Jet printer.
Surprisingly, the original Futura design had never been depicted as a Batmobile before it’s appearance in the GENERATIONS storyline. This build was very straightforward, but a wonderful way to display my ongoing affection for the Futura and it’s link to Batmania.
It turns out, Mr. Byrne is also a die-hard Futura fan, citing his childhood affection for the ALP tin toy replica. Thankfully, it didn’t take much twisting to get his creative juices flowing and atomic batteries to power…