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Book Review: Batmobile: The Complete History

Posted on Monday, July 2 @ 12:16:51 PST by
Following the excellent Dark Knight Manual (read our review here), Insight Editions was kind enough to send along their second celebratory tome of Batman excellence. This time it takes the form of Batmobile: The Complete History. Let's take a look inside and then check out the review.


The first thing I noticed when I cracked the spine on Batmobile: The Complete History, is that it does away with the inner-monologue and alternate-reality The Dark Knight Manual tries to establish in its presentation. In the same way a book about high-end automobiles speaks frankly and in great detail about the Porches or Ferraris within, The Complete History treats the Batmobile like a cheetah: with respect.

The book opens with a discussion between recently retired DC Comics President Nathan Crowley and Christopher Nolan's production lead for the most recent Batman films. Crowley jokes of driving the Tumbler:

I drove the Tumbler but I would have loved to have driven it off the compound and onto the freeway, to get in the fast lane and go up behind someone. It's wider than a truck and they can barely see you, you're so low. That would be anyone's dream.

It's the dream that fuels what's great about The Complete History. Detailing the inception of the Batmobile and all its forms, Insight has managed to create a hybrid of sorts. It's an auto-enthusiasts nerdy fantasy. It's a geeky topic the comic book fans can share with the auto-fetishists. The Complete History drips with the fantasy of driving a Batmobile down the street and parking it in your drive-way.

Apparently, that's not a new idea, no matter how novel it seemed to me when I was told I could win the Batmobile fresh off the production of Batman Forever. It was a dream deferred when, as a child, I thought Drew Carrey had won the contest, subsequently showing off the coveted car on his TV show.


That dream has long since passed, and the realities of car ownership have set in. My car's dashboard would never read "Batscanner" or "Automatic Tire Repair" or "Detect-A-Scope" like it did Adam West's Batmobile. I thought the wireless Blutooth in my 2012 Toyota Corolla was cool.

Still, something's been stirred up inside of me after dedicatedly pouring my eyes over every word and image in The Complete History. Maybe it was the production art you see above or the fact that even Mr. Freeze's gaudy disaster-mobile got a full two-page spread.

There's love for the cars in here and seeing them all lined up is a reminder that they actually exist... that they could sit in your drive way... that you could drive one of them.

Batmobile: The Complete History is available from Insight Editions now and has a list price of $35.00. Remember to check out our review of The Dark Knight Manual for a coffee table we need right now, and maybe deserve later.
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