Batgirl: The Dark Knight Damsel Returns

(G; Superhero) A 55-year-old Barbara Gordon comes out of crime fighting retirement.

Poster Notes

My entry for this year's Dark Knight on a Dark Night exhibit at Hub Comics. Original art is ink on paper, 16x20 inches, all traditional, clumsily colored with Photoshop and a Wacom. Digital print by Colortek of Boston.

Frank Miller's graphic novel series Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is about a 55-year-old Bruce Wayne pulled from his ten-year retirement as Batman in 1986. My version stars a 55-year-old Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, as played by Yvonne Craig. Her physique is based on how Yvonne looked at 55 years old, and the current Cynthia Rothrock.

Pose and sequence are inspired by Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (first issue, page 34). Dimensions are wider than the normal 2:3 ratio to fit the 16x20 inch picture frame. The wider image allowed me up to realign the TV news panels from vertical to horizontal. The Batgirl logo is an emulation of Batman: Dark Knight Returns, designed by Richard Bruning. When I asked him what fonts he used, he said "BATMAN" is likely Univers, and "The Dark Knight" is Empire. My script is a gender-swapped version of Frank Miller's. I put Batgirl's rant in thought balloons instead of caption boxes; like the original, our heroine isn't narrating from the future. I'm convinced the only reason Miller put Batman's thoughts in boxes is because 1980s editors felt thought balloons looked too juvenile. In another departure from the original, I put the TV monologues in old-school electronic speech bursts in the panels for a cleaner, more coherent page design.

Tools and Materials

  • Blick Black Cat india ink
  • Short-handle round #2 sable brush
  • Ruling pen (borders)
  • Speedball nib #512 (straight lines, details)
  • Speedball B6 and B5 1/2 (lettering)
  • Ames Lettering Guide (4.0 even-spaced)
  • Adobe Illustrator (logo)
  • Adobe Photoshop (production, color)

Dave M!

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