Updated: May 30, 2020
BATMAN ANIMATION ART GALLERY #04
Pretty much everybody knows what Batman looks like: pointy ears, menacing cowl, voluminous cape and big bat symbol on his chest. But the Dark Knight's been around for more than 75 years, with hundreds—maybe even thousands—of people drawing the iconic superhero through the decades. So let's round up some of the people who've been behind Batman's biggest shifts in appearance as a crimefighter.
The man credited with creating Bruce Wayne and his famous alter ego wasn't much of a draftsman. And he was an exploitative egomaniac who claimed the creations of others as his own. While DC Comics has long credited Kane with Batman's creation, there's been a long-running debate about the input of original Batman writer Bill Finger, including assertions that, even though it was Kane's drawings of Batman that the world first saw, Finger helped shape the character's look.
Part of the 1940s coterie of artists churning out comic books and newspaper strips featuring Batman, Sprang drew a gregarious, barrel-chested Batman who smiled often through colorful adventures. Sprang drew Batman for a long, long time; it's very likely that this was the Caped Crusader your grandpa grew up on.
Mike Sprang, Robinson came up working under Kane. But he was among the first of many Bat-artists to wield first-rate skills when drawing Batman's world. Robinson's Batman was leaner and more athletic than those who came before and swung through a world rich with detail.
One of the longest-tenured artists in Batman history, Aparo drew a fundamentally sound yet dramatic Batman who was constantly in full-on superhero mode, whether in team-ups with other characters or on his own. Aparo's art was ubiquitous in the 1970s and 1980s and defined the character for a generation.
The 1990s were a decade where new characters, gadgets and villains showed up in rapid succession to the Bat-books and something about Breyfogle's art synced so well with the era it was appearing in. His sleek angular linework joined up with an intuitive sense of when to detail something out and when drench it in shadow. The legendary artist has recently fallen ill and you can contribute to his health-related expenses here.
Best known as the man who gave Batman a yellow oval around his Bat-symbol, Infantino's "New Look" signified a distinct break with the Kane-sanctioned styles of Sprang and Robinson. Infantino's work brought Batman a little closer to realism than the more cartoony styles that preceded it.