“We wanted to do something different”: Bruce Timm Was So Adamant on Not Copying Batman: The Animated Series He Stole the 1940’s Look of 1 DC Villain for ‘Caped Crusader’

The character, much like other aspects of Batman's mythos, got a hefty helping of the 40's aesthetic.

bruce timm, batman the animated series, batman caped crusader
Credits: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

SUMMARY

  • Bruce Timm revealed to Entertainment Weekly his inspiration for Catwoman in Batman: Caped Crusader.
  • The character was taken back to her roots, and given a look reminiscent of her appearance in the 40s.
  • She also took heavy inspiration from Jean Harrington, Barbara Stanwyck's character from the 40's screwball comedy, The Lady Eve
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Batman: The Caped Crusader has gotten fans excited about Bruce Timm’s novel take on the Dark Knight. The animated show will take Bruce Wayne and other aspects of the Batman mythos and set them in the 40s, a time when Batman’s modern gadgets and gizmos simply did not exist.

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Batman: Caped Crusader
Batman: Caped Crusader

Apart from Batman being stripped of all his gadgets, Caped Crusader will also be giving its other characters a slick 40’s makeover, among which is Selina Kyle, also known as Catwoman. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Bruce Timm, co-creator of the show, revealed how the design of Catwoman was made distinct from her previous iterations.

Batman: Caped Crusader did not want to ape Batman: The Animated Series

Catwoman | DC Comics
Catwoman | DC Comics

Bruce Timm talked about how the characters that he and his team were introducing Caped Crusader needed to be different and feel as dated as the time they were in. This would require a significant amount of change in the costumes of the characters, which is what they did, as Tim revealed to Entertainment Weekly:

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We didn’t want to do the B:TAS Catwoman or the version that Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke did in the early 2000s with the practical leather jumpsuit, which has become her default look in the comics and movies.

That’s great, I love that, but we wanted to do something different. So we thought, well, let’s go all the way back to the beginning. I love the original look that she had in the ’40s. It’s purple!

The 40’s suit that Catwoman wears is markedly different from the one that has become the norm. Batman is one of the few modern superheroes that have a history that stretches back to the 1940s, as most of  Batman’s contemporaries either came later or fell through the cracks of the comics industry. This allowed Bruce Timm and his team to peruse the comics of the time, which depicted the characters very differently as compared to how fans are familiar with them today.

Catwoman in Batman: Caped Crusader took inspiration from Barbara Stanwyck’s The Lady Eve

The first look of Bruce Timm's Batman: Caped Crusader from Amazon Prime Video
The first look of Bruce Timm’s Batman: Caped Crusader from Amazon Prime Video

Character Designer James Tucker revealed that the Catwoman of this show takes direct inspiration from The Lady Eve, a 1941 screwball comedy that starred the legendary Barbara Stanwyck as Jean Harrington, who is a con artist. Selina Kyle is described as being playful and charming in the show but is not to be underestimated by viewers or Batman. Bruce Timm, with regards to the episode she appears in, said:

That episode is very fun, but it also has moments that are really serious and dark. It’s the juxtaposition of those two things that make that episode really cool.

The show also gave characters like Clayface a classic retro vibe and decided to have more archaic takes on characters like Harley Quinn, who was not introduced into Batman mythos before the 1990s, in Timm’s Batman: The Animated Series.

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The show will be taking Batman in a novel direction. By stripping the character of all the tech that has come to define him, the story can refocus on what distinguishes Batman from any other person in a Batsuit.

 

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Written by Anuraag Chatterjee

Articles Published: 709

Anuraag Chatterjee, Web Content Writer
With a passion for writing fiction and non fiction content, Anuraag is a Media Science graduate with 2 year's experience with Marketing and Content, with 3 published poetry anthologies. Anuraag holds a Bacherlor's degree in Arts with a focus on Communication and Media Studies.