Comic book writer/artist Alex Ross has revealed his inspiration for the iconic drawing of a scarred Bruce Wayne. With a career spanning nearly 30 years, Ross is a legend in the comics scene. Having worked for DC, Marvel and several other publishers, Ross has created some of the most iconic interpretations of popular characters in his covers, interiors and other illustrations.
One of his well-known pieces of Batman features a black-and-white rendition of Bruce Wayne showing off a back covered with scars. In a new video released on his YouTube channel, Ross explains exactly where the inspiration for that image came from.
Originally appearing in the Batman: Black and White anthology, the picture in question was one of Ross’ early takes on Batman and featured Bruce Wayne examining his shoulder while showing off a multitude of older scars that covered his back. According to Ross, the inspiration for this piece actually came from a story he’d read as a child which Nerdist identified as part of The Brave and the Bold #197. The story featured Batman and Catwoman, who had teamed up to find some of Batman’s missing friends. Batman is burned during the adventure, and Catwoman is going to treat the injuries when she sees his scars for the first time. Of course, artist Joe Stanton didn’t actually show the scars in the comic. As Ross put it:
“One of the first concepts I did for a DC illustration of Batman, before I’d even done many pictures of him in full costume, was this pin-up of him showing the scars on his back, which I pulled from a story I read as a kid that they referenced his naked back to a character that remarked it looked like a map of scars, but they didn’t show it. So, I always wondered what that would be physically. So, in my early 20s I did a rough version of this piece that I would later update into a black-and-white pin-up in the Batman: Black and White comic book.”
Batman’s scars had been referenced after the initial reference, though they were still never actually shown. Ross was the first to highlight the scars, giving fans a good look at just how much damage Batman’s war on crime had done over the years. The scars remained a major part of the character for years, even appearing or being referenced in some of the Batman films. They were removed as part of a recent storyline, however.
It’s always interesting to see an artist reflecting on an early piece of work, especially when the piece in question ended up being a major part of a larger lore. In the case of Ross’ scarred Batman, the image went on to become the definitive view of Bruce Wayne’s “map of scars.” Just imagine what most other artists would give to create something that iconic so early in their careers.
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