Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
Although George Barris’ Lincoln Futura concept car achieved iconic status on the 1966 Batman television series, it wasn’t the first Batmobile. That honor apparently goes to a customized 1956 Oldsmobile 88 built in a barn in New Hampshire and later sanctioned by DC Comics. And now it’s up for sale.
According to Heritage Auctions, 23-year-old Forrest Robinson began conceiving the car in 1960 — simply to drive around himself – and then enlisted his friend Len Perham to help build it. Their Batmobile, originally painted “space-age silver,” was completed in 1963, two years before Barris began work on the car for the TV show.
We’ve seen Shelf Porn collections that focused on creators like Moebius and characters like Thor recently, but this one may be a first. “My collection might be a bit different than everyone else’s as the main focus is not a character or book, but a vehicle!” said Todd, who runs the Batmobile Collector website and shares his collection of Batman’s famous vehicle with us today.
If you’d like to see your collection featured here, you can find submission details at the end of this post.
And now here’s Todd …
For Batman Day, and the start of Comic-Con International, LEGO has unleashed a one-two punch on fans of the Dark Knight: the LEGO Super Heroes: DC Comics San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive Batman Classic TV Series Batmobile and the giveaway Batman of Zur-En-Arrh minifig.
Priced at $39.99, the Batman Classic TV Series Batmobile comes with the 1960s-style Caped Crusader minifigs. While that set will be readily available this week at the LEGO booth (#2829), convention attendees will have to rely on some luck to get their hands on Batman of Zur-En-Arrh.
If everything had gone as planned, sometime Wednesday a street-legal replica of Batman’s Tumblr from Christopher Nolan’s movie trilogy would be crossing the finish line in Ibiza in a triumphant conclusion to the Gumball 3000.
Unfortunately, those plans went awry before the annual 3,000-mile motor rally even got under way last week in Miami Beach, Florida.
Legal | Eriq Gardner delves into the issues underlying the continuing legal battle over unauthorized replicas of the Batmobile from the 1966 Batman television series and the 1989 film: This summer the Ninth Circuit will consider the appeal of Gotham Garage owner Mark Towle, whose Batmobile replicas were found in February 2013 to violate DC Comics’ copyrights and trademarks. While Towle argues that Batman’s ride is a “useful article,” meaning a utilitarian object not protected by U.S. copyright law, a federal judge ruled the Batmobile is “a copyrightable character.” Gardner notes that if the appeals court sides with DC/Warner Bros., “Hollywood studios would win a powerful weapon to stop products that are similar to props like light sabers and ruby slippers.” [The Hollywood Reporter]
If Hammacher Schlemmer‘s $200,000 licensed, street-legal 1966 Batmobile is a little too cheap, or a little too dated, for your tastes, allow us to this roadworthy replica on the Tumbler from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Listed on the James Edition luxury goods website, the vehicle will only set you back … $1 million.
But, hey, it’s worth it: This concept car — it’s “inspired by the movie Batman Begins” — comes equipped with an eight-cylinder LS1 engine, four 44-inch super swamper tires with custom rims, five driver-assist cameras and a stereo with blue tooth, CD/DVD and iPod integration. Plus, it’s a limited edition; there are just five of these in the world.
OK, so that $200,000 street-legal Batmobile replica is a little bit out of your price range. It’s understandable: After all, the economy is soft and crime-fighting doesn’t pay as much as it used to. Then maybe you’d have been better suited for a “one-of-a-kind” Batman Tumbler Golf Cart.
Alas, someone just snapped it up for a Buy It Now price of $17,500, ending the eBay auction a few days early. Sure, it isn’t Warner Bros.-approved, and it doesn’t have a blinking Batphone, it does look like an adorably squat version of the vehicle from the Christopher Nolan movies. Plus, hey, four cupholders!
The other former superheroes at Gotham Acres Retirement Community will definitely be jealous when they see the Can’t-Drive-After-Dark Knight cruising around in this baby.
It doesn’t matter whether you have thousands of Batman comics and collectibles, or transform your basement into the Batcave, you’re not truly a fan until you own a licensed, roadworthy replica of the Batmobile from the 1966 television series. And it’ll only set you back $200,000.
Offered by Hammacher Schlemmer, the Authentic 1966 Batmobile comes standard “comes standard with a 430-horsepower, 383 Blueprint Crate engine and a Monster TH350 automatic transmission,” which probably means something to someone. While it isn’t equipped with atomic batteries, it does have a blinking Batphone and “a rotating red beacon.” There are also rear parachute packs, which are, alas, empty.
There’s no mention of how many miles per gallon it gets, but that’s probably not a chief concern if you have $200,000 lying around to buy a Batmobile.
Lucius Fox may have some serious competition from English designer Mark Hostler, who created a concept car to celebrate this year’s 50th anniversary of Lamborghini that bears a striking similarity to an automobile seen prowling the streets of Gotham. Or, in the words of Jamal Igle, “It’s the f*cking BATMOBILE!!!!!”
The Lamborghini Ferruccio is equipped with a 5.0-liter V12 engine featuring twin-turbochargers and a direct-injection system, although presumably it doesn’t include a mobile Batcomputer or Bat-tering Ram. Still, it’s likely only someone with Bruce Wayne’s wealth could afford it.
A federal judge on Thursday dealt a crippling blow to a custom carmarker, siding with DC Comics in a ruling that declared the Batmobile isn’t merely an automobile but “a copyrightable character.”
The publisher sued Gotham Garage owner Mark Towle in May 2011, accusing his California-based business of violating its trademarks and copyrights by manufacturing and selling unlicensed replicas of the 1966 and 1989 Batmobile. DC sought a permanent injunction, the destruction of all infringing products and damages of no less than $750,000 for each infringement.
However, Towle countered that the U.S. Copyright Act affords no protection to “useful articles,” defined as objects that have “an intrinsic utilitarian function” — for example, clothing, household appliances or, in this case, automobile functions. He failed to persuade U.S. District Judge Ronald Lew with that argument last year in a motion to dismiss, and he was no more successful this time.
Less than two weeks after the iconic vehicle from the 1966 Batman television series sold at auction for $4.62 million, a custom carmaker was arguing that a federal judge should dismiss DC Comics’ claims that his Batmobile replicas infringe on the company’s trademarks.
The publisher sued Gotham Garage owner Ben Towle in May 2011, accusing his California-based business of manufacturing and selling unlicensed replicas of the 1966 and 1989 Batmobile (the company also offers a recreation of the TV show’s Batboat). DC seeks a permanent injunction, the destruction of all infringing products and damages of no less than $750,000 for each infringement.
While Towle failed to persuade a judge in February 2012 that the complaint should be thrown out on the grounds that the U.S. Copyright Act affords no protection to “useful articles,” Law360 reports on Wednesday his attorney took a different approach, arguing that DC waited too long to assert its rights.
Ever since Rick Champagne was a kid playing with his toy replica of the Batmobile, he’s wanted to own the iconic car from the 1960s Batman television series. On Saturday, that dream at last became a reality.
The Arizona businessman, and lifelong Batman fan, shelled out $4.62 million for the customized 1955 Lincoln Futura, the second-highest amount ever paid for a vehicle at the famed Barrett-Jackson collector car auctions (a 1966 Cobra Super Snake owned by auto designer and racing driver Carroll Shelby sold for a record $5.5 million in 2007).
“I’m going to keep it at home,” Champagne told SPEED TV. “Maybe take it out for a Sunday drive.” Asked whether he’d store the Batmobile in his garage, he said he’ll probably put it in his living room.
Legal | Both Warner Bros. and automobile customizer Mark Towle have filed for summary judgment in the studio’s 2011 copyright-infringement lawsuit against Towle, whose Gotham Garage sold several replicas of the Batmobile. Warner, the parent company of DC Comics, claims the design of the Batmobile is its intellectual property, while Towle argues that copyright law does not regard a “useful object,” such as a car, as a sculptural work and therefore the design can’t be copyrighted. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Crime | Police in Lincoln, Nebraska, are investigating the theft of 600 X-Men comics, dating back to the 1970s, from the communal storage area of an apartment building. [Journal Star]
If you’re attending WonderCon this weekend, stop by the Graphitti Designs booth (#601) to get your hands on three new prints being offered by DC Direct. The prints feature the Batmobile, Batman and the City of Kandor. They cost $49.95 each and are limited to 100 of each design. According to The Source, Dc plans to offer additional prints throughout 2012.
Check out Batman and Kandor after the jump.
Sales | Sales of comic books and graphic novels to comic books stores through Diamond Comic Distributors increased 27.5 percent in January compared to the same month in 2011. Comics were up 32 percent while graphic novels were up 18 percent compared to 2011. DC Comics dominated all 10 spots at the top of the chart, with Justice League #5 coming in at No. 1. Batman: Through the Looking Glass was the top graphic novel for the month. [ICv2]
Passings | British comics artist Mike White, who illustrated Alan Moore’s The Twisted Man and numerous other stories for 2000AD, Lion, Valiant, Action and Score ‘n’ Roar, has passed away after a long illness. [Blimey!]
Publishing | Because the world demanded it, apparently, Random House plans to publish e-books of all the collected editions of Garfield newspaper comics. [Down the Tubes]