Batman (Danny Elfman)

Tim Burton's 1989 production of "Batman" was his third collaboration with the Oingo Boingo composer Danny Elfman--a risky choice for a major blockbuster production--but one that paid off. Elfman's score is a seminal work, redefining what a modern superhero score could be, a decade after Williams' iconic and romantic "Superman". This score is a favorite of mine, cementing Elfman's dark, gothic style, while also displaying his quirky side for the Joker's macabre waltzes. Featuring some stunning highlights, and a grand finale that brilliantly merges the minor and major tonalities that perfectly encapsulate the Dark Knight, a theme and sound that remain iconic to this day.

When I decided to get back into the custom cover business, this was my first major project. A friend asked me to provide him with a different cover to replace the iconic, but rather dreary original album cover. Since this film has been out for over 30 years, fortunately there was a lot of terrific poster artwork to choose from. Since I could not just pick one, and was salivating at the idea of re-working some of these images--I decided to do a whole series of covers for the film. Which frankly was the birthplace of the idea of doing multiple covers for every project on this site, whenever possible, rather than just posting a single image. 

The original cover features the film still of the Batwing silhouetted against the moon. Great and iconic image. Unfortunately the image quality is very poor, and the text choices are very odd. Perhaps a product of its time. In 2010, La-La Land Records released a 2-disc "Expanded Archival Collection", which generally used the same cover design, though zoomed in, with higher quality art, their proprietary border design, but still the same awkward text (at least in the 21st century we no longer have to advertise it being "A Digital Recording"!). 

I decided to do an alternate of this expanded version for those who own that LLL set. I kept some parts of the image, but tried to enhance the image quality by adding new detail to the moon and the Batwing itself as this portion of the image is quite grainy. I also added the film title in a more prominent fashion, and changed the size and position of the additional text, while keeping the same font. Did my best to recreate the LLL border and titling.

Next I found this awesome unused poster which features Jack Nicholson's Joker painted within Batman's shadow. Oddly, the design of Batman is very cartoonish, in fact, resembling his look from the Animated Series. Also found this alternate which is the same basic image, but the Batman painting is made to look more realistic, though the colors don't quite match. I'm not sure if this was an alternate poster design, or whether this was a later fan-made alteration. I wasn't sure which version I preferred, each has its pro's and con's. I ended up resizing both version to try to match them up and overlay them, and I found it actually created a striking new while, which I dug, keeping the noirish silhouette of the cartoon, but adding back in some more realistic details for the face. Makes for a very different style cover art, but one which is very moody and still captures well the tone of the film.

Not sure the artist of this poster, but I definitely love the Drew Struzan-esque style. Besides a bit of resizing and cropping to fit the square design, this was relatively simple to execute.

Mondo artist Ken Taylor made this awesome poster. Aside from a few minor color tweaks, and titling, this was relatively simple--always a blessing to be gifted with amazing artwork that crops fairly easily into a square cover design (I cheated the ceiling arch a little bit keep the proscenium better composed for this shape). Cutting out the playing cards was a simple but nice touch to give it all a bit of 3D perspective.

Another great Mondo product, this time, borrowing Kilian Eng's incredible Batwing painting used for the Vinyl album release. I adore the starkness of the image, and Mondo's vinyls are known for their graphic, minimalist style. I nevertheless added some text, for those with a digital collection who would like a slightly more traditional cover. 

The original poster for the film is iconic blockbuster marketing at its best. Punchy and minimalist and striking. There have been endless fan covers done using the Batlogo, for good reason. However, I was intrigued by the negative space created within the black bat crest itself. I tried a few different designs or what could be inserted into this area--but ultimately I chose this image of Gotham city--a matte painting used in the film. Had to make some edits to the skyline to get it to fit inside the frame, but hopefully my cloning job isn't too noticeable.

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