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Sean Gordon Murphy Talks Designing a New Batmobile for BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT

Sean Gordon Murphy draws the best wheels in comic books. Just look at the vehicles in Punk Rock Jesus or Tokyo Ghost–it’s clear that Sean Gordon Murphy spends a lot of time thinking about how to design the wheels of any given motorcycle or car. “A lot of artists, when they draw cars, the tires and wheels aren’t quite correct and don’t touch the ground in the right way, which as a snob kinda bothered me,” Murphy said when got him on the phone to talk about the Batmobile in his new book, Batman: White Knight. Being a self-described “snob” about cars comes from Murphy’s own personal love with car culture in general. If you follow him on social media, you know he’s a bit obsessed.

Fortunately for Batman fans, this obsession with “getting cars right” has led Murphy to putting some serious thought into designing a new Batmobile. “I brought some specific stuff, like from F-1 cars,” he said of the new design. “I wanted my Batmobile to be a cross between a rock tumbler and a sports car, like you would see elements from a Ferrari and a Humvee. This is very different Batmobile. No matter what I threw at it, I wanted to keep classic elements. I wanted it to have the Keaton Batmobile [from Tim Butron’s 1989 Batman] profile.”

Murphy thinks about just every element of the vehicle, even ones readers may never see. For instance, he can tell you what kind of mirrors the car has and what sort of engine is under the hood (“specifically, I picked out a Ferrari engine”). He noted that when a friend showed Tokyo Ghost to a non-comic reader, he was able to spot all sorts of real car elements in the vehicles that populate that series. “They said, ‘This artist has a particular taste in cars,'” Murphy said. Clearly, hat newcomer was right.

While the story takes place in modern day Gotham, Murphy leans heavily into the past when it comes to look and design.A lot of these cars are from the 1970s, an era of automobiles that Murphy adores. “I like looking at Chevy Novas,” Murphy said. “So why not?”

Still, Murphy has an appreciation for cars across generations–especially when it comes to Batmobiles. Murphy is a big fan of the cinematic versions, from Keaton’s Batmobile, to the tumblers that Christian Bale’s Batman drove in The Dark Knight trilogy, to what he affectionately refers to as the “Batfleck” version. Murphy noted that all the driving scenes in Christopher Nolan’s flicks were especially well done: “I’m always impressed how great everything looks in those movies.”


Drawing awesome cars is a science, for sure, and Murphy has it dialed. “I think a lot of artists skimp on cars a little bit, so I try to make a point to do it over the top,” he said. This has led to Murphy being known as “The Car Guy” in comics, which he has no problem with. “Nobody had really taken up that mantle in comics and eventually people started calling me ‘the Car Guy’ or ‘the Motorcycle Guy.’ That’s a thing I’m happy to run with.”

There are perks to having an obsession with cars and drawing one of the most iconic fictional characters ever. Murphy recently purchased a 1978 Datsun, which he works on in his spare time. In Batman: White Knight, Nightwing drives the exact same car, which Murphy says now allows him to say his car is officially a Batmobile. “Maybe it’ll raise the value of my car and make it not such a money pit,” he laughed.

Batman: White Knight #1 hits comic shops this October, but you can get a look at some pages below, as well as Murphy’s designs for the new Batmobile. It’s beautiful stuff and we can’t wait to see more.

Images: Sean Gordon Murphy/DC Comics


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