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The Dark Knight Meets Pop Art: Andy Warhol and His Fascination with Batman


 

Andy Warhol, a major figure in the art world for his pop art, was an early Batman fan.
Perhaps you might think that Andy Warhol would be a source for some original Batman T Shirts? After all he was a comic book reader from a young age.

Photo Andy Warhol as Robin and Nico as Batman.

Andy Warhol as Robin and Nico as Batman.
1966 Aug Esquire Magazine: Remember the Sixties

Well, not exactly. However, Andy Warhol’s Pop art look from the 1960s and 1970s has inspired a number of Batman t shirt designs. But he never actually created a Batman design for a t shirt.

This Pop art from Andy Warhol has inspired a number of Batman t shirts

Andy Warhol  Marilyn Monroe Series

Andy Warhol  Marilyn Monroe Series

 

Andy Warhol Cat series /  1968 Che Guerva Series

Andy Warhol Cat series /  1968 Che Guerva Series

 

 If  he were living today, we hope he would be pleased by the number of Batman t shirts sporting designs that are obviously inspired by his pop 1960’s screen printed artwork of celebrities and common animals, as well as every day Campbell soup cans.

 

Andy Warhol Pop art inspired Batman t shirt designs

These are not vintage T shirts
Andy Warhol Pop art inspired : Batman Dracula on black t shirt
Andy Warhol inspired pop art look: Batman iconic logo on white t shirt

 

1962  Andy Warhol Campbell Soup Can of Beef Noodle

1962  Andy Warhol Campbell Soup Can of Beef Noodle

 

Bat Soup   Batman t-shirt by Martyn Dawson

Bat Soup   Batman t-shirt by Martyn Dawson

This Batman t-shirt by Martyn Dawson aka Stationjack, is a parody of Andy Warhol's soup cans.

Warhol read and collected comic books as a child growing up in the immigrant slums of Pittsburgh. Elaine Finsilver, one of Warhol's roommates when he lived at 103rd Street, NYC, had a vague recollection of Warhol reading comics when he lived at that address.
warholstars.org

In the 1960’s the comic strip characters he borrowed for his 1960s canvases included Superman, Popeye and Dick Tracy. He appears to be the first painter to directly reference the Dark Knight with a 1961 Batman canvas.  Unfortunately we could not find an image of this early Batman work.

Warhol, intrigued by contemporary trends, was drawn to the humorous, vivacious, and entertaining qualities of a 1943 Batman film which may have been Batman’s first screen appearance as the Caped Crusader of Gotham City. Inspired, Warhol made a short campy black and white movie in 1964 called Batman Dracula combining the iconic aspects of Batman with that of the legendary vampire. This an experimental cinematic interpretation of Batman’s character and could be considered a Batman fan film directed by Warhol. It was an emblem of his extraordinary viewpoint on popular culture and how he fused seemingly dissimilar components to craft stimulating and at times comical works of art. Some people believe that Warhol’s interpretation of the character actually had an impact on the 1966 iconic Batman series starring Adam West as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Burt Ward as Dick Grayson/Robin.

Lithograph of Andy Warhol Batman 1964 original poster

Italian Exhibition Pop Art Poster 1997
Lithograph of Andy Warhol Batman 1964 original poster

This unauthorized, innovative, avant-garde movie directed by Andy Warhol, starred Jack Smith, a frequent collaborator and friend of Warhol's, as both Batman and Dracula. The film is silent and in black and white. According to Warhol, the movie was created as an "homage" to the Batman comic series, but it was not authorized by DC Comics. The comic company objected to the unlicensed adaptation of one of its most popular characters. It never went on sale because of its unapproved usage of the Batman character and was screened only at a few Warhol's art exhibits before DC Comics shut it down completely. It has remained largely obscure. At the time of Warhol's death, Batman Draculawas considered lost. However, about 40% of the film has been collected and compiled

Publicity shots from a 1966 article in Esquire Magazine depects Andy Warhol, as Robin and Nico as Batman have shown up printed onto T shirts.

Photoshoot 1964  Batman Dracula  Andy Warhol/ Batman & Nico /Robin

1966 Esquire Magazine article: Remember the Sixties
Andy Warhol as Robin / Nico as Batman
Photographer: Frank Bez

 

Batman t shirt design with Andy Warhol as Batman and Nico as Robin taken from an image during 1964 Batman Dracula filming

Batman t shirt design taken from images in Esquite Magazine 1966 Aug article with Andy Warhol as Robin & Nico as Batman

In recent times, the Andy Warhol Foundation has put in a lot of effort to honor Warhol's memory and make sure his art remains visible to all. To this end, the foundation has formed partnerships with diverse organizations and granted permission for Warhol's recognizable designs to be used on various goods. However there are no Batman themed creations.

Deconstructing Andy Warhol's Batman/Dracula

 



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