Tip of the Quill: A Journal
Why does Batman have pupils?

I have not yet seen Batman Begins – some friends of mine and I are going to see it in IMAX this week – but I’ve been following the previews and the buzz pretty closely, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to this. I was a big fan of Tim Burton’s Batman back in 1989, and I remember hoping against hope that the Schumacher films wouldn’t suck as badly as they did. To be fair, I still enjoy Jim Carrey as The Riddler, but Batman and Robin was such utter excrement that I can barely watch Batman Forever without wincing in anticipation. I definitely prefer the Frank Miller dark-and-gritty Batman (which Burton used) to the bright-and-cheery Batman of the 1950s (which Schumacher abused).
Wow, I think I just outed myself as a bigger comic book geek than I usually let on around here. 🙂
Anyway, something’s been bugging me for the last couple of movies. Batman shouldn’t have pupils. In the comics and the cartoons, One of the hallmarks of Batman’s costume is the plain white eyes. While I appreciate that eyes are the most expressive element on a character, and it’s impossible to widen the eye holes on a real-life cowl the way they do in the comics, there’s also a reason people wear sunglasses to avoid being recognized – the eyes are the most recognizable part of a person. You can’t tell me Katie Holmes wouldn’t recognize Christian Bale in that getup… At least not without blocking the eyes.
Also, the eye screens in the Batsuit would allow for certain heads-up display capabilities, something they get into in the comics and cartoons all the time. There’s a great new article over at howstuffworks.com on how the Batsuit works, which shows that the new movie’s costume designers put a lot of serious effort into figuring out how a real-life Bruce Wayne would build a custom suit of armor, and I have a hard time believing that he wouldn’t want something that important in his arsenal, or the extra added protection of his identity.
To illustrate, I’ve done a quick Photoshop hack. Observe. First, the original:


And now my more “comic-accurate” version:

Batman, Edited

As is plainly evident here in Figure 2, Batman looks a little stranger with the triangular plain white eyes, but at the same time he looks more alien and less like a dork in an expensive Halloween costume. See? Batman shouldn’t have pupils. Aside from Robin, of course.