When thinking about iconic pieces of superhero television, Batman: The Animated Series is typically one of the first that comes to mind. The classic cartoon defined the Dark Knight for a generation through its mature storytelling, darker tone and reverence to the source material. Another signature element of the show is its character designs, which have become widely recognizable to fans. Well now, the characters’ looks have gotten a sleek update thanks to a video game veteran.
Rafael Grassetti, who served as the art director for 2018’s God of War, has digitally reimagined the characters of Batman: The Animated Series. In a recent Instagram post, he unveiled new designs for the titular hero and various members of his rogues’ gallery. Check out the cool images down below:
As a fan of BTAS, it’s almost impossible not get excited when seeing these images. Even though Grassetti translated the characters to a 3-D format, he still managed to retain their key, physical traits. The accuracy of each one’s attire is particularly cool.
In addition to creating individual portraits for each player, Rafael Grassetti also released a one-sheet featuring all of them together, and the image is truly stunning.
When Batman: The Animated Series debuted on Fox in 1992, fans were likely expecting it to follow in the footsteps of Tim Burton’s work. While the show would utilize Danny Elfman’s signature theme, it managed to step out of Burton's cinematic shadow and forge its own path.
BTAS would eventually go on to kickstart what is now known as the DC Animated Universe, which consists of shows like Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond and Justice League. Many of these successors would also draw in fans and have continued to do so even after the franchise’s conclusion in 2006.
Of course, two of the greatest gifts Batman: The Animated Series gave fans are Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, who voiced Batman and the Joker, respectively. Conroy’s stoic and sincere delivery as the Caped Crusader has become a staple in DC Comics lore. Meanwhile, Hamill’s playful (and sometimes frightening) rendition of Joker is considered by many to be the gold standard for portraying the Clown Prince of Crime. When looking at Rafael Grassetti’s renderings of the two, one can’t help but hear their voices ringing in the ears.
Grassetti’s art is a testament to the enduring legacy of Batman: The Animated Series. Despite having premiered nearly 30 years ago, it continues to inspire new generations of storytellers. And when you have artists like Grassetti churning out content like this, you have to be thankful for what the show has done. Let’s hope we get so more cool art like this in the near future.
Batman: The Animated Series is now streaming in its entirety on DC Universe.