NYCC 2012: Jim Lee Unveils A Sweet Batman Inspired Car

Photo credit: Craig Barritt/Getty Images for DC Entertainment

Though New York Comic Con doesn’t officially kick off until later today, the unofficial kick-off already happened yesterday at the Time Warner Center, where Jim Lee and company unveiled the Batmobile.

Okay, that’s not completely accurate: it’s a Batman inspired Kia car, which will later be auctioned off to benefit DC Entertainment’s “We Can Be Heroes” campaign to help stop hunger in the Horn of Africa. The packed event was held in the lobby of the massive Time Warner Center, with press and patrons buzzing around. After a slight delay, the guys in charge of the campaign jumped up to talk a bit about the project, and the collaboration with DC, while Batman writer Scott Snyder (and wife), Bob Wayne, and more stood by excitedly, waiting for the unveiling of the car.

The Batman inspired vehicle is actually just the first DC car to be unveiled… Over the course of the next year, cresting in San Diego Comic Con 2013, DCE and Kia will reveal a new car inspired by every member of the Justice League (yes, even Aquaman), until there’s the final reveal of a car inspired by the team as a whole. After that, the cars will go to charity, so yay for charity!

Then it was over to Jim Lee who, true to form, skipped the podium and addressed the crowd directly. We got a chance to chat with one on one after the unveiling, and here’s what he had to say (and then stay tuned for some sweet car pictures below):

Photo credit: Craig Barritt/Getty Images for DC Entertainment

MTV Geek: How did you get involved with this, Jim? How did you end up making a car?

Jim Lee: I would stare at the car, they would bring it into the parking garage… But this one was a little different. All the cars took different journeys in terms of conception to execution… This one they actually had the idea of it being Bruce Wayne’s daily driver. That was an interesting take, but it kind of worked against the fiction that it WAS part of the fiction, right? These cars are not meant to be part of the fiction, they’re inspired by the characters.

I like a lot of the stuff they did with it… The finish, that’s what they started out with. They said, “Let’s do a two-tone thing,” the shiny part represented the cape, and now we’re kind of getting to where we needed to be creatively on this project, which is to evoke the characters, not necessarily create a Batmobile.

I personally like two-tone cars, and the way they were able to apply that gloss finish on the side, and put that big Batman logo on, I think they did an awesome job with it. They spent forty hours, at least, working on that front part of the grill. The backs are custom made, and it’s very aggressive brooding, menacing look, which is obviously classic Batman.

Geek: You’ve been wearing a lot of different hats for a very long time, but this is a… I don’t know what the hat metaphor is, but this is definitely a new one.

Lee: [Laughing] That’s what I was saying! I start of the Con, trying to cram – I’ve got all these things I need to talk about in terms of publishing, and here I am talking about cars! But I think it’s an important one, because it is very casual fan accessible; people are so into cars. If we can get people into the We Can Be Heroes campaign through the combination of cars and superheroes, it’s a great opportunity, so I wanted to be part.

So it’s something new! Every show, there’s something different going on. It speaks to the power of the characters we work on.

Geek: Did you get to drive this around at all?

Lee: No! It’s not street legal. None of the cars are street legal… Obviously they can drive them to this location, but with all the mods and stuff, they aren’t.

Geek: Did you have any thoughts about making the spoiler look like Spoiler?

Lee: [Laughs] Yeah, that would be awesome! But Spoiler’s not really part of the New 52 continuity, so…

Geek: Was there anything you really pushed for that didn’t make it into the car? Rockets, maybe?

Lee: This one was pretty good. Batman has a more street level power base, so we couldn’t get too crazy with ideas. But when you get to someone like Cyborg, Aquaman, even Green Lantern… There’s some pretty interesting elements, neon color treatments, lighting, that kind of thing. Hopefully we’ll make it to production.

That’s the thing, all these cars are in different states of production, and we have these initial ideas, concepts of what can we done, but then they have to be made around the constraints of budget, timing, materials, whether the cars are actually transportable… You can produce something so delicate it actually falls off the car in transit. There’s a lot of things I learned about the whole process of doing things like this that was very educational.

So that was our chat with Lee! As you’ll see in the pictures, the car has a Jim Lee original sketch on the rear windshield, Batman inspired headlights and grill, and there’s even a Batarang compartment in the car. Oh, and it was showing The Dark Knight in the back seat monitor, so that was pretty adorable.

Photo credit: Craig Barritt/Getty Images for DC Entertainment
Photo credit: Craig Barritt/Getty Images for DC Entertainment

The Batman-inspired car will be on display in the South wing of the Time Warner Center through Sunday, October 14.