When it comes to supervillains, some of the most imaginative characters in comics can be found in Gotham City. Batman‘s enemies, based on their Batman: The Animated Series incarnations, are captured splendidly in this series of black and white paintings.
The paintings, rendered in black and white acrylic paint on 10″x10″ canvas, feature nine of the most famous Batman villains: Harley Quinn, the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, Two-Face, the Scarecrow, Catwoman, Clayface, and Poison Ivy.
The choice of a colorless, high-contrast style delivers a high-impact piece of wall art, which the artist appears to have placed in his dining area behind the table.
Batman: The Animated Series, which ran from 1992 to 1995, was the first cartoon in the DC animated universe, which also featured Superman: The Animated Series and the Justice League cartoons. Winner of two separate Emmy Awards, the series featured several well-known actors to provide the villains’ voices, most notably Star Wars star Mark Hamill as the cheerfully insane Joker.
Adrienne Barbeau, known early on for her portrayal as Rizzo in the film version of the musical Grease, provided the voice of Catwoman, Batman’s first female adversary. The Catwoman painting is, unfortunately, one of the most disappointing of this series, due to some shaky linework and wonky propotions.
The portrait of Harley Quinn could also stand to improve a little. The face is just a little too cartoony and comes out looking more like a character out of an early comic strip.
However, the artist redeems himself with excellent portrayals of many of the other villains.
Clayface, voiced by Hellboy‘s Ron Perlman, is very well-rendered. The linework is pristine and the high-contrast style is manages to capture the texture of his head very nicely.
The Riddler is played in the series by John Glover, who continued his work in the DC franchise as Lex Luthor’s father, Lionel, in the Smallville series. Here, the painting captures the animated character wearing his signature bowler hat and eyemask. Unlike the goofy Jim Carrey incarnation, the Riddler in this series was a smooth, calculating genius who presented puzzles that were genuinely hard to solve, providing Batman with a much more significant challenge.
The Penguin is also fairly well done, although I’m disappointed that his signature monocle isn’t very visible.
My favorite in the portrait series is Two-Face, hands down. Unlike the others, you can’t see the character’s mouth. The viewer has no idea if he is displaying a devious smile or grimacing horribly, either of which would be perfectly believable for the notoriously unpredictable character.