Being a superhero isn’t glamorous by any stretch of the imagination. Heroes may get to drive sweet cars and travel to exotic locations, but they pay for those perks with their bodies and in blood. Batman famously showed off his own gruesome payments in a striking Alex Ross painting, and now those scars have finally been explained.
A recently released video (via Nerdist) by Ross explains how Bruce Wayne accrued the scar tissues fans can see in “Scars.” The black-and-white illustration was released decades ago, and it has become one of the DC fandom’s most praised depiction of Batman. Now, fans have learned the picture was inspired by an older Batman tale involving Catwoman.
“I pulled [it] from a story I read as a kid; They referenced his naked back to a character that remarked it looked like a map of scars, but they didn’t show it. So, I always wondered what that would be physically. In my early 20s, I did a rough version of this piece that I would later update into a black-and-white pinup in a Batman black-and-white comic book,” Ross said.
The artist goes on to stress that there is a “toil taken when you’re made of flesh.”
“You’re going to be quite a mess after doing all this stuff,” Ross explains.
If you are curious about the story which inspired Ross to ink the striking Batman piece, then you only need to look at The Brave and the Bold #197. The comic featured a story penned by Alan Brennert and artist Joe Stanto. The piece follows Batman after he asks Catwoman to help him locate his loved ones once the Scarecrow abducted them. Batman was burned during the encounter, and Catwoman offers to treat the hero’s back and gets shocked by his grisly scars.
“Good lord,” Catwoman remarks. “All this scar tissue on your back.”
Looking down, Batman says, “Oh, that. Occupational hazard. Fifteen years of fighting will do that to a person. Sometimes, you learn to live with it.”
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