George Clooney's Batman nipple suit is up for auction and the starting bid sits at $40,000. Heritage Auctions has the costume from Batman & Robin there for the taking from July 22-23. The 1997 feature's suit has been hotly debated over the decades. Joel Schumacher decided to go in a very different direction for his take on The Caped Crusader. Now, the conversation has shifted a bit as other iterations of Batman have hit the big screen. Also coloring the public perception is Schumacher's death recently. Now, there are a lot more people willing to reevaluate their response to Batman & Robin especially. Will one of those fans be the one to plunk down $40,000 or more for the Clooney Batsuit? Who knows? But, the opportunity to own a distinct part of the character's legacy that will instantly begin a conversation is here for one lucky fan.
"This is easily the most famous – and infamous – Batman costume ever designed, as evidenced by the fact that all these years later, it continues to make headlines every time Tim Burton and George Clooney get asked about it," Heritage Auction's executive vice president Joe Maddalena wrote in his statement. "But to his credit, Joel Schumacher never apologized for the 'Bat-nipples.' In fact, he once told Vice, 'I'm still glad we did it.' And I am just as glad we have the chance now to offer this piece of cinema history to someone who can appreciate the costume as much as Schumacher clearly did."
Not too long ago, costume designer Jose Fernandez spoke to MEL Magazine about making the iconic costumes and the reaction to them.
"With Val Kilmer's suit in Batman Forever, the nipples were one of those things that I added," Fernandez explained to the outlet. "It wasn't fetish to me, it was more informed by Roman armor — like Centurions. And, in the comic books, the characters always looked like they were naked with spray paint on them — it was all about anatomy, and I like to push anatomy. I don't know exactly where my head was at back in the day, but that's what I remember. And so, I added the nipples. I had no idea there was going to end up being all this buzz about it."
Audiences were mostly oblivious to the nods. Schumacher fully supported the decision and even went so far as to lean into the nipple design harder in Batman & Robin.
"Well, in the first one, they were just a little blob of clay. It was subtle -- it was a blip," the designer remembered. "But for Batman & Robin, Joel Schumacher loved the nipples, so he said, 'Let's showcase them.' Schumacher wanted them sharpened, like, with points. They were also circled, both outer and inner -- it was all made into a feature of the Batsuit. I didn't want to do it, but he's the boss, so we sharpened them, circled them and it all became kind of ridiculous."
Would you want to own the Clooney Batsuit? Let us know down in the comments!