Crisis on Infinite Earths Concept Art Shows Michael Keaton as Earth-99 Batman

Today, DC released Crisis on Infinite Earths: Paragons Rising, a deluxe edition hardcover that collects the lead (and primary backup) stories from the Crisis on Infinite Earths 100-Page Giant issues that were released during the show's run on The CW. In the back, there are a lot of features, including script pages, pencil art, and a lot of concept art from the TV event. Given recent reports that veteran Batman actor Michael Keaton is in talks to return to the DC film universe in the role of Bruce Wayne, it's particularly interesting to see Keaton depicted as the Earth-99 Batman.

The actor's face is blurred, but it looks pretty clearly to be his head in the concept art by Andy Poon. The costume itself, designed by Maya Mani and evocative of the suit-and-exoskeleton look sported by the Dark Knight in Kingdom Come, looks more or less exactly like it did in the show, where the role was played by Kevin Conroy, the longtime voice of Batman in numerous animated and video game projects.

A quick message to "Crisis on Infinite Earths" showrunner Marc Guggenheim confirmed that and Keaton was not approached. The image seen in the hardcover is just Poon playing around a bit before Conroy was officially signed on for the part.

Fans will remember, though, that a photograph of Keaton's Bruce Wayne was spotted in a newspaper seen on the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" set. When the newspaper made its way to the small screen, Keaton had been removed and replaced by a drawing of Batman in a costume very similar to the one he wore in the 1989 and 1991 Batman movies in which Keaton appeared. That makes two times the art department used shots of Keaton as Bruce Wayne, but it never actually made it to the final product. If the rumors about the forthcoming The Flash movie turn out to be true, it's also a bit ironic that Keaton may appear in the closest thing the DC movies are likely to see to "Crisis" for some time.

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(Photo: DC)
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When he got his comp copy of the hardcover recently, Guggenheim tweeted that there would be behind-the-scenes extras that would get people talking. He's not wrong: besides the Keaton Easter egg, there is concept art representing unused versions of The Spectre and Harbinger, as well as one entirely new location that didn't appear on TV at all.

Crisis on Infinite Earths: Paragons Rising is available in comic shops now. You can get it next Tuesday at Amazon and other non-comics bookstores. You can watch the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" TV event on a special disc included in the Blu-rays for Arrow (already in stores) and the upcoming releases of The Flash, Batwoman, Supergirl, and DC's Legends of Tomorrow.

Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.