The CW’s Arrowverse dramas have an impressive six-year history of remaining faithful to the source material in their costume designs. Oh, sure, comics fans inevitably quibble with details, like Oliver Queen’s mask (or lack thereof), or the material of Barry Allen’s iconic red suit, in general, the visual journey from page to screen has been crowd-pleasing. That continues with the first look at Ruby Rose as Batwoman, which may present the network’s most comics-accurate costume to date.
With few, and relatively minor, changes, the design by acclaimed costume designer Colleen Atwood (The Flash, Alice in Wonderland) brings to life the comics costume originally envisioned by Alex Ross, and later redesigned by J.H. Williams III.
Ross initially created the costume in the late 1990s for a Batgirl comic series, starring Barbara Gordon, that he and Batman: The Animated Series writer/producer Paul Dini proposed to DC. The publisher passed on the pitch, but when it was prepared to introduce a new Batwoman in 2006, editors turned to Ross to modify his design for Kate Kane. Most notably, the mask was altered and the cape shortened.
When, in 2009, Batwoman was given a starring role in Detective Comics, Williams kept the overall look, but made several significant modifications, most notably to the mask, boots and cape. And while the costume was depicted as dark blue with red accents in her initial appearances in DC’s New 52, it was black and red in Detective Comics.
Atwood’s black-and-red version falls somewhere in between the two, featuring a mask that looks as if it may break away from the cowl, and a large, red bat-emblem on the chest. The cape is shorter, similar to Ross’ design, but instead of a flat red, it’s a blend of black and shimmering crimson, presumably intended to pick up light and better convey movement on camera.
The boots and gloves, too, have changed for television; formerly red, they’re now black with color accents. As in the comics, Batwoman’s utility belt hangs at a slight angle on the hips, but it’s missing all but a couple of compartments or pouches, which no doubt would have been a little bulky in live-action.
Unlike the comics, live-action television and film have to be mindful of practical matters, like design materials, the actor’s freedom of movement, and real-world lighting. For Batwoman, Atwood employs rubber, or at least rubber-like, pieces on the chest, hips and biceps, which serve to give the costume additional definition, while both suggesting body armor and reflecting light.
Production begins today in Vancouver on “Elseworlds,” this year’s Arrowverse crossover, which means photos of Rose’s Batwoman will likely leak soon from the set, giving us an idea of how the costume works in action.
The three-night “Elseworlds,” which introduces Ruby Rose as Batwoman, aka Kate Kane, kicks off Sunday, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW. Production begins today in Vancouver, British Columbia. That’s expected to be followed in 2019 by a Batwoman pilot.
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