Dig DREW STRUZAN’s Gorgeous Preliminary Sketch for His Famed 1977 BATMAN Poster

A BIRTHDAY SALUTE to an artistic superstar…

UPDATED 3/18/23: Drew Struzan turns 76! Jim Beard has written a terrific piece spotlighting 13 BRILLIANT MOVIE POSTERS by the artist, which you should check out here. You’ll be glad you did! But it’s also the perfect time to re-present this 2022 piece about my own favorite Struzan work. Dig it. — Dan

One of my most treasured Batman collectibles growing up was Thought Factory’s 1977 Batman poster. I don’t recall exactly where I first saw it, but I do remember being absolutely knocked out by it — and desperate to have it on my wall.

“This,” I said to myself, “is what Batman would look like if he really existed.”

It took awhile to get my hands on one, but once I did, the poster hung on my bedroom wall for years. I didn’t know it at the time but the artist was the great Drew Struzan, best known for his fabulous one-sheets for little flicks like, oh, Star Wars, Blade Runner, E.T., two Indiana Jones installments and many, many more. (He also did a bunch of other superhero posters for Thought Factory.)

Anyway, Struzan was born 75 years ago on March 18, 1947, and as I was rooting around for a birthday tribute, I happened upon a preliminary sketch for that gorgeous Batman poster. It was sold at auction back in 2017 via ComicLink and you can click here for the groovy details.

But what you really want to see is the sketch itself, right? Right.

Feast your eyes on this:

The most interesting change between the two versions is the bottom panel: The sketch features a reversed image from 1969’s Detective Comics #395, presumably traced by Struzan. The final version is a variation on the concept. Adams has long been credited as the panel’s artist, but I’m not entirely clear whether he redrew it or what.

If any of you eagle-eyed Batfans have the lowdown, add it in the comments!

Far out.


— 13 BRILLIANT MOVIE POSTERS: A DREW STRUZAN Birthday Celebration. Click here.

— A BATMAN THANKSGIVING: A Poster, a Costume and a Brother’s Love. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I have that poster somewhere too. It looks like he increased the length of the Bat ears between the sketch and the painting. Great choice!

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  2. Amazing Batman artwork! whoever this artist was, he sure knew his stuff, and I also owned this poster back in 1979, and I lost it, but I’m thinking about rebuying it back into my special collection, but unquestionably superior artwork of THE BATMAN!

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  3. I loved those posters. As a kid, I saw several of them in a store somewhere and wanted all of them. I didn’t know Struzan, a really cool movie poster artist, was behind them.

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  4. The bottom panel is a montage of Adams’ figures from different comics except for one figure that is not his. It may be Irv Novick’s. I don’t recall. Sadly, when Neal is asked to autograph this poster, he often signs it over Stuzan’s panel rather than his own. Pretty tacky on Neal’s part. Struzan did a very Leyendeckeresque painting of Superman for this poster series, but it was greatly reworked by another artist. He did a sketch for the Spider-Man poster that wasn’t used. The Batman poster was the only one that used Struzan’s original art. Even it was later edited with the ears on the cowl shortened and a ray of light added to turn the Batman logo into the Bat Signal. The logo was altered as well.

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  5. I definitely remember seeing a Capt. Marvel/Shazam one as a kid and I think there was a Superman one also. Some Marvel characters too (Hulk & Capt. America).

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  6. Happy belated birthday to Mr. Struzan. That “Batman” piece he did is pretty astounding.

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  7. Uhmmmmm, how did I live through the entire 70s (and beyond) and not know about this poster????

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  8. I own a reprint this poster. The original I purchased in the seventies is lost to time. To me, this is a canon Batman piece of art. An essential must-have.

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