For Mondo‘s celebration of the 75th anniversary of Batman, illustrator Kevin Tong created a print for each film in director Christopher Nolan‘s Dark Knight Trilogy. In his depictions Tong stayed true to the nature of Nolan’s films and did away with the comic colorings and faux realism of the hero’s early incarnations.
Always an intelligent and precise illustrator, Tong has moved into interesting territory with these designs. As a craftsman known and respected for his agile use of digital and analog tools, Tong has created a catalog of work full of depth and mind-blowing detail. A piece like his ‘Dr. Manhattan‘ character print is a showcase for his deliberate use of controlled chaos, layers and layers of bits, textures over and under.
With this triptych of prints, Tong’s designs turned austere. Crisp. He peeled away the hero-worship and gave us the man, Bruce Wayne, who he is or has become at each stage in the trilogy’s narrative.
He is fully aware of the printmaking process and what works and what does not — how to get the most out of a 24″ x 36″ canvas. Within the universe of Batman, he explores intimacy. The art of removal. A man on a mountain. A man and an enemy he can’t understand. A man losing himself, falling deep into a well. His color palette is minimal. The design sparse. Tong has found what pushes Bruce Wayne, what makes him the Dark Knight and what has kept him that way.