Bust out those Bat-Credit Cards, a hot piece of movie memorabilia has hit the market!
Earlier this week, the Texas-based auction house Heritage Auctions listed George Clooney’s infamous Batsuit from 1997’s superhero blockbuster Batman & Robin—the critically derided dud of a schlock-fest or a colorful, queer-coded camp classic, depending on who you ask. (We fall in the latter category, for the record.)
Batman has turned plenty of looks over the years, but, for many, none are more iconic than the suits Clooney donned for his two spins in the Batmobile, Batman & Robin and its ’95 predecessor Batman Forever. It has been affectionately dubbed “The Nipple Suit” for its rather prodigious latex areolae, and now it—and those nipples—could be yours!
Well, the Nipple Suit could be yours if you have a cool $40k to drop, that is. At least, that’s the starting bid for this hot item that’s anticipated to attract some avid cinema collectors with fat wallets.
“This is easily the most famous–and infamous–Batman costume ever designed,” a representative of Heritage Auctions tells Variety, “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.”
The irony of the steep price tag here is that this nipple-forward Batsuit was largely derided by the public in the ’90s, as were the two films it was featured in, both directed by the late, gay filmmaker Joel Schumacher. Though they made bank at the box office, Forever and its follow-up were widely panned, with many pointing at the suit’s nipples as one (er, two) of the reasons that these superhero flicks were too over-the-top, garish, and ridiculous.
But the tides have turned over the years. Fueled by nostalgia, many have since hailed Schumacher’s Batman films as camp masterpieces with fun, cartoonish inventiveness and performances pitched at the exact right level of lunacy (Uma Thurman basically turns Poison Ivy a vamping drag queen, and we are living).
Of course, the gays have long championed these once-dismissed blockbusters, nipples and all, perhaps keying into the unspoken queer gaze that Schumacher brought to cinematic superheroics. The director once told GQ that he thinks people tend to “read into things” precisely because he’s gay,” but it’s hard to not see his sensibilities jump off the screen—especially when those Bat-nipples are staring you right in the eye.
And it should be noted that those pronounced nipples were very intentional on Schumacher’s behalf; they were even enhanced for Batman & Robin—which happens to be the suit up for auction. According to the film’s lead sculptor Jose Fernandez, it was all part of the director’s vision. Here’s what Fernandez told MEL Magazine earlier this year:
“Well, in the first one, they were just a little blob of clay. It was subtle—it was a blip,” Fernandez shared. “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.”
In other words, those things are pointy, perhaps even the most dangerous weapon in Batman’s Bat-arsenal. So, in the event you do win the suit in the auction: Please handle with care. (And, also, please give us a call because we really want to see the Bat-nipples in person!)