DC Animated Universe
This article is written from the Real World perspective Bruce Timm

The Revamp of the DC Animated Universe — sometimes referred to as the "New Look" — was the streamlining of the style of animation.


After the original run of Batman: The Animated Series, much of the production team moved on to Superman: The Animated Series, where after two seasons, WB came up to Bruce Timm and Co. asking for more Batman episodes.

And the thing is by the time we were into Superman: The Animated Series, we were really into doing that show, and so when the subject of going and revisiting Batman came up, at first it was like, “That’s yesterday’s news. Why would we want to go back and do more Batman now that we’re doing Superman? But then I started thinking about the design aspect of it, and thinking, 'Okay, well, if I had Batman to do over again, what would I change?

Bruce Timm, Wizard Magazine[1]

Bruce Timm was not always happy with how Batman: The Animated Series was animated, noting that Superman: The Animated Series had much more consistent animation with streamlined designs, which is something he sought to replicate with The New Batman Adventures, and to unify the art style of the two shows.[2]

Concerning the change of art in The New Batman Adventures[]

By changing the show and making it fresh, that was actually one of the things that The WB was excited about. They didn’t just want more Batman: The Animated Series. They wanted to freshen it up. So part of their brief for us was to freshen up the show. And we wanted to do it anyhow, but we do want to keep it in continuity.

Bruce Timm, Wizard Magazine[3]

Character redesigns[]

Even though a lot of the characters looked drastically different than they did in the previous show, for the most part we just figured they were the same character, and we didn’t want to go into the whole big explanation of why Penguin suddenly doesn’t have webbed fingers anymore. It’s being drawn by a different artist now. It’s like John Romita drew the last issue, now Carlos Meglia’s drawing it.

Bruce Timm, Wizard Magazine[4]

As a result of the revamp, some Batman characters (most notably Scarecrow, Penguin, and Mad Hatter) looked drastically different from their Batman: The Animated Series appearances. However, characters such as Two-Face and Harley Quinn were relatively unchanged.


The Bat-Family went through several changes as a result of the revamp, and due to the events of the new series:

  • Batgirl's costume went through a major change, the gray and blue coloring of the Batman: The Animated Series costume being replaced with black and yellow to match her classic comic book design along with scallops on her gloves and inside of her cape became yellow.
  • As Dick Grayson became Nightwing, the mantle of Robin went to Tim Drake. The costume for Robin was relatively unchanged, except for the fact that it was smaller to fit Drake and all the green sections on the sleeves and gloves were changed to black, the leggings were changed from green to red and the trunks were changed from red to black as the coloring was the only change on the costume.

As for Batman himself, his costume went through a number of changes throughout the remainder of the DCAU:


  • The Joker's first redesign for The New Batman Adventures was heavily simplified: the orange in his costume was removed, and he was slimmed down significantly and given sharper facial features. He lost nearly all color from his features, toning down the green in his hair and removing his signature red lips entirely. In addition, the yellowish whites of his eyes were turned black.
    • The Joker was once again redesigned for Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, keeping the same outfit from The New Batman Adventures but with a face that was a cross between the two previous designs: Some of the color from his Batman: The Animated Series design was restored, as were the now-wine-red lips and the whites of his eyes. Curiously, the irises of his eyes would also be occasionally red. This design would be used in all subsequent DCAU shows, including Justice League and Static Shock.
  • Catwoman's costume became all-black, reminiscent of Michelle Pfeiffer's portrayal of the character in Batman Returns, but with large white eyes. Her skin was also made white when in costume and her hair changed from long and blonde to short and black. This was explained by black being her natural color, and she simply dyed her hair blond until she learned the dye company experimented on live animal subjects.
  • The Penguin went through a dramatic change, altering his appearance to have a more normal appearance, resembling his classic comic book appearance and less like the deformed portrayal by Danny DeVito in Batman Returns. This included giving him normal human hands, rather than three-fingered flippers. Additionally, he no longer smokes.
  • The Scarecrow went through perhaps the most dramatic change, completely altering his costume. Instead of resembling an ordinary scarecrow, Crane’s new grim attire was reminiscent of a Southern preacher, with a wide-brimmed hat and long black trenchcoat. The scarecrow mask became less like burlap and more like the leathery face of a corpse, complete with irregular teeth. He also wore a noose around the neck, and he was given long black hair. Additionally, The Scarecrow now used a large wooden staff as his weapon of choice, in addition to his fear toxin. His costume change was the result of his fright upon seeing an alien group known as The Kraang and wanting to look scarier.
  • Mr. Freeze’s suit became simplified yet more intimidating, with a taller stature and made from black metal. His goggles were also removed, making his very eyes red instead, with black where the whites would normally be. As the result of his condition causing his body to wither away, Freeze's head was now attached to a spider-like robot, which resided in the chest cavity of the suit.
  • The Riddler altered his costume significantly, replacing the green and purple suit and tie from before with a gaudier, bright green bodysuit bearing a single purple question mark on the chest. He no longer wore a mask, had dark circles under his eyes and became bald under his bowler hat.
  • Poison Ivy became more plant-like, with a slight greenish hue to her now-white skin and dark green lips that appeared almost black depending on the lighting. Her hair became less wavy and a darker shade of red, while her new costume became the same green/black as her lips, discarding the original's tights and becoming less leafy.
  • Killer Croc's skin was changed from gray to olive green, and lost the bumps on his scalp, shoulders and forearms. He also had broader shoulders with a leaner waist, and his pants were changed from blue to dark gray. His face became less skull-like, with different face and teeth and the spikes on his body almost disappeared.
  • The Mad Hatter was redesigned to look more like Sir John Tenniel's illustrations of the original Mad Hatter from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. To this end, the Mad Hatter was given less normal proportion, becoming drastically shorter and smaller, with a more pronounced overbite and sharper nose. His hair was also changed from blond to white, and his skin also became paler. His outfit's colors changed altogether, with the blue overcoat and purple bow tie being changed to dark green and olive, respectively - a color change which extended to his top hat.
  • Bane became more physically imposing, and gained an entirely new mask: This version lacked the original's nose hole and most of its white markings (save for those around the eyes), and had small metal studs around the mouth hole. He also had a spiked collar of some kind, and the tubes of the Venom pump were changed from white to red.
  • Baby-Doll's cartoon-like features were greatly simplified and normalized: The oversized blue eyes became more proportional and lost their large blue irises, while her lips became black. The curls of her hair were simplified as well, while her purple dress was changed to pink with white trim.
  • Two-Face, Harley Quinn, Ra's al Ghul, Talia, Clayface, Harvey Bullock, and Rupert Thorne were left relatively unchanged, mostly updating their character models to match the new streamlined style.


  1. Unlimited Timm: Presenting the extended Wizard Q&A with Bruce Timm
  2. Unlimited Timm: Presenting the extended Wizard Q&A with Bruce Timm
  3. Unlimited Timm: Presenting the extended Wizard Q&A with Bruce Timm
  4. Unlimited Timm: Presenting the extended Wizard Q&A with Bruce Timm