Philadelphia’s Jackson Gordon, 21, is an industrial design student at Philadelphia University by day and is darker, stronger and ambiguous by night. In his workshop, Gordon has a full armor plated suit, complete with cape and cowl. It is all matte black and will stop a knife, just like Batman.
Gordon starting experimenting with cosplay five years ago. This, however was not his first time experimenting with creating costumes. Gordon has made a Batsuit before from the Dark Knight Trilogy by Christopher Nolan. This suit looked great but it was not functional. It also did not appear authentic and made Gordon’s movements limited and difficult.
In September 2014, Gordon decided to make a better batsuit. He wanted the Batman suit to allow him to move fluently and provide actual protection. The suit had to be able to withstand a blade, the impact of a baseball bat but light enough to be practical. The materials for this suit were not cheap to come by.
Gordon decided to start a Kickstarter campaign. He did not actually believe he would receive any interest, he was wrong. In six days, he had raised $1,255. He was shocked, but began his shopping list.
The suit had to offer protection everywhere. That meant the basic fabric had to be Kevlar, in order to be blade resistant. At the same time, Kevlar is also breathable and can be worn all day without inhibiting any movements.
Memory foam was chosen as the material that would absorb the impact of anything hard. This was placed only in the necessary areas. Building the armor plates took a little more creativity. Gordon experimented with PVC materials, and other hard ‘plastics,’ but finally chose ¼” Kydex plastic to make the armor plates on the forearms, shins and torso. A Batman Suit that could handle anything except a bullet.
The cowl seemed impossible to craft within the confined limitations of Gordon’s workshop. Using Sintra plastic, he took a mold of his own head. Over the plastic mold, he worked with different sculpting clays and soft plastics to create the Batman shape. He created a silicone jacket with a two-part box mold. He poured polyurethane into the mold for the now durable but functional cowl.
Gordon is an expert in Shaolin Kung Fu. He is smart and he can fight. The production company that created the Batman trilogy, by Nolan has taken notice and approves.
Appearances at conventions have proven the Batsuit to be a huge hit. The suit so closely resembles the real thing, Gordon has started to manufacture cowls for the public, as well as adjustable jackets. They will be up for sale on Gordon’s site, Armatus Design, in a couple of weeks. There are already over 50 orders for the jackets. So far customers range from members of the cosplay community to martial artists, even ATV and motorcyclists. Protective gear for all. None of the gear will feature the bat symbol.
Gordon says his business will remain small until he graduates from college. He also said he would not be using his projects for degree credits.
By Jeanette Smith
Photo courtesy of William Tung – Flickr License