This is the famous Batman poster by Wes Wilson, his very first for Bill Graham. This poster may be the rarest of the lot. You can see that Wes was immediately exploring the possibility of wrapping lettering around shapes, and in his next poster made the leap of creating shape with his lettering, which became his hallmark. This poster was displayed behind glass at the Funky Features house from 1966 until 1969, then displayed in my home in London from 1970 until 1975, when it was stored in my plan drawers in Los Angeles. Perfect condition.

14" X 20" (36cm X 51cm)


Batman was a big thing in late '65 and early '66. I had painted 6 Batman comic pop art acrylic paintings by March of 1966 and sold them all to big collectors in San Francisco (one of them being the station manager of KFOG in Ghiradelli Square, where it was displayed in their foyer). So I can understand why Wes Wilson seized on the Batman image for this poster. I was certainly into Art Kane's art (the creator of Batman) in a big way at the time, and I'm sure Wes was as well.

When I formed Funky Features with Funky Jack and Funky Sam (I was, of course, Funky Paul) our "official" car became my beat-up Allard Palm Beach (aluminum body on a tube frame, built in England...this company put out a "J" series of racers in the early 50's, pre-dating Cobras by a dozen years, that were lightweight British sports cars with big Cadillac and Chrysler V-8's that positively flew!) alas, my little Palm Beach was only fitted with an English Ford Zephyr straight six and a short-course racing 3-speed gearbox and rear-end (it was screaming at 60mph in third...but it got there quick). The Allard used to race in club races held in Golden Gate Park and had been rolled. It was given to me by a childhood friend who had ambitious restoration plans, but never got round to it.

One mad night, my artistic cousin and I painted the Allard up like a shiny comic-book illustration....all in blue and "outlined" in black with black "reflections." It looked fantastic....right out of a comic book. We then made a huge bat-tail and bat-face for it which we mounted on the car. I then drove around town in the Funky Features Batmobile, thrilling the public, and driving the cops bananas. It was the first psychedelic car in San Francisco, sprouting scores of other like-minded crazies to do up their cars as animals, spaceships, and what-have-yous.

Those were the days!

The SFPD had the last laugh, though...they hijacked the wonderful Batmobile late one night in early '68 and crushed it in the junkyard near Candlestick, then held up their hands and said, "Gee, sorry....we made a mistake!" Yeah. Such an ignominious end to such a nuts piece of rolling sculpture. To be fair, I think the thing that really got their goat was the sign on the rear that said, "This car is on official business, so don't fuck with it." Red flag to a bull, maybe?

I wish you coulda been there.