By Emily Schilling
Baddies of gotham city, beware! The Caped Crusader is out there — and so is the city’s striking royal blue flag. But did you know that Batman’s hometown flag is inspired by the current Indiana state flag and our state’s previous banner which featured Indiana’s state seal?
Why a fictional playground for troublemakers like the Penguin, Joker and Riddler would run a Hoosier-inspired symbol up a flagpole is anyone’s guess. However, a producer of the 1989 “Batman” film, in which the Gotham City flag first appeared, is an Indiana University graduate. Perhaps the flag’s simplicity and symbolism — and maybe a sentimental yearning to be back in Bloomington — inspired him to pay homage to Indiana, the antithesis of Gotham.
This month, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Indiana state flag. Designed by Paul Hadley of Mooresville, it was chosen as the state’s banner on May 31, 1917. To commemorate Indiana’s centennial in 1916, the General Assembly decided to adopt a state flag. The Indiana Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution held a flag design contest. Over 200 submissions were received.
The gold torch in the center of Hadley’s design symbolizes liberty and enlightenment. The six rays emanating from the torch’s flame illustrate the far-reaching influence of those ideals. The 13 stars circling the torch represent the original colonies. The five stars around the torch’s bottom represent the states that joined the union before Indiana. The larger star above the flame stands for Indiana.
The flag design was just one of Hadley’s masterpieces. He was an accomplished stain glass artist, interior designer, watercolorist and art instructor at Indianapolis’ Herron School of Art.
Appropriately, in this issue we showcase the work of Indiana’s next generation of artists — the winners of the 20th Cooperative Calendar of Student Art Contest. Turn to page 15 to learn more about them. We look forward to seeing what artistic achievements lie ahead for them.
EMILY SCHILLING is editor of Electric Consumer