With Help from Some Wily Haircutters, Batman Leaves His Mark on Cropped Crusaders

updated 07/17/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/17/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

In the summer of Batman, how are serious Batmaniacs earning their wings? WHAM! POW! SNIP! They're preening their Bat hair—and this latest flight of Batmania is sure to convince more sedate folks that some people have small flying mammals in their belfries.

No mere Gotham City aberration, Bat cuts and Bat dye jobs featuring the Batman logo are turning heads across the country. "It definitely draws attention," says Kevin Hutchinson, 21, a toll collector from Ocean City, N.J., who received wild applause when he displayed his dyed devotion to the comic-book hero sitting in the first row at—what else?—Batman. "People see me drinking, and they ask if I'm drinking Bat water," he says. "And when they answer the phone and it's for me, they say 'Bat phone.' Everything's Bat this and Bat that."

Kevin got his Bat do from Lisa Sebastiano, 31, a hairstylist in Turnersville, N.J., who had never heard of Bat hair until a flamboyant customer at her shop, the Salon, requested it. "I decided to use bleach and black dye, instead of shaving," says Sebastiano, who works with a stencil and paintbrush and charges $25 for the look. "It's like art."

But for those who really mean Bat business, bleach is for jokers. At New York City's famed Astor Place barbershop, manager Pasquale Gallo estimates his crew is cutting bats at a rate of 40 to 50 a day, charging $35 and up, depending on the length of the locks surrounding the logo. "The Bat cut lasts about a month," he says. "If the style keeps up, you can do it again." Just how long will it fly? Says Gallo: "I figure another six months."

Customer Christopher Lo Vecchio, 19, below, isn't worried about being Bat-bound. "It's something that can change with the times because it grows back," he says. "I can't see it too well, but I like it." Still, Alex Perez, 11, points to the obvious reason the Bat buzz may never be a barbershop blockbuster. "It looks fresh, it looks cool," he says. "My friends like it and say, 'I want that.' But maybe their parents won't let them."

Aw, they're just jealous. "If the parents were young, they'd do it," says Sebastiano. "But they have to go to work. They don't want the bat on their head." On the other hand, a nice tasteful Joker...

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