Ask Mattel > Answers for September 1

We take a brief break from Bat-Week for some Mattel answers.

1.) Many fans still love the original Batman sculpt the Four Horsemen did for the 2003 Batman line (i.e., “Zipline” Batman). The Four Horsemen still have their prototype, which shows the intended high level of articulation. Is there any chance of getting that figure with retooled, DCUC-level articulation (including double-elbows and double-knees)?

Always possible. Nothing is planned at this time but with a new Batman film on the horizon we will clearly be looking at ways to get out more collector Batman figs and this would be a cool figure to explore.

2.) misterbigbo asks: Have you considered producing the FHM’s mini-masters and distributing them as blind-box items? They could be sold on Mattycollector individually or by the case, or to comic/specialty shops. Lego’s recent success with minifigs is interesting, but the price point is key. Continue reading “Ask Mattel > Answers for September 1”

Bat-Week | Review > Prototype Suit Batman & Lt. Jim Gordon (Batman Legacy, Mattel)

One of the most beloved rarities among action figure collectors are action figures of supporting cast characters. I don’t mean sidekicks or team members, but “everyday” characters such as Lois Lane, Jarvis, Uncle Owen, and many others. Such characters rarely get figures, for a few reasons. Though popular among diehard fans, casual fans are rarely interested in them. There’s little chance of a casual toy collector picking them up because there’s nothing particularly interesting about them in and of themselves–often they’re just a person in a suit (seen any Movie Master Harvey Dents at your local TRU?). The figures aren’t eye-catching, so parents ignore them. Continue reading “Bat-Week | Review > Prototype Suit Batman & Lt. Jim Gordon (Batman Legacy, Mattel)”

Bat-Week | Review > Joker, Batman, Gray Ghost (JLU, Mattel)

One of my favorite episodes of Batman: The Animated Series (B:TAS) is “Beware the Gray Ghost.” It features Adam West as an aging actor who once played Bruce Wayne’s favorite television hero, the costumed avenger known as “the Gray Ghost.” There’s a wonderful paradoxical quality to the idea of the animated 1990s Batman being inspired by an ersatz 1960s Batman. The show also slyly replaced the aging cliché of Zorro having served as part of Bruce’s inspiration; kids in the early 1990s barely had any idea who Zorro was, and even the Antonio Banderas remake was years away.

Of course, while casting Adam West in the role of aging Gray Ghost actor Simon Trent was a coup, the Gray Ghost wasn’t just a tribute to the 1960s TV show. His distinctive appearance represents a tribute to other early pulp heroes such as the Shadow, the Spirit, the Spider and Sandman. (As you may have noticed, the redesign of PGPoA owes more than a little to the Gray Ghost as well as B:TAS.)

Mattel released an exclusive, single-carded version of the Gray Ghost as their 2010 holiday card. Unlike Holiday Hal Jordan, however, he was always intended for a retail release, which came in a three-pack with B:TAS-inspired repaints of Batman and the Joker. Continue reading “Bat-Week | Review > Joker, Batman, Gray Ghost (JLU, Mattel)”

Bat-Week | Review > Arkham Asylum Batmobile (Hot Wheels, Mattel)

One dark night a few months ago, I took an oath–an oath to try to buy every toy associated with the Batman: Arkham Asylum/Arkham City franchise.

So that means when I found out there was a Hot Wheels version of the Arkham Asylum Batmobile, I knew I had to track it down. No doubt such a desirable item would be hard to find, vanishing from the shelves of toy stores just as they arrived. My exhaustive search ended with my very first eBay result, where I found one for $2.50 shipped.

Apparently they’re not that rare.

Packaging: While many of the recent Batman-themed Hot Wheels vehicles came in purple Batman-branded packaging, the AA Batmobile arrives in standard Hot Wheels blister card. It’s disappointing, really.

Design & Sculpt: Rocksteady Studios, makers of Arkham Asylum, seemed to have pulled from the most iconic bits of Batman lore to create the so-called Arkhamverse, so it’s no surprise that their version of the Batmobile closely resembles the Tim Burton movie version (yes, the Tumbler is cool and all, but it’s not a very iconic design–really just a big lump with wheels).

The Hot Wheels version is a 3″ long replica of the car. The sculpt is a bit soft; this isn’t a movie-quality replica, but a child’s toy.

Metal, Plastic & Paint: Like all Hot Wheels, the car is made mostly from die cast metal. The windows (and possibly the black body) are made from plastic. I think the bright metal is what makes it look so toyish.

Overall: While it might sound like I’m being quite critical of this thing, I recognize it’s just an inexpensive Hot Wheels car. If I’d been collecting all the other Hot Wheels Batmobiles, it would be a necessary addition to my collection. But if you’re not a Batman Hot Wheels collector, it’s worth grabbing only if you’re a big Arkham Asylum fan like me.

[raven 2.5]

Bat-Week | Review > The Joker (Arkham Asylum, DC Direct)

Much like his arch-nemesis Batman, the Joker’s longstanding popularity is partly due to how easily he lends himself to reinvention. He can be everything from a harmless jester to a murderous psychotic, and everything in between. On screen he’s been played by such disparate thespians as Caesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill and Heath Ledger, and each made a memorable version that was wholly their own.

Given Heath Ledger’s bravura performance the previous year, Rocksteady Studios had to be make sure the Joker they created for Batman: Arkham Asylum was equally engaging. As with many aspects of the game, they chose to walk a line between reality and comic book fantasy, creating a Joker whose appearance and murderous behavior is in line with The Dark Knight and the darker corners of the Batman comics mythos, while casting Hamill as the voice actor. Hamill played the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, which memorably balanced the murderous Joker of the 1940s and 1970s with the laughing prankster of the 1950s and 1960s. While the Joker of Arkham Asylum never balks at a senseless murder, he’s also much quicker with a joke than Ledger’s Clown Prince of Crime.

As I mentioned in my Batman review, DC Direct seems to have pulled out all the stops for their Arkham Asylum figures. This is somewhat interesting, since two other companies (Mattel and Square Enix) are also making figures based on the games, yet DCD isn’t just trying to make a quick buck as they have with some other their other videogame lines (i.e., anything except World of Warcraft). Continue reading “Bat-Week | Review > The Joker (Arkham Asylum, DC Direct)”

Bat-Week | Review > Bob the Goon (Batman, ToyBiz)

Ten-year-old Poe was the perfect mark for the marketing blitz for 1989’s Batman. I had hardly read any comics (aside from ALF and Madballs), never collected Super Friends or Secret Wars toys, never even watched a Batman cartoon to my knowledge. My most recent fad at the time was Kenner’s Robocop line and its attendant Marvel cartoon show.

But man, did I buy into the Batman hype. I remember reading the novelization of the movie at least twice, and I owned the comic adaptation, collectible cards, and who knows what else. I also began buying Batman some comics at the time. Of course, like many adolescents, I was a bit put off by the mature, grim and gritty themes being played out in Batman comics in the wake of The Dark Knight Returns at the time–I think one of my first Batman comics was the issue where the Joker beats Robin with a tire iron then blows his ass up.

But I digress: after my father took me to see Batman on opening weekend, we went to Child World at the Hanover Mall to see if any Batman toys were available. The ToyBiz figures had hit stores by then, but Batman himself was sold out; I had to settle for the Joker and Bob the Goon. Even back then, I both liked Bob the Goon (played in the movie by Jack Nicholson’s friend Tracey Walter) because he was an odd, endearing character to have as a figure, and disliked him because he was dead. Back then (and even, to a degree, now) it bothered me to own a toy of a character whom I knew could not participate in continuing adventures with. (The same holds true for the Joker, I suppose, but even ten-year-old Poe knew supervillains never stayed dead.) Continue reading “Bat-Week | Review > Bob the Goon (Batman, ToyBiz)”

Toy Aisle Trolls > What the #%&?

Toy Aisle Trolls is a feature highlighting acts of vandalism to in-store toy items. If you find a ruined package, a stolen figure, a swapped-out figure, or any other such acts, take a photo (cell phone photos are fine if they’re not blurry) and email them to poe AT

Submitted by: Belligerent Monkey