In Grant Morrison’s creepy comic book classic “Arkham Asylum” doctors attempt to rehabilitate Batman’s former friend turned foe, Two-Face, by replacing his iconic scarred coin with a tarot deck. The theory was to show Tommy Lee Jones there are always more choices than the black and white world of making moral decisions by flipping a coin.
The problem is, with seventy-eight possible outcomes to chose from he soon becomes incapable of making ANY choices, whether it be killing Batman or going to the little super-villain’s room.
Now to the issue at hand: so you wanna’ buy a Batman toy? Well, good luck with that; over thirty years of the caped crusader captured in plastic means there’s enough Battoys to chose from that YOU might want to wet yourself, too… and/or scar half your face and turn to crime.
Do not despair! We’ll soon have you on the right track to choosing a Batman that’s right for you. First off we need to identify what you want the Batman for. Is he for yourself or a gift for a child? Is this Batman going to be played with or just displayed, and if displayed, like, how? On your desk at work or on the wall of your pleasure palace, a la Han Solo in Carbonite? Do you favor a movie style Batman or a comic book styled one? Do you want accessories? Do you want him to be able to cruise in a Batmobile? Do you want him to be the same size as your other figures so he can punch-out Skeletor or join G.I. Joe? What?! WHAT?! WHAT DO YOU WANT?!!
BATMAN FOR KIDS
If you want a Batman toy for a kid to enjoy then march yourself to the nearest toy store (or, preferably log onto forbiddenplanetusa.com) and buy the most inexpensive Batman they have. This probably won’t exceed $20, honest. It doesn’t matter what he looks like, even if he’s some bizarre Mattel “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” type deal in bright neon blue and orange with a squirt gun backpack labeled “Toxic Attack Batman.” Science has proven kids are dumb. As long as his ears are pointy they’ll have hours of fun losing his parts, burying him in the sandbox, forgetting where they buried him and crying like babies that they’ve lost their favorite toy. HA!
Make sure you get a Batman with lots of sharp edges, or tiny pieces for the wee tyke to swallow. This will teach them to fear and respect the Dark Knight at a young age.
Vastly economical Bat-persons can be procured in any local Chinatown. For a five-spot you can usually get a decent knock-off Batman in a package with an off-colored Spider-Man, a Power-Ranger and Mr. Incredible for Batsy to kick in the shins. BONUS: Chinatown Batmen often come with guns or swords for some REAL non-cannon fun!
BATMAN AND YOU
If the Batman is for your adult hands only you cannot go wrong with DC Direct. Whether it be classic Blue and Gray Batman, Kingdom Come Batman or even (Ugh) Hush, DC Direct has Bruce Waynes of every flavor for play or display! E-Bay is a treasure trove of these specific styles, though if’n you hain’t picky then your local comic book shop will be Deee-lighted to help you find a good’un, in stock, right now!
When shopping for a diamond you want to look for the four “C’’s”, which are clarity, carat, cut and color. With Batmans it’s the four “P’s,” price, posability, playability and parts (as in accessories. It’s not much of analogy, I know.)
DRAWBACK: DC Direct Batman’s score very high in posability and parts, but their larger scale makes vehicles a non-issue. Sorry Bub, no Batmobilies, Tumblers nor Batwings for these gents. ADVANTAGE: The DC Direct line encompasses the Whole DC comics universe, so there are tons of other Batman character toys for yer’ pal to interact with. From Alfreds to Jokers, from Killer Crocks to (my favorite) Killer Moths, Batman will wear out his gauntlets smacking all these toys around in their smug, plastic faces. Especially Robin.
The serious Batman devotee, however, will need to set their sights higher. No Batman collection is complete without at least TWO 1970’s Mego Batman “Dolls.” One is required for pristine display in the original packaging, while the other is needed to ride in the bitchin’ Mego 12” scale Batmobile, one hand on the wheel and the other arm around a Barbie doll riding shotgun. Better yet, why not give him a Bratz doll for a playmate. I hear they’re slightly cheaper.
I’m often amazed at how one of the best-sized, most fun schools of Batman toys can be overlooked: Lego Batman. Yes, the sun has set on the line, so you’ll need to go on an E-bay safari to hunt them down, but the rewards are worth it! Lego Batman figures have infinite replay value, as you can build your own fantasy Batman sets. For REAL fun you can buy some Lego Indiana Jones sets and have Indy hob-nob with Gotham’s pride and joy. Then go get a Lego Millennium Falcon and have Indy and Batman hot-wire it, then fly underwater and eat at the Lego Krusty Krab with Sponge-bob ( set 3825) before fighting some Lego Pirates! Oooohhh, I’m getting weak-kneed just thinking about it. I think I need to go lie down.
In closing, choosing a Batman character toy can be a fun and rewarding experience, offering hours of enjoyment for the kid inside of us and the kids external to ourselves. Just don’t let yer’ parents know your wasting your money on this stuff… or your significant other. Best to keep this an expensive, shameful secret, okay?