DC Collectibles kicked off San Diego Comic-Con 2015 with a preview event highlighting many of the bigger figures and series we'll be seeing over the course of the next 12 months. From continued support for the Icons and TV series lines to new Designer Series figures and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice pieces, there's a little bit of something for everyone in DC Collectibles' plans.
As cool as it was to see many of the new items on hand, the stars of the show were the characters getting the Darwyn Cooke touch as part of his Designer wave. Cooke's long been a favorite of mine, and his New Frontier figures from way back when are still some of the most stylish in my collection. Now that he's adding new takes on Batman, Supergirl, Adam Strange and Harley Quinn, I couldn't be happier. Combined with the expansion of the Batman: The Animated Series line to more obscure characters, 2015 and 2016 are shaping up to be a good time for clean, simple designs.
After a slight delay to improve the quality of the line, DC Collectibles Batman: The Animated Series second wave arrived not too long ago. Featuring Robin, the Joker and Man-Bat as they appeared in the original version of the show, this wave brings back fond memories. The figures aren't so bad either.
DC Collectibles has been on a tear as of late, and this year's Toy Fair offerings showed the company had no intentions of slowing down any time soon. From more Batman: The Animated Series figures (and vehicles!) and the all-new Icons series, to incredible prop replicas and a heaping helping of the dangerous Harley Quinn, DC Collectibles unleashed one of its strongest preview offerings in recent memory.
Two Christmases ago marked the 20th anniversary Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, a film that’s arguably its creators’ most perfect expression of their enduringly influential animated vision of DC Comics’ dark knight — a vision that many believe is the most perfect expression of Batman in any medium. While Warner Bros. has yet to announce any plans for a high definition reissue or any other offerings connected with the special occasion, the film fanatics at Mondo — purveyors of extremely fine illustrated film posters and other cinematic celebrations — decided to honor Mask of the Phantasm with an anniversary event in connection with the famous Alamo Drafthouse of Austin, Texas, where they screened the film in its original 35mm format for a sold-out house. As always, Mondo came prepared with an extremely limited quantities of an original screen-printed poster, which serves as an update of the film’s original theatrical one-sheet and an homage to the aesthetic legacy of co-directors Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski’s work. Naturally, being a Mondo release, the poster is no longer on sale except on the collectors' market, where it fetches hundreds.
Now, ComicsAlliance was in attendance that night in Austin, and we were lucky enough to procure a variant edition of the poster -- illustrated by Phantom City Creative -- to offer to our readers in this giveaway contest. It took us quite a while, but we finally tracked down Timm as well as Andrea Beaumont herself, actor Dana Delany, who graciously signed the poster in the presence of former CA editor Andy Khouri, making this a truly one of a kind collectible.
Q: Since you're knee-deep in rewatching Batman '66, why is "Beware the Gray Ghost" such a brilliant episode of Batman: The Animated Series? -- @Gavin4L
A: With Simon Trent's surprise return in this week's issue of Gotham Academy, it seems like everyone's been thinking about the Gray Ghost. Or at least, I've been thinking about him a lot, and I can assure you that I've been thinking about him enough for all of us.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I'm probably involved in more conversations about Batman: The Animated Series than your average person, but in my experience, at least, "Beware the Gray Ghost" isn't one of the ones that gets talked about all that much. And that in itself is actually pretty weird, because it gives the world of The Animated Series something that it never really got from any other episode: It built a story around fandom.
This fall, DC Collectibles' Batman: The Animated Series line will continue to expand its roster of rogues with the additions of Roxy Rocket and Scarecrow. While Roxy has her own appeal, it's The New Adventures of Batman version of Scarecrow -- as the first deluxe figure of the collection -- that will by far give you way more nightmares.
Based on his appearance in 'Never Fear', the Scarecrow is the first figure from the anticipated fifth wave of B:TAS figures. Though that episode is decent, it's no match for 'Over the Edge' (the one where Batgirl has a fevered dream about what'd happen if she died in the line of duty), which came just five episodes later. Still, the most important thing is the incredibly terrifying Scarecrow design that's being brought to life. The original Scarecrow design was brilliant, if a bit too Wizard of Oz, but this version... this is a Scarecrow you actually believed might inspire fear.
Q: Why does everyone hate the "Christmas with the Joker" episode of Batman: The Animated Series? -- @tekende
A: You know, I'm not sure everyone does hate "Christmas with the Joker." I certainly don't, but then again, I can't really say that I like it a whole lot either. It's definitely one of those episodes that pops into mind whenever I start thinking of the worst episodes of the series, although it misses out on being the actual worst by a long shot. But that said, I don't quite know the reason why.
Though 'Batman: The Animated Series' had its share of action figures back when it was on the air, the collectibles could hardly be considered more than children's toys. This year, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Batman, DC Collectibles went back to the animated well for a new series of figures based on the now classic Bruce Timm designs.
Incorporating characters from the original 'Batman: The Animated Series' as well as the under-appreciated 'The New Batman Adventures', the figure line's aesthetic (more articulation and accessories, as well as a higher price point) is geared towards the adult collector. This series is aimed directly at those who spent their afternoons after school patiently waiting to see the latest episode, and who are now old enough to have disposable income.
As part of their year-long celebration of Batman's 75th Anniversary, Mondo has produced an art show, posters, and a truly beautiful soundtrack album that sold out of all five designs at San Diego, and now, they're giving me the most compelling reason yet to get into vinyl: a die-cut single of Danny Elfman's theme from Batman: The Animated Series. I definitely do not need this because I don't even own a record player, but y'all... it's shaped like a bat. How can I not get this?
Here's something that you already know: Batman: The Animated Series is arguably the single best representation of Batman in the Dark Knight's 75-year history. It boiled down the character to his essentials, creating a beautiful and thrilling version of Batman that was acessible to fans of all ages and still holds up as a high point over twenty years later. Now here's something you might not know: The comic book that was created to go along with the show, The Batman Adventures, was every bit as good as the show.
This week, DC Comics released a collection of the first ten issues by Kelly Puckett, Mike Parobeck, Ty Templeton, Brad Rader, Martin Pasko and Rick Burchett, and that means this is a great time to talk about how that comic is about as close to being perfect, and how it's essential for anyone who wants to read some of the greatest Batman comics ever printed -- including the single best Riddler story ever.
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