Wednesday, November 20, 2013

#015: Batman (Classic Blue) - 2008 Mattel DC Infinite Heroes

#015: Batman (Classic Blue) - 2008 Mattel DC Infinite Heroes

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Character Name: Batman
Series/Property: DC Comics Universe
Toy Line: DC Infinite Heroes
Company: Mattel
Year Released: 2009
Size/Scale: 3.75 inches
Original Retail Price: --
Character's First Appearance:  Detective Comics #39 (1939)
Toy Based on Appearance in: Detective Comics #395 (1970) and the 1970's art of Neal Adams / DC Superfriends cartoon / Super Powers figure (1984)
Style: Modern Action Figure

Infinite Heroes: one of the greatest disappointments to DC fans in the 2000's.  Just the mere mention of the line sends shivers up nerds spines.  Always the butt of a joke, always held up of an example of what not to do by modern toy fans.  And as always, I love the outcasts- this is one of my favorite toy lines, ever.

There was such promise in 2008; Mattel announced it was going to offer kids and collectors the first 3.75" line of DC Comics super heroes in over two decades (no, JLU doesn't count! They're not in scale at all, no matter what people say.) and right off the bat they announced a number of  obscure characters in the first wave, like Black Hand and Adam Strange.

Right away, fans (and store buyers) were upset the actual product looked nothing like the detailed prototypes shown at Comic Con, and the retail price per figure was quite high for a line with zero accessories and limited articulation.  Once fans got them in hand, they hated them with a vigor I haven't seen in years.  They hated the big, kid accessory-friendly hands. They hated how they were a little small compared to GIJOE and Star Wars figures, and tiny compared to the slightly-big-for-scale Marvel Universe figures available at the same time.  And once fans saw how they could bend their Marvel Universe figures into pretzels, Infinite Heroes was becoming a distant vision in the rear-view mirrors of many.  An interesting footnote of "what could have been" for many fans.

But not me.  I loved this line, still do.  The articulation is not all over the place, but the toys can mostly sit, hold things, and stand there pretty.  They look like the characters, and they're sturdy and fun.  They made display stands.  The problem was, this line could have been huge, especially for kids, if not for the ridiculously expensive price per figure.  I still don't understand why they don't just re-issue the main characters and villains, and make it a budget-store line like Hasbro has for its Marvel and GIJOE lines.

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L-R: The basic various body styles of the line:  Infinte Heroes 1.0; Infinite Heroes 2.0; and various unique sculpts for special figures, like Batman on the right.

Infinite Heroes is one of the few toy lines I've ever been "Completist" on.  It is truly difficult to be 100% completist on Infinite Heroes (or DCIH for short)- as there are four figures (three prototypes that were never released, and one 30-inch tall Anti-Monitor from Crisis on Infinite Earths of which thirty were made for a controversial contest) that a collector is not likely to find for sale, even at high prices.  While I would love to own those four toys and be complete on the line, I also don't want to spend enough money to buy a car on four figures, especially for things less than ten years old.  It really made me look at myself, and change how I collect nowadays.  While I am no longer "completist" on this line, I would like to document what was released, as there is no real complete truthful online checklist for this line as of 2013.

This is another favorite, Classic Blue, or as some fans call, "Detective" version, of Batman.  The "Detective" term used for this costume comes from Mattel's DC Universe line, and one of the first figures released: a Neal Adams-style Batman called "Batman (Detective)" from 2008.  This flies in the face of almost twenty years of collecting, as the "Detective Batman" term comes from the Batman: The Animated Series line of the 1990's and it's infamously hard-to-find at first normal (non-neon) Detective Batman figure.  This term has been used since to refer to Batman on various other toys, and other media, always in a black cape/mask with gray bodysuit, with the single black angular Bat symbol on his chest.

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This figure, with it's blue cape/mask, grey bodysuit, and rounded Bat symbol in a yellow oval, has usually been referred to as the "Classic" look, as it has appeared more than any other look of Batman in video games, cartoons, lunchboxes, toys, etc. since at least the early 70's (if not before.)  So to me I'm not going to jump onto some multinational's marketing bandwagon.  I'm going to stick with what I know and what makes me happy... so "Classic" it is.

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I don't care what other people think.  I love this line.  It's fun, cheap, and best of all, no one else cares.  They're goofy, they're fun, and it's a great time tracking them all down.

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Batman (Detective); Batman (Classic); Batman (Public Enemies); Batman (Gotham Knights.)

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With a small sampling of the bat-family figures in the line.

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The classic Justice League of America lineup.

As far as I can tell, this line never made it to my home here in Spain- I've never seen them on the shelves, or at any comic stores here. (I bought all of mine in the US and most at a severe discount.)

Sources:

Batman:  http://batman.wikia.com/wiki/Batman_(Bruce_Wayne)
Cool Toy Review:   http://www.cooltoyreview.com/Mattel_DCIH_Batman3.asp
Neal Adams' Batman:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neal_Adams#Batman

If you live in Guragaon, India, then Batman is not a vigilante, he's a food delivery guy:  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/Need-something-after-midnight-Call-Batman/articleshow/20320284.cms

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