Batman action figures 1990s

Batman action figures 1990s DEFAULT

Vintage Kenner Batman Action Figures

Over the decades  Batman Action Figures have been produced by Mego, Kenner, Hasbro, Mattel and more recently Mc Farlanes, among many other action figure manufacturers. 

Kenner especially released a vast range of colorful Batman action figures between 1990-2002 and for those of you who have already collected as many from various Kenner Batman lineups and for those of you wondering if you have missed out on anything special here is the rundown on Kenner Batman action figure series’ from start to present.

In 1990 Kenner made use of its close links with the entertainment industry to crank up a very successful launch of a brand new Batman action figure series. 

The DC Direct license which seesawed between Mego, Kenner and Toy Biz was reclaimed by Kenner with the company going on to produce its first line of DC Direct action figures after four years. The first release was based on a newly designed exciting action figure range inspired by the Batman ‘Dark Night’ theme. 

Kenner Dark Night series 1990

There were two series of The Dark Knight line produced, the first in 1990 followed by a second in 1991. This line was mainly based on the Tim Burton movie starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. 

In contrast to the upbeat but improbable variants produced in Super Powers line, the Dark Night collection from Kenner was designed on a more realistic theme befitting the super hero’s dark aura. 

Also the entire collection was focused on the hero himself to the point of neglecting some important characters in the storyline. In fact it was this line that coined the phrase “Batman Syndrome” 

Despite the grand hype running up to the launch and displaying of a versatile range of action figures and role play items in the Kenner Action Toy Guide for 1990 items like Jokermobile and Batcave Command Center were postponed to be produced with later action figure lines featuring Batman. 

A distinguished feature in Kenner’s very first Batman line was that all figures were designed on a collector friendly flexible approach which in turn set the tone for greater success for company’s future releases featuring the dark and formidable hero. 

Despite its many variations the entire Dark Knight line has remained in demand and popular with collectors. The three most collectible figures in this line were the “Deluxe Crime Master Edition” figures which came boxed and had a very limited retail distribution. By far the most valuable in the line though is the “Knockout Joker” from the second series released in 1991.

Kenner the Dark Knight Collection Action Figure Guide and Review

Kenner Batman Returns – 1992

Following the switch of motion picture toy licensing rights from Toy Biz to Kenner, in 1992 Kenner produced its first Batman action figure line based on blockbuster movie Batman Returns. The figures were basically not much different to design and theme of the previous Dark Night collection.

Bruce Wayne is the rare item in this collection as it was the only Batman to have the face of Michael Keaton.  

Two new villains, Catwoman and Penguin also received plastic treatment in this lineup. Catwoman became scarce on toy shelves at the time, simply due to the fat that many collectors bought multiple figures due to her brand new sculpt. 

However, to the disappointment of many collectors the figure of Penguin was just a repaint job done on Kenner’s previous edition of Penguin on Super Power’s line. the Penguin often languished on toy shelves. As a result, the Penguin figure tends to be the more valuable.

The real surprise in this line however was the Penguin Commandos which have become highly collectable. At the time these were very poorly received at retail and many stores were left holding dozens of them but by the time the collectors began to take note of them most were gone.

The most sought after figure in this series though was the fresh face Tim Drake aka Robin. Robin’s action figure was designed on the latest comic book illustration. Despite not being a character in the Batman Return’s epic movie Robin’s inclusion in the movie action figure series helped in upping the entire lineups popularity considerably.

The story behind the lines is that Robin’s figure was initially designed based on an auto mechanic character from Batman Returns movie script who wore a coverall with the letter ‘R’ on it. The character ultimately did not appear in the movie and hence Kenner’s decision to transform the figure as Robin.

The most popular and valuable items in this line among collectors are the 3 Toys R Us Deluxe figures and the two electronic figures, all of which have increased substantially in value over the years.

This line was followed by a Batman Returns II line in 1994, but why this was released separately instead of just continuing the previous line remains a mystery.

Kenner Batman Returns Action Figures Guide and Review

Batman Animated Series 1992-94

Soon after the Batman Animated Series premiere, a new line of figures emerged under Kenner banner featuring characters from the popular new cartoon. 

Here again, the main focus was on the brooding Dark Night himself with some interesting new versions of Robin and few other new villains included. Some of the best sculpts ever came from this line and there are several of these figures that command big prices on the secondary market, most notably The Penguin, Riddler, Two-Face, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and the Bane villians.

The Robin Dragster is one of the rarest though with speculation ranging from the vehicle was discontinued due to safety deficiencies, that it was made solely for the Canadian market and also that the mold was destroyed following a factory fire. 

The Animated Series was set apart for its clean sculpts and bright paints imbuing a remarkable likeness to the illustrations of the Batman cartoon. 

Disappointingly the second and third series of the Batman Animated line were mostly remodeling of old molds with a very few new sculpts. 

Soon after the release of third lineup the Batman Animated series action figures started losing steam as by this time collector were champing for something new and exciting on Batman and his crew. 

The animated series figures continued to hit airwaves despite languished collector interest. The fourth release was a comparative power-up from previous editions as it contained more figures from the support cast to complement the considerable Batman variants previously released. 

The Ground Assault Batman (or is it Green Goblin?) in this series came under heavy criticism from toy reviewers and collectors alike. Many believe that Kenner had made a real blunder with this figure dressing our fearsome dark night hero in the robes of despised comical villain and archenemy of Spiderman, the Green Goblin.  

Kenner Batman The Animated Series

Batman Animated Series: Crime Squad – 1995

Just as collectors started sending fed up signals on the animated series in 1995 Kenner changed tracks by cranking up a new series called Crime Squad. Basically a facelift on the animated lineup this collection was rich in color and entertainment value. 

However, it also lacked spice and vigor as the entire collection was designed around Batman apart from the single inclusion of Robin. 

Batman Crime Squad collection without the terrorizing bad guys was a significant damper, particularly from the point of young collectors. 

The lineup was represented by Land Strike Batman, Air Assault Batman, Sea Claw Batman, Piranha Blade Batman, Torpedo Batman, Stealthwing Batman and Ski Blast Robin. 

The series is also well known for containing some of the all-time worst plastic incarnations of the Dark Night from Kenner, e.g. Land Strike Batman made a clashing appearance looking horrific in a magma camouflage while Piranha Blade Batman with a gruesome costume (looks like another remake of Land Strike Batman) was another dead suck.

Batman Animated Series: Crime Squad Series 2 (Adventures of Batman and Robin) – 1996

With Crime Squad failing to attract the desired punch Kenner lost no time in doing a reshuffling and renaming second series of Crime Squad as Adventures of Batman and Robin. The new series in-fact included a number of figures that scheduled but not released in the previous Batman Animated Series lineup. 

This series again highlighted Kenner’s obsessive focus on the hero as the series did not include a single figure of his enemies or allies. Batman without his supporting crew and archenemies tends to takes the biting edge off any lineup hence the quick folding of this line up as well.

Legends of Batman - 1994 

Kenner did not disappoint fans tempting them with a brand new line of figures considered memorable by many collectors even to-date. 

Titled as Legends of Batman this impressive new collection of action figures was based on the turbulent DC Comics story line for 1993. The comics story line took a dramatic twist during this time with Bruce Wayne as Batman breaking his back causing him to handover the mantle to AzBat temporarily. The storyline was divided into three crossovers including Knightfall, Knightquest and Knightsend in which Wayne comes back on the action to the disgust of Gotham City underground players. 

The collection distinguishes from the rest of Kenner Batman figurines on its hyper detail sculpting. While the intricate detailing in the figures were ultra-cool many collectors still preferred those that represented a remarkable likeness to the comic series illustrations even though they were few and far between. 

When it came to Azbat action figures Kenner got their wires mixed up by producing the figures Batman Knightquest and Batman Knightsend in the wrong costumes! 

Despite the screw-up in costumes both figures were bestsellers in this series as collectors recognized the elaborate uniqueness in the two figures’ costume designing. 

Though many collectors eyed the Catwoman figure with anticipation it was not a solid seller due to its near impossible posability. 

Nightwing fared even worse than Catwoman due mainly for his lack of impressionability and poor accessories. Like in previous editions of Batman line-ups the Joker continued to triumph as a hot seller particularly as fans welcomed the iconic weapon that accompanied this action figure. 

Batman Special Edition 1995-98

These figures are often listed with the Legends of Batman series as they were taken from that series, however they were only available in Warner Bros stores and the header made no mention of the Legend series.

The first series was released with very little fanfare and was therefore missed by many collectors until it was too late and as a result these tend to be scarcer then later releases.

Batman Forever – 1995

In 1996 Kenner released a new lineup of Batman action figures exclusively under Adventures of Robin and Batman. The wave was better represented with an eclectic mix of characters from the popular Batman & Robin movie released in late 90s. 

The timing was perfect and the selection was impressive. The result was mega-blast sales for the entire lineup with collectors grabbing the long awaited villains they have been waiting to pit against our mystical hero.  Some interesting figures included in this line up were Hoverjet Batman, Rocketpack Batman, Paraglide Batman, Bola Trap Robin, Pogo Stick Joker, Bane and Ra’s Al Ghul. 

Although initially scarce and hard to find, particularly the villians, by the end of 1996 production had been significantly ramped up and they were as common as Christmas Ornaments!

The only one of these likely to increase in value and become more sought after is the Ra’s Al Ghul figure as it was the first and only figure of this character produced.

 The second series continued in 1997 with even more delightful figures to rapture collectors. Second wave also brought with it the best figure for the entire series, Harley Quinn and a welcome addition by way of Machine Gun Joker. 

Batman and Robin Duo Force – 1997

Duo Force lacked the glamour and distinctive qualities of the earlier series. Kenner just bought the old molds out giving Batman and his accomplice Robin a new paint and strumming them with new accessories. The exceptional figure in this series was Batgirl which was a new addition for Kenner. 

As the entire collection failed to spark much interest and in the absence of fresh factor the collection folded without a follow-up series. 

Legends of Dark Night – 1996 – 1998

This collection, unlike many of the others, was well received and much raved about by Batman fans making the whole line highly collectible.

The characters were designed to showcase the deathly venom of Gotham City criminals and the tremendous heroism of the Dark Night himself. 

A few of the series highlights were Assault Gauntlet Batman with his ultra-cool accessories, Dark Knight Detective Batman for his perfect colors and incredible cape, the futuristic inspirational Lava Fury Batman and Shatter Blade Batman for his remarkable design. 

There were two Internet Exclusive figures produced; Clayface and Shatterblade Batman. 

Batman Movie Collection 1997

In 1997 Kenner released a Batman Movie Collection line which was very short lived and only consisted of three double packs based on the Batman, Batman Forever and Batman Returns movies.

Batman & Robin 1997-98

This series was based on the 1997 movie starring George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman and Chris O’Donnell.

Although a vast array of figures were produced for this series, including a good mixture of the villains, it was vastly over produced and therefore the figures have failed to increase in value by any significant amount.

The only figures in this series to have any real value are the 12-inch Collector’s Edition figures and the translucent blue mail-in Batman figure.

New Batman Adventures – 1997 & 1998

This was a newer version of Batman Animated and the entire series comprised of rather limited editions of a narrow selection of characters, particularly, the Wild Card Joker, Mad Hatter and Creeper (his very first appearance in plastic) which were rare additions found only in limited collector caches. 

Though the lineup was not brimming with bad guys the ones that were included were gladly welcomed by Batman fans. The top picks in this series included Alfred, Batman’s butler and Commissioner Gordon. 

The collection also featured exclusive 12” figures of Batman and an exciting lineup of paly-sets and vehicles. However, minimal articulation continued to be a drawback even in this collection though it was much compensated by simple and innovative three dimensional designs and styling for the characters. 

Batman Knight Force Ninjas – 1998

Looking for a one of a kind collection of your favorite dark night hero? Then you should definitely get up close and personal with Kenner’s Batman Knight Force Ninjas collection. 

The new line came out in 1998 featuring new sculpts and a design technique much similar to Legends of Dark Night and Legends of Batman. The designs were also inspired by the Elseworld theme. 

Azrael was the rare edition in this collection making his first appearance in plastic while Killer Croc also attracted noticeable fan attention making his debut in this wave from Kenner. 

The collection was aimed at showcasing the Dark Knight hero’s considerable martial arts prowess, particularly through Thunder Kick Batman and Arsenal Cape Batman that were tipped as fan favorites in this collection. 

Other interesting figures included in the first series in 1998 were Karate Chop Batman, Side Strike Robin, Power Kick Batman and Killer Croc. Fist Fury Batman, Azrael, Thunder Kick Batman, Tornado Blade Riddler came out in series 2 while the two hot figures of Batman were featured in series 3 along with Hyper Crush Robin. 

Batman Mission Masters – 1998

Mission Masters from Kenner is a vast fan collection portraying different characters with styling and designs much similar to the animated series. The entire line contributed its fair share in expanding the Batman action figure universe and elevating it to a greater level. 

Some of the notable figures included in this series were Mr. Freeze and a brand new Riddler while many others were repaints making a comeback from the old Batman Animated Series. 

The most notable figures in this series were the Deluxe figures which were Hydro Jet Nightwing, Silver Defender Batman, Insect Body Mr. Freeze and Rumble Ready Riddler as these had a very limited distribution and short shelve life.

Batman Mission Masters 1999 – 2000  

With many collectors confusing the first and second series of Mission Masters with the conventional New Batman Adventures line it was time for Kenner to make a change. The third and fourth series were therefore presented under simple Batman title.

The second series was released in 1999 represented by Infrared Batman, Knight Strike Batman, Land Strike Batman, Sea Claw Batman as well as deluxe figures of Radar Batman and Skychopper Batman.

In 2000 Kenner released the third lineup of Mission Masters including an exclusive figure to be marketed only through Wal-Mart titled World of Batman.

Other interesting figures in this series were Anti Virus Bruce Wayne, Capture Cape Batman, Firewing Batman, Freestyle Batman, Highwire zip line Batman, Gotham Crusader, Inferno Extinction Batman, Knight Assault Batman, Mountain Pursuit Batman, Quick Attack Batman, RAM Batman, Sky Attack Batman and Virus Delete Batman.

Batman Mission Masters – 2002

With Mission Masters Series 4 Kenner continued to portray Batman in dynamic disguises covering the deepest depths of Gotham City underground to its skyscraper roof tops. 

The significance of this series was that it included a number of rare figures produced as Warner Bros. exclusives. These figures included Batman, Batman vs. Riddler, Batman and Robin, Gatekeepers of Gotham City (Batman, Batgirl, Nightwing and Robin) and Batman vs. Two Face. 

Shadow Blast Batman was the deluxe figure in this lineup while Lunar Attack Batman, Midnight Hunter Batman, Lunar Force Batman, Night Shadow Batman, Velocity Storm Batman and Shadow Blast Batman made-up the rest.  

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ActionFiguresandDolls

Action Figures & Dolls

With over 400 and counting, Batman has the Action Figure world covered like no other. Over decades, manufacturers like Kenner, Hasbro, and Mattel have all eagerly gained the license to immortalize this character into miniature plastic figurines. And Batman action figures have become a popular past time for both children and adults, making them that much more universal.

What many fans may not realize is that the Batman figure craze was actually kick-started by the production of larger Batman dolls not commonly associated with the smaller, more popular scales of today. Groups like Ideal and the widely known Mego Corp. were innovative in creating the first Batman figurines as far back as the 1960s and '70s, serving as highly collectible items today.

Whether you're looking for Action Figure & Doll photos, promos, or fan reviews, we're in abundance. Featuring nearly every Batman figure produced, and constantly updating, BYTB's Action Figures & Dolls database is a true source for everything revolving the Batman figure realm.

Note: All merchandise shown on BYTB is for informational purposes only and is not for sale. Feel free to Email Me any questions, comments or suggestions. CLICK HERE for news and discussion on all Batman Action Figures & Dolls, past and present.

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Animated ~ Children ~ Comic ~ Movies ~ Other Figures ~ Dolls

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Children - View The Children's Action Figure Check List

Comic - View The Comic Action Figure Check List






Movies - View The Movies Action Figure Check List



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Other Figures - View The Others Action Figure Check List

Dolls



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Batman action figures

Batman action figures have been produced since the 1940s.

Early years[edit]

The first Batman figures were lead figurines of Batman and Robin which were given away as carnival prizes at local fairs during the 1940s.

Marx[edit]

The Marx Toy Company produced the first ever poseable Batman action figure in the mid-1960s. It stood about 4" tall and came with a multitude of accessories among them bat - cuffs, batarangs, and a fire extinguisher. Very few remain in existence and it is one of the holy grails for any Batman toy collector.

Ideal's Captain Action[edit]

In 1966, the Ideal Toy Company launched a line of super hero action figures called Captain Action in response to Hasbro's popular G.I. Joe line which followed the standard scale of 12". The Captain Action figure came dressed with a cloth super hero costume, hat, ray gun, and sword, ready for kids to enjoy. But parents could also buy additional super hero costumes that were sold separately. Kids could take Captain Action's costume off and replace it with one of several super hero costumes based on famous comic book characters.

Also in 1966, the ABC Television Network launched a live action Batman TV series . Because of Batman's growing success in the mid '60s, a Batman costume was included in Captain Action's arsenal. This Batman costume was detailed with a horizontally striped cape as well as a black and gold chest emblem (the costume set was available with both metal and decal chest emblems). Batman's accessories included a blue Batarang, flash light, and drill, which could attach to the utility belt.

In 1967, Ideal released a partner figure for Captain Action, his youthful sidekick, Action Boy. Ideal Toy's released only three costumes for Action Boy to change into, one of them being Robin, Batman's sidekick.

Mego's World's Greatest Superheroes![edit]

In 1972, the Mego Corporation, made a landmark deal and secured the licenses to create toys for both National Periodical Publications (later DC Comics) and Marvel Comics.[1] Similar to Ideal Toy's Captain Action line, these figures featured cloth costumes that fans could remove. Unlike Captain Action, however, the costumes came with the figure, and were not sold separately. The bodies were a smaller 8" size and the heads and clothing were interchangeable.[2] During this time period, Mego released the very first ever comprehensive line of DC and Marvel character action figures and coined the term "World's Greatest Super Heroes!" to umbrella the name for all the figures released in this line.[3] The popularity of this line of 8" figures created the standard scale for the 1970s and featured many Batman characters, including Batman, Robin, Catwoman, The Penguin, The Riddler and The Joker. The earliest Batman and Robin figures had removable masks but they were easily lost and Mego noted that it was less expensive to create a new sculpt for Batman with a molded on mask and simply painted the mask onto Robin.[4] Mego was a true pioneer in action figure development, responsible for creating the first carded action figure (for S. S. Kresge's),[5] The first exclusive figures (Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson for Montgomery Ward's) [6] and expanded their line to include the 1966 Batman TV series-style Batmobile, the Batcycle. and the Batcopter, as well playsets for Batman characters such as the Batcave and the Wayne Foundation.[7] They were offered for an entire decade from 1972 until 1983.

Mego/Kenner transition[edit]

Realizing the success of the 8" line of figures, and always thinking of ways to reduce costs of production, Mego Corp. released a smaller plastic line of action toys called Comic Action Heroes! in 1975 that had the costumes molded onto the figure, thus eliminating the extra cost of creating the suits. The Comic Action Heroes were the first ever all plastic smaller scale action figure. The line featured Batman, Robin, The Joker, and The Penguin as well as other DC Comics characters. Later, in 1979, Mego re-released the line under the new name Pocket Super Heroes, a name that would return more than 20 years later as part of DC Direct's super hero line of figures (see below). After Mego made the fatal mistake of not securing licensing for Star Wars, Kenner Products scooped up the licensing and banked on success for the next 30 years. The figures they made were also smaller and all plastic, thus creating a new standard size and style for the action figure.

Super Powers Collection[edit]

Main article: Super Powers Collection

In 1984, after Mego's demise, the Kenner toy company, who gained great success with their Star Wars plastic figure line, was granted the rights to produce DC Comics character all-plastic dolls in 5" scale, and soon after, the Super Powers Collection. Each figure, as the name implies, had a secret super power that would trigger when the figure's arms or legs were squeezed. Kenner produced 3 different Super Powers lines; ending production before such rumored Batman character figures as Catwoman and Man-Bat were produced.

During its time on the market, however, the Super Powers Collection managed to release action figures of Batman, Robin, The Joker, The Penguin, and Mr. Freeze as well as several other DC Comics characters. Toy shelves also reserved space for a 1980s comic book styled Batmobile and a Batcopter that would later be reproduced in black & gold for The Dark Knight Collection of 1990 (see Kenner Film Figures).

Toy Biz DC Super Heroes & Pacipa's Super Amigos[edit]

Since Kenner had stopped production of DC Comics character figures in 1986 when the Super Powers line folded, DC Comics granted the license to the up-and-coming toy company, Toy Biz, in 1989. Toy Biz first produced figures for the Batman movie tie-in, then released other DC Comics character figures under the name DC Comics Super Heroes, a name that would later be used again by different toy companies (see below). The Flash TV series character received a tie-in figure from Toy Biz as well.

Also in 1989, the South American toy company Pacipa bought old Super Powers molds to create a line of DC Comics character figures called Super Amigos. Exclusive to South America, all of the figures were reproductions of Super Powers figures, but made with a low quality plastic and poor paint jobs. This collection also gave way to a Riddler action figure in the form of a repainted Green Lantern base sculpt. A rare piece, this figure is highly sought after by collectors.

Back in the US, the Toy Biz line brought some new figures to the shelves not previously featured in the Super Powers line including Two-Face and the Riddler.[8] Like Pacipa's Super Amigos, the figures featured low quality plastic, and the majority was slightly retooled reproductions of the Super Powers line from Kenner. Although the Batman brand of figures seemed to be initially popular in sales the others were not as successful, DC Comics noticed the poor quality of the figures, and quickly cancelled the license, awarding it back to Kenner.

Kidz Biz / Bikin Foreign Releases[edit]

A foreign release based on the Batman (1989 film) was an 8" Batman figure in Australia by Kidz Biz and in Belgium by Bikin. These figures featured real clothing with removable plastic accessories, similar in style to the Mego figures that debuted nearly two decades earlier.

Kenner movie figures[edit]

Batman[edit]

The same year that Toy Biz won and lost the rights to produce DC Comics figures, Kenner regained the rights and quickly produced a line of Batman movie figures. Released in 1990, these were the first DC Comics figures produced by Kenner in four years. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6N3iEj2oRA&list=PLmkIrDS2Eew1cT_OJ8iwgpwtbxJi8hHyd

Kenner's Dark Knight Collection consisted of several versions of Batman, set apart only by different paint jobs and unique accessories. A Quick-Change Bruce Wayne figure and two versions of The Joker made up the rest of the figures. The Dark Knight Collection also boasted several vehicles including a Batmobile and Turbo Batwing as well as role playing toys. Some items were inexplicitly reused from past Kenner lines such as RoboCop and the Ultra Police, SilverHawks, and Police Academy. Others, such as the Batcave Command Center and Jokermobile, were shown in the Kenner Action Toy Guide but postponed for future Batman lines.[9]

Batman Returns[edit]

When the feature film Batman Returns hit theaters in 1992, Kenner renamed their movie line Batman Returns. This new line included several versions of the same Batman figure sculpt as seen in the previous Dark Knight Collection line. The movie's two villains, Catwoman and Penguin, received their own figures. Catwoman received a new sculpt, but the Penguin figure was a repainted sculpt from Kenner's Super Power's line. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Zej0GzvMHQ&list=PLmkIrDS2Eew0G_BeUnbNf-3KBAuS7nf8_

At the same time Batman Returns hit theaters, fictional teenager Tim Drake became the newest Robin in Batman comics. Because of Robin's rejuvenated popularity, a new Robin figure which featured a sculpt based on the newest comic book design was also introduced in the Batman Returns line even though the character was not featured in the movie.

Rumors are that Robin was set to be included in Batman Returns in the form of an auto mechanic who wore the letter 'R' on his work coveralls, but was cut from the film before production.[citation needed]

Batman Forever[edit]

In 1995, Batman Forever was released featuring Val Kilmer as the Dark Knight. Breaking away from the repetitive base sculpt of the previous two movie collections, Kenner produced Batman Forever figures using a wider range of fresh sculpts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QE0wVyWcwM&list=PLmkIrDS2Eew3diAGC5Gs4QGHys4jd3HmJ

Target eventually released their own series of exclusive Batman Forever action figures as well. These were simply repainted figures from the original line, and they came on a newly styled card.

Batman & Robin[edit]

For the 1997 release of Batman & Robin, the final Batman film of the '90s, Kenner released the Batman & Robin figure line. Unlike previous movie lines, the Batman & Robin line featured several versions of the movie's villains, not just heroes. Kenner also released several hero/villain 2-packs and 12" figures. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySoeZxpeO54&list=PLmkIrDS2Eew34q1-g26UwJiozB3gP4l2E

Batman gets animated[edit]

Batman: The Animated Series[edit]

Shortly after the 1992 premiere of Batman: The Animated Series, Kenner produced a line of figures based on the new cartoon. Like the previous two Batman movie lines, the first few lines of figures included several versions of Batman, and also included multiple versions of Robin and new villains including Clayface, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, and others. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzLZ5QSxp-0&list=PLmkIrDS2Eew330OJwkPdgDlpvvtdKHOV7

In 1993, another Batman movie was released, an animated feature film called Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. Kenner produced Mask of the Phantasm figures using old Batman: T.A.S. molds and only a few new sculpts such as Jet Pack Joker and Phantasm.

As time went by, Kenner's Batman: T.A.S. line began losing steam, so Kenner retooled some of their figures, releasing Batman: T.A.S.: Crime Squad. This line had several Batman variations, but only included one Robin figure, and no villain figures.

Later, Kenner renamed this line The Adventures of Batman & Robin, releasing several figures that were not released as part of the Batman: T.A.S. line, the most famous being a Harley Quinn figure, based on the popular animated series character.

Like Batman: T.A.S., The Adventures of Batman & Robin line started to lose steam as well, so Kenner released The Adventures of Batman & Robin: D.U.O. Force. Despite its introduction of a Batgirl figure, the collection primarily featured repaints of old molds with new accessories and quickly folded.

The New Batman Adventures[edit]

As Hasbro bought out Kenner, a new line of action figures were produced by Hasbro based on the new animated series, The New Batman Adventures. This line featured new sculpts based on the updated animated series from the WB network. The first Creeper and Mad Hatter figures were included in this line.

After the first line of figures was released, The New Batman Adventures line took on the sub title Mission Masters. This line featured new Riddler and Mr. Freeze sculpts. The second Mission Masters line featured repaints of old Batman: T.A.S. figures, including The Joker.

To move away from The New Batman Adventures line, Kenner/Hasbro released the third and fourth Mission Masters lines under the basic Batman title. Included were figures from Batman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Kenner's Superman Adventures line, and some Batman Beyond (see below) figures. Also included was a new comic style Bruce Wayne/Batman figure, rumble ready Riddler and an animated style insect body Mr. Freeze.

Later, Hasbro released several Batman: T.A.S., The Adventures of Batman and Robin, and The New Batman Adventures repaints in the Spectrum of the Bat action figure line.

Batman Beyond[edit]

Hasbro released a new line of figures based on the new WB Batman cartoon Batman Beyond. This line, like all Batman lines in the past, featured many versions of Batman, but only a few versions of the cartoon's villains and no supporting characters.

Later, Hasbro released Batman Beyond: Bat-Links. Unlike Hasbro's earlier Batman Beyond toy line, this line was not based on the popular cartoon series, but had an Elseworlds computer theme.

A Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker movie tie-in line of figures were produced which included several The New Batman Adventures figures as well as Batman Beyond Figures.

Comic figures[edit]

Legends of Batman[edit]

In 1994, Kenner released a whole new line of Batman action figures which included all new sculpts instead of reused molds of old figures. The Legends of Batman line of figures included several Elseworlds versions of Batman, but also included true to comic versions of several Batman characters including Knightquest Batman, KnightsEnd Batman, Nightwing, The Joker, Catwoman and The Riddler. This line never gained popularity, though, and was cancelled soon after its debut. Several years later, WB Stores were offered exclusive repainted sculpts of the Legends of Batman line of figures.

Legends of the Dark Knight[edit]

After the failed Legends of Batman line, Kenner gave the Elseworlds version of Batman figures one last shot by releasing Legends of the Dark Knight. Based on the popular comic of the same name, Legends of the Dark Knight featured all Elseworlds versions of Batman and other characters. The only character figures in this line to stay true to their comic images were Dark Knight Detective Batman, an online exclusive, and Man-Bat. Like Legends of Batman, this line never gained popularity, and was quickly cancelled. Later, a few unproduced figures from this line were offered as online exclusives.

Superman: Man of Steel[edit]

Main article: Superman: Man of Steel (toy line)

Also in 1994, Kenner moved away from their focus on DC's Batman, and released a Superman comic character line called Superman: The Man of Steel. This line featured several popular characters from the Superman comics, but also included several two-packs which featured Batman and Superman together. Two of the Superman/Batman figures later turned up as mail-away exclusives in the Batman: Total Justice line of figures. (see below)

Batman: Total Justice[edit]

Main article: Batman Total Justice

In 1996, Kenner started production on a new line of DC Comics character figures. This line, like Legends of Batman and Legends of the Dark Knight, featured all new sculpts of popular DC Comics characters. To appeal to buyers, Kenner produced the line under the high selling Batman title, calling the line Batman: Total Justice. This line featured not only Batman, Robin, and The Huntress, but also included other DC Comics characters including Superman, Green Lantern, The Flash and others.

Even though this was the first line of DC Comics character figures released by Kenner since the Super Powers line folded 10 years earlier, some fans were disappointed. Despite remarkably detailed sculpts, the figures' static poses and "Fractal Armor" accessories caused unhappiness. Wanting more articulation and less gimmick, some abandoned the Total Justice line, and Kenner stopped production after the release of 14 figures.

JLA[edit]

Two years after the Total Justice line faded, the Hasbro toy company produced the same figures included in the Total Justice line, this time releasing them under the name JLA (a tie-in with the popular comic title). Several of the unproduced Total Justice figures were produced in this line, but no new Batman related characters were included. A redesigned Joker figure was included in a JLA box set.

Hasbro's DC Super Heroes[edit]

Returning to the comic roots of Mego's Comic Action/Pocket Hero's lines, Hasbro released a new line of 7" plastic dolls called DC Super Heroes. Unlike the earlier Toy Biz line by the same name, this line featured new sculpts with great detail. Only one line of figures were released, though, and they were very hard to find. The reason for the short life of a great line that had many possibilities remains unclear.

Hasbro also produced several 9" Mego like figures in the DC Super Hero line as well as Target Exclusives. This occurred between 1999 and 2002, just as Mattel was taking over the line, which halted the line before it was completed. Batman figures included were the MasterPiece Batman box set with a Year One 1939 Batman Figure, Golden Age Collection featuring Batman and Robin, Silver Edition Removable Cowl Batman and Guardian of Gotham featuring a molded cowl head and a Bruce Wayne quick change. Villains offered were the Joker and Penguin.

Batman: Knight Force Ninjas[edit]

In 1998, Kenner produced a new line of Batman figures called Batman: Knight Force Ninjas. This line, like Legends of Batman and Legends of the Dark Knight, featured all new sculpts of Batman in an Elseworld theme. Notable figures were the first ever Azrael figure, and a new Killer Croc figure.

DC Direct[edit]

To please fans and collectors who wanted better figures, not just repaints, DC Comics started production on their own line of action figures. These highly articulated figures, based on popular DC Comics characters, feature many Batman characters, and also feature storyline inspired character figures including Elseworld figures.

DC Direct also released a new line of Pocket Super Heroes, mini action figures that kids could put in their pocket. The Pocket Super Heroes come in boxed sets, including a Batman boxed set featuring Batman, Bruce Wayne, Robin, Alfred Pennyworth, Catwoman and Two-Face.

Batman around the world[edit]

To please fans around the globe, DC Comics gave a license to Japanese toy company Yamato to produce a line of Batman action figures. These figures were only released in Japan in 2003, but DC Direct released the same figures in America in 2004. Later, another Japanese toy company, Takara, created a new line of Batman action figures under their long lived Microman Toyline, which was sold in the U.S. market in the 1970s under the name Micronauts. Featuring more articulation than the Yamato line, these figures also saw their American debut in 2004.

Kenner ends, Mattel begins[edit]

In 2003, Mattel won the rights to produce Batman and other DC Comics character figures from Hasbro. Before losing control, Hasbro released its final sets of Batman animated figures. Most figures were featured in two packs, and were store exclusives. K-Mart, Wal-Mart and Toys 'R' Us released these figures before Mattel took over production.

After Hasbro's line faded, Mattel quickly produced its own line of retooled Batman animated figures to tide fans over until it could release new figure lines. Some figures were new sculpts, some were just repaints of old Kenner/Hasbro sculpts.

Teen Titans[edit]

Around the same time as Mattel took over production of Batman and DC Comics character figures, Bandai released its own line of figures based on the Cartoon Network's animated series Teen Titans. Teen Titans: Go! features several Robin figures of different sizes. Batman, however, has no place within the cartoon or action figure collection.

The Batman[edit]

After the quickly released animated line faded, Mattel released a new Batman animated line based on WB's new animated series, The Batman. The Batman line of figures featured all new sculpts and more articulation than past animated lines.

After several waves of figures hit toy shelves, Mattel renamed the line The Batman: EXP. The EXP (EXtreme Power) hero figures come with a weapon that, when a power battery is connected and turned, reveals an "extreme power" feature.

When The Batman: EXP line faded, a new line of animated figures were announced. ShadowTek, a line that features new animated Robin & Killer Moth figures based on their cartoon counterparts, hit shelves in late 2006. This line also includes re-released figures from earlier lines as well, a growing Mattel staple.

Later ShadowTek figures include other DC Universe heroes which appear in The Batman cartoon, including Superman, Hawkman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and Martian Manhunter.

In 2007, Mattel announced a large recall of toys, including toys from The Batman toy line, which featured lead paint and/or small magnets which could choke children.

Batman Begins[edit]

Mattel released a collection of figures based on the hit movie Batman Begins. The line featured all new sculpts, but it had its share of problems. Most of the costumes and characters featured in the line did not match their movie counterpart. Central characters such as Ninja Bruce Wayne, Ducard, and Ra's al Ghul all featured identical body sculpts simply with different heads. Many figures had poor distribution, which caused fans to miss out on their favorite characters. In 2006, Mattel would release figures for Superman Returns which featured a similar scale and style as Batman Begins.

Four Horsemen's Batman[edit]

Realizing that fans wanted better quality figures based on their favorite comic characters, like the Toy Biz figure line Marvel Legends, Mattel released a new line of action figures designed by Four Horsemen studios based on the comic styled Batman universe of characters. The new Batman figures were taller than previously released Batman figures, and featured more articulation. Collectors loved the line, but a higher price tag in stores caused poor sales, which caused the line to quickly fade before the release of new figures, including Bane and Scarecrow, made it to American toy shelves. These figures but were released overseas, though, and American collectors could buy the figures online.

DC Superheroes[edit]

Main article: DC Superheroes (toys)

After the Four Horsemen styled Batman line folded, Mattel announced it would release more Four Horsemen styled Batman figures, as well as new Superman figures, with the new DC Comics Super Heroes line of figures. Unlike Toy Biz's earlier line of poor quality figures by the same name, the new figures were just what DC Comic fans were waiting for. The first line of figures included Batman, Killer Croc, and the unreleased Bane and Scarecrow figures from the Four Horsemen's previous Batman line. Used and unused molds from Mattel's Batman line would be used in later DC Super Heroes waves of figures, including the previously released Robin and a new Azrael and Catwoman sculpt.

DC Universe[edit]

Main article: DC Universe (toyline)

When the DC Super Heroes line started to lose steam, Mattel quickly gained the rights to produce more DC Comics characters outside the Superman/Batman universe. The retitled line, DC Universe, hit toy shelves in 2008, featuring fan favorite DC Comics characters like Red Tornado, Firestorm, Green Lantern and Aquaman. Batman characters such as The Penguin and Harley Quinn were also announced for the line as well as Electric Superman Blue and Red.

Justice League[edit]

Main article: DC Universe: Justice League Unlimited Fan Collection

Returning to the animated line, Cartoon Network's popular cartoon series, Justice League, also got its own line of figures produced by Mattel. The Justice League line features several Batman figures. Later, the line was renamed Justice League Unlimited, in order to keep up with changes made to the cartoon series.

In 2006, Mattel released several of the Justice League Unlimited figures under the name DC Super Heroes: Justice League Unlimited. These animated DC Super Heroes were released at the same time as the comic styled DC Super Heroes line of figures.

Exclusives[edit]

In 2003, 2 Batman figures, scale to the JLU figures, were released with the Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu video game. The 2 figures were a Batman with his original colors, and exclusive Batgirl figure. It is the only way to obtain these two figures.

The Dark Knight[edit]

In 2008, Mattel released a toy collection for The Dark Knight. Like the Batman Begins line, The Dark Knight line also featured 5-inch figures. The film's main villain, The Joker, bore little facial resemblance to Heath Ledger, displaying a simple, cartoon-like face. This likeness would be used throughout most of the film's child-oriented marketing. A Two-Face figure was released in December 2008 along with a Deathstroke and Firefly not to be seen in any future films, but like the Joker figure, they also are more cartoon like than The 6-inch Movie Masters Line.

In a first for Batman movie action figures, a 6-inch line of figures was also produced called The Dark Knight Movie Masters. Designed by The Four Horsemen and displaying a much closer level of detail and more articulation than the 5-inch figures, Wave 1 of The Dark Knight Movie Masters were quickly bought up, making finding them in stores extremely difficult for several months. The line's Joker action figure became much desired among collectors due to Heath Ledger's death.

Matty Collector[edit]

Mattel began selling exclusive Batman: The Dark Knight and DC Universe figures exclusively on mattycollector.com in 2009, giving fans a chance to order items that are not found in stores.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold[edit]

Mattel also released a line of figures and playsets based on the popular Cartoon Network animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

Young Justice[edit]

Mattel released an action figure line based on Young Justice. The line included characters from the Batman universe, including Robin and Batman himself.

Arkham City and Arkham Asylum[edit]

An action figure line was released after the events and during the events of Arkham City and Arkham Asylum, which are still continuing now from 2009 to whenever the figures are ending. Places such as Toys "R" Us and the Big Bad Toy Store sell these action figures and many toy reviewers have used these action figures in their videos.

The Dark Knight Rises[edit]

An action figure line based on the film The Dark Knight Rises has recently released 7 figures: Batman, Bane, Catwoman, John Blake, Alfred, Ra's al Ghul, and Jim Gordon.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice & Justice League[edit]

Mattel released kid friendly figures from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. Each figure came with movie inspired weapons and featured less articulation and detail than the more expensive DC Multiverse figures.

DC Multiverse[edit]

Main article: DC Multiverse (toy line)

Following the end of DC Universe Classics, 6-inch Batman figures began showing up in the successor DC Multiverse line. In addition to various comic iterations of the character, the line was home to figures of Ben Affleck's portrayal of Batman from the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad and Justice League live-action movies. For Batman's 80th anniversary in 2019, several special figures were released, celebrating the history of Batman.

True Moves[edit]

Mattel released many 12" DC Comics figures in the True Moves line, including figures from comics, cartoons, and movies. For Batman's 80th Anniversary in 2019, a 12" True Moves 1st Appearance Batman figure was released with a comic reprint of Batman's 1st appearance in Detective Comics #27.

Batman Missions[edit]

Batman Missions was a kid friendly action figure line featuring several popular Batman characters in comic inspired designs. A 12" True Moves line of Batman Missions figures was also released.

Dollar General / Family Dollar[edit]

Mattel released cheaper versions of their basic figures from the Batman Missions line in several "dollar stores" across America, including Dollar General and Family Dollar. The figures came in a small box, did not include any accessories, and had limited articulation.

Mattel Ends, McFarlane & Spin Master Begins[edit]

In 2019, Mattel lost the license to produce DC Comics toys. The license was split between McFarlane Toys, which announced they would produce collector friendly action figures, and Spin Master, which announced they would produce the more kid friendly action figures.

McFarlane DC Universe[edit]

In January 2020, McFarlane released their first line of action figures based on DC Comics properties, including Batman and Superman. The figures stood taller than Mattel's DC Multiverse figures and features greater detail and more articulation, as well as more accessories.

Spin Master[edit]

In January 2020, Spin Master also released their 4" line of DC Comics and Batman action figures which came with mystery accessories.

Funko Pop![edit]

Funko released many of their Pop! Vinyl collector bobbleheads and figures based on various Batman properties, including television, movie, cartoon and comic inspired versions of the Dark Knight.

References[edit]

  1. ^Bonavita, John. Mego Action Figure Toys, Revised, & Expanded 3rd Edition. Schiffer Publishing, 2001, p. 19.
  2. ^Bonavita, John. Mego Action Figure Toys, Revised, & Expanded 3rd Edition. Schiffer Publishing, 2001, p. 14-15.
  3. ^Holcomb, Benjamin. Mego 8" Super-Heroes: World's Greatest Toys!. TwoMorrows Publishing, 2007, p. 16.
  4. ^Holcomb, Benjamin. Mego 8" Super-Heroes: World's Greatest Toys!. TwoMorrows Publishing, 2007, p. 27, 35, 37.
  5. ^Bonavita, John. Mego Action Figure Toys, Revised, & Expanded 3rd Edition. Schiffer Publishing, 2001, p. 23.
  6. ^Holcomb, Benjamin. Mego 8" Super-Heroes: World's Greatest Toys!. TwoMorrows Publishing, 2007, p. 18, 27, 35, 139-143 .
  7. ^Holcomb, Benjamin. Mego 8" Super-Heroes: World's Greatest Toys!. TwoMorrows Publishing, 2007, p. 34, 148, 218, 219.
  8. ^Zenker, Gary (2013). Ultimate DC Comics Action Figures and Collectibles Checklist. White Lightning Publishing. ISBN .
  9. ^Action Figures - Movies - The Dark Knight Collection BatmanYTB.com. Retrieved February 6, 2008.

Further reading[edit]

  • Zenker, Gary (2013). Ultimate DC Comics Action Figures and Collectibles Checklist. White Lightning Publishing. ISBN 978-0989334471

External links[edit]

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman_action_figures
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