With this retailer exclusive, the collection is nearing completion …
1. Figures Toy Company has a good thing going with its Batman ’66 variants. They can exploit their license with intensity while adhering to its limits on the number of available actors’ likenesses. That list of likenesses is a good length — more than a dozen actors at this point — but other than the forthcoming Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt Catwoman figures, they’ve all been used by the Tampa-based manufacturer.
2. So we get, among many choices, items like Pagliacci Suit Joker and Boxing Batman and Riddler. I’ve written quite a bit about FTC’s Batman ’66 variants (click here) and for the most part they’re for completists or fans who especially like a specific character or episode. I dig a lot of them — but then I’m kind of hardcore, as anyone who reads this site regularly knows. There have been some really good ones — like Juvenile Delinquent Dick Grayson (nee Undercover Agent Dick Grayson), which came out of a discussion I had with the company — and some not-so-great ones, like Black Mask Penguin, which is only a variant because it has a black mask.
3. To me, there are only five absolute must-haves: Surfing Batman and Joker (which are coming) and Boxing Batman and Riddler (which I already have). Anything else is gravy, though I freely acknowledge your “priorities” may be very different from my own.
4. But there’s one with universal appeal, one that is vital, and it’s here: Green Suit Variant Riddler.
5. I’m a jumpsuit Riddler guy at heart but having one without the other is like a half-finished painting. It’s not exactly analogous, but it’s in the realm of how I feel about having Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson in addition to having Batman and Robin. Having both adds a depth to your collection and gives you an iconic figure besides.
6. I think I liked the jumpsuit better as a kid because that seemed like the “real costume” and the suit-and-tie was kind of faking it. It seemed, I dunno, half-hearted. Maybe the comics (and Mego) had something to do with it. But I came to appreciate the look and think that FTC’s done terrific work here.
7. The best part of Green Suit Riddler (which is a funny name because, y’know, the jumpsuit is green too) is the outfit itself. The hat and tie have their question marks and the suit itself is festooned with said punctuation marks. The shirt is black, with green gloves and shoes. Figures Toy Company frequently gets the tiny details right and in this case the big flourish is the paisley design on the back of the vest, which mimics the original.
8. When we first released the promo pix, there were fans who said the Riddler looked more like Dennis Hopper than Frank Gorshin and I’m inclined to agree. It’s not a bad likeness, just not as strong as Otto Preminger’s Mr. Freeze or David Wayne’s Mad Hatter, which might be the best in the line.
9. I have no idea whether this has anything to do with anything, but I know there were fans who beefed that the original Gorshin figure was too cartoony and not accurate enough. I think that’s foolish. That first Riddler looks great and I have no problem whatsoever if Mego replicas are more cartoony and less “accurate.” It fits. NECA’s Taylor “Mego” is the end-all be-all for accuracy in this sort of thing, and if you’re not going to go that far, then I think cartoony is just fine.
10. I’m still holding out hope that Figures Toy will give us a second accessories pack, focusing on villains. Riddler’s weird electronic box from the boxing episode, Penguin umbrellas, Catwoman cat statuettes, you name it. So many possibilities. Even the Riddler’s handgun cigarette lighter from the premiere episode, which would be perfect for this figure.
11. Green Suit Riddler is an exclusive at Emerald City Comics in Florida and, at $40, is more than the usual $25-$30 per figure you usually see. Whether it’s worth it to you is up to you, obviously. But as far as pricing structures go, it’s a far sight better than the $175 Entertainment Earth exclusive 5-pack. (Click here for ordering info.)
12. So where to now as far as variants go? I’m perfectly satisfied with what’s been produced or announced so far, so I’m really rooting for this henchman concept I wrote about here.
13. Riddle me this: Who’s in his 40s, has been collecting Batman stuff for most of his life and is completely satisfied with this figure? Answer: Me.