13 QUICK THOUGHTS on the company’s ongoing variants line.
This is the final part in a 3-part series looking at Figures Toy Company‘s Batman ’66 variants.
Part 1. REVIEW: Undercover Agent Dick Grayson. Click here.
Part 2. REVIEW: Green Apron/Wave 4 Alfred. Click here.
Fewer things are more polarizing among fans than the variant. Whether it’s a comics cover or an action figure, one collector’s treat is another’s turn-off.
Critics call them money grabs — and they’re not wrong. Except they neglect to consider that every product a company produces is, by definition, a money grab. A company may enjoy the products it creates but they’re in it to make a buck. Remember, they almost certainly don’t have the same emotional attachment to these items as you or me.
But that doesn’t make every variant worth it. Of course, “worth it” is one of the most subjective measures of them all.
(And feel free to add your own thoughts and ideas in the comments section or in whatever social-media thread you saw this. Like I did with the World’s Greatest Heroes line, I’ll be compiling a follow-up.)
1. I think the company’s done a fantastic job bringing us a line with a broad array of characters from the series. Some companies would have been content only to produce the Big Seven — Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Catwoman (whom I’m still expecting). There are only two actors whose likenesses are left under the Warner Brothers license — Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt. If the line is to stay alive beyond them, variants are pretty much the way to go.
2. But if there are going to be variants, they have to have added value. For me, that means figures like Boxing Batman and Riddler. There’s enough there that’s different to make it “worth it” to me.
3. Variant I Would Buy #1: Suit and Tie Riddler. Easily.
4. The company should stay away from variants that are just minor alterations. Black Mask Penguin is the best example of this.
5. Instead, I’d much rather see a second accessories pack with items like an umbrella, a purple Joker mask, Catwoman’s golden cat statues, Batman-mask Alfred head, Batusi hands, etc.
6. I think a lot of fans were reasonably upset that the Entertainment Earth 5-pack was $175 — and didn’t give us enough fresh material. I really hope we don’t see that happen again.
7. That said, Undercover Agent Dick Grayson is one of the best variants the company has produced. (Click here for my full review.) I think Smoking Jacket Bruce Wayne is decent too, but of the four variants in that set, Grayson is easily the most clever (if I do say so myself).
8. Variant I Would Buy #2: I don’t care that Mattel’s done it, I still want Surfing Batman and Joker — or at least a set of baggies and surfboards in a second accessories pack.
9. Pink Cowl Batman is my favorite variant of them all. Some might argue that fans would have been better served with just the head. In this case, I personally like having the separate figures — I’m not a big fan of switching heads on and off, especially on items as delicate as these.
10. Of the four new villain variants, I think Tut and Mad Hatter are the better ones. I’m on the fence overall, however.
11. Variant I Would Buy #3: Jockey Dick Grayson (and Jockey Penguin).
12. Why not a line of generic henchmen and molls? If Mego could get away with it for Star Trek and Planet of the Apes, then why not a Catwoman Thug or a Cheerleader Moll or a Penguin GOON?
13. This has nothing to do with variants: Giant Clam Playset, anyone?