BATMAN’S 1966 TOPPS CARDS: Why It’s a Great Time to Be a Fan of Artist NORM SAUNDERS

Celebrate a ginchy artist with this calendar and these action figures…

Who knows why these things happen, but there’s a funky coincidence that’s put famed pulp artist Norm Saunders back in the forefront this season: His artwork is central to not one but two really groovy collectible releases that are just hitting the market.

One is Trends International’s 2023 DC Comics Batman Collector’s Edition Calendar — a set that includes a calendar, mini-posters and a wonderfully designed box, all featuring the 1966 Topps Batman card art painted by Saunders.

Coming out at the same time is the latest from McFarlane Toys’ Batman ’66 6-inch-scale action figure line — a four-pack including Batman, Robin, the Joker and the Penguin, all repainted to appear as they did on the cards, contained in a lunchbox featuring Saunders art. (Saunders gets the lion’s share of the credit for these images but Bob Powell was the penciller, as I understand it. If you have additional artist info, add it in the comments below!)

The calendar speaks for itself — and you can click here for an INSIDE LOOK. It’s a gorgeous tribute not just to the Dynamic Duo but this particular art. The McFarlane set, on the other hand, is remarkably clever. When a lot of fans first saw the promo images, they moaned that this was just another repaint job of existing figures — and not show-accurate at that.

But that’s the point: The figures were painted colors to match the cards — even including the white slits for Batman and Robin’s masks. In other words, this is likely the closest you’ll ever get to see these offbeat trading cards come to 3D life and I am all for that. (The set comes with a handful of reprint cards, in fact.)

Dig more of the images of the two items:

Mini-posters from the calendar set

The calendar lists for $31.99 and you can order it directly from Trends International or get it from other retailers. The McFarlane set, which also includes some reprint cards, is listed for $59.99 at Target, which is the exclusive retailer. (If Target doesn’t work for you, you’ll have to brave the scalpers, unfortunately.)

I’ve been itching to do a TOP 13 list of the ’66 cards and these two items are only ramping up my excitement. Saunders’ birthday is coming up, so who knows…


— SNEAK PEEK: Dig This Classic BATMAN CALENDAR BOXED SET Coming in 2023. Click here.

— Dig This INSIDE LOOK at the McFarlane Toys 1966 BATCAVE. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. For the Joker figure to match the cards, his ears would have to lack “greasepaint.” See the “Face of the Joker” and “The Joker’s Juggernaut” cards reproduced above.

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    • Ha! What a weird detail!

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  2. I’m a huge fan of the Norman Saunders cards – I had some as a kid. I’m really surprised that there hasn’t been a book issued on the cards – books have been created for other card sets – Mars Attacks; Star Wars; Planet of the Apes, etc. I wonder if there is some sort of rights issue preventing a Batman book? It would seem like a no-brained.

    I have the 1989 Topps Reprint set of the cards…wonderful. Topps used the original film negatives (not scanned) and printed them on white card stock. If the original cards are out of your price ranges, this is a great alternative.

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  3. Killer brand of pop culture apparel, RSVLTS, has a short-sleeve button-down collared shirt with these cards as the pattern. Gorgeous, high-quality product, and they have an amazing Batman collection, plus Marvel classics!

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