NEW PIX! We talked to NECA’s Randy Falk to get the (Very) Secret Origin of this surprising, stunning line.
NECA’s announcement of its new 7-inch DC line a few days ago was one of the biggest surprises of the year for people who are into this stuff. People like you and me, in other words.
Adam West Batman. Heath Ledger Joker. And, most improbably of all, Christopher Reeve Superman.
It’s all part of a DVD promotion with Warner Home Video: For about $30, you get a related DVD. (They won’t be available without the disk, but for that price, who cares?)
(UPDATED: Some readers are reporting their TRUs are selling figs for about $20 without the DVD — so, even better!)
Nobody but a very tight circle of people saw these figures coming. Equally amazing? That they’re available now or very, very shortly. (Superman should be available this week at select Toys R Us stores, if he’s not already.)
Of course, when something is released this way, without the typical comic-con panel or splashy months-in-advance announcement, questions come rushing to mind — first and foremost: Will there be more?
So I asked NECA’s Randy Falk about it all and here’s what he had to say…
For complete info on the figures themselves — including how to get them — click here. For the FIRST REVIEW of West Batman and Ledger Joker, click here. For the FIRST REVIEW of Reeve Superman, click here.
Dan Greenfield: This was such a strange announcement in that it came on the same day as availability. Usually, we have to wait months for something after the reveal. Why was this done this way?
Randy Falk: Because the Internet has ruined surprises for just about everything, and we like to bring some of that classic feeling back of walking into a toy aisle and being blown away, like “What is this?! I didn’t know this was coming out?!” I know had we announced this in advance, eager fans would be driving Toys R Us crazy with calls and visits asking about them, so it made sense to keep it all secret until we had them in stores or on trucks to stores the very day we dropped the reveal. It was all carefully orchestrated and planned, and I am thrilled with how it’s played out so far.
Dan: You hit it big with Batman, Superman and the Joker right out of the gate. The natural question is, what’s next? Will we also be getting, say, Burt Ward Robin and Christian Bale Batman? DeVito Penguin? Cavill Superman?
Randy: The honest answer is I don’t know. Last year we blew everyone away with the 25th Anniversary Keaton Batman tie-in; that is what led this to happen, but we were not sure this was a go until June, so there is no given or certainty with this. We are working closely with (Warner) Home Video to offer great and unique tie-ins that you can’t get any other way. I certainly have my list or hopes for next year but I don’t know for sure IF there will be another opportunity. I hope that if these sell well and Warner Home Video and Toys R Us are pleased with the results and sell-through, then we can talk about expanding in 2016. If we could do this every fall/holiday it would be amazing.
Dan: Would we see characters NECA hasn’t produced yet, like, for example, Batman TV villains or Superman movie villains? Or Dark Knight Trilogy characters or Burton Batman villains?
Randy: … Really no idea, but most likely we would be offering scaled-down versions of characters we had only been able to offer in 1/4 scale before.
Dan: The 7-inch Christopher Reeve Superman is a particular surprise since there’s never been a figure even close to this size before. How were you able to make that happen?
Randy: Again it is all part of the home-video promotion; we had the chance to add more … this year (last year was just one, Keaton Batman) and Reeve Superman was at the top of my list, since it is such an important figure and no matter what, he is still Superman to the majority of fans and audiences worldwide. I had to get Reeve and Ledger in there as they both gave amazing performances and have a legacy that we are honored to be immortalizing in toy form.
Dan: I know you have a personal connection to a lot of your licenses, like the late, lamented Planet of the Apes line. Where does this line rank for you in your personal pantheon?
Randy: Very high up there because you don’t get much bigger than DC and these classic heroes. I grew up with ’66 Batman and saw Reeve Superman in the theater with my dad as a kid — it means so much to me and to others. The nostalgia and the feelings you get from seeing those movies or shows again can’t be beat. We never had proper toys of any of them, and anything that has been done in modern times of decent quality has been untouchable for most because of price point. For us it is a dream to be playing in a universe we normally can’t touch due to licensing restrictions and to bring collectors and fans toys that they have wanted for nearly 40 years.
When I got our first samples I set them all up along with the previously released Keaton Batman and we all kind of stood back looking at them on the desk, thinking “How freaking cool?!? This is incredible — we actually have our own little DC universe under way here.”
I am so pleased with how they turned out too: the production from the factory, the packaging, the deco, every little thing. I hope fans enjoy them as much as we do and I hope that there will be more in 2016 and beyond.