The perfect toy for the Joker’s 80th anniversary…
One of the great things that Mego did in the ’70s was make sure that Batman had allies to fight with and villains to battle — not to mention a fleet of vehicles and two separate headquarters.
But the company never went that extra step to give us a place to park the awesome Jokermobile.
Well, customizer extraordinaire Anthony Durso — a 13th Dimension regular contributor — has taken care of that with the Joker Ha-Hacienda playset, available through his company, The Toyroom.
Not just that, Friday marks the Joker’s 80th anniversary with his April 24, 1940, debut in Batman #1 — so there’s no better time for an INSIDE LOOK at one of the very best sets Anthony’s put together.
“I originally made this as a three-story Dida display back in 2007,” Anthony explained, referring to an earlier customizable diorama set. “The top level was the Joker’s lair, the second level was a death-trap cage for Batman and the bottom level had a secret entranceway and place for the Mego Jokermobile. Obviously, with this new smaller, carry-case format some concepts were condensed while others were scrapped altogether.
“The concept behind this is a former novelty toy company (Laughwell) building that has been condemned due to a chemical leak,” he added. “But to the Joker it’s the perfect place for his Ha-Hacienda. I first learned of the Ha-Hacienda in the pages of The Joker #5 (Feb. 1976) and that issue influenced this project, including the Laughing Man painting that is the McGuffin of the plot in that story. The exterior of the building is based on the hideout that appeared on the cover of Detective Comics #365, while the main Joker artwork is from the cover of Batman #321, which I think is my favorite Joker story. The Ha-Hacienda logo is written in the same font that Mego used for it’s Joker logo.
“I tried to make this playset a walk-through history of the Joker,” Anthony said. “It touches on his comic book roots (Golden, Silver, Bronze, Modern ages are all covered) and also contains nods to Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, Batman: The Animated Series, Filmation, Cesar Romero and even Milk Duds!”
I’m particularly taken with the sheer number of Easter eggs that Anthony’s tucked into this set. Besides the comics, TV and movie references — see if you can spot them all — artists represented include Carmine Infantino, Neal Adams, Marshall Rogers, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Bruce Timm, Jerry Robinson and Dick Sprang. There’re even a couple references to the upcoming Three Jokers miniseries.
Further, we also learn how the Clown Prince of Crime filled the gigantic flower atop the Mego Jokermobile. Plus, it’s a padded cell!
This, folks, is inspired.
Here’s some more:
In addition to this set, The Toyroom’s sets currently include: The Fortress of Solitude (click here for an INSIDE LOOK), Lex Luthor’s Lair, the JLA Satellite, the Batcave/Wayne Foundation (click here), the 1966 Batcave, the 1966 Batgirl apartment and changing room (click here), the Riddler’s hideout (click here), the Aquacave, Captain Marvel’s Rock of Eternity (click here), the Hall of Doom, Paradise Island, the Green Lantern HQ on Oa, the Justice Society’s brownstone, Iron Man’s Armory (click here), the X-Men’s Danger Room (click here) and a Scooby-Doo haunted house — with more to come.
As I always feel compelled to point out, I don’t make anything off this. I just love showing it all off. Each set — including case, artwork and complete assembly — is $85 plus shipping. Contact either firstname.lastname@example.org or you can message Anthony, who also owns Retropolis Tees, through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
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