TOYHEM! The DC Comics artist/writer brings you little atomic batteries to power, little turbines to speed…

Welcome to TOYHEM! For the fourth straight holiday season, we’re bringing you a series of features and columns celebrating the toys of our youth, which often made for the best memories this time of year. Click here to check out the complete index of stories — and have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah and Happy Holidays! — Dan

UPDATED 12/1/22: This is one of my fave TOYHEM stories from the vault, so we’re re-presenting it this year. It first ran in 2019. Dig it! — Dan

TOYHEM! isn’t really a single series of stories. It’s sort of a series of series. We have the 13-day Custom Mego Box of the Day, for example. (Click here.)

But we also have TOYHEM! MEMORIES – a collection of guest essays by comics creators on their favorite childhood toys.

Last time, it was Gene Luen Yang on The Six Million Dollar Man. Click here.

This time? It’s Dan Jurgens on the Corgi Batmobile.

Dan’s probably best known for his role in The Death of Superman, but the comics stalwart has probably touched just about every DC character there is, and a fair number of Marvel heroes and villains too. He’s also the creator of Booster Gold, who just happens to have a big hardcover collection out right now:

So dig this look back at one of the most popular Batman playthings ever — and certainly one of my own favorites:


In the 1960s, we didn’t have much in the way of toys that were based on comics. More than anything, we had toys that were based on TV shows that were based on comics, and the king of them all was ABC TV’s Batman. Not only was it massive as a two-night-per-week TV show, it was also an iconic symbol of pop culture, capturing much of the crazy concepts of the era.

Part of that craziness was the idea that almost every show on TV seemed to have a unique car as part of its “cast”. The Munsters, The Monkees, The Beverly Hillbillies and more all had recognizable cars that were worthy of exploitation by the toy industry. Batman was the leader in that regard, thanks to the Batmobile.

Designed and built by George Barris, the awesome set of wheels was absolutely the coolest thing rolling on TV. When I saw the Corgi Toys version in a Christmas catalogue, it was something I absolutely had to have. Fortunately, in one of those memories that seems as though it only happened yesterday, Santa delivered, and the Batmobile was mine.

At a time when a lot of TV tie-in toys were cheap knockoffs, Corgi came through with a very credible version, made of metal and detailed in proportion to the car. It had a chain cutter, rockets that actually fired and, when the wheels rolled, mimicked the ignition fire of the nuclear engines.

It was, “Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed,” from the moment I laid my hands on it, and still one of the era’s best comics-related efforts.

ADDITIONAL NOTE from Dan (Greenfield): By the way, these are Dan’s original items. I told him I was impressed that he saved everything.

His reply?

“If I liked the art on them — and many boxes featured painted art instead of photos — I saved them. Same with model kits. I didn’t save the boxes, but I cut the sides off the covers and saved them flat because I liked the pictures.”

That’s a budding artist right there.


— The Complete TOYHEM INDEX of Stories and Features. Click here.

— DAN JURGENS Ranks the 13 Greatest ACTION COMICS Covers. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I bet those Batmobile Owner’s Badges are rare now. As I recall, this was an adhesive-backed item printed on fabric.

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  2. I recently had to sell my corgi Batmobile for nothing near it’s worth – especially to me. Now I may want to buy this one back! Childhood obsession Insanity!

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  3. I have the corgi batmobile that actually shoots out the rockets from the pipes Ron Albion ny

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  4. I love the instructions showing the buzz saw tearing into back of the Mustang. (I’m a Chevy person.) My version came with the trailer and boat…..I’m thinking early ‘70s.

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  5. There’s some talk that Corgi MIGHT reissue the Batmobile if there’s enough of a demand.

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    • I’m in if they do.

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    • Check out Corgi model club USA Facebook page for details. They’re not working on obtaining the license.

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  6. Dan, Corgi Model Club USA Is planning to reissue the Corgi Batmobile in the first issue box. They do very high quality work and what’s new will include a Batmobile certificate of authenticity.

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  7. I am certain I had this when I was a young kid in the 1960s. I also remember the Corgi Black Beauty and The Avengers (the TV series) had two: John Steed’s Bentley and Emma Peel’s Lotus. Wow, I just had a flashback for the first time of the model kit shop in my hometown that was located on the corner of a main street and how just inside the doorway to the left they had a display case of Corgi and Matchbox vehicles.

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