TOY FAIR 2018: Hope Lives For Funko’s BATMAN ‘66 Line

It’s now looking good.

MAJOR UPDATE: Funko now says there WILL BE a Wave 2 — out this summer. CLICK HERE FOR INFO.

NOTE: The piece below was written before Funko clarified that there would be a second wave this summer. If you’re interested in why I was speculating otherwise, read on. Otherwise, click the above link for the latest. — Dan

— Check out the complete FUNKO BATMAN ’66 INDEX of stories and features. Click here.

— For the TOY FAIR 2018 INDEX of stories, click here.

From Toy Fair 2017

One of the most exciting announcements from Toy Fair 2017 was Funko’s 3.75-inch action-figure line based on Batman ‘66. (Click here.)

There was a lot of promise: A Wave 1 that included not just Batman, Batgirl and Catwoman, but such deep cuts as Screen Test Batman and Eli Wallach Mr. Freeze chase figures. There was also a scaled-down version of the Batmobile, with Batman and Robin figures.

The wave was released several months later — followed by a series of variant Batmobiles in a bunch of eye-catching colors.

Early on, Funko teased a Wave 2 — and even hinted at another wave behind it. Word was supposed to come by the end of the year.

And then… nothing.

Sure, there was one more Batmobile variant at Christmastime, but no news or even hints, despite multiple efforts to glean information.

The last release?

And, now Toy Fair 2018 is here and the line is absent from Funko’s sizeable display at New York City’s Javits Center.

It’s easy to speculate why the line came undone:

For one thing, broader interest in the modern Batman ‘66 merchandising onslaught probably crested in 2016, the show’s 50th anniversary year. The company just may have been too late — and the line not unique enough — to appeal to many customers beyond the core ‘66 fan base.

For another, Funko may have miscalculated by overloading Wave 1 with secondary villains like Mr. Freeze, Bookworm and King Tut. Clearly, the assumption was that fans would be so enthusiastic at the start, they’d be eager to snap up the whole line — leaving A-Listers like Joker, Penguin and Riddler to anchor a second wave. (There was also that juicy Green Hornet tease.)

Instead, it may well be that a general collecting public just wasn’t that interested in those second-tier bad guys, softening sales.

Those who dove in, however, are left with an oddball, painfully incomplete assortment of characters. Gaze at them on the shelf and it’s like looking at a jigsaw puzzle of Gotham City with three enormous gaps.

Now, being the eternal optimist, I hold out hope that when convention season kicks into high gear, Funko will surprise us with an exclusive 3-pack of Joker, Penguin and Riddler. They did a Dorbz Batman ’66 3-pack last year, after all.

But tooling for the 3.75 line is probably more expensive and it’s hard to say whether it would be cost-effective. That kind of info is obviously not available.

There’s also the possibility that Funko has just back-burnered the whole thing for now because it’s constantly juggling all its lines and licenses. It was definitely a priority at the beginning: Just consider the life-size Batman figures they trotted out to promote the line, not to mention the Batman ’66 section that was built into the company’s brick-and-mortar store when it opened in Everett, Wash., last year. (The company is also still using imagery from the line on its website too.)

A Funko spokesperson Saturday morning reiterated that the company isn’t saying what the future is, one way or another. I can understand that: You don’t want to promise what you can’t deliver and you don’t want to necessarily shut the door either.

But really what it comes down to is that Toy Fair is pretty much the biggest annual stage for these kinds of merch reveals and the absence of the Batman ’66 line signals a premature end to an exciting idea.

MAJOR UPDATE: Funko now says there WILL BE a Wave 2 — out this summer. CLICK HERE FOR INFO.

For the TOY FAIR 2018 INDEX of stories, click here.

Check out the complete FUNKO BATMAN ’66 INDEX of stories and features. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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5 Comments

  1. Everyone relax. Wave 2 hits this summer.

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    • I’m not one of these guys who’s life is greatly saddened by the end of a toy line, but jeez Reis “everyone relax”? It’s been almost a year since Wave 1 came out– NOTHING at Toy Fair– I’d think you’d be happy that people are upset that a line of yours is hoped for.

      The world certainly doesn’t need more POP figures, and eventually they’ll go the way of the Beanie Baby, I’d embrace the potential customers you have.

      Still, good news for those who were hoping for a Wave 2, but 16 months between waves seems excessive.

      Post a Reply
  2. And then Wave 3 “Legends of the Superheroes. Aw yeah!

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