Thursday, October 31, 2013

Funko Pop! '66 Batman and Batmobile

Wait just a cotton pickin' minute! How can you be reviewing Funko Pop!'s Batman and Batmobile when you say you're only going to be reviewing old stuff? Are you breaking your rules in your very first week?

Yes, yes.. I hear you and your queries. There's a very simple answer, though - 1966 was a very long time ago, and this captures the Batman of that era, so I figure it's close enough. Also, I'm not charging you, so I feel like I can get away with a lot!

OK, so weak justifications out of the way, what's the story with this toy? Well, it's from a company that my wife and I have gotten into a great deal, Funko. They put out a Pop! line of figures that all feature the same aesthetic, but subtle changes in the sculpt and clever uses of paint evoke a great variety of characters. Hey, any line that can handle both Game of Thrones and The Big Lebowski has to be pretty darned flexible!

I received Bats here for my birthday, and I was really excited when I saw him for the first time. I had seen prototype pictures, but there's just something about having him in hand. He has a charming innocence that really comes through, and.. of course.. he has a sweet, sweet ride.

Despite what people might think, I'm not nearly old enough to have watched Batman when it first came on the air. I did, however, watch it pretty regularly in syndication and definitely consider Yvonne Craig to have been a puberty helper extraordinaire.
C'mon, you really blame me? You guys can keep your Catwomen. I'm good with Batgirl. Sexy librarian AND crime fighter? More, please!

Ahem.. anyway.. I think I got off track for a moment. Uhm, Batman! That's what we were talking about! Right. Well, the show featured a very distinctive Batmobile that was designed by George Barris (he's actually credited on the under-carriage of the car, which is nice) when the show needed to be on the air before the original designer, Dean Jeffries, could complete his concept. It was originally a concept car from 1955, a 1955 Lincoln Futura from Ford Motor Company. It was also kind of a piece of crap that always broke down, primarily from being so incredibly old.

It was a gorgeous machine, however. The sleek red lines highlighted the black body, giving a bat-like silhouette on the hood and a canopy that would only be useful if it never, ever rained in Gotham City. Luckily, Batman rarely even went out at night, much less a cloudy day, so it wasn't really a problem!
The Batsuit itself was born out of the "New Look" that had debuted a couple of years earlier. Using a more purple/blue color for the cape and light gray tights, it had the bat emblem with a yellow oval and the "capsule" utility belt that would become famous for sporting Bat Repellent and Bat Alphabet Soup. The cowl actually fastened lower on the neck, and flared out under the cape that was attached over it, giving it a very distinctive appearance from any other Batsuits.
Overall, this figure really captures the campy innocence of the show. The paint is solid and effective, with all of the proper colors used and the nose and eyebrow highlights painted on perfectly. They even included the tiny little bat emblem on the belt buckle, just in case Batman wasn't sure which belt was his while getting dressed.
I can't really talk about how well the toy has aged over the years, as it isn't very old at all, but I can talk about the show. It.. well.. you have to understand the time it was released to be able to appreciate it. Without any knowledge of 60s culture, you aren't going to get much enjoyment out of the show, which is why it's less prominent on television than it used to be. The rights have been famously tied up in knots for decades, preventing any kind of home theater release or collectibles, but that seems to have blown open over the past year with all kinds of companies finally recognizing the work of Adam West and Burt Ward. Some have been better than others, but I'm all for Batman '66 having one more harrah of popularity before it inevitably begins to slide into more obscurity. I'll hate to see it happen, but I just don't see it surviving when there are less and less 60s touchstones all the time. It will, eventually, have to go the way of the beach movie, and it's a testament to the talents of all those involved in its production that it hasn't already.


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