Toy figurines, especially vintage ones, make great accessories for tabletops or cabinets in your house, and one of the most popular characters that home owners like to use is Batman, a fictional comic book character created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. These vintage Batman toys are well loved by millions all over the world, and it is no surprise that there are many passionate collectors of this superhero, who is also called “Bat-Man”, “Caped Crusader”, “Dark Knight”.
Batman first appeared in DC Comics issue 27 in May 1939, in its first story called “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate“, and its popularity increased in 1940, which led to him having his own comic title. Soon, Batman action figurines were also manufactured, and off developed a series of comic books, films, animated films and more. In 1960, Marx Company produced the first ever pose-able vintage Batman toys – action figurines of height 4 inches tall, including a bundle of accessories such as handcuffs and a fire extinguisher. Other toy companies such as Ideal Toy Company and Mego Corporation also produced Batman toys.
Finally, following the massive success of the character, Batman expanded into a TV series and numerous movies thereafter, with fans and collectors all over the world all clamouring for the character’s figurines.
2-clicks Collectible Figurines wrote an extensive list on vintage Batman toys like action and movie action figurines that had been released over the years with each comics, movie or animated series release. Credit goes to them for the list below.
Batman Comic Action Figurines
The Batman character first appeared in DC comics in 1939, after which numerous other toy lines were developed.
Legends of Batman – Released by Kenner in 1994, these vintage Batman toys are sculpted with features that are very similar to the comic versions of the Batman characters. However, this toy line was not well received, and it was soon cut off totally.
Legends of the Dark Knight – This range is based on the popular comic title of the same name, but sadly, this line too never took off.
Batman: Total Justice – This line, launched in 1996, featured all the new characteristics of DC comics characters and it included not only Batman figurines, but also Robin, the Huntress and other DC superheroes.
Batman: Knight of the Force Ninjas – In 1998, Kenner produced a new line on action figures of Batman featuring all the new sculpts in an Elseworld theme.
Hasbro’s DC Super Heroes – These Batman figurines included Masterpiece Batman box set with a 1939 Batman figurine, the Golden Age collection that featured Batman and Robin, Joker and Penguin.
DC Direct – This line was produced by DC comics, and included Batman action figurines.
Batman Movie Action Figurines
The numerous media franchises and Batman movies further pushed Batman’s popularity among the toy collectors, and as a result, floods of Batman merchandise started to flood the toys market worldwide. Below are a summary of the toys that had been developed based on the movies.
Batman – Produced by Kenner in 1990 under the Dark Knight collection, this line consisted of many versions of Batman figurines which can be differentiated by their unique accessories and paints.
Batman Returns – After the movie release in 1992, Kenner launched a new toy line that included Batman, Penguin and Catwoman figurines that were the same as the previous collection.
Batman Forever – This line of vintage Batman toys produced by Kenner after the movie release in 1995 showcased Batman Forever figurines with new features.
Batman and Robin – This is the final Batman film in the 1990s, and it was released in 1997. Kenner also launched a toy line but this time, it included more Batman villains than before.
Batman Animated Series Action Figurines
Finally, even the animated series of the Dark Knight were made into action figurines.
Batman: The Animated Series – Produced by Kenner, this line, which included figurines such as Batman, Robin, Clayface, Scarecrow and Poison Ivy, took on the same name as its animated series which premiered in 1992. Under the animated series line, there were a series of action figurines based on Batman’s animated films too, such as the following:
• Batman: Mask of the Phantom
• Batman: Crime Squad (This was later renamed as The Adventures of Batman and Robin)
• Duo Force: The Adventures of Batman & Robin
• The new Batman Adventures – Hasbro acquired Kenner, and developed a new line of Batman figurines based on the new animated series, with new features and the first Creeper and Mad Hatter toys.
• Batman Beyond – This toy line was based on the Warner Bros Batman cartoon, Batman Beyond. It featured new versions of Batman figurines too.
Collecting Vintage Batman Toys
Why is the Caped Crusader such a sought after toy all these years? Some speculated that it could be due to the fact that he remains down to earth despite the fact that he’s a superhero, and relies mainly on his own ways to defeat criminals, such as using his analytical skills and wits.
But when you are a toy collector, do take into account factors such as the authenticity of each piece of toy, its price, and the interest from other collectors worldwide. Dig into the related foruTms, and never embark on a collection without any knowledge of what you are collecting – be fully aware of all the Batman characters and figurines over the years. To confirm the authenticity of your would-be purchase, refer to the official licensed page or website of the manufacturer, and email them to ask if you couldn’t get an answer from the portal. Also, ensure that you keep your purchases wrapped and stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight, humidity and dust and dirt, to make sure that they will retain or increase their value years from now.
Vintage Batman Toys
Some early Batman toy figurines were rare and heavily in demand by toy collectors, including Dark Knight and Robin action figurines that were given away in carnivals in 1940s, a 1960 Batman water gun, a Bump-N-Go Batmobile that is battery-operated, a Chad Valley Give-A-Show Batman projector, a Japanese Batmobile made of tin and a Batman ray gun, a Captain action doll in Batman costume, and Batman and Robin toy cars by the Marx Company, according to 2-clicks-collectiblefigurines.com. Especially rare are mint sets of the Batman and Justice League of America collection produced by Ideal Toy Company in the 1960s, which are worth up to $7,300. However, what’s the number 1 most sought after piece by Batman toy collectors is the 1966 Batman Utility Belt and Play set, also made by the Ideal Toy Company. It comes complete with crime fighting equipment and can sell for as much as $16,000.
Other rare and vintage must-collect items include the 1989 Batman action figurine, and Penguin toy DC comics, Bandai UK Batman motorized Batmobile, and the original 1974 Joker Batman Bank.
The Most Popular Batman Action Figurines
Some Batman figurines are more popular than the others, and among the more popular and well known ones are:
• Batman by Mego (1973) – Manufactured by Mego, this is the first Batman toy that was made and the only one that was modeled after Adam West, the American actor who achieved fame and success for his roles in the 1960s ABC series Batman and its theatrical feature film.
• Batman Returns: Bruce Wayne (1992) – Made by Kenner, this figurine modeled after Michael Keaton, who earned critical acclaim for his roles in Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). It comes with its own Batmobile with its own set of accessories.
• Hush Batman (DC Direct 2004) – This figurine is inspired by the “Hush” comic book story, a 2002 – 2003 DC Comics comic book story that featured Batman as the superhero.
• Batman: Crimson Mist (DC Direct 2005) – This version of Batman started with the Batman and Dracula trilogy, a series of American comic stories by Doug Moench and Kelley Jones, which spawned two sequels – Batman: Bloodstorm and Batman: Crimson Mist.
• 13” Batman DeLuxe Collector Figure (DC Direct 2007)
• DC Superheroes Batman (Mattel 2007) – This figurine comes packaged with a good range of accessories.
• Green Lantern Batman (DC Direct 2008) – This toy perfectly captured the look of Ethan Van Sciver’s Batman.
• Minimate Batman (DC Direct 2008) – A pint-size Batman figurine with the charm of Lego characters, with a high level of details.
• Batman and Son (DC Direct 2008) – This toy figurine is based on American comic book artist Andy Kubert’s design who had made Batman’s features more subtle than the actual model itself.
• Movie Masters: Dark Knight Batman (Mattel 2008) – This is an extremely eye-catching Batman action figurine with impressive details, sculpted after actor Christian Bale, who received great recognition for his lead role as Batman in Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
• Batman Animated
• Batman Joker