I've had this sweet DC Direct First Appearance Batman for nearly three years, out of package on display the entire time, but never got around to posting about him. But having immersed myself in more Batman comics recently, and the character lending himself so suitably to the Halloween season, I felt it would be a good time to give him the royal treatment he deserves. Crazy people ask a hefty price for him often it seems, but I got him for around twenty bucks on eBay. DC Direct released this figure along with Jay Garrick Flash, Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel in June of 2004, the introductory wave in the First Appearance series figures. One could argue that some of the characters chosen for later waves strayed from the portrayal of their original designs, the core theme of the series, but DC Direct nailed it on the first swing, especially in the case of this killer Batman that faithfully pays tribute to Bob Kane's classic Batman from Detective Comics #27 from 1939.
There's a lot to like about this figure, but those traits are hard to focus on due to the tremendous cape DC Direct put on it! Lined with metal wire, the cape can be posed in a variety of positions, adding undeniable flair to this "weird figure of the dark". Blue on the inside and black on the verso, the cape is made of layered spandex, the wire armatures double-stitched into place, scalloped down the back. Though one of the wires on mine is poking through, it works pretty well at emulating a flowing nature to the iconic garment- a tool of function and fear for the Caped Crusader.
While he's limited in articulation in the way that DC Direct figures generally are, particularly of this vintage, Batman has an impressive hinged ball-joint combination under his head that allows a great deal of expression. Typical of DC Direct figures, the joint tension is inconsistent in my figure, some so stiff they could easily be snapped, and a couple that seem precariously loose. These DC Direct figures are more delicate that a Mattel DCUC, and need to be handled carefully- I've snapped a couple. That said, I enjoy these figures for their variety in styling among their lines, often based on different story arcs/artistic representations in the DC Universe- a tradition the company continues now as DC Collectibles.
DC Direct nailed the character's physique from those early issues- the figure isn't as muscularly exaggerated as a DCUC, with long, slender limbs as he was rendered by Bob Kane during the Golden Age, purple gloves and all. I love retro-looking action figures, so this Batman is interesting to me. Among my collection, this DC Direct looks most like my 9" Masterpiece Edition Batman by Hasbro, another faithful homage to Bob Kane's Batman that also has a wired cape for posing...
Batman came with a tiny reprint of his first appearance in Detective Comics, an issue that changed comics forever. It's hard to believe Batman is 74 years old, but something about him is compelling- his mysterious, dark nature is identifiable to us all somehow. Many great artists have rendered him over the years, likely none of which haven't looked to his roots as inspiration. Most all of us having never known a world without Batman, it's hard to imagine how bizarre he appeared to people back in 1939.
More Later- Make It FUN!