Now that the merchandising powerhouse behind the upcoming Man Of Steel movie is starting to fill shelves with product across the globe, SUPERMANIA once again endeavours to campaign for a typically retro alternative.
Ironically, this project was initiated by the fresh availability of the Batman 1966 TV series licence, which, encouragingly, has been embraced by the industry and is being fully exploited even as a forty plus year-old property.
Frustratingly remaining unexploited is the ‘classic’ Superman movie series, which, despite having an equally broad, vocal fanbase, has yet to spawn a modern action figure line. Although DC Direct and Mattel continue to pump out various incarnations (of debatable quality) of the Superman character, arguably the closest embodiment of the version represented in the movies has not been seen since Kenner’s Superpowers line of 1984. Superman fans have clamoured for a figure line based on the series ever since.
In recent years Mattel had gone a great way to alleviate this by producing a totally unexpected line of 12″ adult collector figures (reviewed here, here and here) offered exclusively on mattycollector.com. While these were a welcome surprise, in retrospect, Mattel had probably passed on a better opportunity by not optioning a 6″ line first.
Cut back to 2013 and Mattel are not only full-force behind Man Of Steel but recently unveiled their Batman ’66 line to the amazement of fans that have waited literally decades for the opportunity. If nothing else, it proves how fickle the industry is and that all good things come to those who wait.
Meantime, inspired by the fabulous art-direction of the new Batman lineup I sought to create something I thought would be passable as a parallel addition. A pure wish-fulfillment project I’ve considered many times before, it wasn’t until I saw that Mattel had used a cardboard figure of Batman in their prototype packaging that I believed such a thing could be replicated low-tech by hand and look credible.
Fulfilling my brief that the final model should be a 100% practical bubble on card was not going to be easy. I have no photoshop skills but knew exactly how I wanted it to look. I called upon my good friend Jim Bowers to provide me with some high-quality images (which I composed for the backing card using Microsoft Word, no less). and then called upon Alexei Lambley-Steel to fashion me a printable Superman figure which I would hand-draw articulation on. The notion of the blister was always going to be problematic as I had no vaccuforming machine. After some thought It occurred to be laminating A3 sheets and making the shape squared off (and therefore foldable) rather than rounded would be just about undetectable. I would then photograph it so it wouldn’t be disregarded as a mere manip. The test for me was to look at it finished and really, really wish it were real. I did. Here it is above for your consideration, and I remain hopeful somebody in the industry is similarly captivated. Its already been too long…