Mattel Batman Classic TV Series The Joker Action Figure Mattel, 2013
Day #756: September 26, 2013
The Joker Zap!!!
Batman Classic TV Series Action Figure
Item No.: Asst. Y9633 No. Y9637 Manufacturer:Mattel Includes: Oversized retro trading card, display stand Action Feature:n/a Retail:$15.99-$19.99 Availability: September 2013 Other: Could be better.
"Listen to this, Mulligan, I'll read it to you. It says: I have escaped from Arkham Asylum and revenge will be sweet! Free once again to pursue my dishonorable profession. If you try to play your hand against mine, you will find the Joker is wild, signed, The Joker." - Batman record and book "Stacked Cards"
The great thing about being pessimistic is you won't be disappointed. When I first saw a prototype for The Joker it was unfinished - but comments from Mattel made since its reveal was that it would have "the mustache," arguably the first thing anyone would ask about when it comes to Caesar Romero's portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime. The actor had a mustache, but the character did not. The solution? Paint it white, and hope 1966 TVs were crappy enough so that nobody would notice.
When photos got out of this 6 1/3-inches tall villain, I would say it looked pretty good. Comparing the figure I bought to images on Entertainment Earth and Amazon makes it clear - this is not the same figure. If I didn't know better, I would wager the factory used an earlier, bad sample and Mattel shrugged and said "fine, close enough, whatever." The face is close - the manic grin and mouth are there, but it lacks the wrinkles needed to really push it over the edge as being manic. The moustache is represented by a too-dark painted-on shadow, and the figure would have looked better (if not exactly authentic) if they just left his upper-lip blank.
It's tricky to do something "right" that's "wrong," I guess, and Mattel did not succeed here. The hair isn't quite as bushy as I remember it, and the eyes fade into the face too much - the whites of the eyes really should be different than his make-up. The figure's eyebrows were gray - like a lot of the Data Star Trek figures - and I don't think that's correct, either. This reeks of a language barrier at a factory causing a breakdown in communication, someone over there clearly thinks they were "fixing" it and doing Mattel a favor.
With 19 points of articulation, this is a figure that's adequate - it's obvious more care went into the other bad guys, because Joker's "ab crunch" joint is not only completely covered, but the coat restricts all movement. It serves no purpose and it doesn't seem like this had a lot of involvement from a fan or someone with sufficient reference and context. The suit is overly bulky and feels like he has hulking shoulder pads, which is not at all true to the show. The coat over the body is a separate, rubbery piece and I have no doubt if it were better I'd have a much better opinion of this figure.
With no accessories beyond a stand, this is a rotten deal and the quality isn't there to make up for the missing bells and whistles. It's passable - were this the first figure I purchased, I'd have quit the line immediately. This is a figure for a very specific Batman fan, one who loved the original show and hopefully isn't too critical. For someone who will sit on a shelf, or in the package, it's acceptable. Mattel makes wonderful toys, and this just feels like a weak effort. I know fans hate delays but mediocrity is forever and at this point I don't have high hopes that Mattel will take another swing at this version of the Joker any time soon, so buy it if you feel you must. You'll be disappointed, but this is a figure where fandom will likely trump reasoning.
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