Batman Toys & Games : Merchandising Success
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DC Comics Licensed Batman Toys & Games


 

Long before Warner Bros. acquired DC Comics in 1989 and its division, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, took over all marketing campaigns with licensed products that they strategically aligned with the release of Batman films, TV shows, or video games, Batman t shirts, Batman toys, games and costumes were being licensed by DC Comics and sold to an adoring public. Let’s delve into the history of Batman toys.

Batman toys and games come in a diverse array of formats, suited to all ages.

Batman & Villains action figures

    Batman Action Figures: Numerous Batman action figures have been released over the years. The "Batman: The Animated Series" action figures by DC Collectibles are favorites among fans due to their accurate representation of the beloved TV series. The series features various characters, with Batman himself being the standout.

Produced since the 1940s, Batman action figures, inspired by the character's appearance in comics and serials, were created by DC Comics and manufactured by a number of different toy companies. These figures were made of various materials such as wood, tin, and plastic; they were typically between 6-8 inches in height and featured movable joints that allowed them to be posed in various positions.

The earliest Batman action figures were lead figurines of Batman and Robin. If you went to a carnival in the 1040’s you might have received a Batman or Robin action figure as a carnival prize.

The Marx Toy Company produced the first posable Batman action figure in the mid-1960s.  To acquire such a rare Batman action figure t oday would be a superb coup for a vintage Batman toy collector.


Rare Marx Toy Company Posable Batman Action Figure

In 1972, the Mego Corporation secured the licenses to create toys for National Periodical Publications (later DC Comics). "World's Greatest Super Heroes!" was the name for all the figures released in this popular line that featured many Batman characters, including Batman, Robin, Catwoman, The Penguin, The Riddler, and The Joker. The 8" figures created the standard scale for the 1970s. Mego was a true pioneer in action figure development. 

Visit the Mego Museum to learn more.

Mego Batman Action figure
Mego Batman & Robin Action Figure

 


Mego Batman Action Figure

Kenner toy company was granted the rights to produce DC Comics character all-plastic dolls in 5" scale in 1984 after Mego filed for bankruptcy, and then closed in 1983, the Mego Corporation. The Super Powers line production ended in 1986.


Kenner (1984) Super Powers Batmobile / Batman and Robin action figures

Toy Biz was then granted the license DC Comics granted the license to produced figures for the Batman movie tie-in, then released other DC Comics character figures under the name DC Comics Super Heroes. However, due to  the poor quality of the figures sales dropped off, and DC Comics quickly cancelled the license, awarding it back to Kenner.

 


Batman Action Figure Tie to 1989 Batman Movie

 


Vintage 1989 Toy Biz DC Comics Batman Batwing Vehicle
Batman & Joker Action Figures

When the feature film Batman Returns hit theaters in 1992, Kenner renamed their action figures movie line Batman Returns. The new Kenner line included several versions of the same Batman figure sculpt that were in the previous Dark Knight Collection line.


Kenner 1992 Laser Batman from the Batman-Returns Line

 


1993 Kenner Batman Returns Boxed Vehicle
 Electronic Firebolt Batman

Kenner continued to release new sculpted figures as tie in for subsequent Batman movies including the 1993 Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, the 1995 Batman Forever, featuring Val Kilmer as the Dark Knight and the 1997 release of Batman & Robin. Kenner also produced a line of figures based on the 1992  new cartoon: Batman: The Animated Series.

In the mid 1991 Kenner, now a division of Tonka was bought by Hasbro. The Kenner division was closed in 2000. When Hasbro’s license to Warner Bros. characters including Batman of expired in 2003, Mattel, a rival toy conglomerate was awarded it for four years.


2003 Mattel Batman and Superman 2 Pack

Mattel’s last licensed DC action figures hit the shelves retailers in 2019. 2019 was the end of Mattel’s master toy license.


2019 Mattel Batman Action Figure

Beginning in Spring 2020, Spin Master became the new DC toy licensee for the boy’s action category, remote control and robotic vehicles, water toys and games, and puzzles while McFarlane Toys has been granted a new licensing agreement for the higher-end collector’s market.


DC Batman 2020 Batman (Rebirth)
Action Figure by Spin Master

DC Multiverse Batman: Hush  12”
Batman McFarlane Toys Statues Collectibles

In 2020 a press release announced: Spin Master Renews Warner Bros. Consumer Products Global Licensing Agreement to Develop DC-Inspired Toys for Additional Four-Year Term
(LINK)  https://www.spinmaster.com/en-US/corporate/media/press-releases/122891/

    LEGO Batman Sets: LEGO Batman sets are consistently popular. One standout is the LEGO DC Batman 1989 Batwing (set number 76161), a 2,363-piece set that allows fans to build and display their own model of the iconic Batwing.
    Video Games: The "Batman: Arkham" video game series has been widely acclaimed. "Batman: Arkham Asylum," "Batman: Arkham City," and "Batman: Arkham Knight" have all been praised for their immersive gameplay, engaging stories, and accurate portrayal of the Batman universe.
    Batman Board Games: Batman board games, like Batman: Gotham City Strategy Game and Batman: The Animated Series - Almost Got 'Im  card game allow players to immerse themselves in the Dark Knight's universe in a tabletop setting.

 


Batman Gotham City Strategy Game

 

Batman Almost Got Im Card Game

    Batmobile Replicas: Among collectibles, the Batmobile holds a special place. Companies like Hot Wheels and NECA have produced scale model replicas of various Batmobile designs over the years. One example is the 1:18 scale model of the 1966 Batmobile from the Adam West TV show, complete with figurines of Batman and Robin.


Batman - 1966 Batmobile Die-Cast Limited Edition Custom Display
Jada Toys

    Batman RC Vehicles: Remote control vehicles, like the "Batman: The Animated Series Batmobile" by DC Collectibles, have also been well received. This particular model is based on the iconic Batmobile design from the animated series and includes a miniature Batman figure.


Batmobile  from Batman: The Animated Series
Kenner Collectible 1992

 


Batman Launch and Defend Batmobile
Remote Control Vehicle with Exclusive 4-inch Batman Figure
Spinmaster 2022

 

    Batman Puzzle: The "4D Cityscape Batman Gotham City Puzzle" offers a unique three-dimensional gaming experience. Once completed, it forms a miniature replica of Gotham City as seen in the DC Comics Batman series. The mini 4D Batman Gotham city time puzzle takes you to the gritty city of Gotham with iconic locations such as Wayne Manor, Gotham city police department, iceberg casino & lounge and more.

 

4D Cityscape Batman Gotham City Puzzle

 

    Batman Augmented Reality (AR) Games

2021
 Bat-Fans & kids can experience the ultimate Batman AR experience with the brand new DC: BATMAN BAT-TECH EDITION APP from Warner Bros. and Pure Imagination Studios.
 Read all about the new app in this article Batman Enters The World Of Augmented Reality In Brand New Bat-Tech App by Joshua Raynor
 

This one-of-a-kind free mobile app will immerse kids in narrative-driven, technology-inspired activities set in the vast world of the Dark Knight.  Fans can download the DC: Batman Bat-Tech Edition app today and help Batman save Gotham City.  Available for free on the Apple Store and the Google Play store, the app is playable on both tablets and smart phones. The app is available globally and is localized in 13 different languages.

2023
Or this release from  Infinite Rabbit Hole: Batman: The Arkham Asylum Files, a next-gen board game from Infinite Rabbit Holes that uses augmented reality (AR) technology to immerse players in a mixed reality experience based on the classic DC superhero. Using a smartphone device, players scan physical artifacts to unlock a variety of AR content as they play.
Read a press release The Arkham Asylum Files: Panic In Gotham City Has Been Released to learn more about the game.
 

Batman: The Arkham Asylum Files
Credit: Infinite Rabbit Hole

    Barbie Batman Dolls: Mattel has released Barbie dolls dressed as Batman, like the "Barbie Collector Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Batman Doll." This doll features a highly detailed Batsuit and a Batman-themed Barbie doll stand.
All these examples underline the broad appeal of Batman-themed toys and games, from hands-on construction and imaginative play to the challenges of strategic board games and engaging video games. Each product offers fans a way to connect with the Batman universe and continue the Dark Knight's adventure in their unique way.


Barbie Collector Pink Label Batman
1966 Classic TV Series Adam West Doll

 

Barbie Black Label dolls!
Batman vs Superman Dawn of Justice dolls
Mattel 2016 tie in to movie

    LEGO
Warner Bros. Consumer Products, DC Entertainment and The Lego Group extended in 2011 a multi-year agreement that grants the Lego Group access to the entire library of DC Comics characters. The company will revisit their previous successful collections like LEGO BATMAN™ that also inspired the best-selling LEGO BATMAN: The Videogame, published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, which has sold more than 12 million units worldwide since its launch in 2008.


Batman The Video Game
2008 Lego

Read more about this agreement from this Lego press release.

Batman Sets: LEGO has released a variety of Batman-themed sets over the years. The LEGO Batman Tumbler (set number 76023) was particularly popular among fans. This intricately designed set based on the Tumbler vehicle from Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy contains 1,869 pieces and includes miniature figures of Batman and the Joker.
For more go to the Lego website for more Batman Toys & Sets.
 


LEGO Batman Tumbler

    Batman Funko Pops: Funko Pops have a dedicated following among collectors, and their Batman line is quite extensive.
Funko POPs are small figurines renowned for their exaggerated features, including giant bobbleheads and oversized eyes. One unique offering is the Batman Who Laughs Funko Pop, which represents a popular villainous version of Batman another shows just Batman. Although there are rare Funko Pops, none of Batman are among the LovetoKnow list of the 12 rarest and most valuable.
LINK: https://www.lovetoknow.com/home/antiques-collectibles/identifying-rare-valuable-funko-pops


Batman  Funko POPs


Seline Kyle on Motorcycle
Funko POPs Tie in to the 2022 The Batman movie

    Video Games: "Batman: Arkham Knight" is another fan favorite. It is the final installment of the Arkham series, and players can drive the Batmobile and explore an open-world Gotham City in greater depth than previous games on PlayStation4.


Batman: Arkham Knight
 

    Graphic Novels and Comic Books: Limited edition or special variant covers of Batman comic books and graphic novels are always in high demand. Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns," known for its mature take on Batman, was repackaged into a deluxe hardcover edition featuring stunning new artwork. This collector's item has been a must-have for Batman comic enthusiasts.

 


Batman Adventures: Mad Love Deluxe Edition Hardcover
by Paul Dini (Author), Bruce Timm (Illustrator)
2015

    Batman Role Play Gear: For younger fans who love to imagine themselves as the Dark Knight, there's the Batman Voice Changing Mask and Gauntlet. This interactive toy allows children to change their voices to sound like Batman and features over 15 sounds and phrases from the Batman universe.


The Batman Movie Collectible
DC Comics, Batman Detective Kit Interactive Role-Play Toy and Accessories

BATMAN DETECTIVE KIT: Armor up with the ultimate Batman Detective role-play set, featuring a Batman mask, utility belt, detective case, and clue cards! Everything you need to become Batman!

Batman Adaptive Costume for Kids

 


Officially licensed

Bring your child’s superhero fantasy to life with this amazing Batman costume, a one-piece jumpsuit with foam muscles, realistic print detailing and attached bootcovers. Comes with a classic gold utility belt, long gloves, caped snood and headpiece. 

 


New Justice League movie role play gear for Batman.
DC Super Friends Justice League Batman Action Gear Pack
Brand: DC Super Friends

Cosplay Costume

A Jan 2022 press release announced that Rubies II LLC would partner with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC for an officially licensed costume collection inspired by the movie, “The Batman”.
https://www.vitalthrills.com/the-batman-costumes/

 


Rubies II The Batman costumes are for both adults and children.

 

Men's Deluxe Tactical Batman Costume from ProCosPlay.com
 Based on the Batsuit worn in the Justice League movie.

Featuring the character’s signature color, black on black, this suit doesn’t stray from this time-tested color scheme. This is a finely crafted outfit made from the finest materials. From ProcosPlay.com
 

CosPlay Batman Outfit

The extensive merchandising landscape of Batman toys and games embodies savvy marketing and the ever expanding and continuing appeal of this iconic character. These products, meticulously crafted and marketed to fans, reflect the character's From rare comic book collections to immersive video games, action figures, collectibles, to cosplay costumes Batman continues to enrich the lives of fans, young and old, through out the world. The Warner Bros. Consumer Products division is consistently finding innovative ways to keep fans engaged and invested in the adventures of their favorite caped crusader.

 



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