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Batman Toys Throughout The Decades

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					Over the years, Batman has not only retained but also grown in popularity amongst
fans. Since his debut in Detective Comics #27, he has captured the imagination of
fans worldwide. Part of the appeal of the Dark Knight is the fact that he does not
possess any superpowers but instead relies on a combination of wit, detective skills,
technology and intimidation to hunt the criminal underworld. Fans easily identified
with the shadow in the night terrorizing criminals in Gotham City. Batman's crossover
appeal has spawned a series of comics, animated series and movies which have
entertained us for decades. It is no surprise that Batman has produced more action
figures than almost another fictional character.

The first Batman toys were produced by the Mego Corporation. In 1972, Mego
secured the rights to produce Batman toys for National Periodical Publications(later
DC Comics) and Marvel Comics. Mego produced a comprehensive line of DC and
Marvel action figures under the umbralla name "World's Greatest Super Heroes!". The
entire line lasted for a decade between 1972 and 1983 and included a host of popular
Batman characters. The line was also expanded to include the popular 1966 Batman tv
series with the Batmobile, Batcycle and playsets such as the Batcave.

As Mego went out of business in 1984, the Kenner toy company took up the popular
DC comic character line and modelled it after their popular Star Wars line making
them 5" in scale. In 1990, the Warner Bros feature film Batman release created a
demand for Batman toys and Kenner quickly released a line of movie toys which
included several versions of Batman, the Joker and the Batmobile. Kenner would also
release future Batman toys in line with the subsequent release of Batman movies.

Kenner was eventually bought out by Hasbro and Hasbro would release a line of toys
based on the the animated series,The New Batman Adventures. The new line dubbed
"Mission Masters" created a cartoon look for the Dark Knight which was well
received. Over the next few years, Hasbro would release a number of successful
Batman lines based primarily around the DC Comic. However, in 2003 Hasbro would
relinquish control to Batman's rights to Mattel. Mattel's strategy would also be to
release a Batman animated line based upon the WB animated series which would
feature more articulation than the previous line.

With a new Batman movie released in 2008, the Batman franchise was rebooted and a
whole new line of Batman toys were created to mimic the look of the movie
characters. However, the film's main villain, The Joker, bore little resemblance to the
Heath Ledger character, displaying a simple cartoon like face and not the psychotic
look in the movie. A 6 inch line was also produced dubbed The Dark Knight Movie
Masters. Wave 1 of this line was particularly popular and difficult to find in stores.
The line's Joker figure was highly sought after due to Heath Ledger's death.

Throughout the years, Batman has enjoyed the support of major toy licensees eager to
produce the latest version of the Dark Knight. This is not surprising, given the
Batman's popularity and crossover appeal. With major motion pictures and video
games scheduled to be released in the near future, there is no doubt that Batman toys
will continue to have a place amongst old and new collectors alike.

				
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