This morning I read an announcement I've been eagerly anticipating for some time:
1960’s Adam West Batman: Will be getting its own Gravity Feed with approximately 12-18 figures. Release date TBD.
For those who can't translate that, it means:
Wizkids, the company that makes "Heroclix" (the comic book hero themed tabletop miniature game), is coming out with a small Heroclix set based on the 1960s Batman television series.
It hasn't been possible to create and market new merchanise based on the phenomenonally popular 1960s Batman live-action television series for forty years. The licensing was all tied up. But last year it was announced that all the necessary clearances had been gotten, deals were in place, and all was go. Since then the older generation of Batman fans have been breathlessly awaiting a possible avalanche of ancillary merchandising. Would the products be good or terrible? Would decades of repressed consumer passion explode in a frenzy of Batmaniacal buying? Or will an uncaring public shrug its shoulders, mystified at the sudden wave of memorabilia for a short-lived teevee show from five decades ago? Tune in next week, same bat-time, same bat-channel.
That Wizkids, which has built its empire on its licenses for DC and Marvel characters, should take advantage of the opportunity comes as no surprise. The question remains: what will be in such a set?!
There are several sine qua non figures:
Batman, Robin, and Batgirl ("Yeah! Whose baby are you?")
The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler, The Catwoman.
That leaves between seven to eleven possible OTHER figures based on characters from the show. Hm!
The Grand Order of Occidental Nighthawks, baby! Subtract the umbrellas and these guys will make the perfect fodder for powing, zapping, and kee-runking. I hope to go with them there is generic Gunmoll, because they were essential parts of most of the episodes. I know it's a small set, but I'll be very sad (and the figures will be less thematically playable) without Goons and Molls.
Will we get Supporting Cast figures for the heroes as well? I can imagine a Commissioner Gordon figure and an Alfred figure. Although, I'm at a loss as to what their dials might be. Love those guys, but I'm not sure how well 'Displaced Hip' and 'My pills, my pills!' would translate as powers. Perhaps Commission Gordon will get Incapacitate ("Melodramatic Speech to Camera") and Alfred would get Support ("Sandwiches, sir?"). I don't think comic relief characters Chief O'Hara and Aunt Harriet will make the cut. I can't imagine them having anything other than, I dunno, maybe Perplex ("Impotent Outrage" and "Perpetual Befuddlement", respectively).
The REAL question is: other the obvious (the four members of the United Underworld: Joker, Penguin, Riddler, and Catwoman), will there be figures for other Special Guest Villains?! Because that is where it gets juicy.
As fabulously fun as all the above figurse can (and will, I'm sure) be, we've already got clix figures for those characters. Not the teevee versions, perhaps; but you can still make a Joker team or a Penguin team if you want. What you can't do right now is make teams around the characters from the show that are completely unclixed in any way, shape, or form (e.g., King Tut, Egghead, Louie the Lilac, Bookworm). Then there are the characters which existed before and outside of the show, but really only gained fame because of the show (e.g., Mr. Freeze, False Face, and the Mad Hatter).
Hero Must Haves
Criminal Must Haves
Likely Support Figures
Less Likely Support Figures
Less Likely Criminals
Louie the Lilac
Mr Freeze seems like a shoo-in. He's well known in other media, he was on the show repeatedly, and designing a dial for him is easy. Mad Hatter, same thing.
King Tut appeared numerous times and Victor Buono's unforgettably over-the-top performance is emblematic of the tone of the show. Vincent Price's Egghead, same thing.
Bookworm only appeared once, but, well... it was Roddy McDowell FTW. Besides who else in the set could get Barrier ("Giant Cookbook at 5th Cedar!")? Milton Berle's Louie the Lilac appeared twice, but his only obvious power is Mind Control ("Stupefying Aromatic Spray from My Boutonniere"), which would be too duplicative of the skill sets of Mad Hatter ("My Super Instant Mesmerizing Top Hat!") and King Tut ("ABU RABU SIMBU TU!"). Shane, dullard though he was, actually carried guns, which is darned threatening for a Batman teevee villains (unless you're carrying your Bat-shield). False Face's powers (Shape Change and Perplex) are just too passive-aggressive to make a good gamepiece and while the Minstrel might have some interesting abilities based on his expertise in sound and electronics he would still be too much of a support piece. I mean, the Minstrel never even fought; even the RIDDLER at least tried to fight.
Meanwhile, I better get cracking on some appropriate custom maps (such as Ye Olde Benbow Tavern, Police Headquarters, Gotham City Public Library, The Villains HideOut).
What do you want to see in such a set?