BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES
Batman: The Animated Series started off with quite a bang (quite literally; it’s one of the first things in the opening credits). The first episode, “On Leather Wings,” showed the full potential of the series, and to this day remains one of my two favorite episodes of the series. One of the most interesting things about the episode was the choice of foe. They steered clear of any of the major Bat-Rogues, such as Joker or Penguin, or even Riddler, and instead turned their focus on Man-Bat, a character who to date still remains foreign to all but the most die-hard DC fans. When people do know the character, they tend to remember the animated incarnation. Today, I’ll be taking a look at Kenner’s version of the character from the tie-in toyline of the time.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Man-Bat was released in Series 2 of Kenner’s Batman: The Animated Series. The figure marks Man-Bat’s very first action figure, though Kenner themselves had planned to release a classic comic version of the character had their DC Super Powers line continued past Series 3. Man-Bat is about 5 ½ inches tall and he features 12 points of articulation, which was stellar for the time. Man-Bat had two appearances on the show, and the look was a little different in each. This one is based on the first version, which is the actual MAN-Bat (Kirk Langstrom’s wife ends up being the creature in the second, resulting in a “Woman-Bat”). Standards for figures have changed over the years, but for the time, this figure was quite good. It’s not a spot on recreation of Man-Bat, mind you. The shape of the head is a little off, the arms are a bit too skinny, and the legs are a bit too small when compared to the rest of the figure. But, as a whole, the figure makes a good approximation of the character from the show. It’s certainly as accurate as, say, Kenner’s Joker figure, so the inconsistencies help the figure blend more with the rest of the line. Man-Bat’s paint work is pretty straight forward. He’s mostly molded in an appropriate brown plastic, with paint for his pants, eyes, and mouth. Everything is pretty cleanly applied, so that’s good. Man-Bat originally included a small length of string and a hook so that the figure could be made to look as if he were flying.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I missed out on the first few series of BTAS figures, due to not quite being into collecting. So, Man-Bat was a figure I didn’t have while growing up. I went through a period immediately after my freshman year of college where I attempted to fill as many holes in my 90s collections as possible. Man-Bat was a rather pricey figure at the time, so I had to hold off on him. As luck would have it, while visiting that year’s Mego Meet, I come across a loose Man-Bat for $2 or $3. Man-Bat was certainly one of the more unique figures in the line, and his presence in the inaugural episode of the show means he holds a special place in the line. Incidentally, DC Collectibles has announced that a more accurate Man-Bat will be released in the second series of their own BTAS line. Until then, this guy’s still pretty important.