#2602: Batman – Gotham By Gaslight



“As a young Bruce Wayne takes up the mantle of the Bat, a series of slayings mirroring the work of Jack the Ripper begins.”

DC’s Elseworlds line allowed them to tell stories that fell outside of the confines of a normal universe story, which opened the playing field to all sorts of crazy concepts.  It also lent itself pretty well to lots of “let’s mash up this DC thing with another established thing” scenarios.  This actually goes back to the very first Elseworlds tale, Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, which is “what if Batman was Victorian era and fought Jack the Ripper?”  It’s not high concept, but it’s certainly fun.  It’s also some of Mike Mignola’s earlier work, and has some pretty impressive design work.  The story’s Victorian Batman design is quite distinctive, which makes it ripe for making action figures, as DC Direct did in 2007.


Gotham By Gaslight Batman was released in the second series of DC Direct’s Elseworlds line.  He was one of two Batmen included, the other being the Red Son version of the character, which is another quite distinctive, if perhaps slightly thematically similar version of the Batman design.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation.  The articulation’s not a lot, but it was about what you’d expect from DCD at the time.  It’s good for some slight tweaks to his posture, but that’s really it.  It’s certainly better than nothing.  The sculpt was an all-new piece, and it was definitely DCD at their best.  They really had a lot of fun with the artist-specific work in this line, and in the case of this Batman, they’ve done a pretty spot on job of capturing that early Mignola art style.  He doesn’t quite have the extreme hallmarks of later Mignola stuff, but there’s still enough to make it recognizable.  I really like how they’ve translated the texturing of Mignola’s work into something three dimensional, and I also quite enjoy how they’ve managed to keep him rather dynamic while also keeping a fairly neutral pose.  The flow of that cape is just beautiful.  The only thing I’m not too keen on are the ears, which always point a bit inward on mine.  It’s an unfortunate side effect of how small they have to be and how they were packaged in the box, I suppose.  The paint work does a nice job of replicating the way Mignola’s work is illustrated in the book, with a subdued palette and a decent job of outlining the features on the face.  There’s also some great accenting on the belt, as well as some impressive work on the mud stains on his boots and cape.  All in all, a very well rendered paint scheme.  The only slight let down to this guy are the accessories.  All he gets is a stand.  Its not much to go on, and felt quite light given the price these things were going for relative to everything else at the time.


I picked up this guy back when he was brand new, courtesy of my usual comics haunt, Cosmic Comix.  He was the first of the Elseworlds line I grabbed, mostly because I wanted a Mignola Batman figure, and I wasn’t picky about which particular design it was.  I hadn’t even read the comic at the time (I have since).  He’s certainly a nice looking figure, even if he’s maybe not so exciting to actually play with.

#0898: Roger




The artificial man is a recurring story element in lots of different popular culture. Typically, it’s the likes of Frankenstein’s monster, or even characters like Ash and Bishop from the Alien franchise, or perhaps just a more generic robot. They’re created through scientific means. However, there are a few examples, such as the Golem or the Homunculi, which are created through supernatural means. Today’s focus, Roger, is officially the latter, but functionally works as the former. Just go with it. Without further ado, here’s Roger!


Roger was released in Series 2 of Mezco’s comic-based Hellboy line. The figure stands just shy of 8 inches tall (Roger’s a big guy) and he has 23 points of articulation. Roger has a sculpt courtesy of Inu Art, and he’s based on Mike Mignola’s artwork from the main series. A lot of Roger’s appearances were actually in BPRD, which was drawn by Guy Davis, not Mignola. However, it makes sense to have all of the figures in this set be in the same basic style (plus Davis’ style isn’t too far removed from Mignola’s to begin with). Roger’s sculpt is totally unique to him. His proportions are a pretty spot-on rendering of what’s seen on the page, and the resemblance to Roger is definitely there.  Roger’s far less clothed than the other two figures I’ve looked at from this line, but that doesn’t mean he lacks Roger2the attention to detail. Like Lobster Johnson, he has that chiseled look, with a ton of cool texturing, which really makes this figure stand out from others. The hatch at the center of his torso is actually articulated to allow it to open (though the interior of his torso is merely simulated, not actually shown). The loop on Roger’s… modesty… plank (?) is a separate, metal piece, which is a nice touch. Roger’s paint consists almost entirely of variations of browns, but there’s enough there to keep him from being too boring. The paint is all nice and clean, and there’s some pretty cool shading throughout the figure. Roger includes a BPRD flak jacket, if you prefer him a bit more clothed, as well as a book with a skull on the front of it.


At the time of this figure’s release, my only real exposure to the franchise was the first movie and a handful of comics I’d picked up, none of which featured Roger. Not knowing the character, I didn’t pick him up. Then I actually read a number of his appearances, and quite enjoyed the character, but finding the figure at that point was…less than practical. At this year’s MAGFest, one of the vendors had a Lobster Johnson figure, which I very happily snapped up. The next day, they had added Roger to the table, and I happily snapped him up too. I don’t find him to be quite as fun a figure as Lobster J, but he’s still pretty solid, and I’m happy I got him.

#0880: Lobster Johnson




After being introduced to the Hellboy franchise by the 2004 movie, I was very invested in finding out just what this series had to offer. I was thrilled to find that there was a ton of stuff in the comics that the movies didn’t even begin to touch on. One of my favorite non-movie characters (and apparently one of Mike Mignola’s favorite creations) was pseudo pulp hero Lobster Johnson. After the modest success of their first movie-based line of figures, toymakers Mezco put together a tragically short-lived line of comic based figures, granting good ol’ claw-hand a shot at a figure, which I’ll be reviewing today.


LobsterJ2Lobster Johnson was released in the first series of comic-based Hellboy figures. It’s actually a little surprising that Johnson got a spot so early in the line, but he was the one figure in the line-up specifically requested by Mignola (the same thing happened with the small selection of Heroclix the series got). Johnson was released in two different variations: a regular one, and a translucent blue “Ghost of Lobster Johnson” one. The Ghost version was a summer convention exclusive, with the normal colored version being the regular, mass market release. Mine’s the regular one. The figure is 7 ¾ inches tall and has 20 points of articulation. He has a sculpt by INU Studios, based right on Mignola’s art from the series. This sculpt is an incredibly masterful translation of Mignola’s style into three dimensions; it gets the proportions down great (though, boy does this guy have some skinny wrists), and just overall does a really nice job of capturing Lobster’s look. Also, unlike a lot of comic-based figures, Lobster doesn’t skimp on the texturing; he almost look likes he’s been chiseled out of stone, which is definitely befitting of a Mignola design. The paintwork does a nice job of accenting the sculpt; the uniform gets a nice assortment of dry-brushed details and the like, to make it look good and worn-in. It would have been nice if the claw logo on his torso were a bit brighter, just to stand out a bit more, but it’s not bad. The face is really impressive, making use of several different flesh tones to give him a distinct, almost picturesque quality. Lobster is packed with a pistol (which can be held, or stowed in his holster) and the evil brain from Lobster’s debut story, “Killer in My Skull.”


Despite loving the movie and having a few of Mezco’s figures from that line, I never got any of the Series 1 comic figures (and only a single Series 2 figures). It was a choice I came to regret much later, after the prices had all sky-rocketed. At this year’s MAGFest, I saw this guy on a vendor’s table, and was very happy to find out the guy was asking well below the figure’s going rate. I’m really happy that I got Lobster; of all the comic figures I missed out on, he was probably the one I most wanted. He’s an incredible figure, and it’s a shame Mezco didn’t get to do way more of these guys.

#0232: Johann Kraus



I came in somewhat late to the Hellboy scene. My first interaction with the characters and story was the release of the first Hellboy movie in 2004. I saw the movie with a group of friends and had no expectations at all. I actually thought that Abe Sapien was supposed to be the villain! Anyway, the movie was really good, and I was hooked on all things Hellboy. Mezco Toys had the license for the movie, and I picked up a few figures from that line, and then Mezco decided to move onto a line of figures based on the comicbooks. Today, I’ll be looking at that line’s version of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense’s resident expert on ectoplasmic stuff, Johann Kraus.


Johann was released as part of the second series of comicbook-inspired Hellboy line from Mezco Toys. He stands a little over 7 inches tall and features 15 points of articulation. He’s based on Johann as Mike Mignola drew him. Seeing as Mignola originated the design, that’s a good call. The sculpt does a pretty good job of translating Mignola’s 2D drawings to 3D, which was no easy feat, I’m sure. They’ve incorporated some great texture work all around, which captures the gritty look of the series very nicely. The paint is serviceable, with some pretty decent dry brushing all around. They’ve used a semi-translucent paint on his head, which works nicely to capture his ectoplasmic look. Sadly, my figure has a scratch on his face, which brings the work down a bit, but I’d be exceptionally happy were that not the case. Johann included a spare set of hands to simulate his ectoplasmic powers at work.


I got Johann from my local comic store (Cosmic Comix) when series two was first released. Shortly after the release of the first Hellboy movie, I picked up an issue of Hellboy Weird Tales, which among other things, contained a story that focused on Johann. It was my first interaction with the character, and I enjoyed him immensely. So, when the figure came out I knew I definitely wanted one. I never got any of the other comicbook Hellboy figures, but Johann is still very entertaining, and a great representation of the character.