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Review of Batman Black & White Dick Sprang Joker/Batman Statues

DC Collectibles
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 2.5 out of 4

Dick Sprang Batman Black & White statues by DC Collectibles

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Introduction

While Bob Kane gets all the credit for creating the look of Batman, the artist Dick Sprang was a major contributor during the first 20 years.  His barrel chested Batman and crazed looking Joker became the standard for many years to come, and the designs have re-appeared time and again.

The Batman Black and White series hasn't done a lot with the Golden Age, so the addition of a Sprang Batman and Joker is very welcome. These two statues started shipping a few weeks ago, and should be available at most retailers for $70 - $75.

DC Collectibles is back to doing the limited editions with this series, although with a run of 5200 on both, I'm not sure 'limited' is the best descriptor.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Dick Sprang Batman Black & White statues by DC Collectibles

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Packaging - ***
The box has the basic artwork and text, but doesn't allow you to see the sculpt or paint of your particular purchase until you get home.  The interior Styrofoam trays are solid and sturdy, and keep the statues (which are both one piece affairs) safe and sound.

As I mentioned, these are limited editions again, and the edition size of 5200 and the individual number are printed on both the box and the base. There's no Certificate of Authenticity.

Dick Sprang Batman Black & White statues by DC Collectibles

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Sculpting - ***
It's pretty clear where they got the idea for the design of the Joker, although I'm not sure it managed to maintain the same level of crazy in the translation. The eyes, eyebrows and mouth have lost some of their insanity, but part of this is the paint's fault.

There was always an energetic madness about Sprang's Joker, and this version seems to lack that personality.

The detailing i s a little soft as well, particularly with the teeth and edges on the clothing. It's a decent looking statue, but not quite up to the usual standard.

The Batman has the Sprang beefy body and chunky head, and I really like the classic Golden Age pose. The flowing cape looks terrific, and scale is good overall. However, the sculpt is soft again, particularly in the belt, and there's a ton of cosmetic quality issues, like a weird dimpling under the right arm on the torso.

Neither sculpt is horrible, but both miss the intended mark by *that* much.

These are close to a 6" scale, like the rest of the line, and both come in at about 7" tall with the base.

Dick Sprang Batman Black & White statues by DC Collectibles

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Paint - **
Unfortunately, the paint work on both figures is atrocious. There isn't a clean line anywhere on the Joker - his upper lip, his hairline, the edges of his shirt, jacket, tie...everything is sloppy. He even has a really bad scratch/damage on the lower left edge of the base, which appears to have been done before he was packed up.

There aren't quite as many sloppy edges on Batman (probably because there aren't as many edges period, but man, the belt is really bad), but there's a lot of clumpiness to the paint, with dirt and junk stuck in several places. There's even what looks like finger prints on the black, particularly the symbol. I appreciate that they've kept the hard line on the price point over the last few years, but if that's at the cost of reasonable paint work, it's not worth the trade off.

Dick Sprang Batman Black & White statues by DC Collectibles

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Value - ***
They've been able to maintain the $70 price point, and I have to give them props for that. While other lines and collectibles have continued to rise, DCC has worked to maintain a price point that collectors can still afford. However, let's hope that this isn't the reason for the weak paint work this time around.

Dick Sprang Batman Black & White statues by DC Collectibles

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Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing.

Dick Sprang Batman Black & White statues by DC Collectibles

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Dick Sprang Batman Black & White statues by DC Collectibles

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Overall - **1/2
The largely uncredited work of Sprang had a huge and lasting impression on the Batman world. On top of that, Golden Age Batman has been a bit under represented in this overall series, so it's a disappointment that this opportunity didn't turn out better.

While there's some issues with the sculpts - particularly the Joker for me - it's really the sloppy, inconsistent paint work that dragged the overall score down. In general, this is an area that seems wildly inconsistent these days, with one statue looking great, and the next release looking like this. Considering the long time popularity of this line, DCC really needs to get a handle on the reasons for the fluctuations.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***
Paint - **
Value - ***
Overall - **1/2

Dick Sprang Batman Black & White statues by DC Collectibles

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- is at just $70 each.

- has them for $70 each.

- is at $70 each as well.is at $70 each as well.

- has them for $72 each.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've covered a lot of the Batman Black and White series, with the most recent being the Jae Lee version

Before that, there was the Zombie Batman, the terrific Harley, the Earth 1 and 2 Batmen, the Capullo Joker, AllredBane, Batman Beyond, Bolland Joker, Jock and Cooke versions of Batman, New 52 Jim Lee Batman, Sam Keith version, the Mignola variant, the humorous version based on artwork by Sergio Aragones, the Gleason and Chiang versions, the Finch version, the Bermejo Joker, the Tony Daniel Batman, the Arkham Asylum version, the cool Man-bat, and don't forget the other black and white Joker from Jim Lee.

- and before that, we had the Quitely version of Batman, the Bermejo, the McGuinness version, the Dave Mazzucchelli version, the Penguin, Gotham Knight 2 version, the Bruce Timm version, the Ethan Van Sciver version, the Aparo, the Neal Adams and George Perez versions, the Gotham Knight, Bob Kane, Frank Miller, Jim Lee, Matt Wagner, Mike Mignola, and Kelley Jones. *whew*

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Dick Sprang Batman Black & White statues by DC Collectibles

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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