Batman Black and White
following is a guest review. The review
and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford
or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the
|Dan Gates joins us tonight with
a look at the latest Batman Black and White statue - take it away, Dan!
The latest in DC Direct's successful line of hand painted, cold-cast
porcelain statues is the Batman Black and White statue based on the art
of Marshall Rogers and sculpted by Ray Villafane. This edition is
limited to 2,500 pieces and can be purchased from $55 to $70.
A word about the artist upon whose work this piece is based:
Marshall Rogers was the preeminent Bat-artist in the late 1970's. Along
with writers Steve Englehart and Terry Austin, Marshall created such
Bat-classics as "The Laughing Fish" (Detective Comics #475) and the
trade paperback "Strange Apparitions" among many others. His film
noir-ish style, attention to architecture, and dark color palette
influenced the looks of Tim Burton's Batman and the Batman Animated
Series. Sadly, Rogers died in 2007 at the age of 57. This fan-beloved
artist is now being recognized in this popular series of statues.
Ray Villafane is the talented sculptor who also gave us the Kelly Jones
version in the same line.
The same as most - a black and white printed box showing
photos of the statue. DC Direct has taken Captain Toy's advice and
included artwork by the artist on at least one side panel. The
styrofoam inserts adequately protect the unassembled pieces.
We have an action pose here and whether you're a fan of action poses or
not, I believe it is essential in this case to capture Roger's artistic
essence. I'm looking at the sculpt on two levels: Is it a good stand
alone sculpt of the Batman? Is it a good representation of Roger's
drawing style? On the first issue, yes, it definitely delivers a
dynamic-looking Dark Knight in a menacing lunge at the viewer. The cape
has an abundance of detail and folds to give it the necessary flow to
complete the feel of frozen motion.
On the second issue, there are certain properties that a Marshall
Rogers Batman must have in order to make it a Marshall Rogers Batman
and this guy has them. The elongated ears are here starting wide at the
cowl-base and tapering into points at the top. The cape is
Dracula-like, another signature feature. And the anatomy is defined but
not overly muscular or exaggerated. The hands and huge glove-fins are
all in keeping with the artist's style. The mouth is closed and I'm
okay with that. With this pose, they could just as easily have gone
with an open mouth - but the simpler the better in this case.
One issue I do have is with the legs. It's as if they are foreshortened
in order to give the leaping pose a forced perspective. While probably
anatomically accurate, they seem a bit squatty. Also the batcrest is a
separate oval resting on the chest. It has a rim around it for some
reason. I feel this piece would have been better served by a flat,
painted batcrest. For those two minor points I'm docking it only half a
Painting this entire line in grey scale has to be a challenge. I really
like what they have done this time. This version of Batman has the
familiar 70's black section around the eyes and nose. To truly
interpret this into a grey scale, this portion should be and is the
only black part (with the exception of the bat emblem). All the other
dark areas (cape, cowl, trunks, gloves and boots) are a dark grey.
However, the inside of the cape is void of the gloss varnish that
covers the other dark areas. This breaks things up just enough. The
face area is one uniform shade. Given the history of this series, I
find this to be a plus as well. The eyes are of course the only pure
white to be found on the figure. The overall paint ap is clean and
slop-free which is what we expect from this series.
As with the Aparo version before, only one foot rests on the
logo-shaped stand. In this case, Bats' right foot rests on the surface
behind the stand. Two rods assure that the figure is securely attached
to the stand. Cape, arms and legs are all positioned in a forward
thrust which makes this pose dynamic when viewed from the sides as well
as the front.
Value - **
I have to agree with Michael. These statues don't have the stature to
command the high price tag. I was fortunate to get mine for a flat $50
from my local comic book store because it had some minor display damage
that I was able to fix easily. For their size that's about right.
To Watch For -
Inserting the metal rods is simple. There's a short and tall rod in the
base. The short one goes in the foot and the tall one goes up the leg.
Take care with the ears - they come to fine points and are very
exposed. Another thing that I always look for in any limited
edition is a low series number. The value is greater and most often the
detail is crisper.
This is not my favorite Black and White Batman so far. That honor is
held by the sweet George Perez version. But there is plenty to like
about this guy. He'll make an excellent addition to your Black and
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ****
Value - **
Overall - ***
to Buy -
Lots of Sponsor options for this one:
Comics N Stuff
has it at $70, and right now you can get
10% off using the code "MWC", making it just $63!
has it $64.
has it for $68.
Bad Toy Store
has it at $70.
From Another World
has it at $72.
Earth has it at $73.50.
Planet has it for 65 GBP.
- or it’s time to hit
Michael has said he's in for the "long Haul" with this series and has
covered plenty of them. My faves include the Mazzucchelli version,
the Neal Adams and George
Perez version, as well as the Bob
Kane, Jim Aparo,
and Gotham Knight versions.
This product was purchased for the review by the manufacturer.
Photos and text by Dan Gates.