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Batman Black and White
Mike Mignola

DC Direct has been doing quite a bit of artist specific merchandise, but one of the coolest is their line of statues for Batman called Batman: Black and White. The concept is pretty simple - produce a series of 8" scaled statues based on the work of various artists, all done in a stark black and white (grayscale) scheme.

They've just released the sixth statue in the series, based on the artwork of Mike Mignola. Mignola is most famous for his own creation, Hellboy, and his unique artistic style. His turn on the Bat books was certainly different, with a style called "German expressionism meets Jack Kirby". When DC Direct decided to add his style to this mix of 3 dimensional statues, they certainly took on a challenge.

The statues run around $45 - $55, depending on the retailer, and is available now. I have the usual suggestions at the end of the review. This is a limited edition of 3800, and some of the past releases have gotten to be a tough find.



Packaging -  ***
It's a box, no windows, but it does have a very nice, solid styrofoam insert that will keep him safe and sound, and won't fall apart in your hands when you open it.

I do like windows in my statue boxes, simply because it's a crap shoot as to whether the paint will be perfect or not. But I understand the need for protection as well.

Sculpting - ****
The sculpt was done by Jonathan Matthews, based on the artwork of Mignola. Bringing any 2 dimensional art form into a 3 dimensional is difficult, as many a sculptor has learned by working on animated properties. But to capture a style as unusual and different as Mignola's is a rare talent. And Matthews has done it not just well, but almost flawlessly.

The sculpt is roughly hewn and blocky, a trademark characteristic of Mignola. From the steely expression to the bent knees and sloping shoulders, this statue looks like it just stepped off the page and into the third dimension. Jonathan deserves a raise for this one, or at least a home baked chocolate chip cookie. 

Paint - ****
The only way you can pull off the appearance of Mignola's artwork is with an amazing combination of paint and sculpt. Neither alone can do it. Some details need to be sculpted, some need to be painted, and the shadowing is crucial.

Everything here works perfectly. It's almost as if it's some sort of optical illusion, where the statue has depth if viewed from one perspective, but flattens to almost a picture like appearance when viewed from another. This is the closest match of flat artwork in a statue, figure or bust that I have ever seen.

That makes this figure visually arresting, whether you like the style or not. It might no be your cup of tea, but your eye will be immediately drawn to it in the group of Black and White statues.

Design - ****
The quality of the paint and sculpt are top notch, but the design had to match the design of the character in the book to really pull it off. It has to stand, express and emote the feeling of the Mignola Batman, and this statue does just that.

The entire Black and White series has been good, but this statue stands out from the rest both due to the style, and to the quality of the design.

Value - **1/2
I'm assuming you'll pick this up around $45. That's actually a decent price in the current bust/statue market, although at an 8" scale these are a little small. If you pay more than $50, you can pull another half star off of here, but if you get lucky and snag one as low as $35 (which is always possible if you haunt ebay day and night), you can add another half star.

Things to watch out for - 
Not much. The rope to the batarang can be bent or broken if you're not careful, but even then, it takes some effort.

Overall -  ****
Yes, I really like this statue that much. Be advised though, this isn't for everyone. It's a very unusual style, and if you don't like Mignola's work, you will definitely NOT like this statue. Like all the best things in life, it's an acquired taste.

DC Direct gets huge props for making this statue work. It was tough to pull off, and required a combination of excellent design, great sculpting, and stylized paint to make it come together. I rarely give out this many four star categories on a single item, but fans of Mignola's work will understand where it's coming from.

SCORE RECAP:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ****
Design - ****
Value - **1/2
Overall -  ****

Where to Buy -
Your local comic shop may have them in, and online options include:

- CornerStoreComics has him for $44. Check under the DC Direct section, not the Batman section!

- YouBuyNow has him in for $55.

Related Links:
DC Direct has been pumping out the Batman lines. Here's just a few of the recent ones:

- most recently, they released the the Knightfall set, Unmasked set, first series of Elseworlds figures, and the Long Halloween set.

- The Public Enemies line included Batman of course.

- The Alex Ross version of Batman was definitely a collector favorite.

- Last summer we got the Rogue's Gallery series.

- and of course my favorites, the series 1, series 2 and series 3 Hush figures.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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