The Joker Mini-bust
 Heroes of the DC Universe - DC Direct

Joker mini-bust by DC Direct

   "The 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 guest author."

Ryan Kelly swings by with a look at a this cool Joker bust - take it away, Ryan!

There’s something about the Joker that makes him irresistible as a villain. It’s pretty much impossible to think of Batman villains without the Joker coming to mind first. I can’t really explain why he’s been my all-time favorite villain since I was 4 or 5 years old, just as most people can’t explain why he’s always been so enormously popular. Maybe it’s his theatricality, his stark contrast in style and personality to Batman, or the green hair and makeup, but it always seems that we tend to root for the Joker. Not that we want him to defeat Batman; we just want him to create as much trouble for Batman as humanly possible without completely defeating him. And he certainly does it.

The clown is out of the box with this “Heroes of the DC Universe” mini bust from DC Direct. Designed by Gary Frank and sculpted by Jean St. Jean, this bust is more interesting than most because, instead of just being what looks like the upper half of a statue cut off at the waist, the Joker is made to look like he’s popping out of a toy box. This bust is a “limited” edition of 4,000. As Jerry Seinfeld once said, that basically means that they’re “limited to how many e can sell.”
Joker mini-bust by DC Direct

Joker mini-bust by DC Direct
Joker mini-bust by DC Direct
Joker mini-bust by DC Direct
Joker mini-bust by DC Direct
Joker mini-bust by DC Direct

Packaging - **1/2
Here we have a fairly small box that serves its purpose but doesn’t do much beyond that. It looks pretty cool, with nice colors—appropriately colored purple—with some nice pictures of the bust and a picture of the sketch that it’s based on. It tells the names of the sculpt and design artists, and gives the bust’s dimensions (5.75” tall, 4.5” wide, 2.5” deep), but that’s pretty much it. The back has pictures of other busts in the same collection (of course, there’s one of Batman).  But overall, there’s lots of wasted space. A block of foam is on the inside and comes together in two parts, encasing the statue in between. The two pieces are held together with tape. One of the inside flaps gives a little plug for the Joker statue from DCD’s “Batman Black and White” collection, a smart idea. They also crossed out the word “Heroes” in the title, replacing it with “Villains,” also a good idea, since the Joker certainly aint no hero. Although looking cool and serving its purpose, the packaging is pretty uninteresting overall.

Sculpting - ***1/2
I love this pose. Somehow the Joker managed to get hold of Batman’s cowl and part of his cape, and he appears to be having fun with it. The head, face, hair, body, and clothing are all sculpted wonderfully, as is the Batman cape and cowl. The cape is sculpted with a softer material, however, and could easily break off if you’re not careful. This bust has been sculpted with great detail and intricacy, pretty much what you should expect from something in this price range.

Paint - **1/2
Unfortunately, the great sculpt is not enhanced by the paint job. The paint on the face looks a little messy, and though that may have been what they were going for since some versions of the Joker have a more messy and gritty look (like the Ledger and Arkham Asylum video game versions), it doesn’t look all that good. The paint around the mouth is a little sloppy and inconsistent, and the gray they painted over the facial wrinkles simply doesn’t look all that great. They painted the eyes the same color green as the hair and eyebrows, which I think looks a little boring, and I wish they had gone for a more realistic-looking color. The orange paint on the bowtie is sloppy around the bottom edges, and there’s a small glob of paint on the right thumb that shouldn’t be there. On the upside, they did a fantastic job on the hair with no slop anywhere on the hairline, not even around the ears where there’s some overlap, and the jacket and toy box have no paint issues, either. The good cannot outweigh the bad here, however, considering that this bust is not cheap by any means. When you charge a lot of money for something, a sloppy paint job like this shouldn’t be an issue.

Articulation - Bupkis
No moving parts whatsoever. This will not affect the overall score since this is a statue, after all, but I thought it was worth mentioning nonetheless.

Value - **1/2
I paid $35 for mine, which is about average in my opinion. If you spend the $50-$60 that this thing typically retails for, you can knock off half a star at least. $35 is the cheapest I’ve seen it go for, and it can be acquired for that much with a little searching. But $50+? Um…

Fun Factor - ***
This is a one-pose collectible that certainly isn’t for kids, but with that being said, this is about as fun as a mini bust gets. It’s a fun and interesting pose, and with the Joker poking his fingers through Batman’s mask and looking like he just popped out of a jack-in-the-box, kids and adults alike would find it cool and interesting.

Things to Watch Out For -
The bottom shreds of the cape can be broken off, so be careful, but otherwise it seems virtually indestructible.

Overall - ***
As a Joker fan and collector, this piece was a must-have for me. I wouldn’t have paid an arm and a leg for it, but if you can find it for $40 or less, I’d say it’s definitely worth getting. If not for the sub-par paint job, this bust would have scored another half star. I’d like it more if it were bigger, but big busts cost big bucks, so I’ll remain content with the smaller stuff for now.

Joker mini-bust by DC Direct

Joker mini-bust by DC Direct

This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Ryan Kelly.

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