Ame-Comi Batgirl and Catwoman

One of the new ideas out of DC Direct for 2008 is their Ane-Comi line of comic based heroines.  These were first shown at the 2007 Toy Fair, and hit retailers in January.

The concept is fairly simple - take two ideas that seem to both be popular, and cross pollinate to get a third idea that's even more popular!  Of course, it was this kind of thinking that gave us Luke Skywalker on a pimped out motorcycle, and Darth Vader as a Transformer.

Here they've taken the design concepts of anime and manga and applied them liberally to the characters of the DC universe.  Not just any of the characters though - the ladies.  No surprise there, since the anime style tends to emphasize the female form just a tad.

The first two released are Batgirl and Catwoman, and these can be found at some LCS', or at the sponsors I have at the end of the review.  Like most specialty market stuff, the price can vary quite a bit, and I've seen them anywhere from $30 each to $45.

There are already plans for Wonder Woman, Power Girl, Super Girl, and Cheetah, and I suspect we'll see more than that added to the line at this year's Toy Fair.

Packaging - **
These are packed in the oversized boxes that DCD seems so fond of.  Because the figures are large (around 8" tall), the boxes are even more excessive on the pegs.  They are fairly plain, and don't do a whole lot for me visually.  Add in the fact that while these are supposed to be 'collectibles', the packaging isn't designed to allow you to put them back.  To get the base out, you'll have to tear the packaging up, much more like a cheap mass market toy than a high end item.

They also use twisties to hold the ladies in place, and these can damage the paint quite easily, something I don't expect from a forty dollar plastic statue.

Sculpting - Batgirl ***1/2; Catwoman ***
Batgirl caught my eye on the pegs at my local comic shop, not because of the two obvious reasons, but because of the unique and unusual design.

While it's supposed to be a generic melding of styles, her particular design has a real Battle of the Planets feel to it, which I think is really eye catching.  I usually hate action hair and action capes, but the dynamic flow on both if these looks much better than usual.  It probably helps that the hair is done in a slightly translucent plastic.  Of course, it bugs me a bit that the hair and the cape are going in opposite directions, and I'm not quite sure how she managed that move, but that's me picking

Catwoman doesn't quite do it for me, at least not in the same way.  I picked her up because of my Bat-universe obsession, but there's just something a little too odd about her costume.  Yea, I get the whole dominatrix thing, and there's no surprise there.  But what's with the butt chaps?  As a piece of clothing, they don't seem to serve much purpose, and would just ride up on her in real life.  Even assuming their just supposed to be the kind of thing you buy at Lover's Lane and wear for 30 seconds, are they really supposed to be sexy?  Of course, their real purpose is to give her someplace to attach her 'tail'.  The tail isn't doing a whole lot for me though either, and you'll need to use some hot water to soften it up and get it posed in a better fashion that how it comes out of the box.  To me it looks more like a prehensile monkey tail than a cat's tail.

Even if the artistic style is something you like, poor Catwoman has a bit of an issue with leaning.  The sculpt seems to want to push her to her right, or your left as you look straight at her.  Since she'll normally be turned to the side on display, it's not a huge issue, but at this price point shouldn't be an issue at all.

Both Catwoman and Batgirl exhibit some mold lines, particularly along the side of the helmets and arms.  If this were a $20 'toy', I wouldn't have an issue, but when you use plastic to make higher end statues, you have to avoid these basic issues.

I would have liked to see a little more actual sculpting around the eyes, which are largely just painted on the face.  There's enough detail in the rest of the figure that even with the anime design, I don't think it would have looked out of place.

I also thought I'd point out that some sites sell these as 'vinyl' statues, while others call them 'PVC' statues.  Neither is really quite accurate, I think.  Most buyers of vinyl figures and statues think of the designer vinyl style, and the plastic used here is much harder than that.  And while the plastic probably is PVC, it's one that has little plasticizer, making it more like ABS when it comes to hardness.  These figures are very hard, with the exception of Catwoman's whip, and if you rap them hard enough on the table, I'm betting you could break things.

One final note on the sculpts.  If you were hoping for 'realistic' proportions, you can prepare yourself for crushing disappointment.  Both women follow the normal anime style with huge, gigantic, enormous...eyes.  I don't find anything wrong with the style, remembering that it's an artistic style and not an attempt at making a still life.

Paint - Catwoman ***1/2; Batgirl ***
The paint work on both figures is fairly clean, with only a bit of slop around some of the cut lines.  that issue seems to be a bit more of a problem for Batgirl than Catwoman, but since she also has more colors and details, that's probably not a surprise.

Another issue for both figures, but more Bat than Cat, is rub marks.  Statues that are made from resin and poly resin mixes tend to have paint jobs that are less likely to show wear from simple handling.  Here, you'll see rub marks on both the black and gray outfits, and over time you can make that worse if you're not careful.

They did do a very nice job on the large, huge, oversized...eyes.  And there's a nice use of different finishes on both costumes to imply different materials, which is a key technique with this kind of statue.

Articulation - Bupkis
If you were perhaps thinking "Sure, they're called statues, but maybe the neck moves!", forget about it.  These are statues, just like they're advertised.  There's zero articulation.

Accessories - Catwoman **; Batgirl *1/2
Since these are statues, low scores here are actually a GOOD thing - any score more than bupkis is a positive.  But neither of these come with an arsenal.

Batgirl only has her base, which is attractive but which is also exactly the same as every other base in the Ame-Comi line.  What's up with that?  Considering the price point - and that the logo is merely painted on with no embossing or etching - they couldn't give it a little personalization to the character?

The base has large wedge-like pegs for the feet, so that they fit not only inside the foot, but fill in the space between the ball of the foot and the heel.  They are quite sturdy when placed on these pegs, although Catwoman has that tilt issue mentioned earlier.

Catwoman adds in her whip.  This fits into her hand with the use of a small peg and hole, and stays put once it's there.  You'll need to use a combination of hot water and cold water to get it into a pose you really like, since it comes out of the box rolled into a circle.  For the photos, I didn't futz with it, since you should know what you're getting and not what can be done with some work, but rest assured that with a little effort you can get some very interesting poses.

Fun Factor - Bupkis
If Mr. Funk or Mr. Wagnalls are looking to include the term "Nerd Hummel" in their next dictionary, they can feel free to use a photo of either of these young ladies.  They truly define the term.  And as such, play value doesn't come

Value - **
Most stores are going to be charging around forty bucks a pop for these two, and that's what I'm grading them at.

Forty bucks?  That's what you'll pay for a Gentle Giant mini-bust, or a Batman Black and White statue most of the time.  But these are simply plastic statues, and while they are nice sculpts, they have many of the issues we see in much cheaper plastic statues, like mold lines, paint rubs, and a general feeling of 'cheap' when you hold them in your hands.

At $30, I'd give them another half star.  At $25, I'd be all over them like hair on a bear.  But at $40, these will be the only two I pick up.

Things to Watch Out For - 
When picking them out, watch the paint, particularly those rub marks on Batgirl.  When you get them home, try not to add to the issue when you're removing them from the package.

Overall - ***
These are certainly art, and as such will be forced to face artistic criticism.  People with far too much time on their hands will debate whether they are sexist, or perverted, or in some way imply the owner is pathetic loser.  That might very well be true, but is irrelevant. Gramma has her Precious Moments - Gramps deserves his Perverted Moments.

The fact is that the sculpts are solid, with only a few issues, as is the paint work.  If DCD was pricing these at a level that made more sense for the material and quality, I'd say jump on that bandwagon and ride it into town.  The unfortunate news is that they are over priced for the general quality.  There are two ways to fix that - drop the price or up the quality.  I suspect neither will happen, but it's good to dream.

Score Recap:
Packaging - **
Sculpt - Batgirl ***1/2; Catwoman ***
Paint - Catwoman ***1/2; Batgirl ***
Articulation - Bupkis
Accessories - Catwoman **; Batgirl *1/2
Fun Factor - Bupkis
Value -  **
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Your local LCS might have these, or you can try:

- Circle Red has them in at $36 each, including pre-orders for upcoming figures.

- CornerStoreComics has them at $32 each, and has pre-orders up for the rest of the announced figures at the same price.

- Amazing Toyz has them in at $32 each as well.

- Alter Ego Comics has the Catwoman for $34, with pre-orders for the others up at $38 - $42.50.

- Urban-Collector has some up for pre-order at $42.50.

- or you can search Ebay using MyAuctionLinks.

- Related Links -
Head on over to the search page and look for either Catwoman or Batgirl - you'll find a ton of reviews on many different versions of both characters. I'll start you out by giving you direct links to the two most recent - the 13" Batgirl and the Takara Catwoman.


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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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