Batman (Classic TV Series): The Joker by Mattel

A few memorable actors have walked in The Joker’s clown shoes since the 1966 Batman TV Series and they’ve all left their mark on the character. But while the younger fans of Ledger and Nicholson and Hammill all argue for their individual champions, they tend to overlook the pioneer work of Cesar Romero. For the first half of my life, Romero was The Joker. By the time Nicholson donned the white grease paint in 1989, I was already nearly 20 years old. Toss in the fact that Romero played The Joker in something like 20 episodes and a movie, the truth is he will always be the most familiar portrayal of the character that I fall back on. And it doesn’t hurt that Romero did a f’cking fantastic job with the role. This figure is long overdue.

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The Joker comes on the same style of card that we saw earlier this week when looking at Batman. There’s a new Robin quote on the front and the back of the card is character specific. The artwork is based on the animated opening credits. I think it works better for Batman and Robin than it does for The Joker here. Apart from that, there’s nothing new to talk about here, so let’s just bust him open.

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I’m not going to mince words… I love this figure, but that does not mean it does not have its share of issues. The outfit matches his regular purple suit rather well and it’s layered on with soft plastic to give the figure some convincing depth and allow his coat tails to hang down the back of his legs. The downside of that is that he looks too bulky to me in his top half. Also, so much of his black tie is showing through his coat that it’s hard to tell he’s not just wearing a black top under that, when in fact he has a green shirt peeking out as well. These are not crippling issues, just things I think worth mentioning. If I wasn’t as starved as I am for this figure, I might be less forgiving.

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The head sculpt is great, although it’s worth noting that Mattel didn’t follow through on Romero’s sculpted mustache. A little detail like that was a big selling point for this line with collectors and the fact that it was cut in the end is a tad disappointing. Mattel still makes the nod with a little paint app under his nose. It works OK, but it’s not quite the same. Still, everything else about The Joker’s mug works so well for me that I’m willing to accept the change. His expression is just priceless!

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Lastly, I do think the one pointing finger is a strange choice. I’ll grant you, it’s amazing how many poses you can make it work in. I think a swap-out hand would have been a great idea here. I do like the idea of the pointing finger, but not so much if it’s my only option.

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Joker retains most of the articulation we saw with the Batman figures. He has ball joints in his shoulders, swivels in his biceps and wrists, and hinges in his elbows. His legs have the DCUC style hip joint, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. He can swivel at the waist and his neck is ball jointed. He may have an ab-crunch buried under that suit, but if he does it’s rendered useless.

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Joker comes with his own collectible card and I absolutely love it. It’s a great illustration and it reminds me of the kind of collectible Lobby Cards they used to have at the cinema ages and ages ago. It can also be flipped around to form the third panel of the Batmobile display for the figure stand.

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Yes, Joker also has the same style figure stand as the two Batman figures. His says, “ZAP!!” I’m not sure if I’ll be using these in my display, but I do really dig that Mattel included them with the figures.

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I could be a lot more critical of this figure, but the truth is nostalgia is blinding me here. Sure, there’s always room for improvement and I’ve pointed out all those particular areas that I thought could have been tweaked. That having been said, this is still, more or less, The Joker figure that I was hoping for. He definitely looks the part and he displays wonderfully next to his nemesis, Batman. I can’t wait to get him set up with some of his partners in crime. Next week, I’ll try to get to both Penguin and Riddler.

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