By John Charles (Photo credit also John Charles)
New York, 6/25/2013- Mezco’s Mez-Izt are, generally, between 2-6 inches tall. They are stylized, Urban Vinyl figures that boast “Five points of articulation, with a million points of fun!”. When Mezco announced, at Toy Fair in February, that they would be producing a Mez-Itz Classic 1966 Batmobile as well as characters from the show, die hard Bat-Fans were excited but few other people took notice.
Today, all of that changed.
In a move sure to become legend to the score of fans in attendance, Mezco launched their Classic Batman Mez-Itz line with a zeal seldom seen in the toy industry: they had the toys delivered to Ripley’s world famous Odditorium on New York’s legendary 42nd st by an actual Batmobile! With flames shooting from its exhaust, the world’s most famous car raced down the world’s most famous street, then, cheered on by the hundreds of fans outside, Batman himself hopped out and carried the 1st Mez-Itz Batmobile into the lobby. Not since the days of Busby Berkeley has the street seen such spectacle. Robert Ripley himself may have had trouble believing that literally hundreds of fans would brave heat wave type temperatures dressed in full Batman regalia.
Believe It Or Not! there beneath Ripley’s glittering marquee the Batmobile sat as leagues of fans, young and old alike, snapped photos and recorded video, while Mezco’s Director Of Special Projects, Mike Drake, handed out free toys to anyone dressed as Batman. Some fans were local, like professional body painter and FX artist Jessica Mellow, who painted herself as Batman. Others came from nearby states, like couple Nick Smerecki and Lori Taylor from New Jersey, who came dressed as Batman and Robin. “We love Mez-Itz and we love Batman so this was a no-brainer” said Smerecki. A few came from across the country, like Jeff Price of Texas. “I’ll tell you what” said Price, “Mezco has done right by Batman!”.
As if the lure of free toys wasn’t great enough, Mezco sweetened the pot by offering attending fans a chance to win a one of a kind, 18inch tall Classic Batman Mez-Itz figure. Valued at up to $1,000.00 the toddler-sized collectible had fans of all ages thrusting their hands into the Bat-Bucket to draw a number. The lucky fan who won it, who declined to be named, smiled from ear to ear as she posed by the Batmobile. “I don’t know what to say” she exclaimed, “I never expected to win anything!”
Professional Batman re-enactor Bob DeSimone was one of the stars of the day as he cheerfully posed for pix with fans. Wearing what was surely the most elaborate costume ever seen since the original TV series, DeSimone explained that recreating the costume was a labor of love. The Bat-Gloves, or gauntlets, are especially tricky to get right and he spared no expense, going so far as to have the glovemaker from the original series recreate a pair for him using the pattern made for Adam West himself.
Catwoman also made an appearance, portrayed by Debra Sbrigato and was quickly surrounded by frenzied fans. Not only is Debra a fan of the character, but her husband owns the Batmobile.
Seeing life size Batmobile, which appeared courtesy of John Sbrigato, was clearly a high point in the day for many fans. When a member of Gotham’s finest approached the car to write a ticket (shooting flames is apparently frowned upon during morning rush hour…) the officer simply smiled and laughed once he stood next to the car and saw Batman driving. As he shook his head and said, “Ok, no ticket”, the hundreds of fans in attendance cheered.
Sbrigato, who owns highly regarded auto body shop Brighton Collision, possesses not one, but two Batmobiles; the 1966 version which appeared today, and the Michale Keaton version, as well as several other amazing vehicles. He says it was his Mother who got him hooked on Batman “I always dreamed of owning a Batmobile” said Sbrigato, “and now I have two! I get to make people happy when they see the Batmobile. It makes everybody smile! Mezco’s Batmobile is gonna do the same thing. The Mez-Itz Batmobile is one of the coolest Batmobiles ever!”
Love for Mezco’s Classic Batmobile was universal, Mark Racop, owner of Fiberglass Freaks (Officially Licensed seller of full-scale 1966 Batmobile replicas)
said “Holy vinyl hotrod! Mezco’s stylized 1966 Batmobile is great fun for Batman fans of all ages, and the Batman and Robin figures are terrific, too!” and
Eric Seltzer of www.1966batmobile.com proclaimed “Nice to see a new 1966 Batmobile product that the older collector can appreciate and the younger crowd can actually play with. The car looks accurate and the Batman & Robin character likeness looks spot-on.”
Although Mezco and Ripley’s had advertised free toys to the “First 200 Fans” the crowd was so huge that additional supplies had to be called in. “I don’t have an exact count yet” said Drake, “But we gave away hundreds more than expected. It’s great to see so many people love Mez-itz…and you should never underestimate the public’s love for the Batmobile!”
Mezco’s Classic Batmobile is a Diamond Comic exclusive and will be in stores in July. A limited supply is also available for order on Mezco’s website http://www.mezcotoyz.com/exclusives/
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About John Charles:
A writer and PR guy by trade, I’ve been in the business since 1987 when I sold my 1st piece to Playboy. My work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Baby Boomer, Newsweek, Psychology Today, Playboy, Omni, FHM, ASB magazine, and others.
I live in New York and need to stop eating hot dogs from food carts.
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