What a difference a color makes.
April 18, 2008

Some thoughts on what fans really want and why a single change of paint color will earn Mattel more money than they’ve been making…

So, I’m sure most of you have seen this image on AFI’s front page by now…

I have been asking for a blue cowl n’ cape Justice League Batman figure for over five years from our friends at Mattel. "What’s the point?" You might be saying. "The Justice League Batman figure was fine. It was accurate and it stood up. What more could you want?"

When Justice League came out in 2001 this was the first Batman image they showed:

For those of you who remember the New Batman Adventures Series version of the character (after the style changes) Batman wore a Black (with grey highlights) cape. The big difference between the JL and TNBA versions was the color of the cape/cowl/gloves/boots. Now there are many fans/artists who interpret the blue as highlights – akin to the blue coloring of Superman’s hair.

But go back and look at the inside of that cape. That baby’s BLUE! So in my detail obsessed mind, WE NEVER REALLY GOT A ON-MODEL JUSTICE LEAGUE VERSION OF BATMAN. What did we get instead? This.

I have actually overheard this conversation more than once:

Mom: Look, Jimmy. How about this figure? Gas Mask Batman? You like Batman…
Jimmy: That’s doesn’t look like Batman.
Mom: Oh.

Which is why I’m so damn excited to finally see this figure after all of these years and after dropping all of those hints to Mattel brand managers. THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE FANS (and kids – the people who buy your product) HAPPY. You give them actual representations of the character they see on the TV shows and in the movies.

So Mattel, congratulations. It only took you (and Hasbro before you) 8 years to get it right. Keep it up!

Scott Rogers
Soctt "Boneyard" Rogers has been collecting toys, making custom action figures and reading comic books since before many of you were a twinkle in yore daddy's eye. Needless to say, he knows a fair bit about all of this stuff and definitely has some opinions about it. He also makes video games when he's not looking for toys, making custom action figures and reading comics books.
Read other articles by Scott Rogers.





  • Elvis8Batman says:

    I can’t say I’ve ever viewed the JLU Batman as wearing blue, until now I always took it as black with the blue high lights. But after reading this and seeing the examples you’ve sold me on the idea. This is one variant I will definately be getting!!

  • Lincoln627 says:

    After seeing the images it sure is noticeable ….. petty to some, but to me it looks right.

  • Jayson Zachery says:

    I agree 100% and thanks for posting this! Not only do I like the new/classic/on model colors, but I love the 5 points of articulation. the other Batman may stand up, but his legs are a little weak or bend too much at the ankles (outwards!). I prefer this one, and I am very excited to be getting it. There is a similar Superman coming out in the New Gods pack, so for me, these are 2 figures that sorely needed this and I’m so happy about it!

  • Brainlock says:

    I blame John Byrne. HE was the one who “retro’d” Batman in the Man of Steel relaunch mini to be black/grey in ’86. Only when DC saw the positive fan reaction did they start applying it to the rest of the Bat-titles.

    me? I don’t care.
    I’m a WingNut! ;p

  • OddJob says:

    Yeah it’s a nice repaint and they should have been doing logical repaints, like Super Friends Batman for a while.

    But it’s a bit much to say that it’s the first “show accurate” Batman, as there have been dozens of those throughout the Hasbro and Mattel runs on Batman.

  • Scott Rogers Scott Rogers says:

    @ Oddjob,

    A clarification: It’s the first Justice League show accurate figure.

    Both BTAS and TNBA (as well as the movie figures) were great represenations of their on-screen counter parts.

    In my excited, I failed to make that distinction.

  • Samhaine says:

    I get what you’re saying, and going by the picture you posted I can definitely see more blue than black. The problem is, that was just off-model liscensor art. The link in my name is a picture Bruce Timm drew for the initial promotion, and I doubt it could be argued he’s wearing black. In fact, this design was original to be conceived as black with purple highlights, and the purple comes off looking more grayish-blue, especially as the series progressed.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m almost as excited as you are for the figure, because it fits the early Batman look from Robin’s Reckoning, including the ovalless bat, so it still has a place. I just never saw any of the Timm Batman designs as being in blue, except for, as I said, the flashback in the episode I previously mentioned. Plus, Wonder Pig! How can you NOT want that?

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