Based on the art of comics legend Frank Miller comes an all-new DC Designer Series: Batman statue. This impressive 1:6 scale statue showcases the ravaged, gritty and iconic look from Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” story line. From comic book to 3-D polyresin statue, this piece is a real testament to the impact a comic can have on generations of fans.
Sculpted by Jonathan Matthews
Limited Edition of 5,000
Measures Approximately 8″ Tall
$150.00 US • On Sale November 2019 from DC Collectibles
I’ll be approaching this review from two different directions. To start, you’ll get a “First Impression,” which is a quick, casual overview with some anecdotes about my own experience showing off the statue in my home. Then there’s the “Scrutinized” section which will go into more detail about the paint, sculpt, assembly, packaging, etc. etc. That portion of the review is for anyone who is on the fence and needs to know all the particulars before even thinking about dropping around $150 bucks on this collectible.
They nailed it! How could you not think they nailed it? Look at the cover to Dark Knight Triumphant and then look at the statue. DC Collectibles and Jonathan Matthews did Miller & Varley proud.
Now, that said, that’s coming from the point of view of someone who instantly recognizes the comic book cover that the statue is based on. I’m well and thoroughly familiar with the image, I mean, I’ve read The Dark Knight Returns over a dozen times and own a first printing of this very issue. But what has been the response from those who see the sculpture but don’t get the reference?
Whenever I’ve shown the statue to the uninitiated, they’re impressed– if a bit confused as to why Batman is so bulky and beaten-up. But then I show them the original cover for them to compare it to and that is when their heads explode! I’ve even had one house guest who didn’t like the statue (hard to believe) who, upon seeing Miller & Varley’s artwork, said “Oh damn, that’s actually really ****ing good.”
Batman fans are going to get it and they’re going to love it. But if you want this statue to resonate with a wider audience, display it side-by-side with a copy of the comic. It’ll drive the point home with non-fans that the statue is a masterpiece, and it’s just a cool idea for your presentation.
The DC Designer Series Batman by Frank Miller statue ships in a white box featuring the same understated styling you’ve come to expect from recent DC Collectibles. This box features several promotional photos of the early prototype, sports a brief blurb and credits, and there are adverts for other DC Designer Series statues as well. Its top flap boasts the over-sized Frank Miller bat symbol made popular in the pages of The Dark Knight Returns, and it opens to a two-piece Styrofoam shell sealed together with tape. Cutting the tape free and separating the two pieces of foam reveals The Dark Knight in two pieces: the statue itself and a round base.
Beneath Batman’s right boot are two metal rods that insert into two holes pre-drilled in the circular foundation. The thick platform stands on four cushioned feet to protect the surface of your table or shelf, and the bottom is printed with the DC insignia and, since it’s part of a limited run of only 5,000 statues, you’ll find hand-numbering as well. But that’s enough about the part of the statue that nobody is every going to see! The top of the base is painted matte black and carved with a bat symbol that has jagged but equal scallops that don’t quite look like what’s in the comic or on the Bat signal… But wait. If you look past the claw marks on the chest of the statue/comic cover’s Batman you’ll see that this specific bat symbol matches that chest emblem perfectly. It’s a thoughtful touch. I also like that the carving is filled in with bright yellow paint, just enough to catch the eye, but not enough to distract from the statue.
So anyway, here’s the real part of the review. We’re past the box talk and the “oh this is a nice base” bit, and we’re chatting about the sculpture itself. And since it’s the scrutinize segment of our article, we’re going to really dwell on every flaw and pick every nit in the most nitpicky way, right? Well, I can’t. Not really. Yes, there are some faults here and there, but they pale in comparison to just how perfectly every wrinkle of fabric and furrow of brow has been translated into polyresin.
I hear you, I hear you. You’re saying, Surely something about this statue makes you unhappy! Please give me a reason not to buy this, I desperately need to be an adult and buy fruits and vegetables instead! Well, I’ll try.
There’s the poorly painted sole of the left boot. Why was the application of blue so faint? It looks a little too brown… But then my headcanon chimes in “I bet that’s from the mud pit where Batman fights in this very issue!” but the reasonable side of me beds down that notion by insisting that, no, it’s merely just poor paint application. After all, there’s no more “mud” on the rest of the statue. That said… it’s the sole of a boot that’s only visible from an angle you’ll never show the statue from– so who cares? What other problems does the statue have?
Well, the red wash that they used to make the creases of his flesh appear all the more bruised and bloody tend to pool at the edges where the faux fabric meets the faux skin. If you get up real close, Batman looks a little too red at the outline of his exposed shoulder and knee… like the outfit is so tight at these openings that its cutting off our hero’s circulation. But, again, that’s probably way too nitpicky. You cycled through over 30 photos of the statue already– did the faint redness that traces the tattered gray fabric bother you? Did you catch it? It truthfully does not trouble me.
How about the scale of the statue? Frank Miller’s Batman is old, angry, and noticeably overweight compared to his svelte Year One physique. So you’d think he would appear to be the most hulking figure in the DC Designer Series lineup. But look at the photos below, and you’ll see that Greg Capullo’s axe-wielding Batman from Dark Nights: Metal towers over him. Or so it would seem…
Holding the two statues up to one another in a variety of ways proved to me that the scale of the two statues is quite similar, and Miller’s Batman is indeed bigger. The reason why he looks so much smaller is all due to the pose (and you will have the occasional jackass who points to the statue and asks “Is he pooping?” I’ve had one). The hunched, crouching posture makes the retiree appear surprisingly compact and therefore creates the illusion that Capullo’s Batman is the bigger man… And that just doesn’t look right when you display them together. It feels wrong to me, as a fan. So, yes, I do wish that the scale of the statue was larger because in my mind Miller’s Batman is the biggest, the heaviest, the one that hogs the most real estate.
And there it is. I’m mildly disappointed by the scale, I think the bottom of a boot deserved another coat of paint, and the red wash was a tad overused on his exposed skin. Those are my problems with the statue. That’s all that bothers me. Everything else is brilliant.
I adore this statue. The sculpt has so much incredible texture, the paint matches the original artwork exactly, and it’s just so marvelous to see the unorthodox, disheveled, but hellishly fierce illustration I’ve known only as a 2D image for decades be so fully and perfectly realized in 3D. It’s a statue that means something to me because it says so much about the character. It’s not clean, it’s not pretty, it’s not terribly heroic or iconic at first glance, either. But if you’re familiar with the source material I don’t know how you could look at the statue and not smile, because this is a sculpture that beautifully captures our hero’s perseverance. It’s a statue that pays tribute to the fact that our hero always gets back up no matter how many times he falls, no matter how much it hurts.
It’s worth paying full-price. If you are a fan of The Dark Knight Returns or Frank Miller or you simply love the idea of a Batman statue that shows your hero can take a beating but will never be defeated, you’ll be completely satisfied with the latest addition to the DC Designer Series. DC Collectibles did an outstanding job of bringing the cover of Dark Knight Triumphant to life.
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