Monday, 16 October 2017

THE SIGN OF THE BAT (UPDATED)...


BATMAN copyright DC COMICS

I've shown this MARX TOYS TWISTABLE BATMAN before on the blog, but I thought I'd let you see him with his new Bat-emblem.  See, in the early or mid-'90s when I first acquired this replacement for the original ones I'd had as a kid (that's right, I had more than one), he came without his utility belt, Bat-a-rang, and Bat-sign.  He still had his original cape with copyright label attached, but it was a little the worse-for-wear.  So I promptly made him a new cape (using the original as a template), new utility belt, and new Bat-a-rang.

His original cape was a darker blue than his mask, boots, and gloves, so I used a darker blue for the replacement.  Eventually, I made another one that was closer to his blue plastic parts, but still just slightly darker.  I created the Bat-a-rang from a piece of perspex, the belt out of felt (hey, a poem), and I photocopied the Bat-emblem from the official one at the time used on merchandise.  Later on, I replaced it with one copied from the '60s AURORA Batman model kit, and last night I made one copied from ADAM WEST's Batman costume.  Sure, I could've copied the original Marx one (got a photo of it in a book), but West is best (hey, another poem), so that's what I've gone with.

These figures are quite hard to come by in any condition and command a pretty penny when they occasionally turn up, so I'm extremely glad to have one.  He's been a work in progress over the years, but at last I'm satisfied with his overall appearance.  (However, if there's anyone out there with a spare original emblem, belt and Bat-a-rang, get in touch.)  Below is a photo of someone else's toy with the original emblem and belt, followed by an earlier photo of the above figure with the first emblem I made.  And, following my response to TC in the comments section, I dug out my BATMAN COLLECTED book by CHIP KIDD, and the final pic below comes from his esteemed and fairly comprehensive publication.




24 comments:

steve said...

Really like the Batman toy Kid,I would have been over the moon with one as one of my childhood toys,but I've no recollection of this toy from my childhood. Could you tell me when it was first released please.

Kid said...

The copyright label on the cape says 1966, so it would've been around the time of the TV series. I think I got my first one around 1968 or '69, from a shop called Nurseryland (Everything For Baby) that used to be in my town centre for many years. It obviously also sold toys for older children too. It was in this shop's window that I first saw Pedigree's Captain Scarlet action figure in 1967 or '68. It's possible that the Batman figure was made by Marx's UK division, and a few shops apart, it probably wasn't widely available in America.

TC said...

I don't remember ever seeing it. But then, there was so much Batman merchandise on sale in 1966, it would have been almost impossible to keep track of it all. Even if this item were marketed in the US, it could have easily gotten lost in the shuffle.

Kid said...

Very true, TC. There was a 'Batman Collected' book a good few years ago by Chip Kidd, which didn't show this toy, though they included it in a 2nd edition, identifying it, if I recall correctly, as a toy from 'England'. (As we know, most Americans think that England and Britain are the same thing.) It's probably almost as fragile as Major Matt Mason was, so a goodly number of them would probably just have been thrown out when their play-life wore out.

Colin Jones said...

Recently a card shop in my town centre had a life-size inflatable Batman in the window - it looked quite impressive but I don't why a card shop was selling such a thing (it was early in the morning before the shop was open so I couldn't investigate further).

Kid said...

Was it definitely for sale, CJ? Maybe it was just to advertise a line of Batman cards? Although, having said that, card shops sell more than cards these days. Ah, I've got it - card shops sell party balloons, so maybe it was one of those?

Colin Jones said...

Kid, I too thought it might just be for display and not for sale. Anyway, it's gone now but I'd never seen a life-size inflatable super-hero before so it was quite a sight !

Kid said...

That Batman - he's always disappearing like that. Just ask Commissioner Gordon.

WOODSY said...

An amazing toy Kid and one I just don't know. And you had two in the Sixties? Wow! Its brill that you stall have one. Its hard keeping hold of toys as the decades roll by. Gotham salutes you!

Kid said...

Nah, I had at least 3 or 4, possibly 5, though I never had more than 2 at a time. This isn't one of my original ones, it's a replacement I got in the early or mid-'90s. I get the impression it's pretty rare - I've only ever seen one on eBay once. (I bought mine through a toy seller's catalogue.)

WOODSY said...

I'll have to check my Batman toy reference books to see what they say. Maybe Bill Breugman's Toys of the Sixties and Comics Collectables. I'll have a look. It must be rare. Can't believe you had 5!

Kid said...

Let me know if you spot it in Bruegman's book, will you? The only one I've ever seen it mentioned (and shown) in is the 'Batman Collected' one, and then only in the revised edition. If I remember correctly, I only ever saw the actual toy in one shop (Nurseryland), but they seemed to stock them regularly. One of my school pals was so entranced by mine that he bought one from the shop also.

WOODSY said...

I will do. Just need to get in the attic to my books. It used to be my Ebay HQ so they're all up there!

Kid said...

No rush, just when you feel like it and have the time.

WOODSY said...

Hi Kid, I couldn't find any mention of your Marx Twistable Batman in my reference books, which includes a book on Marx toys including Batman! The most significant mention of it for me at least in on the online list of 100 rarest Batman toys worldwide by Batman toy authority Ed Kelly. Your toy is number 60 on the list! Check out the full 100 in Ed's bat gallery. Look for the button mark 100 rarest Toys, allow it to load and scroll : https://www.batmantoys.com/1

The Collectprs Club rate it as well and the author knows of only a few in existence in mint condition! Alas their picture has vanished - no doubt the Joker hacked it! https://www.collectors-club-of-great-britain.co.uk/diecast-collecting/articles/buyers-guide-vintage-batman-toys

I've noticed its often mistaken in other fora and auctions for a bendy figure. Am I right Kid? Its not a rubber bendy is it?

WOODSY said...

Your picture of your Ol Twistable hanging on your wall is also on the Bat blog!

Kid said...

Yeah, I know - I told him it was okay. I supplied another as well, but can't remember if he ever used it. His blog hasn't been updated in ages, has it? I wonder if he's given up on it.

Kid said...

It is a bendy figure, W, but not a rubber one. It has a plastic, pear-shaped body, with soft plastic tubing containing twisted strands of wire for the arms, legs, and neck. His suit is a cloth-type of material, but I couldn't say which. I seem to remember seeing a picture from my blog on another site - maybe it's the one you mention and they took it down when someone pointed out it was mine (not that I would've minded). Right, I'm off to have a look at those sites you mentioned.

WOODSY said...

Did you find them OK Kid?

Kid said...

Yup, I did. Even contacted Ed Kelly about the possibility of getting a scan of his Batman header card so I could make a facsimile. His collection is on display in a museum in Tokyo at the moment, but he sent me some photos which might come in useful in my task. That's some collection he has.

WOODSY said...

hey that's fantastic Kid! I met Ed Kelly a couple of times at the NEC Memorabilia show when it was run by Henry Cook in the early noughties. Ed had the most phenomenal batman toy stall you've ever seen. Many unique items but also always something in bulk so you could come away with something relatively inexpensive. He'd been collecting and standing at big fairs for years by then and I think he was getting fed up. I didn't see him again. Great that you made contact!

Kid said...

I remember Henry Cook - met him a couple of times at Memorabilia shows in Glasgow when he still did them. Ed said my Batman looked great (sent him a photo), which is an awesome compliment considering how pristine his is.

WOODSY said...

Ed's checklist of 100 rare Bat toys helped me solve a thorny ID issue last year for a mate. Ed features his complete mint Tudor Rose Flying Platform [number 21]. From this I was able to work out that other examples of this toy on the net and some being sold featured the wrong spinner handle, eg. https://www.collectors-club-of-great-britain.co.uk/diecast-collecting/articles/buyers-guide-vintage-batman-toys taken from a less rare Batman toy, the Tarco Batscout http://vintage-batman.com/1966-batman-batscout/

Rock on Ed's checklist!

Kid said...

Yeah, some sellers are unscrupulous in their claims about some of the stuff they sell - and the price they charge for it. If Ed's list helps stop collectors being taken advantage of, that's a good thing.

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