There are only a handful of names in the comic book industry that are absolute guarantees of ridiculous lines at San Diego Comic-Con. But there is one name in the pantheon of geek culture is a lock the same way the ROLLING STONES will always sell tickets no matter how old they get. I am talking about Jim Lee, of course, the superstar artist that has become the Picasso of comic book art. He is like an A-List movie star that can pick any project he would like to work on without any objection from the studio heads of the movie studio, or in this case, the comic book company. Its Jim Lee and like Spielberg, it is a brand that comes with a heavyweight pedigree as someone that is comic book royalty. In the pantheon in the history of the industry, few names can cause such an instant fan frenzy the way that Lee's name does.
So when I got word that Mr. Lee was going to be revealing an Exclusive SDCC Batman figure at this year's Super Bowl of pop culture, I immediately got out my credit card and furiously typed out the numbers to secure a guaranteed pre-order. The thought of having a Jim Lee SDCC Exclusive was too difficult to pass it up despite the fact that the figure went mainstream and became available to preorder at big-time online retailers like EntertainmentEarth.com and BigBadToyStore.com. All that mattered to me was that I got my figure! Mine just arrived this week just as the post-Con funk in the air has lifted and I couldn't be happier with this new addition to my collection.
First off, there were two versions of the Exclusive available. One is the one that I bought which was a steal at $39.99 coming in e a beautiful storybook type package. The classy looking packing opens like a book to reveal a brilliant Jim Lee sketch of the Batman on the left side while on the right is the gorgeous "Blueline Edition" of Lee's DC DIRECT JUSTICE LEAGUE BATMAN figure but without the signature grey and black. The Blueline Edition is a beautiful rendition of the figure with brilliant black and white sketch lines of the figure complete with the shading you would get in an original black & white Jim Lee drawing. It is truly a stunning piece for both the die-hard Batman collector as well as any Jim Lee fan worth their salt.
Now if you have some serious cash to drop, Jim Lee also made the Limited Edition package that originally at SDCC have run you $300 but has already increased generously in price on the secondary market. The LE package includes a signature from Jim Lee himself as well as a unique original sketch, limited to just 50 apiece, from the master himself of either Batman, Harley Quinn or the Joker. Prices already have soared to close to $1000 for one of the limited editions with Lee's sketches so be prepared to loosen the purse strings!
In my professional opinion, this Jim Lee Con Exclusive is a near perfect figure. If you do happen to take it out of the box for display, it has outstanding articulation and will really add a punch to your Batman collection. Places like GameStop are still offering the $39.99 edition at retail so if you can, hurry out and get one because this is a rarity that Jim Lee does not normally engage in. Some artists work do not translate well when turned into plastic but with Jim Lee's work, it is hard not to instantly recognize that this is indeed the master's work. If you were to put this figure in a lineup with other artists renditions of Batman, it would be just a few seconds before you made the right choice of which one was a Jim Lee. I sincerely hope that they do more of these Blueline Editions because from the packaging to the special sketch on the inside, this is really worth the $40. It is rare to have a piece of an icon like Lee amongst your collection so get out there and pick one of these up before they become scarce. Well done DC. If only the rest of your SDCC Exclusives packed this kind of punch!