To commemorate the 80th anniversary of Batman (#Batman80, #LongLiveTheBat), AFJ has decided to join in the fun with columns, lists, and reviews from now until Batman Day (Sept. 15th, 2019). The incredible thing about 80 years of Batman in pop culture is that we can literally feature anything from comics to movies to Batman using a hearing aid. Yes, Batman used a hearing aid once (see Batman Forever). Today, we turn our attention to a trio of NECA Batman action figures. Enjoy Junkies! #AFJ4LIFE
Written By Rick Alaia
This week we're ramping up to the 30th-anniversary (!) of the Michael Keaton helmed blockbuster Batman (1989). One of my personal favorite Batman movies BTW. So today we're going to be looking at the NECA 1989 trilogy of figures.
First up, is the 18-inch figure. When this was announced I immediately freaked out. Outside of Hot Toys, there really was no new 1989 Batman figures. To say we were due, would be an understatement.
NECA dropped the 18-inch 1989 Batman in December of 2013. This thing was a masterpiece. It was big, and it was Keaton Batman!! NECA outdid themselves for sure. The sculpt was spot on with Keaton's likeness and the accessories and were spot on. It retailed for $100 and was an instant smash hit. Selling out super fast, a lot of people had to resort to eBay to get their hands on this giant figure. At this point, I figured we were at the top of the mountain as far as 1989 Batman figures were concerned… I was wrong.
NECA then announced a 7-inch version of Batman in their video game line! Batman was based on his NES colors of purple and pink. This figure was a shrunk down version of the 18-inch figure. I knew it would be awesome, and of course, I had high hopes to get an accurate movie 7-inch figure.
The video game figure was released in October of 2014 and was just as awesome as the 18-inch version. It's the same figure after all, just shrunken down to 7 inches. It came in a box designed after the old NES game box with the front part being able to be opened to see the figure. It really did hit you in the nostalgia. After the initial release of the 7-inch video game figure, NECA put out a statement that they could not do a movie accurate figure and that this was as close as we would come in the 7-inch form.
So, like many others, I set out and started to customize a 2nd video game version into a movie accurate version. After all, I wanted a Keaton Batman figure since 1989. Now I had everything I needed to get it done. After much work, my custom was done, and not to toot my own horn but it was awesome lol. Then not two weeks after finishing my custom, NECA put out a press release.
NECA announced out of the blue that there was going to be a movie accurate 1989 Batman available in a bundle with the 25th anniversary Blu-ray only at Toys R Us. This thing looked INCREDIBLE! It was in a card back that was a homage to the 1989 Toy Biz movie figures. I knew that by hook or by crook this had to be mine. I mean, the 18 inch was amazing, but I prefer the six-inch scale for my action figures so this was something I had waited 25 years for! To top it off, NECA said they would be in TRU stores that next week as part of a promotion. When you bought the Blu-ray, you would get this figure for free!
Needless to say, the hunt was on. Like most sought after figures, it was a struggle to find. My wife and I checked TRU at least 4 times a week. Anyone who knows how NECA works knows that they have reps that put the product on shelves, not the store employees. So there was no way to look them up in the computer and see if they were in the store. After two weeks I knew that I might have had to buy on eBay and feed the scalpers. They just weren't getting to my store. Then, NECA made another announcement on Twitter. This bundle would be available on the TRU website! Could it be?!? Would it be that easy?!?
It was. It was more expensive online, but not too crazy. Then, while Christmas shopping, I found an entire box in electronics! I felt like a kid again. It was such an amazing moment. 25 years of wanting this, and here it was, in my hands. It didn't disappoint either. The sculpt and paint were incredible. The mask, like the 18-inch and video game version, was soft rubber with Michael Keaton's likeness underneath. It was more than I had ever hoped.
That TRU 25th anniversary figure is still my favorite figure I own. NECA did such an awesome job and really worked tirelessly to get through the hoops and hurdles to get this figure made. For those of us that waited 25 years to own this, we were forever grateful to Randy Falk and the NECA team. They really did make a child's wish come true. #LongLiveTheBat