?If anyone knows anything about having their misery and personal tragedies exploited for commercial gains, it’s Batman. It’s a good thing Bruce Wayne doesn’t need to worry about money, because his alter ego has been enjoying a renaissance of sorts thanks to the collision of Christopher Nolan’s sublimely grim trilogy reimagining the Dark Knight and also the fact that it’s no longer considered dorky to like superheroes. The latest attempt to wring a couple extra bucks out of Bat-disciples waiting for The Dark Knight Rises‘ release is a pair of very cool Arkham Asylum action figures from Square Enix, due out in March. For $60 apiece, you can get astonishingly detailed figures of Batman and the Joker with many points of articulation, visible wrinkles in their clothing, and new action-figure smell packed right in.
But big deal. There have been tons of Joker and Batman action figures out over the course of his 73-year existence. To really whip fans into a frenzy for the new movie, we should be seeing some more unusual or obscure characters emerge from the background and into the plastic. As a counterpart to Kevin Hellions’ list of 15 Marvel Superheroes Who Somehow Don’t Have Action Figures Yet, here’s a similar list pertaining to Gotham’s characters who deserve a place in our tangible fleshy world. Tto clarify, that means we’re not going after every obscure or one-off character who showed their face in a comic, game, or movie. These are characters with considerable impact on the fiction who would be gosh-golly fun to play with as an action figure.
9) Lucius Fox
?One of Batman’s biggest supporters, the guy who makes him all those wonderful toys, has never been a toy himself. Regardless of which storyline you associate with the strongest – that is, whether you like to believe Fox knowingly or unknowingly is bankrolling Bruce Wayne’s gadget research and development – it seems odd that the man who helps make all of Batman’s adventures possible at all can’t go on one himself during your bath time. Heck, even Batzarro has an action figure. So what gives?
8) Joe Chill
?Okay, so maybe this is a bit morbid, but who wouldn’t want the change to exact revenge against the man who murdered Bruce Wayne’s parents? After all, he wasn’t some mugger – he was a hit man hired by racketeer/mobster Lew Moxon (and pretty much every villain in the Batman-verse has been turned into an action figure… even Clock King). Batman went after Moxon, so why not give him that chance to beat Chill within a micro-fraction of his life? It’d be therapeutic.
6 & 7) Dr. Thomas and Mrs. Martha Wayne
?Gotham’s original power couple has always served largely as the backstory for Bruce Wayne, and much like the other two characters mentioned above, it wouldn’t have been possible for Batman to exist without them. That is to say, Batman couldn’t have been forged if his parents hadn’t gotten together to make young master Wayne, of course, but their death ushered him into that dark worldview, costume-wearing fetish and unflinching sense of exacting justice. If they ever are turned into action figures, they could be released in prone positions, dead. Or better yet, why not release a pair of tasteful, closed coffins?
?Granted, nowadays in the comics, Calculator is just a guy in a suit who looks like Jack Nicholson, so it’s understandable they weren’t rushing pose-able versions of him out to store shelves – even though Clock King in a business suit is an action figure. But before Noah Kuttler reinvented himself, he was the same master tactician and genius at determining tips at restaurants, just in far more flamboyant, Rubik’s Cube-flavored duds. What’s weird is that there are Birds of Prey action figures, but no Calculator, since he eventually came to be known largely as Oracle’s villain counterpart. Still, it seems we’re more likely to see action-wheelchair ramps for Oracle and Wheels from the Burger King Kids Club available for sale before we see good ol’ Calc. After all, he’s not some dingus in a giant calculator costume anymore. He’s changed.
4) Vicki Vale
?How is that Lois Lane has an action figure, but her Batman equivalent, Vicki Vale, doesn’t? She’s been around almost since the very beginning, cropping up in 1948 as a beat reporter who used her amazing abilities of hearing and sight to figure out Bruce Wayne and Batman have a similar build and voice. There’s clearly a market for it, as one enterprising fan even went so far as to create his own from Sin City’s Shellie’s figure. Plus, Prince even wrote a song about her, so, you know, she’s popular and stuff.
?Stephanie Brown goes by many names and costumes, but before she served as Batgirl and very briefly as Robin, she was Spoiler. As a teenage girl who got knocked up, gave the baby up for adoption, and decided to fight crime to rebel against her deadbeat super villain father, Cluemaster, she’s certainly has the pedigree to slam some punks in the face with her kung-fu grip. You know, the kung-fu grip all teenage girls totally have in a real life. They get it from puberty.
2) Renee Montoya
?Like Bruce Wayne, Renee Montoya recognizes the value of casting aside your true identity to become a symbol, a moral figure who fights for what you believe in, no matter the cost. As a character, she’s flawed (she fell in love with Two-Face’s nice… face), stands up for what’s right (she left the Gotham City Police Department, fed up with its wanton corruption), and is fearless (she’s the Question’s successor). So… why doesn’t she have her own action figure?
1) Calendar Man
?This one is just plain old mystifying. Calendar Man was the main villain of Long Halloween, which, if you’ve read this far, of course know was one of the most popular Batman stories ever. What stings especially was that there were figures from that comic that were released, but guess who was curiously missing. Yup, Calendar Man. At least he was paid proper homage in Arkham City by being a centerpiece character – or at least was if you care about wringing achievements out of your Xbox – but he still deserves a spot on the mantle alongside our limited edition Batarangs that came with Arkham Asylum.