So as happy as I am to finally have Batgirl in the collection at long last, she’s actually a lot more fun in regular clothes.
I believe Catwoman only wor this ridiculous costume once in the seventies, and then never again. For whatever reason, Mego decided “Let’s go with the brothel madam look.” Even then, they couldn’t make it look as nice as the box art they got it from, which is admittedly kind of cute.
However, nothing beats Silver Age Catwoman and her sexy getup. Which is why I’m so glad I got my hands on this amazing custom and matching box.
Doncha wish your Catwoman was HOT. like. ME?
I’ve ended up with a lot of Batman stuff since I started collecting these, and haven’t said much about them.
The oddest part was, I went an awfully long time without a Joker, despite acquiring an original boxed Riddler, buying a sweet custom Batmobile, converting a fist-fighting Robin to a regular Robin, collecting four Batmen of various types and quality, and going through no less than three Penguins, of which I still have two (a nice T2, and a T1 I can’t seem to get rid of).
Joker himself needs a little work done, since the back of his neck hole is chipped and makes his neck a bit unstable. One of these days I’ll re-string him with a fresh torso. He’s all original, I believe, right down to his shoes (I think), and in really nice shape for the price I got him.
You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I wish I hadn’t paid a grand for this lot of Megos, but on the other hand, if I hadn’t, I’d wish I had. So I figured I may as well make the choice that makes me happy now, and help someone make their next house payment in the process.
I just pulled an all-nighter going through these fifteen Mego dolls, analyzing them, and doing hardcore maintenance. As a result, I’ve doubled my collection and left the lot better than I found it (after cannibalizing a couple guys for parts).
A major draw of this lot was the removable cowl Batman. I believe he’s only found on a Type 1 body, being the first version of Batman Mego ever produced. I hate the T1 bodies though, so I gave this one the T2 body I cobbled together from the working parts of several donors (mainly the broken superman and the Aquaman with the horrifically “customized” suit). His vinyl mittens never fit very well, so they’re packaged separately in his box.
After buying this lot, I ended up with three or four Batmen, including TestBat, who I have since retired. This is the most presentable of the regular Batmen, in his none-too-impressive repro box.
I was surprised to discover that Robin was in fact of the Fist Fighters variety, but his legs needed to be re-stringed, and I don’t have any other Fist Fighters. So I gave his head to one of the Type 2 bodies I cobbled together and made him a regular Robin. I never much cared for Robin, and this incarnation is no exception, but I guess I have one now.
All his costume bits are in exquisite condition, so this Robin is almost as close to mint as you can get. So he’s become kind of a highlight of the collection.
Superman was a hot mess. Several broken limbs, a gray, sticky head, and worst of all a frayed cloth Superlogo that was poorly and unnecessarily stitched onto the breast of the suit, which took forever to remove. I initially debated giving the makeshift T2 body to Robin, but gave it to Supe instead (later I gave TestBat’s body to Robin, so it all worked out.)
I always wanted a Supergirl Mego: her suit is nice, her face and hair are cute, and she showcases some impressive cleavage. She lacks her shoes, but still has her super logo, and her hair has taken a sexy Veronica Lake eye-curtain style.
She required some serious work on her neck, though, where someone had done an ugly job of gluing her head down: she bore a tumorous choker of glue residue that had devoured quite a bit of her lovely locks when it dried. (EDIT: I just found out that this is apparently a natural occurrence called “Mego Melt”, where the plastics have a chemical reaction. Odd.) I managed to cut it all away and make her presentable again. Probably still ought to clean her face a bit.
She also needs to be restrung, as her rubber bands have rotted considerably. There’s no tutorial on how to manage this, though.
Wonder Woman is almost a nice specimen. Body in good condition, suit almost pristine. It’s the head that’s driving me nuts, specifically the ratty, greasy hair, and the stains on the cheeks. Here’s hoping some conditioner will fix it up.
Another gem in this collection is Thor, who is in very nice condition and totally complete! And as far as I can tell, no repro parts, either. Sweet.
Equally impressive is Conan, also in good condition and totally complete with no repro parts. A stain or two on his face is the worst of his injuries.
Thing is in near-pristine shape, except that I had to superglue his broken left elbow pin. It seems to be holding together well post-surgery. Also, Lizard loves to photobomb.
The Lizard was in great shape, and I believe his coat is original, too! It’s missing the Mego tag (they usually are), but there’s no markings of repro companies that I can see. I swapped his pristine coat for my Lizard’s dirty one, but that’s it. Both are lovely specimens.
Another set of twins, the boxed Gobby is missing a foot, though I managed to salvage the ankle pin. I swapped the new Goblin’s head with my old one, as well as the suit and boots, to create a more pristine Gobby for my display shelf.
The lot contained three Type 1 dolls. Pictured left is the body that came with Removable Cowl Batman, now serving as TestBat’s new body. Penguin and Riddler could both use re-stringing, but Riddler is the only one loose and jangly enough to need it. Penguin is another nice overall specimen, if only I was interested in the T1 dolls. I like how his box design has an ice cream product aesthetic.
EDIT: I worked on the T1 Batman a bit, gave him a nicer head, and he does have a box that I misplaced when I took the first pic.
Aquaman and Falcon were reduced to a bundle of fodder. Rest in piece, you poor, unsalvageable bastards.
Okay, okay, it’s not actually a Mego. BUT it’s not far off and fits right in with my Mego collection.
This doll was possibly produced by Toy Biz after the classic Tim Burton Batman was released in 1989 (EDIT: actually Kids Biz of Australia). There were a ton of action figures and accessories based on the film, all using the same eye-catching gold-dotted backdrop emblazoned with the BATMAN logo. Almost all of the toys were the usual 4-inch figures, except this oddity here which is clearly inspired by Mego’s equally classic superhero dolls — keep in mind the film was released in 1989, and Mego had only just gone out of business in 1982. Some Mego dolls were probably still in toy store surplus bins.
He stands at the same height as Mego Batman, plus a centimeter or so, and sports many points of articulation: he’s essentially an 8″ GI Joe, minus the articulated waist. He’s also made of plastic rather than soft vinyl like Megos, and I would gather he’s not quite as durable (although I’m willing to bet his metal joint pins last a hell of a lot longer).
I’m not as keen on the quality of his flimsy shirt and pants (virtually see-through at points), and would’ve preferred a plastic body in the style of the film suit. His cape looks more impressive in the packaging than out, though I appreciate the stylish fold at the front.
He might serve as a useful source of custom Mego fodder, theoretically. His neck is wider than the average Mego, since he is based on the Tim Burton Batman after all — the throat of the cape can easily hide whatever you do to make the head fit a Mego body. The head sculpt is pretty cool, though it doesn’t resemble Michael Keaton nearly as much as Neal Adams’s Batman — if you’re planning to make a Mego of the latter, this is practically dead-on and only needs more blue on the cowl to make it perfect. The utility belt appears Mego-sized and would be easily transferred to a different doll body. Strangely, while his wrists are not articulated, his ankles are, so his boots are indeed removable and probably fit Mego feet just fine.
But the most important question is: can he drive the Batmobile?
The answer is a resounding yes.
Overall he looks nicer in the packaging, but he’s great fodder for Mego hobbyists…if you’re willing to shell out the bucks to get one. They usually run for about $120 carded, and I have yet to find a loose one. Otherwise keep him carded and make him a handsome addition to your Bat-Collection.
Too bad they didn’t make the other characters. Would love to also track down a Joker, Bob, and Vicky Vale. And a 1/6 scale Tim Burton Batmobile, of course.
I always kind of wanted a Mego Batmobile, but never had much incentive to get one until recently, when I saw Scott Brown’s custom ’66 Batmobile for sale in a Facebook group. I couldn’t resist snatching it up.
It’s a gorgeous piece of work that’s a dead ringer for the one seen on TV. It really makes the original plain black ‘mobile feel complete. It really is a smooth ride, too: the wheels are perfect and it rolls smoother than silk. It’s bigger and chunkier than I had expected as well, so finding shelf space to display it is kind of difficult.
Really glad I snatched it up when I did. It’s the only Mego vehicle I ever took interest in, and I got the best possible incarnation of it. (there’s a Japanese version covered in gaudy decals, too.)
My first boxed Mego, procured at the Glendale Toy Con, is none other than Edward Nygma! The box is pretty nice, apart from the torn bit at the top when his original owner first opened him. It’s nice that I can take him out and display him whenever. (I also got a nifty loose Mego of the Thing!)
He’s currently being guarded by Batman.
COURT OF FOULS
Review of Batman: The Court of Owls
by Mike MacDee
The covers for both volumes of Batman: The Court of Owls are slathered with review blurbs. Complex Magazine calls Snyder “the defining Batman writer of our generation.” Craveonline says, “Snyder and Capello prove that they not only understand Batman, but also storytelling, sequential art, and comic books as a whole.”
These critics need to raise their standards. And frankly, so do comic readers. Batman: The Court of Owls certainly isn’t the worst comic I’ve ever read; likewise Snyder and Capello aren’t the worst comic authors I’ve ever encountered. But Batman fans deserve far better efforts for their loyalty. They deserve stories that keep thrilling them and keep them guessing. They deserve stories that don’t insult their intelligence and use flashy set-pieces in place of substance.
Greg Capullo drew some pretty amazing interpretations of classic Batman villains, especially Clayface, Scarecrow, Two-Face, and Joker. He’s especially good at drawing people kicking the shit out of each other. The owl imagery is extremely striking and well-utilized (except for Lincoln’s suit at the end, which owl-wise was pretty lackluster). Unfortunately, he fails at two rather important aspects of comics:
1) He frequently fails at sequential art during action sequences: many times I had trouble reading the action in a single panel — Batman(?) pulls a weapon(?) out of his boot(?) — or a sequence of panels trying to convey a fight sequence, or a gang of thugs being magnetized to a train, or someone getting flattened under a giant coin. I could generally tell what had happened by the last panel of these sequences, but I could never figure out how we got there from the first panel.
2) He cannot draw normal human beings. When people are out of costume and socializing, they look like deadpan mannequins most of the time. This is probably because the few times he draws them with expressive gestures or faces, they look like rubbery Jim Carey demons, skirting the border between scary and hilarious.
In spite of these issues, the Labyrinth sequence — and Batman’s progressive sanity loss therein — is memorable, terrifying, and exceedingly well done. I would’ve been satisfied with the story concluding here, and the whole affair being limited to a single volume. And frankly, it probably should have been.
Batman showcases new technology that connects him to his batcomputer at all times, and also allows him to collaborate with the police remotely via Skype-like setup: as an example, he can partake in a homicide autopsy without having to be at the morgue, which is pretty efficient. But this is the only new tech he gets that I can’t chock up entirely to Lazy Writing 101 — a level of laziness that frankly leaves me dumbfounded. Most of this hi-tech crap could be replaced with more effective, more believable, and very simple fixes by any competent writer who bothers to pen a second draft. For example, contact lenses with facial recognition allow the author to explain who the people in Bruce’s life are with a simple computer blurb, instead of using meaningful dialogue or other, better methods of introducing characters new and old. Bruce Wayne does not have alzheimer’s, and does not need a machine to identify his loved ones and close friends for him. It’s just a lazy way to tell the audience who all these useless characters are, who we will likely never see again (his son has no bearing on the plot whatsoever, but still makes an obligatory appearance and gets a nametag as if he’s going to be important later).
The bat-tech that isn’t simply lazy, is bullshit and lazy. Batman uses his remote computer linkup to interrogate suspects with a polygraph: after a single question he knows immediately if the suspect is lying. Even if I suspend my disbelief that Batman’s gizmos are that insanely advanced, polygraphs still require a lengthy series of questions in order to distinguish when the subject lies and when he/she tells the truth; and even then, they’re completely unreliable, especially when the subject is already under duress for whatever reason (like, I dunno, being menaced by the Batman). Bruce has been at the detective gig long enough to figure out on his own when he’s being bullshitted. Any writer who “understands Batman” (as the ass-kissing Craveonline proclaims on the cover) would already know that Batman is a legend among super heroes, and therefore his judgment wouldn’t be questioned by any reader: if the world’s greatest detective “feels” that someone is telling the truth, we’ll believe it’s the truth.
This is where The Court of Owls really shits the bed: no level of artistic talent can save a poor script. Volume 1 is mostly mystery with action scattered throughout, as Batman tries to uncover who or what the Court of Owls is: it kept me hooked because I genuinely wanted to know if the secret society was real, or if some new villain (or an old one) had fabricated it to yank Batman’s chain for whatever reason. I’ve always said that a good Batman story is a good detective story, and a good detective story relies on puzzling mysteries, unexpected twists, and moody atmosphere. In stark contrast, Volume 2 is almost entirely mindless action of “Batman fanfic” caliber, proving this story went on for much longer than it needed to. This can partly be blamed on the decision to make the Talons unstoppable superkillers instead of, y’know, ninjas, drugged-up hitmen, or anything based in reality.
On the plus side, new details of Bruce’s background are revealed! Too bad they’re completely asinine. This isn’t the only trope in Owls that Hush did far better (Bruce gets a new friend who fakes his death and turns out to be the bad guy), but it’s certainly the most glaringly unbelievable. I can believe that Bruce would forget to mention an old friend he hasn’t seen since he was a kid. I cannot believe that he would never mention an exhaustive hunt for the Court of Owls as a child, whom he originally blamed for his parents’ deaths, even if it turned out they (supposedly) didn’t exist after all. I especially cannot believe it if he ended up locked in an attic for over a week and nearly died as a result of his search. That’s hardly an anecdote one forgets to mention to one’s partner after decades of fighting crime alongside them.
Fortunately, the new bad guys are a force to be reckoned with. The far-reaching Court of Owls is often frightening on a number of levels, and they reek of depravity and decadence as a result of their immense wealth and unchallenged power….but just as often, they’re also preposterous and boneheaded.
I’m not saying it’s impossible to tell a story about a secret society as old as Gotham itself, which has until now remained completely hidden: the premise is fascinating, chilling, and oozes amazing potential for an unforgettable mystery. All I’m saying is that this one could have been handled much better, much more convincingly, and with minimal bastardization of the Batman mythos. The story’s major shortcomings can be boiled down to four distinct points.
First, the secret society’s idiotic impulses. Batman uncovers a secret society that has been successfully hidden for generations: they’ve been around for so long, and their talons are so far-reaching, that there’s no reason why they can’t cleverly undermine Batman’s every attempt to expose them, or simply vanish again without a trace, or (maybe best of all) make Batman appear completely insane, forcing Gordon and the others to question their faith in the Dark Knight. Yet at the first sign of trouble, what do the Owls do? They leap out from behind the curtain going “Boogah boogah!” and attempt the blatant mass-murder of Gotham’s city officials in order to “take back their city.” If they’re going to make such a bloody, ham-fisted power grab, what’s the point of being so secretive for four hundred years? These people would silently integrate themselves into Gotham’s elite like the Freemasons, not blow their cover to make a ham-fisted assault on the city. Hell, why aren’t they already running the city after all this time?
Second, the Talons, which serve as the Court’s assassins. The Talons are the undead ancestors of the big names in Gotham, and essentially un-killable. Clearly pitting Batman against an untraceable and unbeatable Illuminati wasn’t interesting enough for writer Scott Snyder — he have to give them an unbeatable Jason Voorhees army, too, as an excuse to make Volume 2 one big action sequence. He probably hoped this would make up for his failure to resolve the issues of Point 1 — not talented enough to make his secret society clever, he decided to make them brutish.
Third, Bruce’s backstory isn’t the only one that gets a glaring retcon. It is revealed that Dick Grayson was apparently being groomed as a new Talon until his parents died unexpectedly. Batman proves this by pulling Dick’s “owl tooth” — a false molar with Owl goodies inside of it, which all Talons have. So Dick’s own dedication, intelligence and ingenuity are no longer responsible for making him the badass Boy Wonder we all know and love — no, his success is all because he’s the spoiled larva of what would have been an immortal super-assassin. There’s an advantage Jason Todd probably wishes he’d had. But even if we overlook Dick’s apparent genetic advantages during his time at Batman’s Junior Crimefighter Academy, I’m damn sure somebody — like maybe a dentist — would have found Dick’s secret “owl tooth” years before this storyline took place.
And finally, a minor point regarding Lincoln, Bruce’s new pal, who turns out to be the villain, and also (though it’s deliberately “ambiguous”) Bruce’s long-lost brother. This seems to come mostly out of nowhere: Lincoln mentions being an orphan, and there are vague suggestions here and there that the Court of Owls has some longstanding affiliation with the Wayne family. Neither of these by themselves mean anything regarding Lincoln’s status as Bruce’s long-lost brother, and I doubt anyone would have come to this conclusion if Lincoln hadn’t said it himself.
That’s The Court of Owls, and my beef with it: a brilliant premise and promising villain faction, butchered by bad writing and almost-as-bad artwork, and placed on a pedestal by critics who wouldn’t know good Batman if it bopped ’em with a batarang. If this is the best the industry has to offer us nowadays, I fear for the future of comics, and of Batman, and of comic reader standards in general.
Read Volume 1 for the awesome and horrific Labyrinth sequence, then drop it like a bad habit. Then go read Hush or The Long Halloween instead. Or ignore my thoughts entirely and tell me what a fag I am for dissin’ the Bat, Greg Capullo, owls, and what have you.