Batman was first mentioned in Detective Comics #26 in 1939. He first appeared an issue later, and the comic ‘Detective Comics #27’ is still the most sort after of all Batman collectibles with a value of $150,000 (Overstreet Guide). A year later in 1940 Batman acquired a sidekick Robin, and his own title.
Pictured right: Batman Comic No.1
As with Detective Comics, the title was drawn by Bob Kane and written by Bill Fingers. Since then Batman has appeared in thousands of comics, TV series, cartoons, films and has spawned thousands of toys, games, watches, sculptures, action figures and more.
Batman continues to be one of DC’s top comic characters still featuring in several titles. The main Batman title has had many directions and notable story lines such as Year One when Batman returned to his darker side and the comic featured some of its strongest and most powerful story lines, and in 1988 when ‘a Death in the Family’ caused headlines worldwide.
It featured the death of Robin, the second Robin Jason Todd. Two versions of issue #428 were produced, one featuring an injured Robin and in the other he was killed. Fans were allowed to vote in issue #427 and Robin lost by just 72 votes. Robin was killed by the Joker, the original Robin, Dick Grayson had moved on and was to become another character Nightwing.
Strong villains and story lines have helped Batman endure and these characters especially The Joker have many collectible lines in their own right. Outside of comics, action figures are one of the largest collectible lines. Companies such as Kenner and Hasbro have been producing Batman action figures for a number of years relating to the films and cartoon series. Pictured right is Underwater Assault Batman from The Legends of the Dark Knight series. Vehicles, especially the Batmobile and playsets which accompany the figures are often the least bought and so most collectible.
Pictured left: Batman Year One
Tin toys are very collectible, notably those created by Japanese manufacturers who excel at producing this type of toy. Pictured left is a clockwork toy made by Biliken and released for the 1989 Batman movie. The piece is already highly collectible, as is the Joker version released at the same time. Early mechanical toys from the 1950s and 1960s are very sort after and fine examples in good packaging can fetch a premium.
Pictured right: Batman Action Figure
The array of Batman collectibles is amazing – from pillow cases to Pez, from cutlery to glasses, from premiums given away with cereals to Batman cola, from lunch boxes to puppets, from candy to crisps, and from tooth brush holders to cookie jars. Pictured right is a Cookie Jar that was available in Warner Bros stores.
Pictured left: Batman Tin Toy
In recent years with the advent of more Warner Bros stores, Batman merchandise has become easier to find. Many of the store lines have relatively short runs and some are often related to film tie-ins.
A range of figures featuring Batman, Robin, Two-Face and The Riddler was launched to co-incide with Batman Forever. These were in store for a very short time and are now extremely collectible. Along with mainstream lines the Warner Bros stores also have a gallery area where more limited and special editions are available such as limited edition prints, plates and statues.
Pictured right: Batman Cookie Jar
The Batman license is very popular and new products continue to create interest for collectors.