Super Friends Batman Maquette
Before a child is able to read, they are exposed to television since the spoken word is understood much earlier. Comic book heroes have always held and appeal to young children. The colorful costumes and adventurous tales lend themselves to younger imaginations. Combining television and super heroes is perfectly natural, and one of the most enduring shows of the genre is Super Friends.
Super Friends was a tour de force of the biggest stars of DC Comics, and the show has ridden the airwaves in one form another for nearly three decades even though production ceased over fifteen years years ago. Over the years from 1973 until 1986 the show would change and evolve, while going in and out of production. It currently runs on the Cartoon Network.
The show started as simply Super Friends and premiered on Sept 8th, 1973 (exactly seven years after the premiere of Star Trek) and ran for only two seasons. Re-runs of the show proved its popularity and a new show was created in 1977 called The All-New Super Friends Hour. That show was changed in 1978 to Challenge of the Super Friends and the show's focus shifted from general crime fighting to battling the Legion of Doom. That didn't last long and in 1979 they returned to the crime fighting and changed the name to World's Greatest Super Friends. The show stayed the same but the name became The Super Friends Hour from 1980 until 1984. You guessed it - a name change! This time to Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show as a tie in to the Kenner toy line that was being released at the time. That would be enough for most series, but there was one more change in store for 1985, and it was The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians. The last show ran for about a year and was the most like the comics and faded into re-runs (and sped across the real galaxy like all our old television signals) in 1986.
The show's various incanations kept many of the same major heroes but either changed overall directions on the show or had several supporting cast changes. The original show Batman and Robin, Superman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman and they were abetted by (or had inflicted upon them) Marvin, Wendy and Wonder Dog. This wasn't Alex, the Stroh's wonder dog, but he was usually just as useful to the team as Wendy and Marvin (the humans). When the show morphed in 1977, the shape-changing Wonder Twins Zan and Jayna had replaced the friends of the Super Friends. Not to be without a clever animal pal, Gleek the monkey joined the cast so he could throw what Wonder Dog would eat. The Wonder Twins would sit out the Challenge of the Super Friends but return after that and stay around until 1984 and the change over to Super Powers promotion.
Olan Soule lent his own vocal talents to Batman on the Super Friends show, and he is truly the voice of Batman. Soule started his tenure as Batman's voice in 1968 on the animated Batman/Superman Hour, followed by The Adventure of Batman the next year. He remained the voice of Batman through 1980, and future embodiments of the Super Friends had Soule replaced with another Batman veteran - Adam West. The voice chosen to embody the Dark Knight detective was no stranger to working without a screen, having started his career in 1926 in radio. Soule had a long and distinguished career as a character actor for forty years, working primarily on television.
To honor both the show and the character of Batman, DC Direct has produced a cold-cast porcelain maquette of the Dark Knight Detective in his animated television personification. The maquette is the first of five planned for 2003 with Superman in December and a Robin maquette slated for June release. Both the Batman and Superman maquettes made their first public appearances at the 2002 San Diego Comic Con along with many Super Friends action figures (also set for release in 2003).
Superman maquette on display in San Diego
A maquette is a three-dimensional model of an object. These are often created for architectural work or used in film and television to conceptualize characters. Animated shows often rely on maquettes of the primary characters to aid animators in keeping the look of the character consistent and allowing them to see different views of character when creating new frames of animation.
Previously DC Direct has released maquettes for the Justice League Animated series and the Super Friends maquettes are in scale with the prior releases. The sculptor for the Batman maquette is Karen Palinko who has also sculpted all the JL Animated maquettes. All the maquettes are hand-painted and made of cold-cast porcelain. Porcelain is a material that usually lends itself to a smoother appearance than polyester resin or polystone, and this makes it useful for animated figures. The downside of cold cast porcelain is that it generally has a higher cost than resin.
The Batman Maquette is eight and a half inches in height and stands atop a base with the Super Friends logo. Adding the base and tips of the ears the maquette is nine and a half inches total in height. The bases shown at the 2002 San Diego Comic Con were discs and they have been slightly redesigned. The production figures have a disc base but the front is angled up to make a spot for the logo and this provides a simple and elegant design. The production pieces will be packed in four-color boxes and numbered. The maquette covered in this feature is an artist's proof and arrived in a generic white box as the art for the boxes has not been finalized yet. The maquette is scheduled for release on April 9, 2003.
More Pictures of the Batman Maquette
|Where to buy the Batman Maquette: This maquette has a suggested retail price of $89.95 USD, and is available through your local comic book store and various online toy and collectibles retailers such as TowerRecords.com.|