On one of my regular Wednesday visits to Strange Adventures a couple of months ago I noticed that they had a carded bendy Joker figurine tacked to the wall behind the counter. I thought it was cool but I never bothered to inquire about it. It continued to catch my eye week after week. I wasn’t sure whether it was old or new because it had that vintage aesthetic which is so trendy these days. It looked like it could have been some old relic from the 60s but I assumed it was more likely a retro homage.
A few weeks before the holidays Strange Adventures stocked their action figure section with a whole set of bendable DC heroes produced by NJ Croce. There were 4 different characters available: Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman. If you had asked me if I was in the market for some bendable DC super heroes a day earlier I would have told you “no” but now that I was face to face with them I felt compelled to buy one.
There was just something about them that I found incredibly appealing. The figures themselves were clearly golden age inspired. The Superman evoked the old Fleischer cartoons and the Batman was more Adam West than Christian Bale. The card art was minimalistic which added to the retro look of them. The packaging made no mention of any particular storyline or artist but it was clear to me that they were based on the epic 2004 miniseries “The New Frontier” written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke.
If you’re not familiar with Darwyn’s work I implore you to go check it out. He’s done all kinds of things but New Frontier is a good place to start. He’s somewhat of a local hero around these parts. He’s good friends with the staff at Strange Adventures and can often be found in the shop. I once bumped into him while buying my comics and asked him to sign my copy of Parker: The Hunter (which he wrote and illustrated) and to my delight he drew an original sketch of the main character on the title page. Very cool.
Of the 4 bendable figures I had to choose from Batman won me over more than the others. He looked fantastic and was probably the one that most resembled Darwyn’s artwork. I’ve decided to keep Batman housed on my desk at work rather than bring him home. For that reason my photos for this post are even crappier than usual because I used my dinky little camera phone to snap the pics.
Batman is wearing dual shades of gray, a light colored body suit with a darker cape, cowl, gloves, boots, and grannie panties. He’s got his trusty yellow utility belt, a black bat (sans yellow oval) on his barrel chest, and a black half circle on his face. Whenever I see Batman drawn with the black circle on his face I wonder if it’s supposed to be a shadow or if his mask is actually colored that way. Either way it looks cool and allows for the mask to have some bitch’n eyebrows.
When I stood him on my desk to take these pictures I noticed that his cape, which is made of j-cloth, fluttered in the wind from my desk fan. It’s a hard thing to capture in a picture but it looked awesome. I kept him standing there for the rest of the day and everyone that walked by commented on how neat he was.
As far as the bendiness goes, he’s not very bendy. You can lift his arms slightly and widen his stance a bit but that’s about it. He’s not exactly Gumby so if you were looking forward to hours of fun twisting Batman into weird shapes than look elsewhere.
Rigidness aside, I love this figure. Within days of buying him I went back and bought Superman and Green Lantern for myself as well as another Batman to give as a Secret Santa gift. I highly recommend you track one of these figures down. No matter how crappy my work day is going a glance over at Batman and his fluttering cape lifts my spirits. 9 out of 10.