Boy, is this something people are going to want to get in on fast!
Teasing for a week now on social media of a surprise announcement of action figures available almost immediately, NECA dropped a bomb on collectors today:
Last year we brought you the ’89 Batman. This year we bring you 3 amazing new additions!! Available at TRU & eBay pic.twitter.com/toPPyKAezm
— NECA (@NECA_TOYS)
October 28, 2015
These would be action figures in NECA’s 7″ scale of Batman & Superman Extreme HeroClix (a divison of NECA) and versions of Heath Ledger’s The Joker (The Dark Knight), Adam West’s Batman (from the ’66 television series), and Christopher Reeve’s Superman (from Superman-1978)! These are already available for pre-order on Ebay and due in Toys R Us stores in the next week of so (NOT on TRU.com’s website)
— NECA (@NECA_TOYS) October 28, 2015
This is another coup for NECA, as they did something similar last year with the ’89 Batman figure with the likeness of Michael Keaton. The license for action figures is strongly regulated by Warner Brothers and licenses through either DC Direct for mostly comic based, or Mattel, who has the rights to do movie-based action figures.
That would be case of NECA already having figures ready and the Warner Brothers Home Entertainment division, and with a little contractual slight of hand.
Having done quarter scale figures of Joker, Batman and Superman previously, the ability to produce the 7″ figures is less costly for NECA to develop. That has already been paid for, for the most part, in developing the quarter scale figures previously. New tooling would have to be produced for them in the smaller scale, yes, but not having to go through sculpting & approvals save money and time.
Great, so we have the figures-how can NECA sell them without a lawsuit or ten?
While I am not expert on contract law nor have I seen them in this case(and I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on tv; just playing legal CYA), I do know that over the years, licenses have continued to narrowly defined into what companies are and are not allowed to make. Companies WANTS as many licenses as they can make (cuz the get PAYED!), but companies obviously don’t want competition within the same line. That means a company has to be careful of not straying too far out of the contract.
So, as with the Keaton Batman figure, NECA is NOT selling 7″ figures of DC Comics movie and tv character action figures. You cannot buy just the figures on the Ebay store nor in-store at Toys R Us, you have to buy the DVD. They are an addition that comes WITH the DVD’s ONLY. Hence, this is why it is being done through Warner Home Entertainment. The figure is a “bonus” that come with the DVD, not what is really being sold.
Yes, I know it comes off strange and almost counter-intuitive, because you and I KNOW that’s not why were buying the set for, but lawyers have to get their way. So take comfort that you can actually own classic comic bock character in action figure form, but with an amazing likeness from NECA!
So not only do you have this surprise announcement (way to go keeping it under wraps so long, Randy Falk!) of figures you didn’t know were come from NECA, but they will be available almost immediately! Who does that?!
If the swiftness the Keaton Batman figure/DVD combo sold out originally, if you have any interest in any of these figures, I would highly recommend would pre-order them now. I know you can try to find them in TRU’s shortly, but how much do you want to take the risk?
Looks like the timer for picking up presents for the holiday season has already begun for action figure fans! And if anyone is looking to gift me, I’m liking the Reeve’s Superman/Man of Steel combo.
Be seeing you,
UPDATE: All of the images of the figures are of the 7″ versions with cloth capes!