Sideshow's acquisition of the DC License was, to my mind the biggest collectible news of the year. The idea of Sideshow finally being able to turn their team loose on Batman and Superman and the Joker ...um....wow. I had no doubt of who I wanted to see first in lifesize form and I was rewarded beyond all measure when news of this bust came in during their Spooktacular event. With availability looming (as well as the release of Nolan's final film in his Batman trilogy), I thought it would be a great time to do short piece. As someone who follows Batman primarily through the cultural zeitgeist rather than strictly through comics I've still had more than my share of unforgettable encounters with the defender of Gotham and this bust seems to be the sum total of what I've internalized about the character. In other words, for me, this is a defining take on the Batman.
This sort of generalized take on the character is what sculptor Andy Bergholtz talked about in this interview for Sideshow. Yes, the bust is reminiscent of the recent wildly popular Arkum Asylum game and, to my mind, bears more than a passing resemblance to the Batman from the Detective Comics of the 70's. But even given those resemblances, this bust offers something more archetypal, less an attempt to reproduce what has been than get to the very essence of the character and what has made it iconic. It exists on it's own even as it draws from commonly held iconography.
One of Batman's chief attributes is his inscrutability. One has the feeling that even if the cowl were removed he would remain a mystery. He comes across more an edifice than a man, built out of the fierce determination to see his view of justice made flesh. For that reason he's also scary as hell. Whereas many other vengeance driven or angry superhero characters seem always on the verge of losing control the Batman is fully in control while simultaneously seeming driven by inner demons. This is not a man who will ever be free. He is broken, a sort of broken statue, but woe unto him upon whom the Batman falls.
You wouldn't want this piece to fall on you. This is an interpretation of the caped crusader that offers up solid physicality. Standing a massive 29 inches tall and 22 inches wide this will be imposing to say the least. As with most life-size Sideshow busts this one is entirely sculpted. One could argue about the lack of fabric for the cowl and costume but there is no doubt real fabric would have made for a far less dynamic look. I'd go so far as to say that the only way to achieve a more dynamic feel here would be with silicone for at least the exposed flesh, but even then actual costuming probably wouldn't work as well. The sculpted cowl and cape are done in a low-gloss black. A bluish tinge can be accomplished via lighting but from other pics I've seen this looks wonderful in flat light as well.
I read on a couple of message boards that people thought the eyes here might be a bit close together. But the truth is that I don't think such criticism amounts to much unless you re demanding a perfect Arkum appearance. The hi-def pics on the website and, especially the pic of Bergholtz standing next to the bust, render this argument moot in my opinion. The eyes hear are offered up in a stark scary white shadowed by the depth of the cowl. The expression on Bat's face, while outwardly stern, is open enough that it can mean whatever you want it to. For me it's equal parts defender and frightening idealist. The base here is reminiscent of the many times Batman has been pictured or posed atop top buildings or gargoyles and to my mind perfectly suits the somber tone of the piece
I am guessing the finish on this bad boy will be easily scratched or scuffed especially around the cowl area and on something matte black (or near to it) such marks will be highly noticeable. As with any collectible the removal of rings bracelets etc is highly recommended before handling/moving the piece. I've even started wearing gloves to move my collectibles.
Nolan is wrapping up his trilogy of Batman films and hopes are running high that at least one American superhero icon will find a definitive dramatic (rather than action driven) portrayal onscreen. By all appearances Sideshow has produced a piece that honors that. Priced at $679.99 the bust is due to start shipping in May. An edition size has yet to be set but I doubt this will ultimately set as an open edition.