Welcome back to the fifth instalment as we take a decade by decade look at the history of the LEGO Group, before they celebrate their 90th Anniversary on August 10, 2022. Last time, we left the 1960s behind: wheels and trains have entered the mix, and DUPLO is helping little people to build big things. Today, we move further into the ‘70s: an era where characters enter the mix, more realistic models are possible, and a new CEO enters the mix.Continue reading
It’s the LEGO Group’s 90th anniversary, and I think it is time we hold a parade. Get our minifigures out onto the streets, or the paths and roadways, and bring them together. But how?
In the past, I have based building challenges on an 8x8x8 Minifigure Habitat standard. This format has taken on a life of its own, with regular challenges run on instagram by @brickfambuilds, while others such as @cazmockett and @troublesbricking have worked on series of habitats using monochromatic minifigures.
While the habitat format is great for creating a space for a single mini figure, it is less easy to fit 2 or more minifigures into the format.Continue reading
VIDYO, the LEGO Group’s latest flirtation with augmented reality, encouraging kids to film music videos featuring some of the craziest minifigures you have ever seen will be formally retired from January 31 2022, while the App will continue to be supported for another 2 years.
Is this a shock? Or just another case of the LEGO Group tidying up its digital products before the big 90th birthday party later in the year?
Read on for the formal statement, and my belated overview of the theme, which might not be as negative overall as it could be.Continue reading
Just as we thought the LEGO® Batman Movie had been merchandised within an inch of its life, we bear witness to another wave of sets and a second series of collectible mini figures. On the whole, I was a little sceptical of the viability of a third wave, but seeing such sets as the Justice League Anniversary Party (70919) and Egghead’s Mech Food Fight(70920) my spirits have been lifted. I have also been tempted to extend past my original vow to purchase only the sets that resonated with my youth. But now the gloves have come off. The Justice League 57th Annual Reunion Party brings back so many recollections of Super Friends (the prevailing non-Batman DC superhero cartoon series in my childhood), and the sheer lunacy of the Condiment King (introduced in the Batman Animated Episode ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’ in 1994, and appearing in the comics continuity as recently as 2017). While I applaud the inclusion of Wonder Dog (Superfriends S1, 1973), I miss his human teen friends, Wendy and Marvin, and likewise, while they were retired for the second season ( The All-New Superfriends Hour, 1977 – I guess they had gone to college), we haven’t yet seen LEGO Glick, the space monkey companion of the Wonder Twins.
As I looked at the second series of CMFs I became sceptical as to how many of these characters actually existed prior to this series being announced. I think I have tracked down original appearances for most of them, with only a few having a fraction of a second time on screen in the closing credits. And not the one I was expecting!
For the record, all figures (20 in the set) have a 4×3 plate, this time printed with a Bat Logo…
So, I would like to present the Series 2 LEGO Batman Movie CMFs’ in order of their original appearance across various media… You are welcome to disagree with some of my more…creative choices.
Professor Hugo Strange
Detective Comics #36, February 1940
Appearing early in Batman’s Career, this brilliant scientist/psychiatrist was later to appear in Batman #1.
Detective Comics #83, January 1944.
Alfred’s initial appearances in comics depicted him as a bumbling, overweight, clean shaven man (April 1943). However, he was portrayed as as a trim, moustachioed gentleman in a movie serial at the same time. In an attempt to bring the comics in line with this figure, he was sent of to vacation at a health resort. Since then, he has barely been seen vacationing at all!
More Fun Comics #101, January 1945.
Superman’s father appeared relatively early on in Superman’s Story. The design depicted in the CMF is most closely based on that portrayed by Marlon Brando in the 1978 Richard Donner movie.
Batman #53, June 1949
I did not think this one could have possibly existed in ‘real life’ but in the story ‘Batman Under the Sea’ Batman appears to be transformed, albeit temporarily into a Mermaid.
Batman#63, February 1951
In his origin story, Killer Moth aims to adopt many of the facets of Batman’s life fighting crime, but swearing to help criminals rather than stop them. He fails!
The Clock King
World’s Finest #111, August 1960.
Initially a villain plaguing Green Arrow and Speedy, in time Clock King came to torment Batman with his time piece related crimes.
Adventure Comics#283, April 1961
Superman’s nemesis was imprisoned in the Phantom Zone in the 1960’s and has spent the last 57 years trying to escape!
Surf’s Up, Joker’s Under. Batman TV Series, Season 3, November 16, 1967. When Batman takes on Joker in a surfing contest, in one of the more bizarre episodes of the classic TV series, Dick Grayson is there. Perhaps his shirt is more green, and his trunks more orange, and no Robin Specific livery is worn, but he is there is spirit as Robin. The same cannot really be said for Batgirl. While Barbara Gordon is seen at the beach, with a surfboard, she does not take part in the confrontation with the Joker on the waves, in costume.
Detective Comics #469, May 1977.
Around the time that a little film called Star Wars was first released, Doctor Phosphorous also first appeared in the pages of Detective Comics. This is possibly the most brilliant use of the colour ‘Spring Yellowish Green’. Ever!
Black Canary – Dinah Lance
Justice League of America #220,November 1983.
Dinah Lance is the daughter of Dinah Laurel who was the original Black Canary, part of the Justice Society of America. She Debuted in Fresh Comics #86 (August 1947).
The Killing Joke, 1988
I’m sure this was not the intended reference for this figure, but the similarities between the Joker, as portrayed here, and in the opening pages of Alan Moore’s 1988 Graphic Novel, The Killing Joke, are uncanny. Especially once you lose the inflatable ring and the icy pole/ice lolly/popcicle.
Batman and Robin, (Movie)1997?
While technically, this incarnation of Batgirl did not wear purple, go on vacation or surfing, it is the first version of Batgirl wearing a rubber suit that I could locate ( if you wish to be pedantic, perhaps she, along with the other vacation characters appear in the closing credits for approximately 0.75 seconds.
Harley Quinn: Friends Are Family
Debut: Batman (Animated Series) ‘Joker’s Favor’ September 11, 1992)
In this costume: Closing Credits The LEGO Batman Movie, 2017.
There is not much to say about the psychiatrist who became infatuated with the Joker, and ultimately adopted a costumed identity. Created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, Harley Quinn is one of the great characters to come out of the Animated series of the early 1990’s
Swimming Pool Batman
The LEGO Batman Movie, 2017
Dolphins in the swimming pool below Wayne Manor? if nothing else, this figure (along with mermaid batman) provide another two facial expressions. (and a man’s torso!) The 9th ‘ab’ is not obviously visible however!
Soccer Mom Barbara Gordon
The LEGO Batman Movie 1997
A transient costume, viewed with derision by Barbara. Barely worth a mention. But there are figures whose costumes have less screen time!
Alfred: Friends are Family
Closing Credits, The LEGO Batman Movie 2017
What can we say? Looking dashing in his mirrored sunglasses, and gold waistcoat, Alfred can really play guitar. This is probably not canon…
There you have it!
I quite enjoyed this collection of figures, especially the more obscure members of the super friends, and cartoonish villains, which the movie dealt with well. Who would have thought Mermaid Batman was a thing almost 70 years before the movie?
Who is your favourite? who would you put in series three? Apart from ‘Everyone’ in friends are family costumes? Why not share your thoughts in the comments below.
Until next time,