Sideshow Collectibles debuts its DC Comics Sixth Scale doll collection with a 12-inch-tall homage to the Dark Knight's hilariously homicidal archenemy. Inspired by the Clown Prince of Crime's starring role in the one-shot, comic-book Batman: The Killing Joker back in 1988, it brings the frightening design of artist Brian Bolland into a three-dimensional format.
And just so the Joker does not feel alone, Sideshow's upcoming figures to the series include ole Pasty Face's gal pal Harley Quinn ($189.99, ships February 2014) and a classic version of Batman ($199.99, shipping August 2014).
Figure profile: (quoted from the one-shot, comic-book Batman: The Killing Joke) "Memories can be vile, repulsive little brutes. Like children I suppose. But can we live without them? Memories are what our reason is based upon. If we can't face them, we deny reason itself! Although, why not? We aren't contractually tied down to rationality! There is no sanity clause! So when you find yourself locked onto an unpleasant train of thought, heading for the places in your past where the screaming is unbearable, remember there's always madness. Madness is the emergency exit … you can just step outside, and close the door on all those dreadful things that happened. You can lock them away … forever."
Accessories: Our laughing foe comes dressed to the hilt in a tailored fabric costume that includes purple-striped pants, an orange vest, green shirt, purple tuxedo coat with tails and a yellow flower on the lapel, a purple trench coat and multicolored argyle socks,
Our villain gets a pair of heads, one highlighting his lithe, emaciated face, sunken eyes, green hair, permanent smile and grotesque teeth clenched and a second with a purple panama hat on his noggin and mouth open.
Although Sideshow says this is a "Killing Joke" Joker, I am equally seeing as much influence of the heads from artist Neal Adam's interpretation (a vintage 1970s look) as well as Mr. Bolland's.
Let's discuss his grey-gloved hands. Specifically, a total of 10, all interchangeable and with sculpts that highlight fists, can grip guns and even wave bye-bye to name a few.
Accessories are plentiful also and range from a cane with a gold skull head wearing a jester's cap; a collection of playing cards; a bundle of dynamite with metal fuses; a gold, opened lighter with sculpted flame; and a display stand adorned with an assortment of "Ha" words scattered on the base.
Overall, devilishly clever props and design minutiae continue with a revolver that opens with a spinning and removable cylinder, a "bang flag" attached to a metal rod that fits into the pistol, a straight razor with a faux-pearl handle that opens, a hand with a permanent joy buzzer affixed in its palm, and soft plastic white spats that cover his socks.
The one item conspicuously missing is the camera Joker holds featured on the cover the Killing Joke comic book. I'll forgive Sideshow due to the massive collection of extras.
Additionally, fans who purchased the Sideshow exclusive (same price as the regular edition if you can find it) also get a pair of laughing fish with mutated faces styled after the Joker's mug. Older Batman comic book diehards will remember seeing those fish in the issue Detective Comics No. 475 back in 1978.
Read all about it: Writer Alan Moore really turned the Joker from campy enemy to bloodthirsty, insane maniac with Batman: The Killing Joke ($17.99 for the hardcover version). DC Comics' mature themed, horrific story remains as riveting today as it was a quarter century ago. It's a classic and just one example of the transition of comic books into a serious art medium worthy of appreciation by adults.
What's it worth: I was blown away by Hot Toys’ 1:6 scale figure adaptation of Jack Nicholson as the Joker from the 1989 film "Batman" and thought I had seen the definitive 12-inch version of the villain.
However, Sideshow pulls the near-impossible by bringing to life a two-dimensional, comic-book design with near lifelike qualities. This maniacal version of the Joker captures him during one of his more infamous phases of existence and will be impossible to pass up for fans. Sure the price is steep, but Sideshow's dedication to intricate design and meticulous minutiae makes it worth it.
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