Merch Hunter #6: Burton’s Batman, The Ladies of ‘Firefly’ and Kevin McCallister’s Greatest Legacy

Having just watched The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, I’m in the mood for something slightly more uplifting than watching small children being murdered at the hands of their own fathers in an ironic twist of fate that I may have just spoiled for anyone who hasn’t yet seen it. Ah well, it’s not exactly the most cheery of films anyway, so maybe choose something else from the Pyjama canon of works – perhaps Bananas in Pyjamas or something like that.

Anyway, rambling isn’t getting me anywhere, so I’m channeling the spirit of movie merch nostalgia once again to try and cheer the whole ruddy miserable world up. And with that in mind, this week’s cornucopia of merchandising magic comes courtesy of a phenomenal Joker action figure from Sideshow, a set of incredible Art Nouveau posters from a bona fide legend-in-the-making artist and a winning blast from the past from Tiger Electronics…

1. 1989 Joker Action Figure

If Child’s Play has taught us anything, it is that there will come a time when toys become too life-like and independently develop their own sentience and probably a murderous rage and start smudging people out for funsies. That is precisely when I plan to move into a cave, brick up the entrance and pass the time until Armageddon comes, reading the thousands of comic books I buy and never even glance at. Sadly for everyone else, that time looks like it’s coming quite swiftly, given how realistic mega-toy-maker Sideshow is consistently making its line of toys.

The latest in the company’s portfolio is an astonishing Joker action figure, based on the character design for Tim Burton’s 1989 original movie, and bearing an uncanny resemblance to a tiny Jack Nicholson clone. It’s an incredible piece of work, matched only by the Batman figure that is set to be released alongside it. No amount of explaining can match up to feasting your eyes on the thing itself, so follow the link below and be literally blown away at the design and craft that’s gone into this more-than-essential purchase.

You can pre-order the criminal clown for $264.99 here, or his equally stunning Bat-foe for $239.99 here.

2. Firefly Les Femmes Poster Set

Is it the greatest sci-fi show of all time? Are the characters among the greatest ever committed to screen? Which bloody lunatic cancelled it? These are all questions regularly thrown around when the topic of Firefly comes up for consideration, and all of them are completely fair. Because despite being unceremoniously binned well before its time, Firefly continues to inspire rabid passion from its hordes of fans and in fact, SFX magazine recently awarded Captain Mal Reynolds the heady accolade of their Top Sci-fi Character (of 100 voted for).

To celebrate that victory, and simply because everyone deserves a little Firefly and Serenity in their life, I’m suggesting this series of posters dedicated to the fairer characters of the show and movie from Quantum Mechanix and brilliant 22-year-old artist Megan Lara. The Art Nouveau prints feature Inara Serra, Kaylee Frye, River Tam, Zoe Washburne and Saffron and are the latest in Lara’s line of Art Nouveau reimaginings of nerdy properties like X-Men and Nintendo characters. She’s undoubtedly one to watch in the art merch world, and getting something now means you can claim bragging rights in the future when everyone else gets around to jumping on the band-wagon.

Buy a set here.

3. Talkboy

Home Alone 2 left an indelible impression on me when I first saw it, like a brick hurled off a roof into the middle of my forehead, and it continues to influence my perception of the world. Even today I can’t think of New York without mentally planning a stay at The Plaza Hotel, or a trip to Duncan’s Toy Chest, and whenever I think of Tim Curry it’s not for his horrifying work on It, or as Dr. Frank N Furter; it is uttering the immortal “have a lovely day” through a lizard-like smile as Mr. Hector.

The film also featured one of the greatest on-screen gadgets that made it onto real-life shelves after clamor from fans convinced Tiger Electronics to create it for real, and it’s one that deserves saving from the dusty shelves of eBay before it disappears for good. Step forward the Talkboy, a glorified Dictaphone with the ability to speed up and slow down the user’s voice – hardly an achievement in the iPhone age, but back in 1992 it was the greatest technological innovation ever, and literally nothing passed my lips without being recorded and replayed mere seconds after its original airing. Imagine how brilliant that was for everyone else in my life at the time…

Eventually the fun changed; my earnest twelve-year-old musings on life and biting socio-political satire (or at least that’s how I remember it anyway) giving way to swears and rude words endlessly played back to chuckles in the school yard. And then, as with all crude, immature comedy (apart from Two and a Half Men) the laughs dried up completely, and my Talkboy unthinkably ended up in a car boot sale with a measly £2 price-tag attached to it.

And now, thanks to the joys of eBay I’ve been reunited with one of the gadgets that defined my young cinema-loving life, and such was the unbridled excitement of that moment, and the ensuring fun that hasn’t yet subsided, I thought I’d recommend this one as another trip down merch memory lane (while they’re still available on eBay anyway).

Credit card? You got it!

T-Shirt of the Week

This week’s pick goes to this beautifully subtle Buffy the Vampire Slayer tee from Ript Apparel.

Wave goodbye to your wallet and discover more movie merchandise

Born to the mean streets of Newcastle, England the same year that BMX Bandits was cruelly over-looked for the Best Film Oscar, Simon Gallagher's obsessive love of all things cinema blossomed during that one summer in which he watched Clueless every day for six weeks. This is not a joke. Eventually able to wean himself off that particular dirty habit, and encouraged by the revelation that was One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, he then spent many years reviewing films on the underground scene, throwing away thousands of pounds on a Masters Degree in English in the process, before landing feet-first at the doors of British movie site ObsessedWithFilm.com, where you can catch his blend of rapier wit and morbid sardony on a daily basis. Simon is also a hopeless collector of film paraphenalia, and counts his complete Star Wars Mr. Potato Heads collection among his friends.

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