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Toys of Yesterday: Kenner's Batman Returns action figure line

3:00 PM on 11.24.2010 // Crystal White

Writing about toys is great, but playing with them is better. At least it was, and still is, for me. That's why I decided to write this month's Toys of Yesterday about my most beloved action figure collection that I had as a kid--the Kenner Batman Returns line.

I was born in 1989, the year the first Batman movie came out, so perhaps it was fate that had determined my undying love for this character. Maybe it's his brooding, dark, personal issues. Maybe it's the fact that he has every gadget known to man, or maybe it's that it was one of the first movies I ever saw, since my father had a talent for letting me watch movies that were totally age-inappropriate for someone less than five years old. Either way, I'm obsessed. And it took me a long time to track down specifically what Batman line I had the most of. 

Hit the jump to take a trip down memory lane. It'll be just you, me, and Bruce Wayne. 

For those of you who might not clearly remember, Batman Returns came out in 1992, a sequel to the hit Batman (1989), both directed by Tim Burton. The whole country was introduced to a newer, darker, more intensely screwed up Batman, and they loved it. I loved it. Coming out in 1992, it was one of those movies I saw over and over again, and it's still one of my favorites. Kenner took the reins on this one, and promptly began making its Batman Returns line. 

You may think that with the name Batman Returns attached to the line, that they might have anything to do with the movie, but of course, they don't. This is part of what took me so long to track them down.

You can see here that each Batman in the line did something completely unique. He was a diver, a crime fighter, a laser-laden vigilante, but none of them really had to do with the movie. And that is precisely why I couldn't remember what line they came from. As a kid, I never knew their real "names" so I simply called each Batman by his color. This one was "Yellow Batman," I'm creative, right?

This was part of the appeal for me though. Each Batman allowed me to live out other, new adventures that he wouldn't normally have. He could be underwater in the bathtub or sink, he could be climbing the knitted fabric of a blanket, or he could be hitting on Catwoman hardcore.

In fact, the entire series came with several of the aforementioned colored and job-classified Batmen, but the series also included Catwoman, Penguin, Robin (though he's nowhere to be found in the movie) and even the Joker, with his box art featuring the likeness of Jack Nicholson himself. One of the cool figurines included was a Bruce Wayne (bearing the likeness of Michael Keaton) who could take his bat-armor on and off, effectively switching between billionaire and alter ego. And of course, I had him.


Yes, I was that cool to own this guy. The series also came with several vehicles and playsets, including the Batmissle, Batwing, Bat Cave playset, and Bruce Wayne Custom Coupe. But the best and most classic of them all? Yes, the Batmobile that shot missiles out of the front. I had that one too. Why? Because that's how baller I was as a five year old. My Batman didn't ride around in some Toddletot bus, or Matchbox car. It was the Batmobile, because Bruce Wayne knows how to roll.

When I look back on it, I probably had at least half of the entire collection, if not more. And like an idiot, when I was about 11 or 12 years old and wanted twenty bucks, I sold them for $0.25 cents each at a yard sale. I really wish I hadn't. It's not like they'd be worth any real money now. They were all out of the package and very well worn and played with, but wow, when I saw these pictures online, it really hit me how much I loved these things. I shudder to wonder how many hours I spent playing with them, and how much my mom probably spent on them without me ever knowing. If you're into collecting these, there's still places around the Internet where you can find them, and part of me wants to buy back a small part of my collection, if for nothing else but the memories.

[Pictures via Batman Yesterday, Today & Beyond]

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Crystal White,
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