Funko POP! Vinyl figures have been one of the hottest collectibles since they hit the scene way back in 2010. Since their debut, POP! figures have been made for an extremely wide variety of characters and pop culture figures falling under categories like Television, Marvel, Animation, Disney, and Heroes (which is the category DC characters are released under). Though there are exceptions, the majority of POPs are made from the same mold, making them stylized, and easily recognizable. However, their relative ease of production does opens the door for oversaturating the market.
In the last seven years, an insane amount of POPs have been produced, many of which are simply recolors of existing figures. This leads to there being multiple POPs of the same characters in the same poses. But one character suffers from such an abundance of variants more than any other: Batman. Though the caped crusader is one of the most iconic characters in American cultural history, there is such a thing as too much. It took a long time to whittle down this list down to just fifteen, but for those of you who are sick of new Batman POPs as convention exclusives every year, here are the fifteen most unnecessary Batman POP vinyl figures.
15 BATMAN IMPOPSTER PENGUIN
While Batman molds painted as homages to different members of his rogue’s gallery was a cool idea, it quickly got out of hand -- which is how we got the Penguin Impopster Batman. When put alongside other figures in the series, like the Two-Face Impopster or the Harley Quinn Impopster, Penguin seems a strange choice.
Though Penguin (AKA Oswald Cobblepot) is an important adversary of the Dark Knight, his relevance has dropped off in recent years. Additionally, the “wow factor” of a POP styled after villain who is so defined by the uncanny resemblance he bears to his namesake is lost when the paint is applied to the same figure used for most Batman POP Vinyls. If you ask our opinion, this bird shouldn’t have ever tried to fly.
14 INTERPLANETARY BATMAN
The Interplanetary Batman POP is amongst those inspired by a November 1950 issue of Detective Comics. This POP was first released this summer as a Summer Convention Exclusive, though it is now available at Target. Interplanetary Batman was the only costume in Detective Comics Vol 1 #165 (written by Edmond Hamilton and pencilled by Dick Sprang) that was turned into a POP but released separately from the initial set of Target Exclusives.
This POP, as well as its whole series are at the most, “fun”. There wasn’t any reason to revitalize a line of costumes from the '50s. If Funko felt the need to add to the seemingly never-ending number of Batman variants, there are a great deal more relevant costumes that the Caped Crusader has worn to choose from.
13 THOMAS WAYNE
Bruce Wayne isn’t the only Batman. In the wildly popular DC Event/Animated movie, Flashpoint, Batman’s origin story is a bit different than in most tellings. Bruce Wayne dies in the alley instead of his parents that fateful night. His mother, mad with grief, becomes the Joker. His father becomes a lethal Batman. A Flashpoint Batman POP (still bearing the 01 numbering of the original Batman POP) was released as an NYCC Exclusive in 2011.
Valued at between $700-1200, the variant is pretty hard to come by. This is why Funko released a Thomas Wayne POP in 2016. The newer figure is almost identical to the older one, save a few minor color decisions. While it’s cool that the Flashpoint Batman is more financially accessible, it seems like a total slap in the face to hardcore collectors. We don’t need two of the same thing.
12 GOLD MICHAEL KEATON BATMAN
No other Batman movie variant figure has been branded with the actor’s name. So why does Michael Keaton have three?! As part of the first set of DC Heroes by Funko, both an original and the gold variant of Michael Keaton’s Batman (from the 1989 film, Batman) were released, only to be recently upstaged by a third Michael Keaton Batman in an updated pose. Sorry, Michael Keaton, but you only need one.
There’s no need for multiple figures celebrating the same portrayal of a character, particularly when one of the figures is painted in such a way that out of box it’s almost impossible to tell that it’s meant to be a specific Batman. So, sorry Gold Michael Keaton Batman, you are the least relevant link, so you’re the one that’s got to go.
11 NORTH POLE CAMO BATMAN
Yet another Batman POP inspired by costumes shown in a nearly 70-year old issue of Detective Comics is the North Pole Camo Batman POP. Of all the figures in this Target-Exclusive set, North Pole Camo Batman is perhaps the laziest. Wearing an all-white suit, cast in an all-white mold, the only painted parts of North Pole Camo Batman are his face, eyebrows, and logo outline.
The North Pole Camo costume’s most significant on panel appearance happened way back in 1942 in an issue of World’s Finest when Batman and Robin went to the North Pole to take on a gang of criminals who left Gotham City because Batman’s crime-fighting was hampering their criminal success. So of course, moving to the North Pole was their only option. Checks out.
10 BATMAN (UNDERWATER)
We’re not going to get into our opinions of 2016's Suicide Squad movie when we unpackage this unfortunate POP figure. If you haven’t seen the movie, (or even if you have) you might be confused about the origins of the Batman (Underwater) POP figure.
Even though Batman’s screen time in the 2016 summer blockbuster was almost non-existent, Funko for some reason thought it fit to make a POP figure out of a very minimal change in costume. While it does showcase the new Batfleck costume, the only additional change to this POP is an underwater breathing apparatus. It is fairly clear that this POP only came into existence to capitalize on collectors and fans of Suicide Squad. Since this POP seems fairly comfortable underwater, maybe it should’ve stayed there.
9 ARKHAM ASYLUM BATMAN DETECTIVE MODE
The Detective Mode Batman POP figure is based on a feature from the Arkham series of games called ‘Detective Mode’ or ‘Detective Vision’. This feature can be used by all playable characters, though Batman’s is unquestionably the most advanced. Detective Mode enables the player to see skeletons of all other human characters, allowing the player to scan for weapons, body armor, and chemical substances.
While Detective Mode is certainly useful in gameplay, it has little aesthetic impact on the character, other than a screen tint. This screen tint is what the paintjob of this POP is based on. We don’t think you need access to Detective Mode to be able to tell that this isn’t the most inventive of POPs, and that it is, in fact, totally unnecessary.
8 NEGATIVE BATMAN
While not one of the costumes showcased in Detective Comics #165, the Negative Batman POP was included in their Target Exclusive set in 2016. This particular version of the Batsuit is best known for a 1960 issue of Detective Comics (written by Charles Paris and pencilled by Joe Certa) in which Batman has been turned into a ‘negative man’ which apparently had an impact on the color of his skin as well as his clothes.
As well as giving him a fairly lazy re-color, Batman’s negative transformation left the Caped Crusader vulnerable to light. While Funko’s initiative is admirable, they’re certainly going deeper rather than branching out. This figure suffers from both a lazy paint job, as well as from its source material: a largely forgotten gimmick of a costume over 50 years old.
7 ROBOT BATMAN
The Batman Robot Pop Vinyl is another one that fell victim to the whole ‘oversaturating the market' thing we saw with the Michael Keaton Batman POPs. Inspired by the character from hit show, Batman: The Animated Series, there are two versions of this POP: one with half of a human head, and one with a fully robotic dome.
Since the screen time between the two looks in the "His Silicon Soul" episode of Batman: The Animated Series was pretty split, and the POP rendition of the exposed metal/skin combination doesn’t hold up as well -- we’re gonna say the full-metal stays. While the robot Batman was initially portrayed as evil, its final moments redeemed it in the eyes of Batman, Alfred, and viewers. We’d consider it a mercy killing, if one of these POPs never hit shelves.
6 JUNGLE BATMAN
The Jungle Batman Pop draws its inspiration from the character’s appearance in Batman #72, originally published way back in August of 1952. The story behind the costume is that Batman and Robin, in the midst of transporting the Sinister 8 to a prison on Satan’s Island, are shipwrecked. For some reason, this compromises the integrity of the Batsuit to the point that a swatch of fur reminiscent to that of cavemen is more effective for Batman on the island.
Though, of course, the cowl does not come off in an attempt to safeguard his secret identity. Jungle Batman is yet another of Funko’s attempts at throwback costumed POP figures for the Caped Crusader. But with source material so old and relatively unknown, we’re gonna say this one’s a swing and a miss.
5 HARVEST BATMAN
While there are a few DC villains who have gone by the name of Harvest, this POP figure has absolutely nothing to do with any of them. This specific Batman POP was released as a part of Funko’s 2016 Funkoween event, and was initially given out as a party favor by Funko before being released to their online store.
The Harvest Batman POP is bold and garish -- its color scheme can best be described as a very loud piece of candy corn. Giving this POP figure a different name would’ve gone a long way, but being named after an actual Batman villain and having nothing to do with it leaves a sour taste in our nerdy mouths. Plus, we never really liked candy corn anyways.
4 KNIGHTMAE BATMAN
The Knightmare Batman POP figure was debuted alongside the release of the Batman V Superman movie. This POP figure and the movie it originated in (according to the internet) have one specific thing in common: neither are worth your time or money. The figure can’t be blamed entirely for the sheer absurdity of the costume, which features Batman in the regular Batsuit sporting a baggy pair of pants, a trench coat, and goggles over it.
The scene in which this costume was featured showed Batman fighting Superman soldiers in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. It does do a pretty fine job of showing off the five o’clock shadow that Batfleck rocked during the scene, though. Even taking Bat-stubble into consideration, we think that this POP was entirely unnecessary.
3 MICHAEL KEATON BATMAN (AGAIN)
This is exactly what we were talking about. Even though the initial line of POP Heroes featured two variants of the Batman POP figure (both numbered ‘01’) that were both based on Michael Keaton’s portrayal of the Dark Knight in 1989’s Batman which, apparently, was not enough. Someone at Funko must have been particularly moved by Keaton’s performance as the caped crusader, because #144 of the Heroes collection featured the same iconic costume, but posed differently.
While the change in how the figure is posed at least added something new to the POP figure, it most certainly wasn’t enough to get us excited enough to buy one. But hey, if you’re a Michael Keaton superfan, this, along with the other two Michael Keaton Batman POPs are must-haves!
2 SURF'S UP BATMAN
The Surf’s Up Batman Pop makes this list because it makes absolutely zero sense. It takes its inspiration from Season 3, Episode 10 of the original 1966 Batman television show. Unfortunately, that episode, entitled ‘Surf’s Up! Joker’s Under!’ also makes no sense. Joker is convinced that becoming a surfing champ will give him enough fame and power to take over Gotham City.
As such, Joker kidnaps the reigning champ and uses the Surfing Experience & Ability Transferometer to make himself a highly skilled surfer. The contestants all refuse to compete, so Batman gets on a surfboard and competes to save the city. This POP is also available in a two-pack with the Surf’s Up Joker Pop, which is a bit more reasonable. Why Funko thought it was necessary to produce this POP standalone, or at all is beyond us.
1 DOMO DARK KNIGHT
Domo’s cultural significance will forever elude those who never shopped at Hot Topic. Patron saint of the subculture that popularized “Rawr means I love you in dinosaur,” this small furry creature wormed its way throughout pop culture in the late 2000s. For some reason, a three way-collab between Funko, Domo, and DC seemed like a good idea to someone.
This gave us an entire set of Domo DC Heroes (Batman, Superman, Flash, and Green Lantern) as well as a couple of SDCC 2013 exclusives for a Metallic Batman and a Man of Steel Superman. Domo Dark Knight stands out amongst the set as the POP that definitely didn’t need to happen. In a set that probably shouldn’t exist in the first place, why give Batman a second pop before characters like Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and Aquaman even get one?
Are there any other useless Bat-POPs we didn't include on our list? Let us know in the comments section!