In the world of superhero memorabilia, statues and figures are among the most prized collectibles money can buy. Not to be confused with toys (no touching, kids) these carvings are real works of art -- hence the hefty price tags. Some are sought-after because of their age -- vintage items always have a nostalgic appeal, and some are also valuable as rarities or limited edition items. One of the most expensive dolls -- a prototype for the G.I Joe action figures created before they were mass produced in 1964 -- sold at auction in 2003 for a whopping $200,000. Seeing as it's the only one of its kind, the value is likely only going to increase over time.
Along with the limited edition factor, the value of figures and statues gets pushed up by their craftsmanship. How lifelike are they? How detailed do they look? What materials are they made out of? Are they referencing a specific comic book panel or variant design? In 2009, Toynami had an eerily accurate statue of Christopher Reeve as Superman (a "Celebrimaquette") on sale at San Diego Comic Con for the super-price of $2,000. With silicone skin and individually hand-punched hair, it looks about as close to the real deal as you can get. So, grab your credit card and browse through 16 of the most breathtaking superhero figures money can buy!
16 JUBILEE BISHOUJO STATUE
This 1:7 scale statue from Japanese figure company Kotobukiya is not only beautifully made, but the style really captures the fun-loving essence of Jubilation "Jubilee" Lee. "Bishoujo" is a Japanese term that literally translates to "beautiful girl" (the male equivalent is "Bishounen"). It's an art style prevalent in anime and manga, and one that master illustrator, Shunya Yamishita favors for his redesigns of superhero characters, on which the statue was based.
Though the art style is a new look for the Marvel mutant, her classic yellow, pink and blue outfit from the '80s / '90s is there, making her instantly recognizable. The nicest area of detail is probably the back of her trademark yellow jacket, flaring out behind her with incredibly realistic folds. Kudos for the exceptional sculpting goes to Gotaro Takeuchi.
15 NEW 52 ARTFX+ NIGHTWING STATUE
Nightwing surely has one of the slickest looks of any superhero. After ditching both Batman and the Robin mantle, Dick Grayson also shed the cape... and just about every other accessory... in favor of this sleek, sheer bodysuit and simple domino mask. The original costume was blue and black, but Kotobukiya chose his red and black redesign from the New 52 for this impressive statue.
It's a pretty simple pose, but what makes this a figure worthy of adding to any discerning DC collector's shelf is the gorgeous sculpting work on the muscles. A costume that tight to the body leaves no room for error, and there's not a single ab out of place here. Of course, the most "important" set of muscles looks the best, as they should, considering Nightwing is the proud owner of the "best butt in comics."
14 MARVEL MILESTONES BROOD WOLVERINE STATUE
Pulled right from the pages of Uncanny X-Men #234 by Mark Silvestri, this Brood-infected Wolverine statue is a real rarity. Only 2,500 of them exist, each marked with a hand-drawn number under the base (and hand-marked box to match). The figure was a tie-in with the "Marvel Milestones" books -- collected reprints of classic Marvel storylines, usually connected by a theme.
During the Brood saga, Wolverine was infected by the parasitic aliens to become a "slave" to their Queen. This 7.5" figure sculpted by Ken Usanami captures the X-Man as his horrific transformation begins to consume him, his mouth hung wide open in a monstrous roar. From the popping veins to the curled fingers, the expressive details of this figure are truly amazing. Plus, the specificity of what it's referencing makes it a real must-have for any diehard X-Men fan.
13 DC DESIGNER SERIES AQUAMAN & MERA STATUE
Behold, the first couple of the Seven Seas, immortalized in 16" of painted resin. Limited to only 5,000 pieces, this statue was designed by DC comics artist Patrick Gleason, specifically based on his art in the Sub-Diego storyline across Aquaman #15-22. Like Clark Kent and Lois Lane, Arthur Curry and Mera -- King and Queen of the fabled underwater civilization of Atlantis -- are one of DC's most enduring couples, and their loving embrace here beautifully illustrates that.
Superhero figures usually depict a character in the midst of a battle or posed in the most intimidating way possible -- "action" poses, essentially. To see a tender, quiet moment like this brought to life is unusual and refreshing. The fishy details around the base that the pair is floating above also contextualizes the scene nicely.
12 PRIME 1 STUDIO SUPERMAN STATUE
There are a lot of incredible Superman statues to choose from that span every era and medium that the Man of Steel has ever appeared in. But, this one from Prime 1 Studio is really something to be admired. Taken from the popular New 52 redesign, the figure is limited to just 500 pieces, raising the price tag to around the $750 mark. So, what do you get for your hard-earned cash?
Well, this 1:4 scale model of the founding Justice League member was crafted using "translucent resin for a lifelike skin effect," and some stockists will throw in an exclusive "heat vision portrait." Rising up from the rubble of what we can only assume is yet another ruined Metropolis skyscraper, his cape billows out to one side with dramatic flair, and that crazily realistic face carries a stern, justice-seeking expression.
11 GOTHAM CITY GARAGE WONDER WOMAN STATUE
Have you ever said to yourself, I wish Wonder Woman would ditch the invisible plane for a motorbike? Well, your oddly-specific wish has been granted! This statue is part of a series from DC Collectibles that reimagines heroines like Harley Quinn, Big Barda, Steel, Hawkgirl, Catwoman and Silver Banshee as badass biker girls. There's even a tie-in comic book series too of the same name.
Billed as "an anti-fascist anthem for the open road," the story from Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing thrusts these female outlaws into a version of Gotham City transformed by Governor Lex Luthor into a Big Brother-style utopia called "The Garden." Essentially, it's Mad Max: Fury Road, Gotham edition. This awesome figure, limited to just 5,200, was sculpted by Irene Matar and Adam Ross, with a custom tattoo designed by artist Katherine Brannock.
10 THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN PREMIUM FORMAT STATUE
Amazing by name, amazing by design. Spider-Man is one of the most dynamic superheroes there is, so this physics-defying statue is a perfect representation. Part of Sideshow Collectibles' "Premium Format" collection, production of this one was limited to only 2,500 and priced close to the $500 mark. Despite the price tag, it's clearly a bestseller, as most stockists are totally sold out.
The design by Martin Canale, Ian McDonald and Zac Roane is probably especially attractive to web-heads as it not only tells a story, but a classic one, to boot. At the base of the iron structure that Spidey has his hand on, you can see two of Green Goblin's pumpkin bombs caught in mid-explosion. Spider sense tingling, Spidey squints one eye to lock onto his next location, ready to web-sling to safety.
9 COMIQUETTE SCARLET WITCH STATUE
This 17" Scarlet Witch "Comiquette" statue from Sideshow Collectibles was created in collaboration with famed comic artist Mark Brooks, inspired by a fan-favorite piece of art depicting this exact scene. Not only does the piece perfectly translate the artists' distinctive style into 3D, it's quite a quirky idea for a statue -- a literal expression of the reality-bending mutants' compulsion to misuse her substantial powers in order to control others.
Though a well-crafted Scarlet Witch figure alone would have made a nice collector's item, the comical addition of a little remote-controlled version of her on again/off again husband, Vision, makes it truly unique. You're kind of getting a "2-for-1" deal, too. Currently, it seems to be highly sought-after with most asking prices hovering around $1,000.
8 MARVEL NOW! ARTFX+ DEADPOOL STATUE
This is another one from famed Japanese figurine company Kotobukiya, this time from their expanded "Marvel NOW!" line. The Marvel comics rebrand of the same name relaunched most of the company's most popular ongoing titles in 2012 on the heels of the Avengers vs. X-Men event. The tie-in collection of ArtFx+ figures from Kotobukiya sculpted Marvel heroes with their shiny, new redesigns and sold them at more affordable prices than some of their other premium figures.
Crafted by Junnosuko Abe, this Deadpool figure stands at 6" (1:10 scale) on a magnetic base, crouched down with his hand on one katana -- ready to slice and dice. Though it's not a "premium" work, what makes this a particularly stand-out piece is the extra feature it comes with: the little placard. It's a whiteboard, meaning you can have Wade hold up any slogan or clever catchphrase you want -- a perfect fourth-wall breaking addition.
7 AME-COMI HAWKGIRL FIGURE
Part of the DC Direct "Herione Series" of figures, this anime-inspired redesign of Hawkgirl is the work of Udon Studios, a Canadian company that provides creative services to comic book, video game, and other entertainment studios. Most notably, they've produced a lot of artwork for Capcom, DC and Marvel, all with their signature Asian-influenced style.
While it may not be sculpted to the level of detail as a premium Kotobukiya figure, the unique redesign is what makes this one so cool. Udon Studios' reimagining of the winged superheroine is full-on steampunk fantasy with a touch of Street Fighter; the boots also look like they belong to a female fighter from a Japanese RPG. Standing at a cute 9", this PVC figure is full of charm but still has plenty of badass Hawkgirl attitude.
6 BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT "A CALL TO ARMS" STATUE
Fans of Frank Miller's work will instantly recognize the reference point for this dramatic statue. It is of course pulled straight from the pages of The Dark Knight Returns, the four-issue miniseries from 1986 that rebooted Batman as the darker, grittier hero we're familiar with today. It's considered to be one of the finest stories ever written about the character and this incredible statue is a fitting tribute to it.
Measuring 14" from hoof to cowl ear, this piece is limited to just 1,000, making it a must-have treasure for Batman collectors. There are also two versions of it for fans to choose from. The difference is in the color combination of Batman's costume -- one painted in the blue and gray from the comic, and the other in the more modern black and gray at a more affordable price.
5 SALT AND PEPPER HULK TRANSFORMATION STATUE
This breathtaking tableau statue captures the evolution of the Incredible Hulk to puny Bruce Banner -- or the other way around, depending on which way your eyes follow it. The details are phenomenal, from the green, glowing beaker clutched in Bruce's hand, to each rip of his shirt as the Hulk's huge muscles begin to burst through, right up to the veins popping in the Marvel's hero's neck as he strains himself to roar.
As a prototype piece from Salt and Pepper Statues, it may just be the rarest figure on this list, with no indication as to whether or not more of them have ever been made. The independent studio also appears to be run by just one keen sculptor, described as, "one person's love and passion for collecting superheroes [...] This geek's [...] addiction led to the creation of his very own superhero line."
4 PRIME 1 STUDIO BATMAN BEYOND STATUE
This crazy Batman Beyond design is ripped straight out of the Arkham Knight video game. Crafted from high-quality polystone and standing at a menacing 33", it also comes with switchable hands, mouth armor, and facial expression, which might just make the beefy $950 price tag worth it. This Dark Knight of the future is, of course, old Bruce Wayne's young protege, Terry McGuiness, as seen in the Batman Beyond cartoon.
The blueish tinge to it harkens back to Batman's Silver Age color scheme, but -- along with the glowing eyes and mechanical design -- is strangely also reminiscent of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Mister Freeze costume. The switch from the yellow to red logo also brings up comparisons to newer versions of Nightwing's suit, too. It's an incredible sculpt that does this insane, cyber-gothic reimagining more than enough justice.
3 THOR: PLAY ARTS KAI VARIANT
This statue is definitely worthy. From the Variant Play Arts Kai line, this dynamic figure was designed by Hitoshi Kondo and stands at a godly 10" tall from boot to wing-tip. It also comes with not just one, but three pairs of interchangeable hands and an extra face -- one for calm Thor and one for lightening-summoning Thor. He's also posable, and comes with his own little Mjolnir, complete with "lighting effect" and "hammer swoosh."
As well as losing hours of your day putting him in heroic (or funny) poses, this Thor figure is just a joy to behold. For a posable figure, he still looks statuesque. The redesign of his classic costume has an anime-flavor to it, with the jagged edges and darker tones making the God of Thunder look even more badass than normal.
2 DAREDEVIL COMIQUETTE STATUE
This stunning piece of polystone art from Sideshow Collectibles tells a vivid story. Crouching atop a weathered gravestone, Matt Murdock steals a few quiet moments to reflect on what he's lost before leaping off into the night to strike fear into the criminal hearts of Hells Kitchen. Who exactly is he mourning? Well, this statue actually gives you a choice with three interchangeable epitaphs -- Elektra, Jack Murdock, and a blank one, for customizable mourning!
Jokes aside, this really is a jaw-dropper. There are no fancy twists or redesigns. It's just the classic, original Daredevil at his most brooding. Each piece of it was "individually painted and finished" and the love and care really shine through. The wood effect of the gnarled tree at the base is especially realistic looking, as well as a nice atmospheric touch.
1 BATMAN: PLAY ARTS KAI VARIANT
Behold! The most imposing Batman EVER rendered in resin! This mind-blowing version comes from the darkly creative mind of Tetsuya Nomura, crafted for Square Enix's line of Play Arts Kai superhero figures. As well as this version, you can also get your hands on "Wild West," "Steampunk," "Bushido" and "Sparta" redesigns -- all as insane-looking as this one.
He's not just something to admire though, you can also have a bit of fun with his moving parts, too. The figure comes with a second set of arms that -- when extended -- change the Bat from "deactivated" to "activated" mode. Robo-Bat is also packing some serious tech -- blades in his arms, an "acceleration booster" in his chest, and an "arsenal of Batarangs" hidden in his leg pockets. He's almost too terrifying to have in your house. Almost.
Do you own any jaw-dropping superhero statues? Let us know in the comment section below!