Perhaps no superhero is more recognizable than Batman. Given the success of the 60s television show, the 90s animated series and the rebooted film franchise, it's hard to find anybody that doesn't know who Batman is. That sort of wild popularity can inspire some great stories, but it can also inspire some truly mind-boggling merchandise. It's with that in mind that I decided to head over to Amazon.com and sift through the Bat-merchandise in an effort to find some of the strangest and/or crappiest examples of Batman ephemera that I could. The following were the pieces I considered to be absolute gems. Enjoy! (All images courtesy of amazon.com)
Batman/Batmobile Cake Topper
To be fair, I might be critiquing the cake itself a little bit here. I mean, look at that thing. As the proud husband of an excellent cake decorator, I can spot a potential Cake Wreck from a mile away and this artist's rendition of Gotham City would be a shoe-in. But this is a post about strange, silly or creepy Batman merchandise, so we have to talk about the cake toppers themselves.
I suppose most children wouldn't care, but I was the kind of observant kid that was always bothered by problems of scale in toys. I'd hope that any child I would raise would have the same levels of OCD. Look at the size of that Batman then look at the size of that Batmobile. There's no way Bats is fitting in that car, no way he gets to have fun tooling around the 2D, strangely angular, windowless buildings of Gotham City. This is cake topper FAIL!
Batman Figure Candle
Hey kids! What would you like for your birthday? What's that? You'd like to succeed where Firefly has failed so many times before. You'd like to burn Batman alive?! Well, with these "figure candles" that is not going to be a problem. Perhaps I'm being too literal here, but I tend to think that watching one's heroes burn slowly into a puddle of blue gray leftovers is more traumatizing than celebratory. But hey, if you want your kid to grow up to be the Joker, go right ahead! Light the freaking Batman on fire!
Batman Hot Wheels Monster Jam Truck
Have you never read a Batman comic in your life? Have you never seen a Batman movie, watched a Batman TV show or heck, even listened to Prince's Batdance? Are you raising a redneck child on a steady diet of McDonald's, Moutain Dew and lowered expectations? Has that child only heard of Batman through word of mouth and has decided to fashion him into some sort of Evil Knievel meets Dale Earnhardt defender of the Old Days? If so, this is the only Batman toy for you!
Alright, so this isn't a traditional pinata so if your goal is to create a future sociopath by having them literally bash their heroes till their insides fall out, you're out of luck! Still, this "pull-string" pinata is plenty creepy even without taking a gleeful broom handle to it. Not only does it look like what would happen if a jellyfish were Batman, the kids also have to grab those squiggly tentacle looking bits and yank on them until they find the string that leads to Batman's sweet secrets. Sure there's candy involved, but are you willing to put up with the Lovecraftian Batman nightmares that are sure to follow? I highly doubt it.
Batman Halloween Pail
If you're looking to really frighten your kids this Halloween, look no further than the hollowed out skull of their favorite superhero. What bothers me more than the premise though, is the execution. This Halloween pail is a shockingly good recreation of Christian Bale's face. I mean seriously, take a look at this thing! It's like they just took a bone saw to Mr. Bale's skull, took off the top, scooped out all the brains and then said, "Here ya go kiddies! Fill her up!" For the record, this Halloween pail could graduate from creepy to awesome if it would yell, "Swear to me," or, "I'm not wearin' hockey pads," every time you dropped a Baby Ruth into its gaping hole.
Dark Knight Joker Dog Costume
Are you one of those dog owners that absolutely dotes on your pet? Do you give the little critter birthday and Christmas gifts, dress him up in cute costumes for Halloween and other holidays? Well, nothing says, "I love you Sparky," like dressing him up as the Clown Prince of Crime, comics' most notorious psychopath, The Joker! Sure, you could dress your dog up like Ace, Batman's trusted hound (who is, in fact, not a hound dog). Maybe you'd like to dress the pup up like Robin since he's your little sidekick. But the Joker? Seriously? He's a murdering hell-clown bent on making Batman's life, and the lives of those he cares about, a living hell. He is the consensus nastiest villain in comics history! He's the *@#$+! Joker, people. And you want to dress your dog up like him?
This is really just the tip of the weird Batman merchandise iceberg. I encourage all of you to go on your own quest for strange Bat-scwhag. If you find something you feel should have been listed here, by all means post a comment about it, give us a link! Who knows? Maybe there's a "Dress your baby up as the Joker" item out there somewhere.