EXCLUSIVE: "BAT TOYS" Un-Made Mattel Concept Sept 18, 2006 0:52:56 GMT -5
Post by /\/\att on Sept 18, 2006 0:52:56 GMT -5
Welcome to the Legions of Gotham 'Behind the Toys' area!
Legions of Gotham is bringing you an inside look into what could have been..and what could, in theory, still be!
This is a line of toys that was proposed by our friend at Mattel, Frank Varela. Its called "BAT TOYS". Frank was kind enough to give all the fans here a look at what he had developed. This is a rare opportunity folks..most of these concept pitches never see the light of day.
I, for one, really like the idea. Its fun, and I think I would enjoy collecting it....and I would totally sport those shirts that Frank had made! (see below) If you like the idea too, let us know here...I'd like to show Mattel that the fans and collectors dig this idea...this is your chance to have a voice in what may get made in the future..let yourself be heard!
If anyone has feedback on this line you can also email it to me....the more feedback we get the better the chances are we'll make this happen. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org you have comments!
Here is the concept, straight from Frank:
The concept for Bat Toys came to me before I started working for Mattel. I remember telling a friend about the concept over the phone. I described to him that it would be action figures shot digitally and placed them in a comic format, and the title of the project would be Bat Toys as a play on cat toys. Also, to make the images cool, you would manipulate the files on the computer. Since then, I've become familiar with Twisted Toyfare Theatre and Robot Chicken, and I enjoy those properties very much. However, I would have a more serious approach to creating a comic in such a fashion. At any rate, whenever I have an idea I think is worth saving, I store it in the back of my head and bring it out when the right opportunity hits. Little did I know that opportunity would hit in the form of a Mattel interview. I mentioned the idea to my boss during our initial interview, and I think that was one of the things that stood me apart from other designers. Not only did I have a decent portfolio, but I had real passion and understanding of DC properties. In addition, I was already thinking outside of the box, and my boss really liked the story behind my concept for Bat Toys. I remember her telling me that the story had, "a lot of heart." Well, as they say, the rest is history, and I got the job.
So, every year, Mattel has a seminar where a select group of employees take a week off from their usual workload and Brainstorm new ideas for products. When last year's Brainstorm came around, my boss came by my desk, and said that the brainstorm would be a good forum to present my Bat Toys concept. So, I put my name in and got selected to present. I presented my concept to the whole group, got a bunch of blank stares, and Bat Toys pretty much ended there. To this day, I still don't get what the group didn't see in my concept, but regardless I still think Bat Toys is a good idea. That's when it dawned on me that maybe I need to take my idea to a bigger forum. So, I'm going to present my basic concept for Bat Toys to you my fellow Batman comrades, and I really want to know what you guys think of it. If I get strong enough feedback, I might be able to make a compelling argument to the powers that be that Bat Toys may warrant a second look.
So, here is my formal write up of the concept:
What is it?
Bat Toys is a toy line comprised entirely of everything Mattel has done with the Batman license (animated, movie, and comic core) and is repackaged with a comic containing exclusive and original content.
The basic premise of the comic is Toy Story meets Batman. By digitally photographing actual toys here at Mattel, the entire comic is created by manipulating those images with programs such as PhotoShop, Illustrator, and Maya.
In short, Bat Toys gives Mattel a great opportunity to bring new life to existing toys by attaching an original narrative which in turn will help create a brand that could lead to new and numerous toy opportunities as collectors both young and old are shown an aspect of Batman’s universe from the perspective of an action figure.
The Back Story:
In the world of the Bat Toys, all toys are actually alive when their “owners” are not looking, and toy law dictates that no toy may allow an owner or any other real person to become aware of that toy’s sentience. However, the preeminent collector of Batman memorabilia in the entire world has disappeared, and all the Bat Toys, being the detectives that they are, have deduced that the evidence points to the unthinkable: a toy has broken toy law and kidnapped their owner. Consequently, the Bat Toys feel it is their responsibility to figure out the identity of the rogue toy and save their beloved owner before it is too late. Yet, none feel that responsibility more than a band of Bat Toy misfits who wish to solve the case before the others do in order to better their status within the microcosm of their Bat Toy society.
Bat Toy Misfits:
Bootleg Batman: was acquired after a police raid of a toy smuggling ring of “fake” Batman merchandise. The other Bat Toys snub Bootleg due to his illegitimate beginnings. However, ironically and unbeknownst to him, Bootleg Batman is considered by his owner to be the most valuable part of the Bat Toy collection since he was the only toy NOT to be destroyed during the police raid.
Aqua Batman: is incredibly intelligent but equally unintelligible when speaking due to his breathing apparatus being permanently attached to his mouth.
Plush Batman: because of his bulk and size, Plush Batman is very strong but not the sharpest tool in the shed with all that stuffing in his head. However, Plush is a Batman, and his heart is always in the right place.
Ninja Batman: he is the most mysterious of the Bat Toys. Constantly disappearing and appearing when everyone is least paying attention, he is the strong silent type and only speaks when spoken to. Although, when Ninja Batman does say something, it usually sounds like he is reading from a fortune cookie.
Here's the logo I designed:
An example of packaging:
And that's pretty much it. By the way, at the last Comic Con, I had these T-shirts made:
I wanted to see if anyone would say anything, and I did get a raised eyebrow from a creative director at DC. However, I still don't know if that was good thing. At any rate, if any of you don't like the concept for Bat Toys, you have to admit the logo makes for pretty cool T-shirts. Well, let's hear it you guys.