World’s Finest: Superman and Batman WB Stores Exclusives

By Ahmad Chaudhary

For a little background information on why these DC top dogs are referred to as World’s Finest, they were the stars of the DC Comics series of the same name that ran from 1941 to 1986.

Nonetheless, these were not packaged together – or packaged at all, for that matter. All they had was a cardboard tag with a plastic tie around one of the appendages. Shortly before the global demise of the Warner Bros. Studio stores’ chain, I picked these up at the King of Prussia Mall back in 2001. They also had a Barbara Gordon Batgirl, a Robin and the Joker, all of which I was an idiot for not picking up, especially at only $9.99 each.

Of course at the time I wasn’t aware of any events that would cause the chain to implode almost overnight, those events being the merger of media titans Timer Warner (which owns Warner Bros, DC Comics and related properties) and Turner Broadcasting.

Now to the toys themselves. The feet on these guys are stamped with a copyright date of 1998 and at around 13 inches, had DC ever tried promoting these they would have been good counterparts to Toy Biz’s similar-sized Marvel lines of the time. Heck, they probably even would have sold a few. In fact, DC still has nothing to compare to these in the price range, which, of course, is always a factor in a direct comparison. Meanwhile, Marvel Legends have blazed through the larger-sized scale already and everyone knows every Legends product features around 30 points or more of articulation, regardless of scale.

Enough lamenting. I really like these two; they’re some of the finest examples ever of the World’s Finest. Start with Batman. First off, I love the colors, which were clearly inspired by the best Batman movies ever made. The sculpt itself really seems to have a Neal Adams vibe with a little bit of Kenner Super Powers thrown in for the torso and arm shapes. Long and silky, the cape gets bonus points for being cloth and also having “veins” stitched in for emphasis. The limited articulation isn’t so hot, with only eight points at head, arms, glove tops, waist and leg tops. The articulation lends itself to the impression that, in an earlier form, this sculpt had some sort of an accessory – a weapon, maybe, that makes the short range of available poses seem sensible. Or maybe this Batman was always born to pub brawl; from the Real World Metropolis on “Robot Chicken” we at least know Batman is a bar-rat and it’s safe to assume that with his passive-aggressive nature, he gets into altercations.

Supes is my favorite. Every time I peruse the new lines of Superman figures, few have that “gotta have it” factor, and this one stands out as the best compromise. (Of course, I’d like to afford the $100 Superman DC Direct Collector Figure, but actually, for the price, I would instead buy the 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime.) Anyway, the WB Studio Superman has a quality sculpt that’s not instantly identifiable as being anyone’s design, a plus with Supes and a problem I’ve had with the recent DC Direct six-inch scale figures since the designs are too imprinted with the creator’s stamps and I can’t buy every version of my favorite characters.

This Supes also has Kenner-like arms, though not exactly the same ones – which is very un-Kenner, and a Kenner-inspired torso, except that it’s elongated to show Kal’s full six-pack. His articulation points are almost exactly the same, with the only difference being that instead of having movement points at his glove tops, it’s at the tops of his wrists. No funky poses here, and Kal also has a long silky cape with a nearly full yellow “S” silk screened right below his shoulder blades. The cape gains huge points here. If I had any fault with the figure, it would be that the sculpt is a little on the skinny side and that it’s hard for him to stand on his own two feet, reservations that are minor enough to have prevented me from purchasing any Superman figure since.

I would recommend both of these if you can find them. After scouring Ebay, I was not able to find a single example of either, though a few months ago there were a plethora of ones with a sculpt very similar to the Superman but of inferior materials and not selling at all. Your options in this scale with Superman and Batman are very limited; if I didn’t have these already, I’d never have known about them since I haven’t seen any other examples. I’m glad I got lucky enough to pick them up.

2 thoughts on “World’s Finest: Superman and Batman WB Stores Exclusives

  1. I have the superman one I bought at WB store in Cleveland. I’m looking to sell it but it’s not on eBay and this is the only info I’ve ever seen about it. It’s been in my closet all these years.

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