March 8, 2013

Holy Collector Catnip, Batman!

By Chris Varaste

POW! Here come Barbie® and Ken® decked out as characters from the colorful 1960s TV series Batman! BAM! As retro Catwoman and Batman, the pair use classic period-perfect face sculpts! ZAP! And both dolls are suited in costumes that mirror the show's original groovy get-ups!

This “blast from the past” was created for Barbie and Batman fans by innovative designer Bill Greening. We caught up with Greening for an exclusive interview on the merging of the beloved pop-culture icons.


Barbie Collector: Congrats! Everyone’s buzzing about Batman and Catwoman at this year’s Toy Fair!

Bill Greening: Thanks, it was a nice surprise. I'm happy for both fan bases — it's great that they're so excited!

How'd this set come about?

Since Mattel is also launching action figures based on the Batman TV show, which I love, it made sense to create characters for the Barbie Collector base.

Your love of the show reflects in the wonderful retro styling.

I wanted to give it the feel of the time period, as if Barbie and Ken were designed in 1966 based on the Catwoman and Batman characters from the show, so I worked with the nostalgic face sculpts for that classic look.

Catwoman's costume is a purr-fect recreation, right down to the fabulous go-go boots!

Those swingin' go-go boots, along with the cat ears, cowl neck collar and gold belt are all inspired by Catwoman’s costume on the show. Barbie is on a bendable-leg body, so the sparkly jumpsuit is tailored to fit skintight — very feline, very femme fatale!

And the classic face sculpt on Barbie looks terrific with the retro flip hairstyle.

Definitely! The hair looks great and so does the make-up. If you take the mask off, Barbie doll's face-paint looks a lot like Julie Newmar’s Catwoman on the show, with feathered brows and coral lips.

The eyebrows on Ken are equally striking.

Yes, as the Caped Crusader, Ken has an edgy look with an arch to his brows — he looks as if he’s trying to solve a crime!

Ken doll’s Batsuit has attracted many of the show's fans to this set.

I'm really happy about the response. Everything — from the mask, emblem, and cape, right down to the boots — captures the look of the 1960s Batsuit worn by Adam West.

Is the romantic angle of Batman and Catwoman’s relationship part of their appeal?

I think so, and Ken and Barbie, like Batman and Catwoman, have had an on-again, off-again romance for years, so they're the perfect pair to dress up as the comic book adversaries.


KAPOW! That sounds like a collectible bonanza only a click away in the online shop!


Chris Varaste started out at ABC-TV, producing segments for the Emmys, Tonys & Grammys. A fascination with fashion and pop culture led to his first published book, Barbie: Face of the American Dream – and an appreciation for all things Barbie! His insights on collectibles/brand success have been published in the New York Times, The Economist, and Spotlight Cinema Networks.

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