Standing on a gargoyle high above the streets of Gotham, Batman stares off stoically into the distance. His grappling hook in hand, he prepares a daring swoop down on the criminals below, as his shiny pewter costume glistens in the moonlight....
Wait a minute. Pewter?
Yes, you read that right. Royal Selangor, in collaboration with DC Comics, has released a collection of five stunning pewter pieces that spotlight the Dark Knight and Gotham City’s greatest villains.
According to Royal Selangor executive director of marketing Chen Tien Yue, the centrepiece of the collection is a limited edition statue of Batman in the pose described above. Measuring 23.5cm tall, the piece is limited to 3,000 pieces worldwide, and the design is based on comics artist Jim Lee’s style.
“We wanted an iconic pose for this piece, as it is important to capture the essence of the character. If you look at it, you can see the strength of the character.
“It’s a very muscular pose, he’s standing on a gargoyle ... you can just imagine him at the top of a building in Gotham, the wind is blowing his cape to one side ... he’s holding his grappling hook ... it’s a classic Batman pose captured in a pewter statue,” Chen says.
He also says that the texture and the costume is what makes this piece unique.
“You don’t normally expect to find this level of detail on metal, it’s usually just smooth. So it’s a really nice contrast to see that tactile feel along the legs and arms, and at the same time having a smooth flowing cape at the back, blowing in the wind. It really highlights what we can do with pewter.”
Chen says that the next piece will be The Joker, followed by a Batmobile.
“In the coming months, we will also be launching a Catwoman statue and a smaller Batman,” he adds.
The pieces are mostly based on the comics, with the exception of the Batmobile, which is taken from the 1989 Batman movie directed by Tim Burton.
The collection comes about after the success of Royal Selangor’s Star Wars range, which was launched two years ago.
“We had fans asking what we planned to do next in the pop culture scene. And when you look at the iconic characters in pop culture, Batman and the DC universe are definitely up there,” Chen explains. “So we spoke to Warner Bros and their partners and they suggested a small Batman collection. And that’s how it started.”
Royal Selangor commissioned Malaysian comics artist Alan Quah and sculptor Mufizal Mokhtar to come up with the designs.
“When we started, we wanted someone who could help us capture the essence of Batman. Warner and their partners introduced us to Alan, who has worked with DC Comics before. Mufizal, who lives in Singapore, has a lot of experience sculpting statues,” Chen says.
“They are both Malaysians, who know Royal Selangor and what it is all about, and were also eager to know what we could do in pewter for collectible statues. They worked closely with us to understand the production process and help develop these pieces.”
Developing the collection took about a year, and the limited edition Batman statue was finally unveiled at Comic Con International in San Diego on July 20 to tremendous response.
Chen says they almost didn’t make it to Comic Con. “Warner approved the design just in time to make it to San Diego!” he says. “The response was great – we launched it with no stocks at all, but over the last three months we’ve already sold 600 pieces!”
Chen says that one of the things they learnt from the Star Wars line previously is that fans can be very particular about the details on the products from their favourite franchises.
“That’s why our items take so long to launch – we need to make sure that we’re happy with it internally, and that Warner approves it before it goes to market,” he explains.
Chen reckons that the level of detail and the fact that it is made out of pewter sets this collection apart from many of the other Batman collectible lines out there.
“These are almost like art pieces. Not a lot of Batman statues out there are made from metal, and if they are, you won’t get this level of detail,” he says. “Just pick up that Batman, and run your fingers across it – you can feel the texture. You can also really feel the weight of the piece, which is great for a statue of its size.
“We’re very proud of this Batman range, and we hope that the fans will be happy with it too.”
For more information, visit the Royal Selangor official website.