19 October 2008

Robin in Plastic, Pixels, and Pastry

Down the mean streetsIn 2006, Lego started to issue Batman toys for kids and collectors, the designs based on a combination of standard Lego style and the Batman comics, TV cartoons, and live-action movies. Wikipedia has the complete rundown of what figures, vehicles, and locations come in what boxes--you don't find that info in the Britannica!

Robin's scuba jetRobin was originally just a supporting player in the "Batcave" set, as Nightwing was in the Arkham Asylum collection. But in 2008, Lego issued "Robin's Scuba Jet: Attack of The Penguin." In an all-bird battle, those toys sent Robin up against the Penguin and two little gun-toting hench-penguins.

keychainLego Batman has now been issued in four different suits. There are two Robins, both wearing the 1990-2006 costume, with slightly different plastic hairstyles. And there are ancillary products like this Lego Robin keychain.

Earlier this year, Lego took its redesigns of the Batman characters into a new dimension: the videogame. That's the source of the image at top, showing the Dynamic Duo on the mean streets of Gotham City. The game features several characters not yet available in plastic.

I collected a couple of images of Lego Batman months ago, but didn't have anything to say about them. They're cute, and show how the characters shifting into new forms, but the leap from comics to videogames through toys doesn't seem that striking.

Then M. T. Anderson sent me to this blog entry about a Lego Batman cake created by Elisa Straus, author of Confetti Cakes for Kids.
Batman cakeThis is an edible recreation of the Lego Batman game. Check out the Cake Wrecks blog for close-ups of the exquisite detail of Gotham urban decay.

Straus's own Confetti Cakes blog offers more details:

  • Weight: nearly 300 pounds.
  • Flavors: vanilla, chocolate, and red velvet.
  • Preparation time: twelve days.
There are videos of the cake's assembly and disassembly.

So let's go back to "characters shifting into new forms." As Mongoose noted in the Cake Wrecks comments:
the critical part of my brain finds it weird that there is a cake representation of a Lego representation of a game representation of a movie representation of a comic book.
The Lego representation preceded the game representation, but Mongoose has indeed listed all the stages. What better way than this cake to show how classic characters like Robin eat through the barriers between media?


Anonymous said...

Actually, there's a video of the cake representation of the game representation of the. . . etc.

I'm waiting for it to come out in mass market storybook.

Nathan said...

I'm hoping it gets adapted for the stage!

MotherReader said...

I have to mention the find from the Batman TV show - a debate between the Penguin and Batman that has some interesting resemblance to recent political debates. It's at YouTube, and at my site.

J. L. Bell said...

AliceB’s comment made me think about the difference between documenting the creation of a work of art (e.g., the video about the cake, "making of" features on DVDs) and adapting some of that work to a new medium (e.g., using video's capabilities to tell a Lego® Batman® story in ways that comics, plastic models, videogames, cakes, etc. can't do).

Which led me to look on YouTube for videos made with Lego® Batman®. And of course there are some!

The main auteur in this genre appears to be "ForrestFire101." As one example of his work, he used plastic models, stop-motion, and digital effects to create "Robin's Birthday". Along the way, he created a Lego Robin with the current costume and hair. And he added the usual teenaged male hangups about homosexuality.

Most of the other Lego Batman videos are trailers promoting the videogame, such as this difficult to follow trailer featuring Nightwing.

J. L. Bell said...

Like you, MotherReader, I encountered that Batman/Penguin political debate on Andrew Sullivan's blog.

That Cobblepot is sure a maverick!