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 thread  Author  Topic: Eaglemoss DC Chess Collection  (Read 6736 times)
Nick

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xx Eaglemoss DC Chess Collection
« Thread started on: May 5th, 2013, 05:17am »

I don’t think anyone has spoken about it here, but did anybody else collect the DC Chess Collection? I always said I wouldn’t fall into the trap of monthly collections because the overall price is always extortionate, but there was something about having a Batman Chess Collection where every piece was completely individual that was too tempting to resist. I thought that since I wasn't buying a load of comics anymore thanks to the Reboot, I could comfortably shift my monthly expenditure onto the Chess pieces. As for the extortionate part, each figure was £8, and they were released two a month. They certainly aren’t worth that price, but I guess that’s what you get with each piece being hand painted. The big drawback is the quality of them: Previous Eaglemoss collections have used lead figures, but the DC Chess Collection is apparently a weak resin mix, I haven’t had any figures break or arrive broken myself, but apparently it was a problem early on, and care is necessary as some figures do feel very fragile. This is definitely a set for collectors and not a casual enthusiast. The other drawback is the hand painting of figures on such a large scale. Some of my figures have amazing paintwork, others are very substandard – Nightwing in particular is a mess around the head.

Now I must voice my biggest criticism of the DC Chess Collection, and that is it was tainted (like everything else) by the Reboot of the comics. Just compare the original announced collection before the Reboot, to the one we got afterwards (I haven't put all the changes in bold, just the ones that hurt the collection the most):

Batman (King)
Catwoman (Queen)
Damian (Bishop)
Nightwing (Bishop)
Red Robin (Knight)
Batgirl – Stephanie (Knight)
Batwoman (Rook)
Huntress – Helena Bertinelli (Rook)

Commisioner Gordon (Pawn)
Oracle (Pawn)
Alfred (Pawn)
Katana (Pawn)
Black Canary (Pawn)
Azrael (Pawn)
The Question (Pawn)
Bat-Mite (Pawn)


Joker (King)
Harley (Queen)
Ra’s (Bishop)
Riddler (Bishop)
Two-Face (Knight)
Penguin (Knight)
Man-Bat (Rook)
Killer Croc (Rook)

Ivy (Pawn)
Ventriloquist (Pawn)
Bane (Pawn)
Scarecrow (Pawn)
Mr Freeze (Pawn)
Black Mask (Pawn)
Hush (Pawn)
Red Hood (Pawn)


The final set that was delayed and changed for the Reboot had a couple of changes to the white side, and this is what we ended up with, a weird amalgamation:

Batman (King) – DCU Batman Incorporated
Catwoman (Queen) – DCU/Reboot
Damian (Bishop) – DCU/Reboot
Nightwing (Bishop) – Reboot
Red Robin (Knight) – Reboot
Batgirl – Barbara (Knight) – Reboot
Batwoman (Rook) – DCU/Reboot
Huntress – Helena Wayne (Rook) – Reboot EARTH 2

Commisioner Gordon (Pawn) – DCU Grey hair
Batwing (Pawn) – DCU/Reboot
Alfred (Pawn) – DCU/Reboot
Katana (Pawn) – Reboot
Black Canary (Pawn) – DCU Birds Vol 2
Azrael (Pawn) – DCU Classic Jean-Paul Valley
The Question (Pawn) – DCU Renee Montoya Birds Vol 2
Black-Bat (Pawn) DCU Batman Incorporated Cassandra Cain


Joker (King) – DCU Classic (pre-2006)
Harley (Queen) – DCU
Ra’s (Bishop) – DCU/Reboot
Riddler (Bishop) – DCU Suited/Reboot
Two-Face (Knight) – DCU/Reboot
Penguin (Knight) – DCU/Reboot
Man-Bat (Rook) – DCU/Reboot
Killer Croc (Rook) – DCU Classic (pre-Hush)

Ivy (Pawn) – DCU Modern Green Skin
Ventriloquist (Pawn) – DCU Classic Wesker
Bane (Pawn) – DCU Classic with Venom
Scarecrow (Pawn) – DCU/Reboot
Mr Freeze (Pawn) – DCU Underworld Unleashed
Black Mask (Pawn) – DCU Modern Roman Sionis
Hush (Pawn) – DCU Tommy Elliot first appearance
Red Hood (Pawn) – DCU Batman & Robin Costume


Bonus Pieces:
Chess Board – Free To Subscribers
Batman/Joker – The Dark Knight Returns Alternate Kings
Batsignal – Reboot Mini-Statue



Despite my criticisms I am very happy with the completed set. The only way I’d be happier is to have had DCU costumes for pieces like Nightwing and Red Robin, and to have had Steph and Oracle in there.

Anyway, here are some pictures so you can see for yourselves. Sorry about the camera flash, the pieces look a lot better and more detailed in person. And for a sense of how big this is, I’ve included a picture of the board with an entire comic in the middle!

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EDIT: I'm aware I got a couple of the pieces around the wrong way in the pictures, I set it up quickly and didn't notice until after I'd taken the pictures and I couldn't be bothered to retake them tongue

That does remind me though, I do like how a lot of the pieces are designed to have their poses sort of balance. Just compare the Knight pieces like Damian/Dick against Ra's/Riddler for example.
« Last Edit: May 10th, 2013, 10:01am by Nick » User IP Logged

Will

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xx Re: Eaglemoss DC Chess Collection
« Reply #1 on: May 7th, 2013, 9:41pm »

I suppose it's sorta, kinda inherent to the collection anyway, but it really strikes me how cool a full RIP chess board would have been.

Nonetheless, the reboot is like McDonald's Batman Forever glasses: the merchandise is either the entire point (Forever) and/or better than what it's based on (Forever, reboot).

Cool collection. DC is now a company with great IP and products, that (barely) sells (any) lacking comic books.

I really like the Batman Inc. King.
« Last Edit: May 7th, 2013, 9:44pm by Will » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Eaglemoss DC Chess Collection
« Reply #2 on: May 8th, 2013, 12:31pm »

It is a shame that DC are in such disarray. For years people have been saying that Marvel have a much stronger film output, despite the fact that DC have the stronger characters. But when it comes to comics the same is probably true again.

The Reboot makes perfect sense on paper: Replace an aging readership with new young consumers who have more years left in them. Reboot and make the stories accessible to all the new readers. Except in practice the stories we ended up with are a hot mess of awful. Yes Batman, for example, may have been largely inaccessible to uninitiated readers, but artistically it was flourishing. But art is disposable, money is not... Or should that be the other way around? I'm not sure anymore.

Perhaps it's down to the animated series' for younger viewers, but the Chess Collection is proof enough of how Batman as a franchise has so many recognisable characters to even a casual observer as to sustain a whole chess collection to itself, and have so many characters left to spare. I don't think many other comic franchises (outside of perhaps big teams like X-Men) could do the same. As if proof enough within DC the second set of pieces is a Justice League Collection, rather than a Superman or Green Lantern, and even the JLA set has Reboot editions of Batman and Joker coming.
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xx Re: Eaglemoss DC Chess Collection
« Reply #3 on: May 10th, 2013, 09:58am »

Speaking of Marvel, and Chess, Eaglemoss are on the case: http://marvel-chess.com/

I'm very interested to discover this, in a way I see it as a validation of my point that Batman is perhaps one of the only comic characters to be so iconic and transcendent of mediums to be able to sustain an entire set just to himself that have enough recognisable characters to attract non–comic reading consumers. Before the Reboot I was proud to show non–comic readers the 'true' Batman and urge people to give them a read themselves. It's so sad that what should be the definitive medium of the character just keeps digging deeper into it's own grave.

Desire for more money has killed the art that sustained their output by making consumers rabid for more, and how long until consumers stop paying for DCs current worthless output? A reboot could have worked fantastically if done sensibly. Put a bunch of greedy impatient impulsive incompetents in charge and you get the New 52.
« Last Edit: May 10th, 2013, 10:02am by Nick » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Eaglemoss DC Chess Collection
« Reply #4 on: May 19th, 2013, 10:02am »

Quote:
I don't think many other comic franchises (outside of perhaps big teams like X-Men) could do the same.


The villain side of a Spider-Man chess board would, probably, work quite well.

The hero side would probably be awful. Most of the surrounding characters in the Spider-Man universe, so far as allies, kind of suck...unless you drag in the Fantastic Four, but isn't that cheating?

Black Cat's okay. But after that...? What have we got, Puma? I guess it could be a Bettie and Veronica thing, with MJ and Gwen.

I can just think of so many more worthy villains. Like Joe Quesada.

I know. The Spider-Man side could be nothing but..Spider-Man. The Clone Saga is still relevant.
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xx Re: Eaglemoss DC Chess Collection
« Reply #5 on: Jun 4th, 2013, 07:03am »

Quote:
Yes Batman, for example, may have been largely inaccessible to uninitiated readers, but artistically it was flourishing.


The biggest problem Morrison has is that genius is not contagious (though the description certainly is overused; I heard Shatner describe JJ Abrams as a genius recently. Really?! The master of pop-bathos and tv lensing in the cineplex is a "genius" now), and therefore it's an awful way forward as a broad continuity argument. No matter the strength of the given memetics, in the end a group of mediocrities will simply manage mimetics: an ever lamer stream of retreads that look and read as if they came off a 1988 Fed-Ex copier.

Spider-Man "continuity" continues to teach: clones suck. (was this redundant reference between posts, and in the span of three paragraphs, clever? Or an ironic indictment? I can't tell)

Quote:
But art is disposable, money is not... Or should that be the other way around? I'm not sure anymore.


That's a good line. Like something from an Andy Warhol Exhibit.

For whatever reason, I've been thinking about Julius Schwartz.In the early 1960s, as I'm sure you know, the Batman line was so weak that the titles risked cancellation.

What Schwartz understood was marketing, and that market-revamp made the character stronger artistically. Synergy.

This, in turn, has made me think about the Iconic Bat-Logo. Schwartz introduced the "new look" at the same time he jettisoned the excessive 1950s Era Sci-Fi.

The outlook stands in stark contrast to the people at DC today, especially Didio and Johns. The point is understanding and pursuing the market through streamlining, which is antipodal to revisionist reverence for many parts of DC's history that were less than ideal.

All this, to me, has come to centralize on and through that Iconic Logo. Whether by coincidence or design, there's been an exponential increase in fanboy extremity since DC provided the soft-reboot after No Man's Land. The redaction and update that included the Yellow Oval's removal from Batman's costume, later from "continuity" as a whole.

Certainly, Morrison embraces this. But there is a difference, and I think it's marked. While Morrison sees the ridiculous stories of Batman's past as intertextual, meta and allegoric thematic statements -- thus there to express and explore ideas -- most of the hacks at DC see these things purely as the puerile: it's "fun" nostalgia, often from their own childhoods. Nothing more.

Perhaps a bigger problem, though, is far beyond intent; if all these other creators decide to follow Morrison's stylistic choices as an assumption and base for their own work, there is very little assurance they will do it well and a great likelihood they it will be quite poor in the comparison. What Morrison does, he does as unique talent: his deftness within these modalities is not something that is going to work well as a monthly continuity mined by much lesser talent.

That Yellow Oval, no matter what Frank Miller thought of it, is beautifully expressive as both Art and Commerce. To find such a perfect image is nigh-impossible. So what does DC do? They retire it.

Why? Because "it doesn't make any sense" for Batman to have a yellow bat-oval on his chest.

This, from the same people that will swear by a computer with bat-ears, a giant dino & penny, and a colorful kid sidekick who looks like he's wearing Victoria's Secret lingerie (Dick! indeed).

I'm not arguing that those things are good or bad. Again, I agree with the Morrison View so far as their thematic and allegoric power.

But.

But the contrast between the absolute zeal with which many of these same people will defend the ridiculous comic book pieces simply because they're fond of them, as opposed to their bizarre hatred of the Yellow Oval, is a striking one. It's unthinking group-"think".

And it's these types of contradictions that rule the day at (post?)modern DC Comics. The types of contradictions that involve an idiot like Didio rebooting every title so he can "simplify" the books with 52 Earths and the "everything happened (well, some of it), there is no continuity-continuity" as sell-thru to people not versed in monthly comics. The reality, of course, is that the comics are accessible now to no one, including the most ardent fans, if we base "accessibility" around the concept of coherent continuity.

I suppose it is a more equal playing field: now if a new reader doesn't understand what's going on in trade from the New 52, he's experiencing it exactly as the creators intended. Because even they have no idea what the fuck is or isn't connective tissue through continuity. How many new readers and demographics have DC created with this grand plan?

The problem, then, deepens, because without continuity what is in-character for any of these characters? Without a coherent past anything is possible...but that's like saying a a developmentally challenged five-year old is superior to Tesla because he or she have their whole life ahead of them. It's simply carte blanche for poor world-building and overall storytelling.

At best, the characters retain characteristics -- remain themselves -- because of their iconic status. But that also leaves them in constant stasis, incapable by design of any complication that is lasting or growth that is real. It's basically Saturday morning cartoon or sitcom writing posing as "writing without limits". They become as thin as a comic book page.

On the other side, so far as any attempt at continuity or logic, there's Batman Incorporated, a summation of Batman as both a Corporate and Artistic Standard; how those two things feed off each other, with that Yellow Oval as synthesis of the two extremes into harmonic whole.

The power of that Bat-Logo as corporatism and artistry, from the Sixties Pop Art Bat-Camp fad to the 1989 Pop Opera Blockbuster, is palpable. Yet what seems to trump that at DC is that Frank Miller didn't like it.

Well, that settles that.
« Last Edit: Jun 4th, 2013, 07:14am by Will » User IP Logged

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