Friday, March 25, 2016

Superfans of superheroes - some spend thousands of dollars on merchandise and apparel

This was reported in The Straits Times today

With the opening of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice in cinemas earlier this week comes a new wave of frenzy over the two superheroes. But the Dark Knight and Man of Steel have long had their ardent fans here. Most are men in their 30s and 40s, who grew up watching movies and television series featuring the superheroes.

Some fill their bedrooms and living rooms with themed merchandise. One such fan is professional photographer Timothy Isaac, 30, who has been a Batman fan since he was five years old. He has more than 30 figurines of Batman and other characters from the Batman universe, such as Robin, the Joker and Catwoman. In all, he has spent $12,000 on Batman merchandise. He says: "Batman isn't like other superheroes. He was not born with any superpowers. He is just a man who decided to go out there to clean up his city and make a change. This, I feel, is admirable." That could well be the reason Batman fans seem to outnumber Superman fans here - two toy shop owners say Batman merchandise sells three times as well as Superman merchandise.

Mr Eric Sia and his Superman collection

Mr Eric Sia has spent more than $8,000 on Superman-related merchandise, including 200 action figures, 30 medium-sized statues, seven movie posters and 10 DVDs of the movies and animated TV series. Most of his collection is displayed in custom-made floor-to-ceiling glass cabinets in the living room of his five-room Tampines HDB flat, where he lives with his wife, an allied educator.

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Mr Elliott Danker with his Batman collection

Mr Elliott Danker, 34, has spent more than $12,000 on Batman-related merchandise, including 11 figurines and statues of the caped crusader and other Gotham City characters such as the Joker and Catwoman; four miniature "Batmobiles" - each costing $350 to $850; five movie posters; three T-shirts; 10 sets of hardcover comic-book sets; nine DVDs of the movies and TV series; an Xbox video game; and a mug. Danker's figurines and statues are kept in three display cabinets in his studio apartment in Tanjong Katong.

"To me, Batman figurines are like art. Each expresses a side of Batman, and it feels great waking up and being reminded of my favourite comic book character. If you ask me, it's impossible to have too much Batman stuff."

The Dark Knight first made an impression on Danker in 1989, when he watched a Batman movie starring Michael Keaton with his late grandfather, Mr Raymond Danker, who was also a comic book fan.

Mr Kua Way Hao with his Batman collection

To make room for his Batman figurines, Mr Kua Way Hao gave up sleeping on a double bed four years ago and now sleeps on a single mattress on the floor. Batman merchandise has practically taken over Mr Kua's bedroom - collectibles include eight figurines of Batman and related characters such as Catwoman and Poison Ivy; a life-sized bust; 10 framed movie posters; and assorted items such as singlets, leggings, a Batarang and tissue box. He also owns a life-sized costume of Harley Quinn. Mr Kua's whole collection has cost him more than $10,000, and he has set aside another $3,000 to buy merchandise from the new movie, including a 1.1m-tall statue of the caped crusader.

Related posts:
November 22, 2015 – In The Sunday Times today: Star Wars fan Ng Hak Beng builds a walking and talking R2-D2, posted on my toy blog HERE
February 20, 2015 – Hot Toys Collector or Hot Toys Box Collector? Age-old question: To open / not to open the toy! posted HERE
July 28, 2013 – Happy to report that my Batman Collection photo got published in Discovery Channel Magazine. Check out the post HERE

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