You are here
Home > Latest News > REVIEW: DC Collectibles Artists Alley Joe Ledbetter Batman, Robin, Catwoman, & Penguin

REVIEW: DC Collectibles Artists Alley Joe Ledbetter Batman, Robin, Catwoman, & Penguin

-Review and photos by Scott Rubin

While it only debuted last year, DC Collectibles’ unique Artists Alley line of statues has made a huge splash in the collector community.  Artists Alley takes classic DC heroes and villains and pairs them up with great artists to create unique, stylized, and just plain cool 6.75” scale vinyl figures.  We’ve gotten characters as envisioned by Chris Uminga, Nooligan, and Sho Murase, with more on the way from Chrissie Zullo and James Groman.  But today we get to show off the latest artist series: Batman, Robin, Catwoman, and Penguin by Joe Ledbetter!  A veteran of the vinyl and art toy scene, Ledbetter is well known for his instantly recognizable style.  His characters are always full of motion with interesting blends of curves and hard lines, and of course an iconic, vibrant paint style that looks like art come to life.  Read on (and check out our photos) to get the full scoop on this Gotham City foursome which is arriving in stores now!


DC Collectibles has really perfected its current packaging design, the basics of which you’ll see across their different figure and statues series.  The Artist Alley figures come to you in sleek box packages with a sliced off front right corner.  Now, with each artist there are some unique elements, and just so with Joe’s.  Each figure’s packaging takes cues from a signature color, so blue for Batman, green for Robin, etc.  On the front of each box is a huge illustration of the character along with his or her name at the top-left along with Ledbetter.  A group illustration graces the top of the box in the individual colors while on a side panel it’s fully detailed. 


On the back panel of each box you can read about the DC Artists Alley line as well as Ledbetter himself.  There’s also a small “Collect Them All” section showing the rest of his figures.  As a special treat the front panel of the box is hinged; swing it open to see the figure in its full glory as well as the included sketch card!


Ledbetter’s Artists Alley series takes a very cool spin on these characters by turning them into their literal animal namesakes in anthropomorphic form, while they retain their costumes and signature equipment!  Because of the wide variety of creatures involved this foursome is incredibly dynamic when it comes to sizes and shapes, very different from the previous series of similarly-sized statues.  For example, Batman has a wingspan of almost 12 inches, Catwoman stands 6 ½ inches tall, Penguin is about 9 inches “deep” from the hand held out behind him to the smoke billowing from his umbrella, and Robin is only 4 inches tall.  The animals naturally inform the shapes and body styles while their gear is right out of the comic pages, and there are tons of fun little details to find.


First and foremost is Batman, a snub-nosed bat creature spreading its wings to fly into the night.  His furred body is a light gray with tons of sculpted textures, while his face is a darker shade that contrasts really well with the bright white of his teeth, fangs, and eye shields.  Batman’s costume is a medium blue with lots of thick black lines and shading.  As a bat he has small legs and wings that sprout from where his hands would be, and his low-slung head juts forward. 


There are some super cool design elements like the all of the pointy, flat shapes of the fangs, nose, and ears sticking out of the rounded head, the dynamic curves of the toe claws, the way the tail becomes the anchor point for standing him up, and of course the fact that from the back his wings and head form the classic Batman symbol!  Look closely to see that there’s a bat symbol on the hero’s chest as well, he has a bright yellow utility belt with lots of pouches, and his “trunks” resemble underpants.  There’s also another hallmark of Ledbetter designs in asymmetry with different eyebrow shapes and a notch torn out of the bottom of Batman’s righthand wing.


Speaking of wings, next up is the other half of the dynamic duo, Robin!  This figure is arguably the most animalistic as evidenced by having much larger bird-inspired “arms” than its tiny legs.  Robin stands on gloved “hands” that hold his body aloft, while his diminutive lower limbs “run” in mid-air.  It’s a really cute look that contrasts with the serious expression on his face: heavily slanted eyes with furrowed brows and a badass scar. 


A brown bird where his feathers/skin are exposed, Robin channels classic Dick Grayson with his costume in red, green, and yellow complete with red shirt, yellow and black “R” symbol, green pants, green gloves, and yellow cape and feet.  All of his limbs end in three digits, while a twin tail emerges from underneath his shirt.  There are cool feather textures on Robin’s arms, with larger spiky versions on the sides and top of his head.  He may be the smallest of the bunch, but this bird definitely has a distinctive, action-packed feel to him.


Then we get into the criminal underground of Gotham City starting with the Penguin.  While this isn’t a character that usually appears in a first wave of Batman characters, he’s a perfect fit for Joe Ledbetter’s style as a dapper penguin dressed in his usual finery and wielding a killer umbrella!  The bird’s main body is essentially a plump sphere from which protrude patent leather shoes, long arms, and a big head.  Penguin wears a blue shirt with yellow buttons (stretched to the limits across his body), black and white shoes with yellow soles, a black bowtie, and matching fur-lined jacket and top hat in black and gray. 


There is a tremendous amount of small details to appreciate all over the Penguin from the multitude of yellow buttons and discs across his outfit to the fish skeleton decoration on his hat, the sculpted fur texture inside his jacket, and more.  Best of all is his bird head with sophisticated black and white face, long yellow beak, flamboyantly styled orange hair, and two very different expressions; on the left the crime boss is all business with a frown and a long cigarette holder while on the right his monocle and toothy sneer make you hear his distinctive squawk in your head.  His pose is pretty devious too, jumping off his feet (resting on the base of his jacket) with one refined hand held back while the other jams his umbrella forward, poisonous gas spewing from its tip.


Last but not least is the feline femme fatale in Batman’s life, Catwoman.  I have to admit, I think she’s my favorite in the bunch.  Catwoman is arguably the most anthropomorphic of the foursome, distinguished mainly by her reverse-jointed heels, clawed paws, tail, and head.  She wears a full body gray catsuit with black extremities and pink accents, while a black belt with bright yellow baubles decorates her waist.  Catwoman’s kitty head is magnificent, oversized and quite wide with cat ears, sculped fur sticking out the sides, and of course a devious smile. 


Again, Ledbetter includes some nifty asymmetry with one exposed tooth on one side and two on the other.  Catwoman prowls forward on clawed feet, one paw in front of her beckoning you with a single claw while the other is held open behind her; that one has a pink pad upon which you could place any number of items or treasures.  And we can’t forget the thief’s tail, a flat structure that curls to her side providing balance for the figure and from which dangles a stolen gem.


Joe Ledbetter’s DC Artists Alley designer vinyl figures are a blast, uniquely animal inspired while still immediately recognizable for their comic book character counterparts.  Joe’s style is in full effect and gives them a beautiful otherworldly, cartoony look and they’re full of neat details that you’ll enjoy when you see them in your display.  Fans of Batman and his gallery of rogues and allies should absolutely check these out, and of course anyone who loves Ledbetter’s art and figures.  I would recommend them for anyone who is into vinyl and art toys in general as well, and they’ll go great with things like Dunnys and the more obscure stuff you might pick up at Designer Con and the like.  Batman, Robin, Penguin, and Catwoman are hitting stores now, each with an MSRP of $49.95.  Be on the lookout too for variants like the glow in the dark Batman coming to DC Universe.

Review and photos by Scott Rubin

Review samples courtesy of DC Collectibles

[See image gallery at]

Keep up with all the latest toy news by following on Facebook and Twitter!

To buy action figures, take a look at Hobby Link Japan,,,, and