There are few things few things less ridiculous in the world than comic books, even comic fans can admit that. But what’s even more ridiculous than the spandex-clad heroes themselves are the toys based on them, specifically those made in the 1990s.
The ‘90s were a tough time for comic books, as the heroes we all know and love went through a dark, and gritty, age led by Frank Miller, Alan Moore, and Todd McFarlane. Oddly though, the toys during this era went the completely opposite direction, getting increasingly wacky and bizarre.
DC toys were a lot less ridiculous than some of Marvel’s, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t produce some wild stuff. You won’t be surprised to hear they made a lot of Batman toys and needed a lot of ideas as a result.
20 Street Guardian Superman (1995)
Street Guardian Superman is a tough one to describe. It features the man in blue decked out in a black trench coat, black pants, a metallic leg pad, a chain, and shield. This might not be the most ridiculous toy on this list, but if this doesn’t scream “90s!” I don’t know what does.
19 The Penguin Umbrella Jet (1991)
You know how the Penguin has an umbrella that sometimes spits out poison gas? Well, what if that was turned into… a plane?! Then that would be stupid, but that didn’t stop the folks at Kenner from doing it anyway. This thing even had its own “spray gas” accessory, which was just a piece of plastic you stuck on the front.
18 X-Ray Vision Superman (1998)
One of Superman’s many powers is his x-ray vision, which is pretty hard to convey in toy form. Toy manufacturer Kenner’s solution? Paint Superman an orange/red gradient color, of course! And make his eyes glowing red too, so he looks like he’s about to melt everyone rather than use his x-ray vision on… the safe he comes with?
17 Happy Meal Batman Bike Container and Bike Mirror (1996)
Happy Meal toys are always pretty low quality, but these two take the cake. In 1996, McDonald’s ran a promotion for the upcoming Batman & Robin with several kid’s bike accessories. One was a container you could strap to the front handle bar, too small to hold anything, and another was a giant mirror that had Batman laying sensually on top.
16 Rock'em Sock'em Joker (1998)
What’s more boring than Rock’em Sock’em Robots? A single player version featuring the most over-used character in superhero history. This is a Rock’em Sock’em Figurine from 1998 featuring a weirdly robotic looking Joker on a stick. You twist the knob at the end, and he’ll punch the air, because there’s only one figure with this, for some reason.
15 Batman Crime Control Gun (1990)
Batman has always had one hard and fast rule when it comes to fighting crime: only use guns. That seems to be what Kenner thought anyway, as they released a Batman “Crime Control” gun in 1990. Oh, sorry, it’s a “Freeze Ray,” you know, that thing Batman’s enemy, Mr. Freeze uses to slay innocent civilians. Much better.
14 Swamp Thing Bog Rover (1990)
DC didn’t have much time for toys in the ‘90s that weren’t Batman or Superman, but one of the few exceptions was a line of Swamp Thing figures. They were fairly generic depictions of everyone’s favorite bog monster, except this monstrosity. It’s a hovercraft for Swamp Thing, because apparently a thing that lives in a swamp was having trouble getting around?
13 Night Hunter Batman (1995)
What is there to even say about this mess? Why is Batman wearing yellow when this figure is supposedly called “Night Hunter?” Why is he wearing yellow monocles over his eyes? Why does he have two giant steel claws? Is he planning on finally putting an end to the Joker in the most violent way possible?
12 Neutron Star Superman (1996)
Superman is a pretty powerful dude, but why not make him more powerful anyway? Why not put him in a suit with wings and giant rocket launchers on his wrists? The package claims this suit is from Superman: The Animated Series, but that’s not the case. Toy makers were just totally out of ideas at this point, and it shows.
11 Deep Dive Superman (1996)
Why would Superman need a suit for space? Forget that, why would he need a suit to go underwater? Isn’t that what Aquaman is for? No matter, Kenner clearly had some Neutron Star figures they couldn’t sell (I wonder why?) so decided to repaint them and call it a “Deep Dive” figure for underwater instead. It’d almost be clever if it weren’t so stupid.
10 Man Of Steel Superman Coupe (1995)
In the ‘90s, toy makers pretty much ran out of ideas. Enter the vehicle. Every superhero got their own car, just so companies could have something new. Superman didn’t get a car, but Clark Kent did. Maybe his friend Batman made it for him, in case he was tired of using his powers?
9 Disaster Control Batman (1995)
These toys certainly are a disaster, so it’s a good thing Disaster Control Batman is here to clean them up. As the name implies, this is a Batman toy designed specifically around the suit Batman uses when there’s a disaster. No, that would be his normal suit. This is an orange one with those yellow and black stripes, just so people know he’s super serious this time.
8 Man Of Steel Kryptonian Battle Suit (1995)
When Superman is done driving around the city and is ready to save the day, he can jump into his mechanized Battle Suit. Sure, it’s not like he’s the most powerful superhero of all-time or anything. Is this perhaps an attempt to leach off the success of Transformers? In any case, its legs are clearly too small for its body.
7 Flightpak Batman (1995)
Jealous of Superman, Batman created a jet pack with a pair of wings, painted his costume (and his face) blue, and took to the skies. You may be wondering what the point of this is when he has the Batwing, but I’d contend you’re asking the wrong question. The real question is: does it come in black? Also, why is this so stupid looking?
6 Infrared Batman (1993)
If X-Ray Superman wasn’t bad enough, here comes Infrared Batman to join in the day-glow red fun. Wearing his own red costume, Batman here is equipped with what can only be described as a bucket strapped to body armor, presumably to see things in infrared vision? I didn’t realize the Joker began harvesting the power of TV remote controls.
5 Batman & Robin Rooftop Pursuit (1997)
In case Flightpak Batman wasn’t dumb enough, here comes Batman wearing an even bigger and more ridiculous flying machine straight out of a Leonardo da Vinci sketch. Wearing a glider suit that’s even bigger than his is, Batman’s decided to dawn some kind of x-ray body suit that shows his muscles, painted blue, and his rib cage, painted yellow.
4 Slalom Racer Batman (1999)
Nobody told Batman that the Fourth of July was weeks ago, because he’s now shown up in a red, white, and blue costume. He even went all out on the ‘Murica theme, strapping a flamethrower to his back and toting ray guns for ski poles. Oh yes, I said ski poles, because this is Slalom Racer Batman, designed specifically for skiing down snowy slopes. Why not?
3 Decoy Batman (1993)
Decoy Batman is completely and utterly absurd. This is a toy in which Bruce Wayne constructed a fake double of Batman, that he wears himself, and then takes off (including his actual mask) to fool bad guys. But it’s just the torso and head! No arms or legs. It’s no Decoy Octopus, is it?
2 Neural Claw Batman (1996)
Remember that comic issue where Batman turned into a nightmarish demonic creature? Well, that actually probably happened several times, but Neural Claw Batman might just take the cake. Sprouting realistic bat wings on his back and two giant bat-like claws jetting from his wrists, this incarnation of Batman isn’t messing around. I wonder if he’s also blind and has to use sonar to see?
1 Laser Batman Beyond (1999)
Batman Beyond is the greatest version of Batman, so it’s a shame he also has to have the most ridiculously absurd toy of them all. Sporting holographic butterfly wings and a hideous yellow costume with strangely rectangular shoulder pads, this version of the character also comes with a shovel. I don’t remember that ever happening on the show.