I later discovered an entry at the Bat-Blog about General Mills’ foreign counterpart Nestle, and learned that they too were releasing Bat figures in their cereals.
No surprise there, Batmania is a worldwide phenomenon and everyone should have a shot at a toy Batman or Joker in their breakfast cereal – step one on the long road to world peace and universal understanding.
What did surprise me was the fact that these foreign Nestle cereals were including a Scarecrow figure not released in the US!
"Call me "Mr. Potato Head" one more time and POW! Right in the kisser!"
This fact further reinforces my conjecture that prudish US consumers are going to flip-out about the Joker being too scary and not an appropriate character for a Lucky Charms freebie. I can see the US corporate meetings now when they decided to nix the Scarecrow figure: “We can’t put that in our cereal, his name is “Scarecrow” – he has “scare” right there in his name - and therefore he’s scary to children. But the Joker, he’s just a silly clown, right? He cracks jokes. Kids love knock-knock jokes. What could be scary about a Joker?”
Just you wait.
Anyways, when I discovered his existence, and realized we were being shafted in the US, I had to add a Scarecrow to my collection. I wasn’t too concerned about getting the other figures, as I didn’t look all that closely and assumed they were the same as the US figures. But I was able to track down a complete set and went for it, which arrived from Australia last Saturday.
Which led to a second surprise: they are all unique figures. The foreign Nestle Batman(s) and Joker are taller and thicker than the
"You're way too scary for children. Where's Dr. Wertham when you need him?"
"Come on, seven!"
One Nestle Batman has a waist twisting feature similar to the old Masters of the Universe figures. Twist him back and he twists forward with a Bat Punch! The other has a double-upper-cut feature: both arms pull down and spring up together.
Do not adjust your screen: Nestle Batman on the left - General Mills Batman on the right.
General Mills Joker on the left, Nestle Joker on the right.
Joker and Scarecrow visit the Arsenio Hall show. "Woof woof woof!"
The Nestle Scarecrow (the only Scarecrow) has an upper-cut feature in his right arm.
"Batman is such a wanker."
The Nestle Joker has a kicking feature similar to the General Mills Joker, but the Nestle version’s foot locks in the back position so he can stand upright.
The Nestle figures also have no moving parts other than their action features, while the General Mills Batman I have does have movement in the arm not equipped with an action feature.
"It's fun to stay at the "U"- sideways "S" - "J" - DOH!"
One final thing I just noticed, the Nestle Batman with waist twist action appears to be sporting the Batman Begins Batsuit, while the double-upper-cut Nestle Batman is sporting the Dark Knight Batsuit. It's hard to tell from the pics, but it is very clear that these figures were intentionally sculpted to be different Batsuits.
I only have one General Mills Batman so far, and he’s wearing the Dark Knight Batsuit. But looking at the Lucky Charms box, it appears that the other US Batman is wearing the Batman Begins Batsuit. Nice touch! Kudos to the toy designers involved in these premiums!
If you are a Batfan and like the US versions of these toys you will love the foreign versions as well. I recommend you track some down if you have access to foreign friends or family, or if you can get them off of eBay for a decent price. They are well worth it, and the fact that none of these will be seen at retail in the US (especially the Scarecrow in any form) makes them quite the nice addition to your collection.