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'Collecting the Multiverse' offers purrr-fect deep dive into Sideshow's DC sculptures, from Catwoman to Joker
If you've ever attended San Diego Comic-Con, then you're probably familiar with the incredibly detail-oriented products of Sideshow Collectibles. Their figures and sculptures (often encased in a cozy glass box for security purposes) are as breathtaking as they are expensive. No joke, some of the price tags can run into the thousands, but don't worry — now you don't have to break the bank trying to collect every single piece of merch. Thanks to a new book from Insight Editions, you can lasso up the entire DC corner of the Sideshow universe.
On sale this November, DC: Collecting the Multiverse: The Art of Sideshow was written by Andrew Farago, who put together an exhaustive history on Batman last fall. "My booth at the San Diego Comic-Con, running fundraising events for San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum, has been positioned directly across from Sideshow's for almost a decade. It was great getting to know their crew and working with them after all this time," the author tells SYFY WIRE.
Below, we're debuting four exclusive interior pages from the book, all related to Sideshow's Bat-related output that includes Harley Quinn, Joker, Catwoman, and, of course, the Dark Knight himself. These figures and sculptures are based on different iterations of these classic characters seen across the comics, TV shows, films, and video games. You'll see depictions of actors like Adam West, Julie Newmar, and Michelle Pfeiffer, as well as character designs from the Arkham games.
"The attention to detail that goes into every aspect of every product is staggering. I know a lot about the creative process behind comics and animation, but this was the first time I got to take a deep dive into design, sculpture, and fabrication, and it was very educational," Farago says. "Every member of the team — whether it's the first artists to sketch out concept art, or the sculptors, or the painters, or the costumers, or the graphic designers who make sure your statue arrives in the coolest-looking box you've ever seen — every one of them is at the top of their game, and really loves the work that they do. Their enthusiasm for the characters and the work came through in every conversation."
Thanks to his books on Batman and Harley Quinn, Farago was particularly well-equipped to tackle this project.
"I've spent a lot of time in the DCU over the past few years, especially Gotham City," he explains. "That certainly sped things along when I was writing about Batman and his rogues' gallery. Classic comics, Adam West, Tim Burton, Batman: The Animated Series...I got to put all of that to good use here."
"The more technical and detail-oriented the interviews got, the more questions I had. Fabric patterns, brush sizes, paint mixture ratios, sculptural tools—the more 'inside baseball' the interviews got, the more fun it was," Farago continues. "Getting an incredible sculptor like Paul Komoda to walk me through the design and sculpture process on his deluxe Swamp Thing statue was a lot of fun, and so was talking about artistic inspiration with painters like Kat Sapene, or costume fabrication with Tim Hanson and Esther Skandunas. Listening to the inside stories about all the hard work and the unusual challenges behind these figures — where do you get fabric for a foot-high supervillain's bespoke jacket, anyway? — is something I could do all day."
As a little job perk, Farago received two, "really cool" Premium Figures at the start of the project. One was a classic comic book rendition of the Joker, and the other was modeled after Ezra Miller's Flash in Justice League.
"The Joker's got a lot of intricate details, from the hand-stitched clothing and his gag-themed arsenal to the interchangeable heads and hands," the author says. "It's quite a step up from the Mego Joker I had as a kid in the early '80s! The Joker's amazing because it represents a design team taking everything they know about the character from 80 years' worth of comic book, movie, and animated appearances and distilling it into a single figure."
When it comes to Flash, "it's uncanny how spot-on the likeness" to Miller is, Farago says. "The colors, the materials, the posability...it's really impressive when you see these up close. I'm tempted to track down the rest of the Justice League so I can stage some epic battles on my kitchen table, but I don't want to step on Zack Snyder's toes."
The book also features an introduction written by Kevin Conroy, the famous voice of Bruce Wayne in Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond. He also played the character in live-action for the first time in The CW's Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event last year.
"I'd buy it just for that," Farago concludes. "But really, if you're a DC Comics fan, if you enjoy high-end comics collectibles, if you're an artist or sculptor who wants a peek behind the curtain at one of the most innovative production studios in the world, you'll want this one for your coffee table this holiday season. The Sideshow Collectibles and Insight Editions design teams outdid themselves on this one, and I think everyone's going to love this book."
DC: Collecting the Multiverse: The Art of Sideshow goes on sale Thursday, Nov. 17. You can pre-order a copy here.