According to the Tampa Tribune (AP story here), a Florida man is being sued by DC Comics for copyright and trademark infringement because he was selling figurines that resemble characters from the 1960s Batman live-action TV show.
John Stacks, who ran johnnysresin.com (“closed” at the time of this posting, though pages are still accessible to Google search), marketed the resin model kits as representations of the actors who played Batman (Adam West), Robin (Burt Ward), Catwoman (Julie Newmar), the Joker (Cesar Romerot), Batgirl (Yvonne Craig), the Penguin (Burgess Meredith), the Riddler (Frank Gorshin), Egghead (Vincent Price) and King Tut (Victor Buono).
The entrepreneur claims in the articles above to have working relationships with several of the actors represented, but this seems to be a matter of dispute — either that, or these stars of yesteryear are understandably trying to distance themselves from his predicament.
In a marketplace flooded with often sub-par, mass-produced toys and collectibles, it’s fairly common these days to find talented fans making — and sometimes selling — custom action figures and models. It’s pretty well understood, though, that selling such items is risky business at best. When it’s a likeness of an actor, that’s a different matter altogether — especially if one has the backing of said celebrity. But it’s also far less profitable.