Fools Paradise’s I won’t be a Hero, Tim

I’m not Batman, but proclaiming myself to be the Caped Crusader would be appropriate while considering I won’t be a Hero, Tim #2 (2016) from Alan Ng’s Fools Paradise. Reinterpreting his Lowfool (2011) character in the costume of the Dark Knight, Ng’s impressive PVC vinyl sculpture has a multitude of noteworthy aspects to it.

Contents of the I won’t be a Hero, Tim #2 box

Inside the massive box there are two gorgeously decorated block seats, each adorned with a wide variety of pop culture based stickers, and the various parts to put together a tattoo machine accessory. But who will be the tattooist using said machine? As the two head options reveal, it is a stylized depiction of Tim Burton, director of such films as Beetlejuice, Batman, and Edward Scissorhands. And, of course, Tim the tattooist needs a subject to put his ink upon, so we finally have Bat Lowfool, who sits at over 10.5” tall.

A Brief History of Lowfool

As we briefly touched upon in my review of Fools Paradise’s Sand K.Troop at Coin Rides Game #1 (2015) release, Ng began his brand with the Handmade12 line, which had more realistic renditions of characters he would later stylize. The first three were Keiko, Zoo, and Kids, with the fourth one — Lowfool — being introduced in late 2011. The biggest figure he’d created at that point, at an impressive 14” height, he quickly followed it up the following year with Da Lowfool, the animalistic representation of the character as an anthropomorphic tiger.

The character disappeared for years, only resurfacing last year for the first version of I won’t be a Hero, Tim, which depicted Lowfool cosplaying as the Dark Knight in his more recent black and gray attire, while this second version, as you can see, embraces the more traditional blue and grey costume. Both versions of which, due to Lowfool’s massive musculature, remind me of Frank Miller’s futuristic renditions of Gotham’s protector.

My Impressions of Bat Lowfool

The Bat Lowfool is packed with little jests, especially those concerning the various Batman films and even some references to the comic books. For instance, on this one arm, he has the bloody Superman logo that is well-known from issue 75 of that series, the infamous Death of Superman culmination. This, of course, could be a reference to the ultimate battle between the Batman and Supes in Miller’s Dark Knight Returns mini-series or equally inspired by the recent Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film.
Fool Paradise's I won't be a Hero, Tim Review
We also have the Bat symbol with the words “Like Black” in it, which speaks to the superhero’s overall color aesthetic, and a traditional tattoo banner with “Virgin” written inside, probably harkening to the common remark that while Bruce Wayne, as Batman’s playboy alter ego, is often seen in the company of ladies, he doesn’t seem to ever take them to bed. This theory can easily be disproven using both the films and comics, but this isn’t a review of Batman’s love life, so back to Bat Lowfool’s tats.
Fool Paradise's I won't be a Hero, Tim Review
Amid several more traditional tattoo designs, we have the closing voice-over remarks from Batman in the Christopher Nolan film, The Dark Knight: “Sometimes the truth isn’t good enough. Sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve their faith rewarded.” And while that’s an obvious connection, let’s not overlook the implications of the traditional designs next to it: a star being a shining light in the darkness; a peace symbol, which immediately is associated with the ‘60s and the heyday of Adam West portraying the character on television; and a skull, which seems more in tone with the ‘80s and the darker rebirth Batman experienced then.
Fool Paradise's I won't be a Hero, Tim Review
We next see “I won’t be a hero” and “Lowfool,” both of which are rather straightforward, as the title of this piece and the character in the costume. Though it is noteworthy I think to mention that the piece’s title brings forth the question of if Batman is a true hero or more a vigilante, a common debate in the comics over the last 30 years.

“Why Not Serious” is a reply to The Joker’s query “Why So Serious” from The Dark Knight film, while “I love Keikocat” depicts Bat Lowfool kissing Fools Paradise’s most popular character, Keiko, while she is in Catwoman’s attire. After a couple more direct tats, “Like Dark Night,” an anatomical heart, and Batman’s mask, there are two lines in Chinese: “God of the Dark Night” and “Man Proposes, God Disposes,” the latter of which may be related to Batman’s long-standing stance of not killing criminals.
Beyond these tattoos, even the fact that Bat Lowfool has a mustache is a bit of a jest, making one recall the belief after Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises film that when Bruce Wayne had a mustache on he was apathetic, forsaking his superheroic ways. Heck, that concept led to the popular Call Me Maybe parody Batman Maybe.

My Impressions of Tim the tattooist

While sitting next to the Bat Lowfool figure the almost 7.5” tall Tim piece is easy to dismiss, it is an equally pristine piece. And while it might not be loaded with lots of little jokes, the overall aesthetic of it — and alternate skull head — definitely evoke two of the Burton produced stop-motion animations: The Nightmare Before Christmas and the Corpse Bride.

My Impressions of I won’t be a Hero, Tim

When put all together, this makes for a massive and truly impressive addition to any art toy collection, all the parts in the diorama making it a piece that you could inspect for lengthy periods. Everything is produced to perfection with one slight imperfection: the underside of the cape has a ghastly seam in the vinyl, though thankfully one would not inspect the underside often.
Fool Paradise's I won't be a Hero, Tim Review

Editions in the I won’t be a… series [show]

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