Royal Mail released 12 gummed stamps and a six-stamp self-adhesive miniature sheet on September 17 featuring the superheroes and supervillains created by DC Comics, an American comic book publisher.

The latest in a series of issues driven by lucrative licensing agreements rather than a desire to celebrate British culture, it was produced in partnership with Warner Bros Consumer Products.

Along with the Star Wars issue of 2015 and the Star Trek issue of 2020, the DC Collection issue means that the three biggest sets in Royal Mail’s history (comprising 18 stamps each) have all been dedicated to American fiction franchises.

Ironically, DC Comics is a direct competitor to Marvel Comics, whose characters were featured in a 15-stamp set in 2019.

The counter-sheet stamps illustrate Batman, with five of his allies and six of his his foes. The miniature sheet features members of the Justice League, a group of superheroes joining forces to combat evil.

All 18 stamps were illustrated by comic book artist Jim Cheung, who is British, and colourist Laura Martin, who is Colombian-American. The overall design credit is given to the Interabang Agency.

The whole issue was printed in litho by International Security Printers, with elements of the designs featuring spot-fluorescence, which shows up under ultra-violet light. The counter sheet stamps are available in se-tenant strips of six.

 

1st class BATMAN

Batman is the alter ego of Bruce Wayne, who takes it upon himself to combat the many criminals active in Gotham City as a masked vigilante.

1st class BATWOMAN

Kate Kane is the wealthy heiress who becomes Batwoman, filling in for Batman during his absence from the city.

1st class ROBIN

A succession of characters, starting with Dick Grayson, have served as Batman’s faithful sidekick, Robin. 

1st class BATGIRL 

Yet another masked crimefighter is Batgirl, a role filled by several characters, most notably Barbara Gordon.

1st class ALFRED 

The man Batman trusts most is his butler, Alfred Pennyworth, who provides him with technological, medical and emotional support.

1st class NIGHTWING

After outgrowing the role of Robin, Dick Grayson becomes Nightwing, patrolling the streets of Gotham’s neighbouring city, Blüdhaven.

1st class THE JOKER

The Joker is a ruthless criminal who plans to bring mayhem to Gotham City, and is locked in a never-ending duel with Batman.

1st class HARLEY QUINN

After an obsessive love affair with The Joker, Harley Quinn goes solo as a villain, but also something of an anti-hero.

1st class THE PENGUIN

A nightclub owner obsessed with birds, Oswald Cobblepot controls much of Gotham City’s criminal underworld as The Penguin.

1st class POISON IVY 

After gaining the power to control flora, botanist Pamela Isley becomes the eco-terrorist Poison Ivy, fighting to save plant life from destruction by humans.

1st class CATWOMAN

The criminal who steals Batman’s heart, Selina Kyle is Catwoman, a notorious jewel thief with a feline ferocity.

1st class THE RIDDLER

Edward Nygma, a criminal genius obsessed with puzzles, operates as The Riddler, leaving clues which only someone as smart as he can solve.

 

MINIATURE SHEET

 

1st class BATMAN

Batman, the protector of Gotham City, appears on a second stamp as part of the Justice League, an ensemble of DC’s greatest superheroes.

1st class WONDER WOMAN

Wonder Woman is an Amazonian warrior with super strength but also compassion and belief in others.

1st class SUPERMAN

A survivor of the destroyed planet Krypton, Superman protects his adopted home of Earth as he battles for truth and justice.

1st class GREEN LANTERN & THE FLASH

Green Lantern uses her power ring to protect the Earth, while The Flash is the fastest man alive thanks to a freak lightning strike.

1st class CYBORG & AQUAMAN

Cyborg is part human, part machine, while Aquaman is the half-human, half-Atlantean King of the Seven Seas.

1st class SUPERGIRL & SHAZAM!

Supergirl is the cousin of Superman, who realises she can also be a positive force for justice, while Billy Batson can summon up superpowers by uttering the word ‘Shazam’.

 

OTHER PRODUCTS

The presentation pack takes a closer look at Batman’s allies and foes. and a press sheet of 12 uncut miniature sheets is offered in a limited edition of 500.

First day covers and stamps cards are joined by myriad other souvenir products aimed at comic-book aficionados.

 

PRICES

Set of 12 stamps   £10.20

Miniature sheet   £5.10

Press sheet   £67.30

Presentation pack   £16.20

Stamp cards   £8.55

First day cover (stamps)   £12.90

First day cover (mini sheet)   £6.80

 

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   0/5

There is no good reason for American cultural icons to feature on British stamps

QUALITY OF DESIGN   3/5

The illustrations are dynamic and colourful, as you would expect from DC artists

WOW FACTOR   2/5

Produced for comic-strip fans, these stamps are unlikely to see much postal use