Holy Collection, Batman!

Local collector craves 'Caped Crusader'

Everyone likes a good hero story, but Nick Kreighbaum, of Muncy, prefers Batman to all others.

More specifically, Kreighbaum collects memorabilia from “Batman” and “Batman Returns,” the 1989 and 1992 films directed by Tim Burton.

“The original Tim Burton Batman universe holds a very big place in my heart and always has. I’ve been a huge fan since I was 5 years old,” he said. “I am trying to collect all of the nostalgic pieces from my childhood that I can remember, pretty much any and all of the movie merchandise I can find.”

From trading cards, McDonald’s toys to T-shirts, he likes to get whatever he can find. Kreighbaum also has some of the original Happy Meal bags that the McDonald’s toys came in as well as cereal boxes featuring the movie from the time period.

His collection also includes autographs of Jack Nicholson, Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Danny DeVito and even Batman creator, Bob Kane, on a very limited edition art print. He said the artwork is based off of the films and feature original artwork from the creator.

“I really love the three pieces of art I just recently acquired that are original signed pieces from the Batman creator, Bob Kane,” he said. “I never thought I would be able to own these as part of my collection, and I will definitely cherish them forever.”

Although “Batman Returns” was the second of the films, Kreighbaum said it was the first one he saw when he was younger.

“It was marketed towards kids and adults just like the Marvel movies of today, but due to it’s disturbing dark content, my mother wouldn’t let me watch it,” he said.

When he was 5 years old, he was able to convince his babysitter to let him see the movie.

“My babysitter would always cave and get the VHS of ‘Batman Returns’ out of its hiding spot and let me watch it, as long as I didn’t tell mom,” he said.

He prefers the “Batman Returns” film.

“Over the years, as I grew to understand cinema and pay attention to what makes movies good or bad, I think ‘Batman Returns’ is Tim Burton’s superior work as opposed to ‘Batman,’ “ he said. “It’s totally more rewatchable, and its soundtrack is probably my favorite of all time. Many reasons to revisit.”

Collecting these items has been a good feeling of nostalgia for him.

“It just became gratifying to keep finding these things I remembered having or seeing as a kid. I either got rid of or lost most of the stuff growing up,” he said. “I’m all about nostalgia, so any chance I can get to relive good memories is an opportunity I love receiving. This gives me those opportunities.”

Recently, he was able to travel with a friend to see a double feature of “Batman” and “Batman Returns” in the original 35mm film format.

“That’s something I always wished I could do since I was too young when they were out initially,” he said. “I’m happy to knock that off of my bucket list.”

Although Batman is his favorite character in pop culture, he prefers to keep the collection to just the Tim Burton verse. He said it makes the collection more unique that way, but it also has the convenience of helping him save some money, too.

He’s been collecting items since 2012, and he started with getting the soundtrack for “Batman Returns” on CD. He’s since found it on cassette, but he’s still looking for a vinyl version, which he said is the most coveted item he’d like to add to his collection at the moment. He already has a vinyl for “Batman,” so not having one for “Batman Returns” makes his collection feel incomplete.

“I really want to own the vinyl of Danny Elfman’s score for ‘Batman Returns.’ It’s been long out of print, and they didn’t make many copies to begin with so it’s very rare,” he said. “I have a feeling now with the resurgence of vinyl, we may see a reissue in the future, which will be great.”

However, a reissue would not be his ideal.

“I’d love to find the original pressing,” he said. “I’m a completionist, and since I have Danny Elfman’s score for the first movie on vinyl, the fact that I don’t have the sequel leaves a mental void when I think about it.”

With many of the items no longer sold in stores, eBay has been the source for most of his collection, but it also has given him some trouble. Once, he was able to buy cereal boxes dated from 1992 and 1989 for the films. He said he was buying the boxes without the cereal in them, just the box.

“However, they did come with an unopened toy Batmobile with candy inside of it,” he said. “Over time, the candy liquefied, and when I opened it up, it got all over me and almost ruined the cereal boxes. I thanked the eBay seller sarcastically for the warning on that.”

Over all, his experiences have been positive in finding items for his collection.

“I’ve been lucky. Most of the things I got lucky finding on eBay and snagging quickly,” he said. “I don’t usually waste time trying to barter with people on there because I’ve been burned too many times and have missed out on some awesome things. If it’s a fair price, I’ll take it.”

“What I collect” collector series is published on the last Sunday of each month in the Lifestyle section, as they are available.

If you or someone you know has a collection, email life@sun ­gazette.com for a chance to be featured in an upcoming edition.

Please include the name and location of the collector, the type of collection and phone number.