POSTHUMOUS HEATH FIGURINE
By JULIA DAHL
February 16, 2008 -- Heath Ledger lives on - as an evil 6-inch figurine.
The Post got a sneak peek at the action figures for this summer's upcoming Batman flick "The Dark Knight," in which Ledger stars as the psychotic villain The Joker .
Although the doll is being unveiled less than a week after Ledger's funeral, his family stands behind the company's decision to go ahead with marketing the collectible.
"Heath was very proud of his work in the film, and his family is aware and supportive of Warner Bros. and its partner's plans for the movie," said a family spokesperson.
Mattel will be selling two versions of the Joker doll, both of which hit store shelves in May.
The first retails for $7.99 and features a rocket launcher that can be placed in the Joker's hand.
The second (pictured), a slightly larger, more detailed version created by famed action-figure designers the Four Horsemen, sells for $10.99 and comes with a toy knife.
"It's not exactly a marketing point," said Mattel's P.J. Lewis of Ledger's death. "But kids are going to buy the toy if they like the movie."
Cliff Annicelli, editor of Playthings magazine, said he believes Ledger's death will definitely increase sales of the Joker figure, especially among adults.
"I would expect it will be a hotter collectible than it would have been before his death," said Annicelli.
Mattel will probably rely on comic book stores, instead of toy stores, to sell most of the figurines, he added.
"That's been the marketing plan all along, because the movie is dark and not particularly kid-appropriate," Annicelli said.
Adrienne Citrin, of the Toy Industry Association, played down extra sales associated with Ledger's death.
"Batman is an iconic figure," she said. "There's a lot of excitement surrounding the movie, and that correlates with sales. It's going to be a popular action figure regardless of his unfortunate death."
The Joker and other "Dark Knight" figurines will be on display at the American International Toy Fair this weekend at the Javits Center.