Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Vintage Goodness: HOT LIPS HOULIHAN!

M*A*S*H - 3.75" Action Figures - Major "Hot Lips" Houlihan - Tristar 1982

M*A*S*H was an unavoidable part of growing up in the early eighties without cable (or Satellite Dish as it was back then).  The show ran from 1972 to 1983 and its finale became the most watched television episode of all time.  Early on in the show's career, there was a series of Mego-type dolls released for the show, but it wasn't until many years later that Tristar jumped on the fledgling 3.75" figure bandwagon and released this series, just a year before the long-running show concluded.  Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan was the primary female character on the show throughout its run, so luckily she was a shoe-in for inclusion in the toy line.  The character was played by Loretta Swit (who I actually met once!)  The likeness is actually very good for an early-80s figure in this scale.  Of course, I think it's a little odd that they made figures of television shows like this in the first place, but I think it's great that classic TV culture can be represented in my collection.  Let's check out Hot Lips below!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

DC Direct Brightest Day MERA!

Your Favorite Atlantean Queen - Mera - Brightest Day: Series 2 - DC Direct 2011
 
During all my years as a member on the now-defunct DC Message Boards, Mera was by far the most requested (ie.. begged and pleaded for) figure.  I'm actually still not sure if I've ever read a single story starring her character, but somehow I'm a fan.  This figure actually may be a large part of my fondness for the character.  She looks fantastic - a perfect rendition of the regal Queen of Atlantis and wife of Aquaman.  The Brightest Day storyline became an amazing opportunity for DC Direct to release all the heavily-demanded figures during the twilight of the company.  They finally created figures of Mera, Jade, Hawk, and Dove and released long overdue updates of Deadman, Hawkgirl, Firestorm, and Aqualad.  And none of these figures were last-minute hodgepodge attempts to make their soon-to-be-abandoned fanbase happy.  No, these figures were pretty much perfect.  I feel like I'm always lamenting the loss of DC Direct, but I think it's undeniable that we'll never see a company producing quality products at this frequency ever again.  But alas, DC Collectibles is doing okay so far (if you like video games).  Let's check out Mera!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Dark Horse Comics' MARTHA WASHINGTON!

Martha Washington from Frank Miller's Give Me Liberty - Dark Horse Comics 1998

This figure is a very nostalgic one for me.  When I was in middle school in 1990, I was captivated by the first issue of Give Me Liberty by Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons.  At the time, I was mostly reading Batman and GI Joe comics, so this was the first time a more mature comic ever caught my eye.  That pesky word "mature" plagued me for years though.  My local comic shop guy refused to sell me a copy.  But I was easily distracted and quickly moved on to other obsessions, until a friend of my brother got a copy and flaunted it before me.  It wasn't until years later when, under Dark Horse's Legend imprint, the sequel series Martha Washington Goes to War was published.  I finally got my taste of Martha's dystopian future of political evils and social uprising.  To be perfectly honest I wasn't a huge fan.  But that's mostly because my tastes had actually reverted to simpler superheroics and fantasy by that point.  A few years after that, this action figure was released commemorating her more grown up look in Martha Washington Goes to War.  As usual, I'm a man of delayed gratification and I never picked up this figure until a few years ago.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Legends of Batman EGYPTIAN CATWOMAN!

Legends of Batman - Egyptian Batman vs Catwoman 2-Pack - Kenner 1996
 
Legends of Batman was a very interesting toyline produced by Kenner in the late 1990s.  It was one of the earliest lines I can think of to make creative variants of all the A-list characters rather than just painting them neon and giving them ridiculous accessories.  Instead, Kenner approached these figures as potential Elseworlds-type characters.  Some of the gems of this series include: Samurai Batman, Pirate Two-Face vs Pirate Batman, Dark Rider Batman (very Sleepy Hollow), and Cyborg Batman.  I know crazy non-canonical variants aren't everyone's cup of tea, but then I see popular comics like The Return of Bruce Wayne or that cool Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Time Out for Vengeance" and I think these figures were just a little ahead of their time.  Plus, they gave us Egyptian Catwoman.  It makes sense somehow that she would be represented as a cat-goddess (although that doesn't make me accept the Halle Berry movie yet).  It doesn't hurt that this figure, in all it's 90's overly-posed glory, is actually pretty sweet.  Let's check her out in detail below!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The I-Men Collection GRAVITY GIRL!

The I-Men Series - Adventure Superstars - Series 2 - Gravity Girl - Toynami 2002

I always thought this would be a weird little figure to review, but I'm extremely fond of her and I somehow doubt we'll ever see this character in plastic again.  From 1967-69, Hanna-Barbera produced an amazing cartoon segment called Birdman and the Galaxy Trio.  The half-hour segments consisted of two Birdman cartoons with a Galaxy Trio short in the middle.. each being between 6-8 minutes long.  I loved the Galaxy Trio.  The team consisted of three extra-terrestrial superheroes travelling through space and finding adventures - each of the three harnessing an elemental-type power which coincided with their names: Vapor Man, Meteor Man, and Gravity Girl.  The cartoons were simple, fun, and classic.  In the early 2000's, Toynami produced an amazing array of action figures based off some of my favorite properties of all time (ie.. Classic Silver Age Hanna-Barbera Super-Heroes).  I really wish we could've seen these characters in 6" scale, but these early block-figures are still great.  Let's check her out below!

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Venture Bros 3.75" DR MRS THE MONARCH!

Adult Swim's The Venture Bros - Dr. Mrs. The Monarch - Bif Bang Pow! 2013
 
I only started watching The Venture Bros very recently and I have a lot of catching up to do (Season 5 just began in June).  One key factoid that would have had me tuning in from the start is that this show's creator (Jackson Publick) was a primary writer for The Tick.  Also, Ben Edlund, creator of The Tick, has been a contributor to the show.  The best way to describe The Venture Bros is as a spoof of Jonny Quest, mixed with the absurdity of The Tick, and the amusing inappropriateness of Drawn Together.  Dr. Mrs. The Monarch has had a variety of names.  The Butterfly-themed costume associated with her current moniker didn't appear until Season 3.  Before that she was known as Sheila, Doctor Girlfriend, Lady Au Pair, and Queen Etheria.. with interesting looks tied to each codename.  Her overall look is heavily inspired by Jackie Kennedy Onassis, but with the exaggerated low male voice of a New York gangster (voiced by Doc Hammer).  Very amusing.  Let's check this figure out in detail below!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Injustice 3.75" HARLEY QUINN!

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Cyborg vs Harley Quinn 2-Pack - DC Collectibles 2013

Sorry for the delay in posting.  I had a dramatic few days last week where my central air unit was pouring water all over my floors, followed by a wonderful 8-day vacation (despite worrying about leaking water the whole time), but when I was 5 minutes from home Friday morning (with plans to blog all day), my car got hit by a distracted driver.  No one was hurt, but it was a total pain and it sucked up more time than you can imagine.  Anyway, when I finally logged on, I was utterly distracted by all the SDCC news and have been pretty much unproductive for the last 36 hours.  Anyway, enough of my woes, let's hear about this kinky little Harley figure.  I'm really on the fence about this costume design.  I'm missing her classic look more and more, but on the other hand I much prefer this look over the sexy nurse getup.  These video game designs (and their surprising popularity) is making me a little weary.  I think they look way too busy and distracting.  Plus every female apparently has to look like a dominatrix who has been rolling in the mud.  That said, it's interesting to have a variation like this in my Harley collection.  Let's check her out!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ben 10 Alien Force HELEN!

Ben 10 Alien Force - Helen Wheels - UK Exclusive - BanDai 2010

I discovered this little gem a few months ago when I reviewed Gwen Anodite.  I still feel that the Ben 10 franchise has produced far too few female figures.  Aside from this Helen figure, all we've seen are variations of Gwen Tennyson so far.  This figure is definitely a step in the right direction.  My favorite thing about Ben 10 is the awesome character design of the aliens.  Even though I don't know much about the storylines or characters, what I would love to see are female figures of each of these alien species.  Helen is one of the Kineceleran aliens (the same species as the main character XLR8).  Almost all sources I've found online state this figure was a UK Exclusive and not available in North America, but I bought mine from Canada so that may be a little inaccurate.  The bright colors, cool design, and overall fun factor of this figure is amazing.  I hope we see more, because I combed through the Ben 10 Planet wiki and there are tons of cool female aliens out there.  For now, let's check out Helen Wheels below!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Kreon Micro-Changers ARCEE!

Transformers Kre-O Mini-Figures - Series 2 - Arcee - Hasbro 2013

Hasbro has made me one happy camper with this little pink gem.  I've always been a big fan of classic fembots, and early Transformers females are some of my absolute favorites of the bunch.  Arcee is definitely the most-likely-to-be-made lady of the all the Transformers, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she is just the first of many  in this series.  (I think that including one Cybertronian female per wave is not asking too much!)  I'm hoping that we'll see Elita-One, Chromia, Firestar, Moonracer, and even Beta and Ariel.  These figures seem relatively easy to produce.  The line has been on the shelves for less than a year and already there are over 24 mini-figures out there.  They seem to sell out quickly so hopefully Hasbro will move forward with plans for future waves - just one of the many things I'm hoping to see revealed at SDCC in two weeks.  I've long ago given up hopes for official "normal scale" figures of these ladies, so these little mini-figs are my last hope.  Let's check out Arcee below!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Sea Monkeys SISTER!

Sea Monkeys - Brother and Sister Action Figure Set - Majestic Studios 2004
 
My elusive magical family is complete!  I posted a review of the Sea Monkeys Mother figure back in January.  I mentioned back then how I found these figures to be some of the coolest, yet most elusive, figures I've encountered in my collecting career.  I was happy having the mother figure and never expected to get the rest at a reasonable price.  Then back in May I actually found them... in a store.  Yes, I found all three sets on the pegs of a small toy shop and paid standard retail prices for them.  I love when the unexpected happens in this hobby.  It's one thing to find a toy that you know is expected to be on the shelves, but finding these guys was like that feeling times ten.  For those unaware, these action figures are representations of the misrepresentations displayed on Sea Monkeys products and advertising from the early sixties until present day.  I was among the millions of kids who bought a Sea Monkey tank expecting to grow amazing creatures like in the ads, but was instead greeted with alien-looking little brine shrimp in murky water.  I'm always a sucker.  Let's check out Sister below!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Three Mini LADY LIBERTIES!

Mini-Mates, Playmobil, and Lego - Statues of Liberty - 2010, 2011 & 2012

Happy Independence Day!  I'm typing this far in advance because I will be celebrating the 4th high in the mountains with no cell phone reception and (most likely) no internet.  It will be nice to get away for a few days, but I've been planning to review these fabulous green ladies for months now and no mere holiday excursion will deter me now.  The Statue of Liberty is such a unique and timeless symbol.  Her image is so pervasive sometimes that it takes some little plastic toys like these to make me notice how cool she is.  The pale green of oxidized copper, the stern gaze, the Roman garb - everything about her is interesting.  I'm frankly shocked their aren't more figures of her.  Sure, you can find PVC figurines of every Looney Tunes character in the world dressed in the the green sash and spiked crown, but solid green, non-costumey representations like these are very rare.  Now I just need a Funko POP, a mini Mez-Itz, and a Kubrick (and the POTA set piece doesn't count).  Let's check these ladies out below!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Funko POP! Masters of the Universe SHE-RA!

Funko POP! Television - Figure 06 - Masters of the Universe She-Ra - Funko 2013

She-Ra was the queen of the eighties.  Her cartoon series was the first time I (as a young boy) realized "girly" things could be cool.  Pastel colors and butterfly wings did not make these ladies any less formidable.  And the simple fact that her arch-nemesis, Hordak, was tougher than He-Man's Skeletor spoke volumes.  But despite her tough animated presence, her merchandising was unfortunately all girl.  Rooted hair, brushes, sparkles, perfumes.. no boy in his right mind would (outwardly) admit to wanting those things.  It wasn't until 25 years later that we got an action figure that finally stripped her of all that fluff.  I wish I was one of those collectors who didn't care about cloth outfits and rooted hair, but unfortunately I am.  Because of my pesky self-imposed restrictions, this Funko Pop Vinyl figure is a very welcome addition to my collection.  I've been a fan of the Pop style since I bought the Batgirl figure a few years ago.  The momentum of the line impresses me and I can't wait to see who else we'll get.  I have my fingers crossed for Jem.  Let's check out She-Ra below!