Friday, October 30, 2015

A New Batgirl Review: Batgirl from Batman Retro: First Appearance from Figures Toy Co.

Today I'm looking at an interesting Batgirl action figure: Batgirl from the Batman Retro: First Appearance line by Figures Toy Co. Figures Toy Co. has been around for a number of years and they've really become the leading name in Mego reproduction figures. You know what Megos are, right? As a child of the 1980s, Megos were a little before my time and I only learned about them because of how prominent they were in ToyFare magazine. If you've never held one, imagine the combination of an 8 inch Barbie doll mixed with the articulation of a Marvel Legends figure. That's kind of the Mego...charm? They always feel really cheap to me but at the same time there's an undeniable uniqueness to them. I really don't collect them but I did have to pick up their newest Batgirl release which is based off of the Carmine Infantino cover art of Detective Comics 359. Ready for a closer look at Batgirl? Then join me after the break...






The Facts:

Height: 8 inches

Articulation: Hinged ankles, hinged knees, elastic ball jointed hips, o-ring waist, o-ring mid torso, o-ring shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, o-ring neck, swivel head.

Accessories: Bodysuit, boots, gloves, belt, cowl, cape, and batarang.

Non-Scalper Price: $27



 The Positives:

* I do not have a true Mego Batgirl in my collection so I appreciate how close to the original product Figures Toy Co. is able to get. Between her bright red rooted hair and her cute face, Batgirl really looks pretty nice. She's definitely dated but it's a nostalgic kind of dated look. What's nice is that she looks almost equally as good with her cowl off as she does with her cowl on.

 * I'll go back to what I said earlier when I compared Mego styled figures to Barbie meets Marvel Legends: They really do have a pretty wide range of articulation built around a standard body that isn't hindered by articulation or anything. There's a series of rubber connectors inside that give the neck, torso, hips, and shoulders a lot of movement. Pretty wild to see a 70's styled figure crouch so well, huh?


* I usually don't talk much about packaging on here but I'm making an exception since this packaging is intentionally reusable. When it comes new there's a plastic zip-tie through the peg hole that says Figures Toy Co. Once you remove that you can easily open and close the durable plastic clamshell. There are some twist ties but a little work will allow you to keep your Batgirl figure on display. I think she looks great in the package.




* Just wanted to shine some attention on the beautiful and classic Carmine Infantino artwork here. I love the purple color chosen for the background as well: It really matches the look of the background for Detective Comics 359, the book featuring the story "The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl." I have a giant wooden poster of that cover on my wall so I get to look at it every day and I still find it amazing.


* I do like the look of the figures since everything is removable and can be added separately. The gloves, belt, boots, cape, and cowl can all be removed so you can swap parts between other figures or change up Batgirl's look. You can also remove her body suit, but I don't have any pictures of that. This isn't that kind of blog.






 The Negatives:


 * One of the things I've noticed about some Mego styled figures is that they tend to look contorted if the elastic/rubber bands inside are too tight. Every now and then you'll be trying to pose Batgirl and you'll see her neck, hips, or torso contort in some bizarre, awkward way. The hips are definitely the most noticeable part in my book.

* The basic Batgirl figure from Figures Toy Co. has a simple blue visor, like the Mego World's Greatest Superhero version. This one has the black shadow on the front like the 1960's Batman art. It's accurate and would look great if the black paint weren't already flaking off. Seems like some parts of this figure were really done on the cheap.
 * I really wasn't sure what this was at first but, after a little thought, I think it's a Batarang. It comes glued to the plastic tray inside Batgirl's clamshell and it took a bit of pulling to remove it safely. It's a simple fabric-ish batsignal. Initially I thought that it was an extra symbol for her chest, but that doesn't really make sense. I think it's supposed to be a Batarang and it's sticky so you can stick it to her gloves. This really could have been executed so much better. Is it that hard to mold one Batarang to reuse with all of the heroes in this line?

  * I know they're fairly accurate to the vintage Mego figure this one is based off of but I hate these gloves. They're awkward, don't stay on well, translucent, and they look like oven mitts. These are really not awkward and if I were displaying Babs loose I'd consider just displaying her with them off.

* Again, while I get the point of this figure is that it's a replica of the vintage Mego figure, since Figures Toy Co. is billing this as a First Appearance Batgirl from her Detective Comics 359 debut I wish they would have painted her satchel red. That's a really unique part of that costume and it would have been nice if it has been captured here.
 Doing figures like this that truly reflect the era they were created in can be tricky. I'm sure there are plenty of Mego fans who had these figures as a kid who look at these and love every bit of them, kind of the way I really love the Funko ReAction figures based on Kenner product from the late 1970s and early 1980s (that stuff was still floating around when I was a kid). I can definitely see the appeal here and I'm glad to have this as part of the Batgirl collection but, if I weren't obsessed with grabbing every piece of Batgirl merchandise I can get my hands on, I'd probably not give these a second glance. There are just too many odd problems here for me, especially for the price. I'm giving Batgirl an Eh and a 1/2 rating. She's a neat item for collectors of the character or of this style of figure but your average collector need not apply.

I've reviewed a ton of Batgirl stuff on the site, including:

Ame-Comi Heroine Series by DC Collectibles
Steampunk Batgirl

Batman: Classic TV Series by Mattel
Batgirl

Batman Classic TV Series Bendables by NJ Croce
Batgirl

Batman Dorbz by Vinyl Sugar
Batgirl

Chara-Covers by Huckleberry
Batgirl

DC Comics by Sideshow Collectibles
Batgirl Premium Format (Sideshow Exclusive)

DC Comics Bombshells by DC Collectibles
Batgirl

DC Comics Cover Girls by DC Collectibles
Batgirl

DC Comics Designer Series: Greg Capullo by DC Collectibles
Batgirl 

DC Comics Retro Sofubi Collection by Medicom
Batgirl

DC Super Friends Wheelies by Fisher Price
Batgirl


DC Superhero Chess Figure Collection by Eaglemoss Publications
Batgirl-White Knight

DC Superheroes Collection by Warner Brothers
Batgirl
 
DC Superheroes Mez-Itz by Mezco
Batgirl Keychain

DC Universe Mystery Minis by Funko
Batgirl (1/24)

Headstrong Heroes by Monogram Masterworks
Batgirl

HeroClix- Batman Series by Wizkids/ NECA
Batgirl #25

 HeroClix DC 10th Anniversary by Wizkids/ NECA
Batgirl #6

Kubricks Batman by Kubricks
Batgirl

The New Batman Adventures Bendables by NJ Croce
Batgirl

Showcase Presents by DC Direct
Batgirl

Super Best Friends Forever by DC Collectibles
Batgirl

6 comments:

  1. I am a huge fan of Mego and had most of the Heroes in the laste 70s. I love the way this company is about to do practically flawless reproductions of the figures of the time. That is what I like most about them. The charm and the cloth costumes are how I remember action figures. I HATED when they were shrunk to 3 3/4 inches and got painted clothing. I need this Batgirl for my collection.

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  2. Mego were definitely before my time but I do understand their charm. I only own two (Robin and Joker) and they are pretty neat and as you say, very much products of their times. I think what Figures Toy Company is doing is incredible and Mego fans sure are lucky for their existence. I think my little intern might like this Batgirl, I may have to add her to her Christmas list thsi year!

    But yeah, the oven mitts. I have always thought those the most ridiculous thing ever!

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  3. Megos have kind of had their revival on and off for a number of years, the Kenner styled figures have had their revival with ReAction and such, and MOTU figures have had a number of "faux vintage" tribute lines released. What's next? Will companies ever release figures in the exaggerated early 90s style of Playmates' TMNT and Toxic Crusaders or the larger 5 poa figure with accessories such as Kenner's Aliens, Jurassic Park, and RoboCop? What will be the next Nostalgia based trend?

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