Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bif Bang Pow! Celebration Day II: SDCC Exclusive Bobbleheads

Welcome to Day II of our week-long celebration of our friends at Bif Bang Pow!. Today’s spotlight will focus on five rather intriguing items….

Bif Bang Pow! started the line in 2009 with five bobbleheads, each representing an iconic character from the series, each brilliant in its own way. Each of them (like the action figures that would follow later) were painted in a monochromatic scheme to evoke the black and white photography of the show. A brilliant and laudable move, as a full color palette would just seem… well, wrong, like the final season of The Fugitive, when the show went to color and lost all its gritty noir charm. Black and white, with all its glorious inky shadows and high contrast, informs The Twilight Zone’s visual aesthetic. Bif Bang Pow! clearly has a lot of respect for the material.

However… well, we live in a modern, color world. Some collectors might (stupidly) perceive the black and white approach as somehow backwards. Kitschy. Wrongheaded, if you will. Bif Bang Pow! is a business, and to stay in business, money must be made. So in (what I can only assume was) an altruistic effort to please everyone, they’ve released limited edition color versions of those first five bobbleheads, in effect doubling the number of unique bobbleheads than one can collect. The color variants were produced in very low numbers and unveiled in July at the San Diego Comic Convention (hereafter abbreviated as SDCC) as exclusives (i.e. not available in stores).

The leftovers, slim though they may be, can still be acquired through Entertainment Earth. As I write this, all five are still available, but who knows? They could very well be gone by the time these words get uploaded. Click through the links below NOW if you want a shot at them, because I’m sure they won’t be around much longer. And I have it on good authority that these WON’T get a second production run.

When I first learned of the color bobbleheads, I was a bit skeptical. “Color?” I sneered. “We don’t need no stinkin’ color!” Perhaps my faith was a bit shaken, but I shouldn’t have doubted. In all five cases, the color versions make very nice companion pieces to their earlier (and admittedly definitive) incarnations. Without further ado, let’s have a look at ‘em. A note up front: all five are identical --- except for the color --- to the earlier (and still available) versions. I’ll link my original spotlights as I go, so click through for more detailed information and commentary on each.

The Mystic Seer represents the most striking visual departure from the original black and white version. Look at that red! It just plains pops. It helps that the actual Mystic Seer (a fortune-telling napkin dispenser) really was red.

No fortune for you!

The color variant comes with the same eight fortunes, all eight of which (I believe) appeared in the actual episode (season two’s “Nick of Time,” which we’ll be spotlighting next month).

No, the bobblehead doesn’t actually dispense the fortunes, but if you’re dying for a working Mystic Seer, Bif Bang Pow! has you covered: their deluxe FULLY FUNCTIONING (gasp!) model, which was previewed at SDCC, is slated to come out next spring.

Sneak peak from SDCC. This WILL be mine when it comes out.

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Michelin Tire Man showdown!

The Invader is far and away my favorite of the color bobbleheads. That metallic gold is beautiful to behold. The Invader is often depicted as gold rather than silver (the Sideshow Collectibles figure was gold, for example), so it makes perfect sense. I should also mention that the original monochrome version is my favorite of all ten, which may have influenced my preference here. But frankly, the color option is a close, close second. In any case, both versions are stellar pieces, so you’ll want them both.

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Colorization. A cautionary tale.

Talking Talky Tina in color probably looks exactly like she should, but I have no frame of reference. She looks a bit too pastel for me, truth be told, and she loses a bit of her menace in the translation. Thankfully, she’s got the same sound chip as the monochromatic version (interestingly, my color version is significantly louder), so she’s still sufficiently creepy.

At the end of the day, Tina is probably my least favorite of the color bobbleheads, but that by no means makes her less than essential to the OCD collectors out there (you know who you are).

Funny side story about Talking Talky Tina: As I was feverishly snapping pictures for this week’s celebration over the weekend, my wife informed me that every time my daughter Kendyl has a new friend over, she shows them my Twilight Zone shelf, and makes sure to press Tina’s button five times (to cycle through all five recorded phrases). Let’s just say I was sufficiently tickled (though curious why she’s parading her friends through our room without permission…).

Me 'n my shadow...

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"I've got a killer recipe!" "No, me first!"

The Kanamit (color variant)

Frequent readers of this blog are undoubtedly aware of my passionate, near-irrational love for the Kanamit and, happily, Bif Bang Pow!’s black and white bobblehead was pretty damned awesome. The color version, is… well, pretty cool, but it falls a touch (just a touch) short in color. He (it?) isn’t quite as casually sinister in color; in fact, he almost looks like he’s a bit bored. Also, the flesh color seems a bit too… well, fleshy. For some reason, I always imagined the Kanamit was really pale, kinda like Nosferatu. Sideshow Collectibles’ deluxe Kanamit figure was similarly fleshy, so I guess there’s something of a precedent here.

Bottom line --- it’s certainly worthwhile, but the monochrome original beats it by a light year.

Salt and pepper shakers? Not exactly....

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I always feel like somebody's watchin' me...

The Gremlin (color variant)

And finally, we come to a character that may very well be the bane of my Twilight Zone existence: the Gremlin. God, I just hate this thing. As you may recall, I was pleasantly surprised by Bif Bang Pow!’s rendering of the character in monochromatic bobblehead form, but my joy was mostly due to their clever approach and the frankly amazing fur texture of the sculpt (oh, and the delightfully ugly --- but accurate --- face) and not the character itself. This is all repeated in the color version, but here we get the added benefit of a pretty compelling green. Now, I have no idea if the Gremlin is actually supposed to be green; if anything, I always imagined him (it?) to be either brown or gray (Sideshow’s deluxe figure was sort of an ugly brownish, which made a hideous figure even worse. I won’t sully this entry with a picture; I’ll try to get an entry up soon showing all of Sideshow’s efforts).

Come fly with me...

Let me just state for the record that the green TOTALLY works. In fact, I may actually prefer the color version in this case. I almost wish they’d made it in reverse of the monochromatic version, since this particular bobblehead is heavy enough to use as a bookend. I guess it would still work, but you’d be getting an eyeful of Gremlin ass on one end of your bookshelf….

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So there you have it. Five variations on a theme, five must-haves. If you don't already own these (and the glorious black and white originals), well... my condolences. You're missing out. And trust me, this is just the beginning. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Teresa said...

I think Kendyl probably shows her friends Talky Tina because she is fascinated by the creepy phrases and enjoys the fact that she can kind of creep out her friends by a cute little girl that says "My Name is Talky Tina and I am going to kill you." Watch out dad, even though she will NEVER admit it, I think Kendyl secretly loves Talky Tina!!