Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bif Bang Pow! Celebration, Day IV: Twilight Zone action figures, Series II

As I discussed yesterday, Bif Bang Pow!’s first two Twilight Zone action figures (appropriately paired under the moniker Series One) are two absolute successes, but neither are characters that I was particularly excited about --- before I actually saw them, that is. The figures in Series Two, however, are a much different story. Both are characters that would easily make my top ten most wanted list, and one of them would sit safely at very top. Let’s take a look.

(from “To Serve Man”)

You know him. Nine feet tall. Bulging cranium. Sparkling white robe. And that curious black book that he carries around with him. Hails from a distant planet. Author (and series authority) Marc Scott Zicree described him as “an angel gone to seed” in his Twilight Zone Companion. Ladies and gentlemen, my favorite of all TZ characters, alien or otherwise: The Kanamit Ambassador. This, above all others, would have to be handled appropriately for me to take Bif Bang Pow! seriously for the long haul.

And seriously…. They’ve made me a happy, happy fan.

The Kanamit is actually a pretty simple character, visually speaking. In fact, the description above tells you pretty much all you need to know to replicate him. Add a goatee and you’re pretty much there. But don’t get the wrong idea. It’s the subtleties that make him or break him, and Bif Bang Pow! pulls him off beautifully.

Look at the head sculpt. Look at that face! It perfectly evokes the blank, almost dopey gaze of the character, but with that vague hint of menace that contributes to the episode’s shocking payoff. He could be an intergalactic savior, or he could've come all this way just to take a bite out of humanity.

Since all the TZ figures share a common base body, the question is begged: how can he be made taller? Easy: platform shoes, baby! I’m planning to (someday) put together a Kanamit costume for Halloween, so I guess I’ll have to go the same route (my pitiful human 6’1” just ain’t enough). Thankfully, his robe is just long enough to (mostly) conceal the shoes (as you can see, they look a bit goofy if fully exposed. Also concealed in the process are his MC Hammer-esque sparkly elastic pants!

But wait! A quick look at the episode reveals that the Kanamit indeed wears platforms! See for yourself:

Just another example of Bif Bang Pow!'s relentless attention to detail, I guess.

On the subject of the robe, it’s quite nicely done. Plain white would’ve been too, well, plain. I’m not sure offhand if the Kanamit’s robe sparkles in the episode, but it doesn’t seem out of place here at all. It looks great. I think a (very minor) improvement would be a stiffer collar, so it could stand straight up on both sides. A nice future figure might be another Kanamit, this time in the black robe that we see in the climatic spaceport scene. Maybe a convention exclusive variant…?

And what Kanamit would be complete without his cookbook? It’s here, and we even get the cryptic title “To Serve Man” in the Kanamit language. Despite its tiny size, the lettering DOES match the actual book in the episode. Nice touch!

Another success story. With their Kanamit action figure, Bif Bang Pow! has definitely Served Man. Heh, see what I did there?

* * *

(from “The Howling Man”)

Who doesn’t want a devil in the house? The monks in the episode sure didn’t, but I’m definitely no holy man. I say bring on His Satanic Majesty!

The head sculpt is a revelation. Pointy ears, slightly droopy nose, fucking HORNS… you’d never mistake him for anybody BUT the Prince of Darkness. The wrinkles around the eyes give him a nice depth, suggesting a bit of world-weariness (hey, managing the damned and conning people out of their souls probably adds a few years to the ol’ mug). If I could change anything, I’d make his hair and beard a bit darker, but that’s just a personal preference and not a complaint.

The Devil is clad in a generic black jumpsuit with shiny black boots. Not really anything to write home about, but it’s episode-appropriate. It’s the cape that absolutely makes the outfit. Look at it! Enormous and regal, thick and satiny… and that giant collar (again, episode-appropriate) just slays me. And the chain holding the cape in place is actually metal, so carry your Devil through the metal detector at the airport at your own risk.

What, no pitchfork? What Devil is complete without a pitchfork? Well, did you SEE a pitchfork in the episode? You didn’t, so there you go. However, it occurred to me that Brother Jerome’s Staff of Truth might have been an appropriate accessory, but then I realized that The Devil would have nothing to do with such an object; in fact, he’d be rendered powerless against it. Should Bif Bang Pow! decide to produce a figure of Brother Jerome down the road, I imagine he’ll have it. Wow, the two characters would look amazing on a shelf together: The Father of All Lies versus The Man of Truth, a grudge match to end all grudge matches, a Pay-Per-View event for the ages!

That’s four figures, and four absolute knockouts. We’ll look at Series Three tomorrow. Do check back.

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