Poe’s Note: I started to write up a Poe’s Point about Big Bang Pow!’s upcoming Lost figures, done in the style of the 1970s Mego lines. But then I realized that, as someone who doesn’t watch Lost and as a lifelong action figure collector, I didn’t have any idea how much these toys would appeal to BBP’s target, the Lost fan who’s only a casual toy collector (if at all). As such, I’ve invited my cousin Ed Humphries, owner of The Ed Zone and columnist for the Adrenaline Vault, to offer his perspective. I asked him to write the piece in two parts: first, his knee-jerk reaction upon seeing the photos of the toys; and then, tomorrow, I’ll post the second part, written after Ed read the press release and took into account what BBP is trying to do.
When Poe Ghostal hit up his favorite Lost obsessive looking for someone to provide an expert opinion on a new line of character action figures, I figured why not. While I have found my own web-based soapbox to offer up a weekly column spinning wild and crazy theories about what I think is really happening on that fantasy island, I realize that my powers are going to waste if they are restricted to one tiny slab of online real estate. As someone’s dead uncle once said, “With great power comes great responsibility”. Well – I’ll be damned if I’m gonna’ let all this intellect languish on feverish, imagined queries like “Who Would Win in a Jello Fight? – Kate or Juliet.” That doesn’t help anyone – least of all my marriage.
So this morning I clicked on the links that led to Bif Bang Pow!’s line of 8-inch Lost action figures, featuring the likeness of beloved characters John Locke, Hugo “Hurley” Reyes and the nefarious Benjamin Linus. And the first thing that jumped to mind is, “Thunderbirds are Go!!!” So, that’s all our intrepid band of castaways need to fend off the amorous advances of a frisky smoke monster. Slap on their best Team America: World Police Halloween costumes and tear the place asunder.
Seriously though, these figures just give me the willies – projecting a creepy marionette vibe. I have no doubt that if I position these on my desk, should I dare take a moment to eyeball my Samus Aran maquette, I’d likely get shanked by that Locke-a-like.
Granted, I’ve been pulled to Poe’s island to bring my Lost expertise and gaze at the these figures through a newbie’s eyes. I’m not equipped with the proper schooling to discuss the finer points of articulation so serious collectors may see something that I’m missing. That being said, there’s no other way to put it. These things are freaky as hell and I’m not exactly sure what market they are intended to hit.
The serious Lost fan has already been rewarded with Todd McFarlane’s line from a few years back. In fact, I possess a Kate Austen embedded in a thicket of bamboo; a true showcase that served as a table centerpiece at Poe’s wedding. The modeling of the character is spot on and does what these sculptures should do – accurately represent not just the “person” but their true character. After all, when you strip away the genre-blending (and bending) mishmash of sci-fi, adventure and conspiracy thriller influences – Lost is at heart, a character drama with the core cast populated by very specific archetypes. That McFarlane series keyed in on that and each figure went a long way to celebrating these beloved (and loathsome) characters.
I see what the Bif Bang Pow! line is trying to do but I think they’ve gone about it all wrong. Essentially, they are trying to make exaggerated versions of these characters – cartoonish representations – hence the over-exaggerated body builds. That’s the marionette effect discussed earlier. From a stylish approach, I guess that makes sense, especially considering their background in the bobblehead business. But, the glaring problem is with the face sculpting. They are pretty much spot on and hence we find ourselves wandering frightened in the uncanny valley.
The natural faces perched atop an exaggerated body do this product a disservice. The line would be better served by going all out and simply making a cartoon rendition of these beloved characters. If you can’t faithfully reproduce something that is based off a living, breathing human then don’t even try. There’s no middle ground here.
I’m also struck by the strange clothing choices. Locke’s seems the closest with his rugged khakis and matching T-Shirt but Hurley has been inexplicably rendered as Hugh Hefner gone-to-seed. Weirdest of all is the sly, manipulative Benjamin Linus who appears as if he just wandered out of the Shire. In my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d spy the Hobbit Kevin Spacey but here we have it… the once and future queen.
Get those groans ready. This really is a Lost cause.