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. In part one, I asked for his knee-jerk reaction upon seeing the photos of the toys. Here’s the second part, written after Ed read the press release and took into account what BBP is trying to do.
Earlier I offered up my first blush observations of a new line of Lost-based action figures from Bif Bang Pow! and EMCE Toys. While I’m not an action figure collector, aside from a smattering of beloved trophies that adorn my desk and Man Cave, I was invited to lend my eyes and record my first thoughts at observing this new line and its very particular design choice. I may not be the action figure expert but I do come with an encyclopedic knowledge of Lost. Simply put –I’m here to call ‘em as I see ‘em.
With my gut reaction out of the way, I did my homework and paged through the product line press release, which in addition to the Lost-series of collectibles, also announced forthcoming recreations of characters from properties such as Venture Brothers, Californication and Dexter, among others.
Specifically, the press release states that these figures were approached from a very specific, stylistic direction. Bif Bang Pow! is attempting to take these contemporary properties and render them through a “70’s style” – constructing beloved characters like Benjamin Linus and John Locke via “reproductions reminiscent of the best-selling action figures of the 1970’s and early 1980’s”.
In my original piece, I talked about the marionette appearance. These figures, to my eyes, were a failure from a design perspective because they meshed disparate styles – slapping fairly realistic heads and faces onto over-exaggerated bodies. The effect is jarring and not as endearing as a full, cartoonish caricature could have been. McFarlane Toys has already produced some amazingly realistic figures that pay great homage to the core characters behind this beloved property. It takes a different approach to make a mark and cater to an alternate brand of Lost obsessive.
By taking a 70’s stylistic approach, they are aiming for the kitsch collector – at least where this property is concerned. I’m sure there is a market there for that even if it doesn’t exactly sink my battleship. That being said, I think Bif Bang Pow! misses a huge mark.
Key to the Lost mythology is the existence of time travel. Since this series began, there have been hints that something supernatural afflicts the island – with all sorts of temporal shenanigans vexing the castaways. Finally, in their fourth Season, the Lost producers let their geeky freak flag fly proudly and they fully embraced doing the time warp again and again. And while last season began with a small cadre of characters pinballing through different eras in the island’s rich history – they finally settled on the hippy-dippy mid-70’s for the bulk of the Season 5 arc. It was in this time frame that characters like Miles, Kate and Juliet settled in with the counter-culture egghead consortium, the DHARMA institute, as they applied their New Age philosophies towards unlocking the psychedelic energies of the island and ended up unleashing subsequent decades of paranormal paranoia.
Bif Bang Pow! might be better served by melding their design approach with that very specific moment in the Lost chronology. The catch to this is neither Locke nor Ben made the trek back but Hurley was there as were fan favorites Jack and Sawyer – among others. Slap some character-specific DHARMA coveralls on each of them and suddenly the character designs mesh with the series – making for a one-of-a-kind collectible.
As it now stands, the design choice does nothing for me. I get that there is a market for kitschy collectibles but given the designs and clothing appended to the first line, the appeal remains Lost on me.