Neca’s been putting out Gremlins figures for a while now, based on the classic 1984 black comedy and its 1990 sequel. I’ve seen these figures around on a couple of occasions and while I was tempted to pick them up I’ve always managed to resist the temptation. I spend enough of my cash on G.I. Joes, Transformers and He-Men, that I really should avoid picking up oddball things if I can. But occasionally I see something like a Spy vs Spy 2-pack or a president Obama doll and I can’t help myself.
Last week I decided to thin out my comic collection a little bit by selling off some graphic novels that I knew I would never revisit. Things I had picked up with high expectations but which ended up sucking balls (I’m looking at you Matt Fraction’s Defenders). Selling off old books means I have to go off the beaten path to visit one of the “other” local comic shops. I do most of my business with Strange Adventures but every now and again it’s nice to pop into the other shops to see what treasures they might have. Giant Robot is a great shop and so is Monster’s Comic Lounge and Monster’s happen to be the guys who buy up old books. As the owner Mike (no relation) flicked through the stack I brought in, I browsed around the shop to see if there was anything that might warrant a straight trade. I’m not sure what it was about the Gremlin figures that made them more appealing this time around but I found myself drawn to them. Perhaps it was because I wouldn’t be spending actual cash on them or maybe it was Vanessa egging me on telling me how cool they were but ultimately I decided to swap my crappy Defenders books for some Gremlins. I got this guy, Brown Gremlin, as well as Phantom Gremlin and lastly an Ultimate Spider-Man trade paperback. A series I told myself I was done with after they killed off Peter but since I wasn’t spending real cash it seemed like an okay time to give it another shot.
I got my Gremlins home and tore into them. It was as if I opened up a new air freshener; these guys reeked of new plastic smell. I don’t get that with most toys I buy, must be something about Neca’s process, but the smell dissipated quickly. Once I got them pulled from their plastic prisons I knew I had made a good trade. These figures are awesome. They’re a little stiff despite multiple points of articulation but they look fantastic. Every inch of them is covered in sculpted and painted detail.
I assume that everyone out there has seen the Gremlins movies but in case you haven’t heres a quick recap. It’s Christmas time and Billy’s dad wants to buy him something cool and unique. He wanders into some weird little shop run by an old asian guy and he purchases a cute and cuddly creature called a Mogwai. He’s told that there are three rules he must follow: Don’t get him wet, don’t expose him to sunlight, and never feed him after midnight. We soon find out what getting him wet does, it causes him to multiply. After a classic Corey Feldman foul-up Billy finds himself caring for a whole little of Mogwais. The new ones aren’t as well behaved as the original whom Billy has named Gizmo. The newbies, led by the mohawked Stripe, trick Billy into feeding them after midnight and guess what happens…they turn into nasty ol’ gremlins. Soon the whole town is overrun with the vile little things. The Gremlins begin killing off neighbors but the Gremlins themselves are the ones who get the worst of it, death by microwave and blender for example. In the end (SPOILER) Gizmo blasts them all with sunlight and they melt, end of story. I loved that movie when I was a kid and I still do.
The second one came out 6 years later and did not leave the same impression on me. The second one is just plain silly. Much more of a kid-friendly farce than a dark horror-comedy. But it still has it’s charm I suppose, including a Hulk Hogan cameo. The plot is basically the same only this time it’s in the big city instead of a small town. The sequel gave us a much wider array of Gremlins. Stripe was really the only unique one in the first film. The second one had a scientist Gremlin, an electric Gremlin, a winged Gremlin, a female Gremlin and many more, including the brown gremlin that this figure is based on.
It’s been years since I’ve seen Gremlins 2: The New Batch so I don’t recall the scenes that featured this guy. I tried to find a picture oh him online but all I found was a brown tattoo artist Gremlin. Maybe that’s who this is supposed to be because the likeness is pretty spot on but then I don’t know why he didn’t come with a tattoo gun and a hat. This guy came packaged with a cigarette and some sunglasses.
This is the kind of figure that doesn’t need any accessories though as it’s such a neat piece on it’s own. Just look at the face of this figure. His eyes are even creepier than the Snake Face figure I reviewed yesterday. He’s got that great bony brow and chin and a crooked grin open just enough to get the cigarette in there. The paint job is absolutely stellar. It looks like a real creature that could exist in nature. I’m sure the patterns must be based on a type of lizard or snake but the thing it most reminds me of is the skin of a Predator alien.
There’s so much detail in these Gremlin figures that when I see them on my desk they almost look like real creatures ready to chew through my wires, topple my other action figures or get into some other such mischief. I gotta comment on this guy’s feet too. He’s got three long toes on each foot which are spread wide to give him a nice solid base. They’re articulated at the ankles and have a ton of sculpting detail and multiple paint applications. Even the soles of his feet have detail. I like this figure more than I expected to. I’m gonna go watch Gremlins 2 then go buy some more of these guys. 9 out of 10.