BIG GAY AL
It’s gay pride here in Halifax, Nova Scotia. All week long there are a ton of LGBT friendly events going on ranging from queer cinema and theater to a trans swim in a gender inclusive community pool. I always intend to take in more events than I do but most years I only get to the dykes vs diva softball game on opening weekend and the pride parade on closing weekend; this year will likely be no different. But just because I’m not out there showing my support at a bunch of events doesn’t mean I’m not passionate about the message. I’ve tried to do my small part in the past by writing up a pride-themed toy review but unfortunately I didn’t have any gay toys to write about. The closest I could find for pride 2012 was a figure of Colossus from the X-Men. The figure was of the standard Marvel Universe Colossus who is not gay, however the Colossus from the alternate reality Ultimate Universe is gay so I figured that was close enough.
When I sat down to write this review I thought long and hard about whether I had acquired any gay toys over the past 2 years. There were Marvel Legends figures released of the 2 gay Young Avengers, Wiccan and Hulking, but I never got those. I still don’t have a Batwoman toy, and I don’t even have figures of Rewind and Chromedome who are arguably the first gay Transformers. Earlier this year a figure of Northstar from Alpha Flight was released. As the first gay superhero he would’ve been perfect but I never found that figure anywhere. I only managed to score his twin sister Aurora. Sadly, it seemed the sister of a gay character was as close as I was gonna get. I actually began writing an Aurora review when it dawned on me; I have a Big Gay Al figure!
Years ago I bought the first couple waves of South Park figures released by a toy company called Mirage. I got all the main kids, Stan, Kenny, Kyle, and Cartman, along with some second tier characters like Butters, Timmy, Towelie, and Tweak. I was a big fan of that line but it was short lived. South Park toys resurfaced a few years later, this time produced by Mezco, but they weren’t to scale with the toys I already owned so I never bothered buying any of them.
A while back, probably about a year ago, I was in Giant Robot Comics where I saw this Mirage produced Big Gay Al figure that I didn’t even know existed. He’s from a 4th wave of figures which were apparently only available online. He’s still not technically to scale with my other South Park toys but at least he’s taller than the kids so he looks alright when displayed next to them.
If you’re not familiar with Big Gay Al and his boyfriend Mr. Slave than I strongly encourage you hit up Netflix and check out the episodes “Big Gay Al’s Big Gay Boat Ride” and “The F-Word”. Both characters are ridiculous stereotypes but they’re portrayed endearingly.
This figure is a spot on representation of how Al looks on the show which is impressive considering the flat construction paper style of South Park. Al’s got his wild shirt, striped pants, wispy haircut, thin mustache, bangles, chest hair, a neckerchief, and a cigarette. He even came with his suitcase that was featured on the show PLUS a big gay duck. What more could you want?
It hadn’t occurred to me before but I feel that Big Gay Al must’ve been inspired, at least in part, by John Waters. (If you don’t know John Waters then go look up some of his films since you’re on Netflix anyway).
This figure has almost no articulation (head and arm swivels) but that’s pretty standard for South Park figures. The way the characters are designed doesn’t exactly lend itself to super-posability. Their joints barely move on the show so why should they move on the action figure? I think this is a
great fabulous figure with some very nice sculpting and vibrant paint apps that really bring Al to life. I can’t believe I nearly forgot about him. 8 out of 10.