THE PHANTOM (POP!) (2015)
Hey gang, it’s been more than a month now since I’ve posted a review so I apologize for the lack of new content. I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon as I’m still feeling a little burnt out on this endeavour, and I’m hoping to focus my creative energy on another project soon, but I do plan on posting a handful of reviews before the end of the year. That’s’ because the end of the year brings with it my annual “top 10 action figures of the year” list and that’s my favorite post to write (I love lists). I feel any toy that makes my best-of list should be a toy that I’ve previously reviewed. So in preparation I’ve decided to start reviewing some of the great figures I’ve purchased this year that have yet to be showcased.
2015 may have been the biggest year yet for Funko’s POP! vinyl figurines. These things are everywhere. All of my local comic shows are overflowing with them. In-store displays are stacked floor to ceiling and new ones seem to come out every week. I imagine the bubble will burst on these things soon but for the moment they remain insanely popular. I could easily go all-in collecting these adorable figures but I do my best to show restraint. Currently I own 21 of them which might sound like a lot to some people but I think I’m doing pretty good considering how many different figures are available. I’ve picked up 3 new ones in the past few weeks and each of them is a contender for my top 10 list. I’ll try to review them all by month’s end but for today I’ve opted to take a look at The Phantom.
The Phantom is an old-timely pulp hero from 1930s comic strips. I first became aware of him courtesy of the 1996 live-action movie starring Billy Zane. It wasn’t a great movie but it was pretty good and at the time good super hero movies were few and far between. The 90s oddly enough introduced me to a multitude of pulp heroes via live-action flicks such as The Shadow, Dick Tracy, and the Rocketeer (who was actually a new character with a pulp feel). I liked Dick Tracy and the Shadow well enough but it was the Rocketeer and the Phantom that really resonated with me. The Rocketeer for obvious reasons; he looks rad and he fights Nazis. You can’t go wrong with a jet pack, a leather jacket, a bitchn’ helmet, and Betty Page for a girlfriend.
The Phantom’s appeal isn’t as immediately evident. He’s a dude in a purple onesie with striped briefs overtop. He’s a super hero with no super powers and he lives in the middle of the jungle. The whole concept is rather strange and yet I was completely won over by the movie and it turned me into a fan for life. I’ve gobbled up every nugget of Phantom-ness I could find since then; sporadic comic book publications, a short-lived animated series, and even a direct-to-video live action sequel. Phantom toys have been just as elusive as lasting Phantom media. Prior to obtaining this POP! figurine the only Phantom toy in my collection was a 4” figure produced by Galoob in 1986. A Mego-style doll was released by Castaway Toys about a decade ago and I’d love to have it but it’s pricey and rare. So while this POP! figure may not be the most elaborate figure its still pretty cool awesome to add a new Phantom toy to my collection. Now that Funko has the Phantom license hopefully they’ll release more versions. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll have as many Phantoms as I do Rocketeers.
As I said above, this toy is pretty simple so there isn’t a whole lot I can say about it. There are no accessories and no articulation save for a neck swivel. Most POP! figures have the same basic body type which I’ve covered in previous reviews so there isn’t much new to be said about the sculpting either. But this figure makes the most of its few uniquely sculpted bits. He’s got his skull belt buckle, his rings, and his dual holstered pistols. What more could you ask for really? This figure is immediately recognizable as The Phantom (provided you know who The Phantom is) regardless of the lack of sculpted details and that’s a win as far as I’m concerned.