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Points of Articulation

Poe
Poe Ghostal
Mattel's reused DC sculpts

For four years, we've made fun of Mattel's DC Universe Classics for one thing: its stupid name. Its stupid name and the insipid "Collect-n-Connect" name. The two things we've made fun of are the name of the line, the silly name they came up with for the Build-A-Figures and the lackluster articulation. The three things we've made fun of are the name of the line, the name of the BAFs, and the articulation... and the heavy reuse of bodies. The four-- no. Amongst the things we've made fun of are such elements as the name, BAFs... let's start over.

Amongst the things we've ridiculed DC Universe Classics for are such diverse elements as the name, the BAFs, the articulation, the reused bodies, and the lack of accessories. Oh, damn! Look, we're trying to make a point here, and copying famous Monty Python sketches isn't going to get it done, is it? [Ni! I mean, no! --ed.] We've said over and over that DCUC relies too heavily on reused sculpts, but is that really true? We were determined to find out.

Researching this topic was a two-step process. Step 1: ask the Four Horsemen if they kept records about these things. Step 2: since they didn't, pull out every DCUC figure in our collections and divide them into great heaping piles, based on which torso they had. Science! Luckily, while the 4H couldn't just do our work for us, they could give us names for the different bodies, which gave us a starting point for dividing them.

Small Male
1.Black Manta
2.Green Lantern
3. Nightwing
4. Atom
5. Black Lightning
6. Dr. Impossible
7. Killer Moth
8. Mr. Miracle
9. Blue Beetle
10.Flash
11.Dr. Fate
12.Mr. Terrific
13.Vigilante
14.Guardian
15.Forager
16.Shark
17.Steppenwolf
18.Eclipso
19.The Spectre
20.Negative Man
21.Gold
22.Hourman
23.Obsidian
24.Tyr
25.Starman
26.Riddler
27.Black/White Hal
28.Blue Lantern Flash
29.Indigo Atom
30.Black Vulcan
40.Bronze Tiger
41.El Dorado
42.Samurai
43.Professor Zoom
44.White Lantern Flash
45.Animal Man
46.Johnny Quick
47.Power Ring
48.Tomar Re
49.Hal Jordan
50.Sinestro
51.Romat-Ru
52.Zan
53.Kyle Rayner
54.Low/Maash
55.Manhunter Robot
56.NautKeiLoi/Medphyll
57.Skallox/Nite-Lik
58.Sodam Yat
Medium Male
1.Batman
2.Orion
3.Red Tornado
4.Electric Superman
5.Batman Beyond
6.Captain Atom
7.Cyborg
8.Amazo
9.Eradicator
10.Superman
11.Aquaman
12.Booster Gold
13.Commander Steel
14.Black Adam
15.Mantis
16.Wildcat
17.John Stewart
18.Steppenwolf
19.OMAC
20.Yellow Batman
21.Atom
22.Hawk
23.Adam Strange
24.B'wana Beast
25.Ultra Man
26.Owl Man
27.John Stewart
28.Lightray
Large Male
1.Hawkman
2.Martian Manhunter
3.Hawkman
4.Magog
Oversized Male
1.Kilowog
2.Validus
3.Brimstone
4.Arkillo
Male BAF 1
1.Despero
2.Lobo
Male BAF 2
1.Atom Smasher
2.Trigon
3.Apache Chief
Robot BAF
1.S.T.R.I.P.E.
2.Stel
Archer
1.Green Arrow
2.Red Arrow
Public Enemies*
1.Batman
2.Black Lightning
3.Icicle
4.Major Force
5.Superman
6.Jemm
Female 1
1.Harley Quinn
2.Hawkgirl
3.Katma Tui
4.Dove
5.Silver Banshee
6.Superwoman
7.Karu-Sil
8.Starfire
9.YJ Artemis
Female 2
1.Cheetah
2.Donna Troy
3.Raven
Teen
1.Robin
2.Kid Flash
3.Beast Boy
4.YJ Robin
Large Teen
1.Sinestro
2.Superboy
3.YJ Aqualad
4.YJ Superboy
Suit
1.Question
2.Sandman
Tuxedo
1. Gentleman Ghost
2. Joker
Skinny Male
1. Deadman
2. Creeper
3. Mercury
4. Captain Boomerang
5. Toyman
6. Sinestro
7. Abin Sur

Not too bad, huh? That's 140 figures that share 16 kinds of bodies. Sure, there may be some differences in the gloves and boots, but we're talking about torsos - you know, what people judge by when they say two figures share the same body. Some of them, like Cyborg and Magog could really count as unique bodies, but it's obvious they're built on one of the pre-existing torsos, so we included them there.

The Public Enemies men all share the same body, and when the figures came out we couldn't quite decide whether the sculpt was new, or just a minorly up-sized version of the Medium Male body - that's why there's an asterisk up there in their part of the chart. Well, after filling the OAFE office with every Mattel DC figure at once, we can finally answer that: it's actually a retooled version of the DCSH3 Batman! How about that, huh? So the bodies were technically reused, but they were still new to DCUC.

If you're paying attention, you may notice that there are a few figures missing from the table above. You know why? Because everybody who's not mentioned above has a unique body. Here's that chart:

Uniques
1. Etrigan
2. Metamorpho
3. Penguin
4. Aquaman
5. Firestorm
6. Gorilla Grodd
7. Deathstroke
8. Solomon Grundy
9. Ares
10. Wonder Woman
11. Metallo
12. Riddler*
13. Kalibak
14. Shazam
15. Big Barda
16. Captain Cold
17. Giganta
18. Parademon
19. Black Canary
20. Chemo
21. Deadshot
22. Imperiex
23. Man-Bat
24. Power Girl
25. Robotman
26. Cyborg Superman*
27. Copperhead
28. Darkseid
29. Desaad
30. Doctor Mid-Nite
31. Iron
32. Mary Batson
33. Blue Beetle
34. Blue Devil
35. Cyclotron
36. Alan Scott
37. Kamandi
38. Ultra-Humanite
39. Zatanna
40. Golden Pharaoh
41. Starman
42. Azrael Batman
43. Bane
44. Jonah Hex
45. Robin
46. Anti-Monitor
47. Orange Lantern Lex*
48. Yellow Scarecrow
49. Star Sapphire WW
50. Kobra
51. Stargirl
52. Green Arrow
53. Guy Gardner
54. Plastic Man
55. Swamp Thing
56. Black Hand
57. Mongul*
58. B'Dg
59. Despotellis
60. Dex-Starr
61. G'Hu
62. Star Sapphire
63. Sportsmaster

The figures in that list with asterisks have molds that originated in DC Superheroes, but still, that's 63 figures that had unique sculpts - more original bodies than the most-used "generic" one - which means that about 25% of the line had a one-off sculpt. So why, then, do we think of DCUC as being all about the reuse?

Well, it definitely doesn't help that while one quarter of the line may be unique, another quarter is made entirely of the Small Male body. And to be quite honest, the Medium Male body doesn't look that different from the Small (until you get a couple dozen of them all together and compare them at once).

But then, that's why we did all this work: to see how perception compared to reality. I certainly never would have guessed that there were so many original sculpts in the line, or that the Small body more than doubled the use of its nearest competitor. DCUC will always have a reputation as a line that relied on a small pool of sculpts (and with a 3-to-1 ratio between old and new, it's not entirely undeserved), but it's probably not as bad as you thought.


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