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Jolly Santa

The Naughty or Nice Collection
by yo go re

Nobody tell Megyn Kelly!

As we've said in the past, Santa Claus canonically exists in both the Marvel and DC universes the same as he does in ours, so there's no reason Marvel Legends or DCU Classics couldn't have included him in their lineup at some point. ToyBiz, Hasbro, Mattel, McFarlane... they've all had the opportunity to do something awesome and have all passed. Fortunately for fans of good taste, Fresh Monkey Fiction (they of Eagle Force and Amazing Heroes) and Arlen Pelletier Studio have stepped up, launching The Naughty or Nice Collection exclusively through Big Bad Toy Store.

Showcase your unique Christmas spirit by bringing naughty & nice Santas, elves, nutcrackers and more into your home this holiday season.

With so many varieties to choose from, you're sure to find the perfect one for your collection - or a friend's. Share the holiday spirit (both naughty or nice) with these high-quality action figures boxed in decorative packaging.

Well since you brough it up, marketing copy, lets talk packaging! It's just the Marvel Legends box with designs on the side to suggest a sweater, not anything spectacular. The cardboard is thinner and flimsier, too, so it doesn't even feel as good in your hand. There were plenty of "decorative" things they could have really done. Why not make the box look like a fireplace? Or a workshop? This is a line of Santas (and Santa-adjacents), so the packaging could have reflected that. And of all the things that could be copied, why Marvel Legends? We love the line too, but it's pretty distinctive. This is like when Asylum Films releases Transmorphers or something, trying to get some of that sweet, sweet, "well-meaning but confused grandparent" money. Except these are only sold on BBTS, so seeing the boxes isn't going to befuddle anyone. The original plan was more distinctive. [maybe the factory gave them a good deal on the patterns, since Hasbro was phasing it out at the time --ed.]

The line is, logically, divided into "Naughty" and "Nice" portions - in other words, friendly Santas and evil Santas. Pretty much every design was awesome, and I'd have loved to get the full line, but decided to limit myself to one good, one bad. For the good, I wanted something nice and plain, a classic, no-frills Santa. And thus, "Jolly Santa" was the easy choice!

The reason Fresh Monkey Fiction can do Santa action figures where the bigger boys couldn't is re-use: put Santa in a Marvel Legends line and it's one and done; make an entire line os Santas, and you can reuse the molds as much as you want. So all the Clauses in the line so far share the same sculpt from the neck down: large black boots with buckles, heavy pants, and a thick coat with fur trim, held shut by a wide belt with a massive buckle in the center. Even through the coat you can tell he's a big boy, and the wrinkles on the cloth are nice and subtle.

He's wearing a tradSant hat (it's like being a tradwife, but not a sad attempt at weird conservative propaganda), basically a pileus/phyrgian cap with fur trim and a white ball on the tip. It's a removable piece, revealing Santa's balding head underneath. On this figure, it also gives us a better look at the major difference between the "Jolly Santa" and "Classic Santa" releases: Jolly is wearing a pair of round-rimmed glasses, giving him a sweetly avuncular appearance. Jolly's beard is curlier than Classic's, too, but that's not as blatant a change.

The grey of Jolly's beard also makes a stronger contrast against the white fur on the suit. His boots and belt are shiny without being glossy, and his buckles are polished gold. The suit is red, of course, but there are slightly darker shadows airbrushed on that really accentuate the sculpt nicely, making this look more like a miniature person than a 6⅝ toy.

Fresh Monkey has not let us down when it comes to articulation. The Santa body features a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a balljointed waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge knees, and swivel/hinge elbows. The lower edge of his coat is PVC, and split on both sides so it doesn't prevent you from raising the legs. Considering FMF's usual realm of expertise is 4" scaled figures, they did a superb job creating this larger one. Bodes well for that upcoming Operation: Monster Force line.

Part of picking which Santas you want to get from the Naughty or Nice Collection is deciding which accessories you like best - not every Santa comes with the same things. For instance, Jolly Santa is supposed to come with a bell, but mine didn't: hopefully BBTS's customer service can fix that. He's got a red box tied up in a green ribbon, and a scroll with names scrawled upon it - his nice list! We also get a plate, a couple chocolate chip cookies to put on it, and a glass of milk. Technically a glass and milk, since the white filler can be removed, like he's already drunk it. There are a pair of alternate white hands, for when he's wearing gloves, and a bare hand shaped to hold his included pipe. This is an old-fashioned Santa! (For the record, Classic Santa includes a pair of more relaxed hands, and one pointing, so he can lay it aside of his nose.)

When these figures went up for preorder, no one had any clue the Four Horsemen were also going to release a Santa Claus this year, but even if you picked Classic Santa, the styles couldn't be more different: the Figura Obscura Father Christmas is a super-vintage wood spirit, while Naughty or Nice Santa is more modern, and then Jolly Santa is even more unique than that. I'm elated to have some high-quality Santas, and I really want more of them. There are already preorders up on BBTS for next year's lineup, so I already know I'll be getting more in the future.

-- 12/25/22

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