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Space Ghost

Space Ghost Coast to Coast
by yo go re

Spaaaaaaaaaaaaace Ghoooooooooooooost!

No, wait, that's Birdman.

Biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiird Man!

He's been the guardian of the galaxy for over three decades and has defended the universe from a host of intergalactic invaders. But now this super hero, known to his minions only as Space Ghost, faces his greatest challenge: to host his very own late-night talk show. With his inviso-belt, laser-blasting power bands, and sardonic sense of wit, Space Ghost captains the astro-amusing Space Ghost Coast to Coast through a barrage of irreverent buffoonery, meteor showers of balderdash, and a veritable cosmos of comic rapport. Joined by his former arch-enemies Moltar, Zorak, and Brak, Space Ghost entertains billions of earthlings making a mockery of his unsuspecting guests. He has even gone so far as to disintegrate his wise-cracking band leader Zorak from time to time. Space Ghost Coast to Coast is not your Mother's talk show!

He hosted Space Ghost Coast to Coast one time, you know. Birdman. With his sidekick/pet/whatever, Avenger. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough sunlight in the studio (located in deep space on Cartoon Planet) to sustain the polar-powered Birdman, so he was basically a narcoleptic talk show host. That was cool.

You know what else is cool? The Space Ghost figure. Yeah, I know that figures of Brak, Zorak and Moltar are available now, but they're not sculpted by the same folks, so they're not as nice. Which stinks.

Designed by renowned illustrator Alex Toth (under the direction of Fred Silverman and Joe Barbera), Space Ghost debuted in 1966. He rocketed around space with two teenagers and a monkey, saving the universe with his power bands and Invisi-belt. In 1994, he got his own late night talkshow, and brought a few of his old archnemeses along as sidekicks.

This Space Ghost figure, released by Toycom but sculpted by industry upstarts Art Asylum, was awarded the title of 2000 Toy of the Year, despite being released on January 19. Even with 11 months of competition nipping at his heels, Space Ghost remained at the top of the heap.

The unsurpassed design began with the packaging. Well-designed, with a die-cut image of SG himself firing a powerblast across the top of the card and a blister shaped like his cowl, Space Ghost's packaging earned the overall toy major points. But once you open the toy, that's when he really begins to shine.

Rather than just focusing on Space Ghost's superheroic or television host identity, the figure combines elements of both. For the MOCers out there, Space Ghost's hosting duties were at the fore - his accessories include his Coast to Coast desk, a stool, coffee mug, and four question cards. The figure includes four hands - two fists, and two with "talk show gestures." However, this figure is much better enjoyed open.

Space Ghost stands just over 6" tall, and features 14 points of articulation, which means he looks just as good standing and flying as he does sitting behind the desk. The biggest bonus has to be the massive balljoint in his neck, though - it allows him to look straight ahead and to tilt his head back when flying. Nice!

And while all this does indeed add up to one cool figure, what kept Space Ghost in the top slot for 2000 was innovation; on-package credits. Digger, head guru of the Art Asylum, has long been a proponent of giving sculptors props for the work they did on a figure, and Space Ghost was the first figure to give the design team its recognition.

I do have a few complaints with the figure, though: the white plastic on his legs was marked with light gray speckles when I opened the figure, and no amount of cleaning will remove them; the figure is also prone to some pretty substantial yellowing. Also, a joint in the upper arm would have served the figure well, allowing him to tap his powerband for a mighty blast that would fry Zorak to a crisp.

There are several variants of Space Ghost, all made from the same molds: a clear version, to simulate his Invisi-belt; a version with a light-up fist to emulate his power blast; a blue and grey Space Spectre, also with incandescent fist. No matter which variety of Space Ghost you choose, it's still a great toy. Heck, it's better than great; it was Toy of the Year!

-- 09/21/02

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