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Old Man Zim

Invader Zim
by yo go re

In order to move around undetected on Irth, Zim's usual disguise was an average skool child, but sometimes that wasn't enough. There are some places a child can't go without attracting attention, so he developed another INGENIUS disguise - this one an old man.

Old Man Zim was a 2005 exclusive at Wizard World Chicago, and was also available via the Palisades Collectors Club. It's a decent choice for an exclusive variation, since it only appeared in two episodes: "Walk of Doom" and "Attack of the Saucer Morons." So while it's fairly familiar to fans of the show, it's also low-profile enough that no one needs to have it to complete their collection.

The "disguise," such as it is, involves Zim throwing on a long brown coat, a false beard and a filthy pink hat. Well, it's supposed to be filthy - the paint apps here just make it look polka dotted. The sculpt is obviously new, since they couldn't re-use an existing body for this one: not Zim's legs are pre-existing, since he has on platform shoes. His face is based on the "maniacal laughter" head on the first Hot Topic Zim, but it's an entirely new mold, not a re-use.

Zim moves at the neck, shoulders, sleeves and waist. Maybe. The little gloved hands steadfastly refuse to turn, and give Palisades' track record with bad construction, I'm not about to force them. Bad enough the waist falls apart so easily - the peg that's supposed to keep it in place is loose, so the legs drop out with little provocation.

The paint is fine. The Old Man disguise has Zim with purple eyes, rather than blue, further setting him apart from all previous incarnations. The dots on his hat are too regular, but it should look shabbier overall - it's too crisp. Even the holes in the brim are perfectly square. The buttons on his coat are painted nicely, though, and the flap and lapels are sculpted.

Since Zim rarely went anywhere by himself, he's packaged with a new Gir. Well, a new Gir who's really an amalgam of old Girs. Like Series 2's Gir, he's wearing a doggie suit. Like the Hot Topic variant, he's got the head flipped back. But like Series 1 Gir, he has a normal, non-screaming head. It's a little bit of everything!

Unlike Hot Topic Gir, the ears on this exclusive's dog head go the right way: since he's flipped the head over, the ears point backwards, not forward. The tongue is missing and the nose is unpainted, so things aren't perfect - however, you can open the top of his head to store a cupcake inside, just like in "Walk of Doom." Too bad Palisades didn't include one. Now Gir will be sad!

That's not to say Old Man Zim doesn't get a lot of nice accessories - ones not available anywhere else, too! Well, one of them is a repaint: the spooky chihuahua has been redone in a darker brown - the colors seen in "Walk of Doom"! Other than that, we get a lunch tray, a mutant vermin (from "Mortos Der Soulstealer") and an obedience controller. The vermin is adorable and the controller is detailed well, but what's really neat is that the tray only has one slot filled (with peas). That means you can put the various snacks that have come with the other figures on there as part of your complete breakfast.

Both Zim and Gir have display stands, as well, but in a real change of pace, Zim needs his to stand, while Gir doesn't. The head of Gir's dogsuit helps keep him upright, while Zim's huge hat and platform shoes combine to make him supremely unsteady. Strange!

The Invader Zim - Old Man Disguise exclusive is a really good set, and was also one of the toughest to find; the time that Palisades was offering them was the same time they were circling the drain, so getting one from them was a real crap shoot. At one point the secondary market value was more than three times the original $20 price tag, but I managed to find one on eBay for less than half. Old Man Zim may be obscure, but any Zim fan should definitely try to track this one down.

-- 10/27/08


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