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Funko Force
by Rustin Parr

Ask anyone and they'll tell you their favorite items are the cool things they stumble upon by accident. Much was the case when I came to the Funko booth at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con. I'm not really into bobbleheads or similarly styled figures, so Funko has never really been on my radar. However, they've managed to pick up some cool licenses, and they slapped me in the face by offering SDCC exclusives of many of those licenses, repainted in metallic colors (one of my toy-buying kryptonites). After a lot of heming, hawing, and lookyloo-ing I settled on the Frankenstein Monster from their Universal Movie Monster line.

Priced at $17 and limited to 240, the 5½" figure is sculpted in a squatting "I'm-a-gunna-git-ya" pose with an oversized head typical of bobble-head figures. He stands surprisingly well, considering the body and head angle forward. The sound footing is probably due to the hollow head and solid feat. There is a surprising amount of sculptural detail for such a stylized figure, especially on the head, but it is very welcome. Funko's license clearly falls under Universal's "generic monsters" category, which has a style guide using the classic costumes but genericized likenesses. Fortunately, the Monster looks more than enough like Karloff for us to get whats up.

The figure has three points of articulation. Well, mine has four - I can separate his lower and upper bodies, but that's probably because no glue was used on the one I got. Accidentally, I assume. Frankenstein has swivel elbows and a swivel head. Speaking of which - this isn't a bobble-head! Who knew, right? Instead of a long neck with a spring on it, there is simply a circular cap at the base of the head for the neck to plug into. I thought it was something unique to the SDCC version but I tracked down a standard Frankenstein figure and he had the same thing.

The best thing about this figure is that which makes it exclusive: the metallic paint. The boots, shirt and hair are all glossy black, while the suit is a metallic gray-brown, and the skin a fantastic metallic green. The fingernails and eyes are a light yellow, to complete the dead body effect. The richness of the colors and metallic sheen tie the whole piece together into being one of those "it's just plain cool" pieces in my collection.

As I discovered on the DCD Blackest Night John Stewart figure, the way metallic paint works is by first applying a metallic silver base coat, then tinting that with a translucent overcoat in whatever color you want. This is especially apparent at Frankenstein's on his upper forehead where skin fades from green to silver just before the hairline. I searched all the available figures at the booth and all had that problem, which is a shame. It's the only thing detracting from this otherwise super cool piece.

I spent a lot of time at the Funko booth trying to decide what to get. Metallic Optimus Prime, faux Brass Sauron, metallic orange, yellow and/or purple Robbie the Robot, even the variously colored flocked versions of Sam the Snowman from Rudolph all called to me. I knew I had to limit myself to just one otherwise I'd have to buy the whole lot, which was a costly endeavor at $17 a piece (which I hadn't budgeted for). UMM is the closest of the properties to my heart and thus is what I went with, and glad I am. I'll always want the aforementioned others, but metallic Frankenstein, as a randomly cool and show-exclusive find, will always be a favorite and a nostalgic reminder of one the best SDCCs I've ever attended.

-- 10/12/10

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