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Phil Ken Sebben & Bear

Harvey Birdman
by Shocka

It's been a while since I've had a review - what gives? First a birthday, then job interviews, then a 7,000-word thesis - it's a busy life being a Shocka! But I'm back again for more goodness starting with a long-ago gift from a fellow OAFE, the mighty awesome Poe, one of my new favourite toys: from the fantastic Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law and brought to us by the late, lamented Palisades Toys, the mighty Phil Ken Sebben and the Bear!

For those who haven't had yet the pleasure, Harvey Birdman is one of those amusing, bizarre [adult swim] cartoons that play late on the Cartoon Network. A reworking of Birdman and the Galaxy Trio, a lame Hanna-Barberra cartoon with a winged superhero fighting a series of misfit villains who would look (more) ridiculous in a real superhero universe. Now a lawyer for various Hanna-Barbera creations, Harvey Birdman finds himself dealing with various amounts of insanity, including tactless oversexed cyclopean boss Phil Ken Sebben. Then, there's the Bear, who's a completely different character entirely, if you can even call him a character - he just kind of appears in the background of a scene, disappears for a few minutes, crops up again in a crowd, disappears, reappears in Harvey's office, etc. He rarely does anything, though sometime he's dressed up in a costume to suit the occasion, or to not suit the occasion. It's totally random and very funny.

Find both of these characters in the first series of [adult swim] by Palisades, in which the most popular characters from the late night shows are given the action figure treatment. Rather than do Harvey himself from Birdman, they've chosen to go with Phil and the Bear, an odd duo who I love with all my heart - shame they never got to do Harvey and his bird Avenger further down the line.

Simple, big and effective - that's the packaging! The [adult swim] clamshells are nicely sized to show off each two-pack of figures, Phil and Bear no exception. There's the Harvey logo on front of the clam which holds and shows off these toys nicely, plus all their accessories (love that urinal) on a black background with a colorful judge's stand behind. Aside from the size, which may be an issue if you're shipping this bad boy somewhere, the package looks great, plus the art and pictures on the back - featuring not just the figures in Series 1, but also Series 2 (oooooWEEEEEooooo! Mind taking!) - look great. Plus there's a great pic of Phil and the Bear for comparison's sake.

Phil and the Bear make quite the odd duo; not just for strange characters, but for the degrees in difference in their sculpt. On one hand, the Bear looks absolutely fantastic, dead-on for his sculpt, paint and pose from the show. Standing just over 6" tall, the big random furry guy looks fantastic, with his harmless little smile and paw-on-his-side pose, he's perfect to disappear and reappear randomly in your collection.

Put him in your Marvel Legends for five minutes, then he'll just disappear! He'll be in your Movie Maniacs for an hour, wearing Jason's hockey mask and jacket, then he'll go away for a week and reappear next to your TMNT, nodding approvingly and clapping by himself! Oh yes, he is God. He is God.

On the other hand, Phil doesn't fare nearly so well; although his suit/body is nice and simple, his head doesn't quite look like Phil - there's no scary glint in his eye, at least not from afar. Close up, he looks pretty good, but from any short distance, you can't see the white around his eye and he doesn't look like Phil. Secondly, his shoulders stick out due to their strange balljoints, which give him a lot of movement but aren't well-concealed and look, well, odd. Finally, he's not really in scale with anything; standing 5" tall, both he and the Bear don't really fit in with your other figures, though living in their own little universe, this isn't the kiss of death that doomed the Batman Begins, Superman Returns, Spider-Man 3 and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer toys (yes, 5" figures really are quite terrible, all-around), but it is notable. I'd have prefered to have had Phil in the Marvel Legends 6" scale even though he's only an inch or so short. Or, as Phil himself said, "Ha Ha Ha! Not to scale."

Still, Phil is the winner when it comes to fun, with balljointed arms, pin-jointed elbows and knees then peg joints at the neck, left wrist and legs. It's enough that he can move a little with some minor posing, he doesn't need Wolverine-style super articulation. Likewise the Bear, who's got peg joints at the neck, shoulders and legs, but would have been slightly better with balljointed elbows, although it may have affected the sculpt like Phil, thus is better without.

Phil Ken Sebben features one of the best accessories ever seen with an action figure: a urinal. Yes, Phil has his own urinal. Best not to ask.

Phil also features a nifty little tumbler that he can hold (frosted like a real glass!), a bust of his head (how sad is it that the accessory has a better facial sculpt that the actual figure?), the intercom he buzzes everyone into his office with, a vase, a nameplate for his desk ("Ha ha ha, boss!"), a baby grand piano and a 14' high golden Buddha*. The sculpt and paint on all of these is fantastic; the only problem is he really needs his desk to put everything on, to which he can then stand behind and call everyone into his office to annouce something totally insane!

[What we here at OAFE call "pulling a Shocka" --ed.]

The Bear is completely without accessories, although he usually doesn't carry anything himself; both figures feature nice little black stands, although they're not needed - they stand perfectly without them.

Despite the flaws with this set, I'm very fond of these figures; in particular, the amazing Bear, who just has so much to offer. Phil is also a fantastic figure, and with a desk to put his stuff on, he'd be a must own - trying digging around your accessories for that old movie J. Jonah Jameson desk, or else hit the craft shop for doll house furniture to claim him a desk. Otherwise, all his stuff just kinda sits on the ground.

Some people have balked at the price, and at $15, it is a little steep, but you're still getting two figures here - at $13 or under, it's a bargain! Plus, he has a urinal - what more could you want?

Ha ha, dangly parts!

* He never had a--
** "Keep your thoughts to yourself, Birdman!"

-- 02/27/08

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