Category Archives: action figures

In Praise of Starman

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An awesome Starman action figure I can't find anywhere

 STARMAN, The forgotten Super Hero

Remember the original DC Comics’ Starman? I’m not talking about his son, Jack, who had his own Starman comic in the nineties, and may still for all I know. I am concerned here with Ted Knight, the scientist who invented the gravity rod, which was replaced by the cosmic rod. He didn’t have any super powers, it was all in the rod. Did you hear that ladies? But, primarily, as a child, I just liked his costume. Even though the yellow star on the red costume seems a bit Communist to me now. I liked the Buck Rogers fin on his head. The artist, Jack Burnley gave Starman that noble sort of Prince Valiant look, which I liked. I didn’t care about the plot. He was fun to look at. But there are some interesting facts about Starman worth noting. Did you know that he was involved in the Manhattan Project which developed the atomic bomb? He was so distraught over what he had helped create that he suffered a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized for many years. Although Starman had his own comic briefly, he was chiefly seen as a member of the Justice Society of America, the original DC gathering of super heroes which fought the Nazis and Japan among other things. Once in a while, DC would bring back the Justice Society, until finally, in the twenty first century they have their own comic once again. Starman’s son, Jack, became the new Starman in the nineties, but he didn’t have the nifty costume. The plots were better, though, but then, comics in recent decades have been more for adults than children. So I thought I would share my love of an often forgotten DC superhero of the golden age. Here are three panels of Starman comics.

The world driven insane by a band of metaphysical villains? I think this actually happened!

 


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Enid

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Enid my Eternal Muse

This post is in praise of Enid, a character from Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel Ghost World, which was made into a great cult film starring Thora Birch and Scarlett Johannson. Thora is brilliant in this film. I fell in love with her portrayal of Enid. Enid is me. I am Enid, She is my inner female, without a doubt. If I were a woman, I would be Enid. She is witty, sexy, and kind of otherworldly. You can’t hope to really get to know her, you can only marvel at her existence. Daniel Clowes’ version is a bit darker than the film version. Thora brings a sweetness to the character, hidden beneath her constant stream of sarcasm. This is the Enid I prefer. She wants everyone to think she doesn’t give a damn, but secretly she cares. A lot! Just like me.

Hey! Look! I'm Batgirl!

Enid spots this fetish item in a porn shop and cannot resist putting it on. She sees humor in the sordid, as do I. Hey, look I’m Batgirl! She doesn’t say that in the film, but she should have! Daniel Clowes created an enigma with the Enid character. You want to get inside her head and examine her brain. She is drawn to the rejected, the lonely, the crazy lost souls of Ghost World. Ghost World is clearly her world. She is vibrantly alive, surrounded by ghosts.

I was struck by the scene shown below, in which Enid and her friend talk to the crazy old guy that always sits at an abandoned bustop. They try to explain that the bus doesn’t stop there anymore, but he insists it does. At the end of the film, a bus does arrive at this bustop and Enid boards it. This bus is from ‘another place’, as David Lynch would put it, and now Enid is where she belongs, far far away from the dismal Ghost World the rest of us have to endure. She is dressed in red, which is rich in symbolic meaning which I won’t go into here.

I feel as though I know Enid, as though she is a real person. I can feel her presence, commenting acidly on our current cultural stupidity. She pretends to be shocked, but she never is. Nothing gets past Enid.

Bustop in Limbo

The movie doesn’t give us the pleasure of seeing Enid as a little girl, although Clowes’ did a few Ghost World comics with little Enid. I bought a great Little Enid action figure which I have to share with you, because it is unbearably cute.

Isn't she cute?

It was unfortunate that the film did not include the reason for the film’s name. The name Ghost World came from graffiti the girls saw scrawled on a garage door. I love that image. It could have been at the end of the opening credits or something. If only they could have had me there to advise them!

Finally, I will leave you with a great shot from the film. The genius of this film was in capturing how kids fresh out of high school really look and act. Enid is the essence of cool, but also a confused young woman too wise for her years.

Elvis’ Elusive Face

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Who is this guy?

He almost looks like Elvis Presley. or perhaps a cross between Kirk Russell and Elvis Presley. Could it be Lisa Marie Presley’s son?

All of the above are wrong. This is a very expensive action figure of ….somebody. It is supposed to be Elvis Presley during his 1968 comeback special, but it doesn’t quite make it. Would you shell out over $300 for an action figure of someone who almost looks like Elvis Presley?

But I am being too hard on the manufacturer of this figure. It is very difficult to capture Elvis Presley’s face. I am sure his imitator’s struggle with this a great deal, but nobody struggles with it like the makers of action figures. Below are some attempts which I think come closer than the one above. But they show Elvis with eyes closed. That is cheating.

One of the better efforts is below, the Rockabilly Cat action figure, still the eyes are essentially closed. But this is pretty close, as you can see by looking at the picture of the real thing from 1957 shows. But check out the other two action figures. They aren’t even trying!! I don’t know, maybe I am being really picky, but I like my action figures to be as realistic as possible.

Even though Elvis had many different looks over his career, his face still had some basic characteristics. Why don’t you try it? See if you can draw a picture, or sculpt a bust of Elvis Presley. Then you will quickly discover how hard it is to capture that famous face. Here are a few more photos of Elvis for you to work from. You will get the hair right very easily, and possibly the mouth, the nose isn’t extremely hard, but the eyes are the hardest. Don’t place them too close together or you end up with Kurt Russell. Or is it something else? I don’t really know.