Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Review: Venture Bros. Hank and Dr. Girlfriend 8 inch Figures!

If you haven’t yet partaken in the sweet, forbidden fruit that is Venture Bros. then I don’t even know how I’d being to try to explain it to you. Inspired by the adventure cartoons of the sixties (particularly Johnny Quest), it’s one of the funniest, weirdest, most subversive, experimental, description defying animated series that you’ll ever have the pleasure of sticking into your head. It might take a couple of episodes to stick but, once it clicks in, I promise you’ll be hooked.

In an age of increasingly (eerily) realistic action figures, Bif Bang Pow have eschewed convention and journeyed back to a simpler time. Their line of 8 inch Venture Bros. dolls are a retro tribute to the Mego dolls of yesteryear. As such, they’re goofy, awkward, but bursting with charm. It’s a quirky choice, and one that seems incredibly appropriate for this series.

I already owned six of these, but was missing two very important characters (including one of the titular brothers!). But don’t fret - our pals at Big Bad Toy Store hooked me up! Join me after the jump where we will carefully study Hank Venture and the sultry Dr. Girlfriend!

I’ll start by saying that these are almost a real shame to free from their packaging. I love the character art and the style is a very close replica of the original Mego cardbacks. But I just don’t have the space (or system) to keep these carded. Flipping it over reveals the assembled line so far - considering these are only available through specialty retailers (like Big Bad) it’s a testament to the series that they’ve managed to go this deep into the character roster...

First up is Hank...

I find these figures to be thoroughly endearing but, make no mistake, they are awkward in every possible way imaginable. You’ll struggle to stand them up. You’ll struggle to pose them. Underneath their awkwardly hiked pants are legs made out of a hollow plastic that would feel more at home on a dollar store bootleg. These are a novelty and clearly aimed at both fans who understand the style of the show, as well as fans/collector’s of retro toys. I personally love it, but if you just can’t force yourself into that mindset then you may very well miss the appeal.

But Hank is wearing a ‘kerchief. How can you not love that!

The only thing that would make him better is some accessories, but I guess that’s not in line with what Mego used to do. I can probably print him out a paper Batman mask from somewhere to keep him in line with many of his onscreen appearances.

And I do think that the head sculpt is great. The heads are rubbery and often a completely different colour to their limbs, but it has that open mouthed, glazed eyed, idiotic expression that fans of the show have grown to love.

And my second new figure is the curvaceous, gravel-voiced villainess Dr. Girlfriend.

The aptly named girlfriend of butterfly-themed supervillain The Monarch, this is the first female figure that I’ve owned in the line. And they’ve taken a few sneaky shortcuts with the body. If you’re going to put her in a dress that has a velcro seam up the front then of course I’m going to open it, and it revealed that she actually has a modest, slim body which has been literally padded out by two soft cushions, one strapped across her chest, and one on her butt. It’s a clever deceit.

Again, the head sculpt is solid but the body is all over the place. She’s very difficult to balance on her thin, Barbie-style go-go boots. She’s such an iconic character though that I was determined to add her to the fold.

Speaking of which, let’s see how these all look together!

Here are the brothers attempting an ungainly “Go Team Venture” high-five.

And here’s the assembled Team Venture complete with Dr. Venture and bodyguard Brock...

And switching to the villains we have The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend...

And why not throw in some henchmen while we’re at it...

There are other characters that I still have my eye on. I’d love a Molotov Cocktease or a Dr. Orpheus, but these are sold in pairs and neither of those is packed with a character I particularly need in my collection (which all evidence to the contrary aside, I’m actually trying to somewhat contain).

And don’t forget that Bif Bang Pow are still attempting to release an accessory-laden line of 3 3/4 inch modern Venture Bros figures but can’t do that without our support. The first of these offerings is Brock Sampson and you can pick him up here at BBTS.

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