Todd McFarlane, really, does not know what makes a good toy. Or maybe I should say, "what licenses will make a good toy." He didn't think that Army of Darkness would be worthwhile, and it took three years of lobbying by fans before we got Ash. A petition has been around on Todd's own message board for more than a year, calling for Robocop, but still not a peep. But one employee thinks that NASCAR is a sport, and Todd's all over it?
No clue at all.
The real proof came when NECA released its Hellraiser toys: Todd had claimed for years that the license was unavailable, when what he meant was that the license was not available on his terms; Todd just wanted to make Pinhead, while the rights holders wanted toys of all the Cenobites. Todd's bullheaded stubbornness had screwed fans for too long. NECA delivered then, and now they've delivered again, with another long-awaited line of maniacal movie characters: the Gremlins!
In the original script for Gremlins, cute little Mogwai Gizmo and thoroughly malevolent Gremlin Stripe were going to be one and the same - it was decided that having such an adorable character become the film's leading badguy would have been too traumatic for audiences, so the one character was split in two.
Don't believe me? Compare the shape of the spot on Gizmo's head to Stripe's hair.
Spike was the leader in the first film, proving to be smarter and more devious than his destructive brethren. He held on the longest, leading his adversaries on a chase throughout the town before finally meeting his gooey, bubbling end. With such a prominent role, there was no way that a line of Gremlins figures couldn't include the mohawk-ed one.
That infamous hairdo has been duplicated here not in plastic, but with rooted hair. Though shown as a sculpted element on the front of the packaging, Stripe's hair has been glued in place. In order to keep his stark white pompadour under control, the hair has been given a light coat of glue, which keeps it shaped and stiff without being brittle or weighing it down. This is obviously a very delicate operation for a toy.
Every inch of Stripe's scaly hide is sculpted expertly, though his big flat tail looks very odd - I'm sure it's part of the actual design, probably intended to hide a puppeteer's arm, but here it just looks out of place.
Stripe stands 6" tall and moves at the hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists and neck. There are rubber flaps at the shoulders that help hide the three points of articulation beneath, while still allowing for maximum poseability. His body is a dark green, with yellow and brown highlights spreading out from his chest.
If you're looking to add some goodies to your Muppet Kitchen, then Stripe is the Gremlin for you: he comes with various props taken from the scene in the movie theatre, including a giant bag of popcorn. The candies include CoCo-Yum's, Chompers, Milk Balls, Nukes, Freakies and a Zing, and all have some slight humor in the list of ingredients on their labels.
I'm not very impressed by the fact that the boxes are all decorated with stickers, since that type of decal never adheres correctly to uneven surfaces of this type. Since Stripe's body got reused in this line, I would have liked to see the savings used to better deco these accessories.
Really, I was on the fence about Stripe - I don't really remember the original Gremlins very well, so he wasn't a "must buy." However, it was the inclusion of all the cool junkfood accessories that really tipped me in his favor. Still, the figure is fairly decent, and I'm glad to see there's at least one company out there that still pays attention to its fans.
Lizards with hair? Has the world gone mad? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.