Though Palisades' Muppet line is all but gone from the world, that does not mean that the little company from Maryland has given up all efforts when it comes to Jim Henson's creations. They are still giving us as much as they can, including store exclusives, con specials and even a brand-new Sesame Street line. To debut this line, Palisades did what so many companies do: they brought their figure to the conventions.
When Grover's mommy makes him a Super-Monster costume, Grover finds that he gains super powers whenever he puts it on. Super Grover's motto is "always try to help others": the trouble is, the child Super Grover is trying to help usually solves the problem before he does. This does not stop Super Grover from taking the credit and flying away... but not before crashing into a nearby tree or house.
Before that retarded little media whore, Elmo, was introduced, there was only one cute, furry monster who captured the hearts of kids. Grover was there to teach us the difference between near and far, how to go over and under and through and how to enjoy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He even tried to protect us from the monster at the end of the book. And while it may not be his most memorable skit, sometimes Grover would dress up as a superhero to save the world. For their first Sesame Street figure, that is the incarnation Palisades chose.
Like last year's Adventure Kermit, Super Grover is this year's tour figure, the exclusive that will be at every con Palisades attends. The first thing you will notice when you pick one up is just how massive the box is compared to the other exclusives. A foot tall and 10" wide, this thing is not going to be an easy item to haul around all day - consider buying your Super Grover near closing time.
When you remove the packaging from its plain white box (Palisades double-boxes these things to make them easier to mail), you will find a very nice heroic painting of Super Grover. The artist? Some relatively unknown guy named Alex Ross. As I understand it, he likes to paint superheroes. It was good of Palisades to give this up-and-comer a chance.
A panel on the box opens to reveal a window, and now you can see why the box has to be so big: this is not just a figure of Super Grover; it is actually much more.
Our favorite blue monster is packaged in his civilian identity, wearing a fedora, glasses, a shirt and tie and an overcoat. However, unlike another coat-wearing Muppet, Koozebane Kermit, Grover's coat is real cloth. It is stitched well, with real metal buckles on the sash and sleeve and six buttons up the front. It also has a velcro strip up the back, so you do not have to undo all that to take it off. The hat and glasses are permanently attached to his head. Removing the coat is a bit difficult, since the way the cloth is folded to make his cuffs does not leave much room for his hands to fit through, but it can be done.
Remove the coat and you see Super Grover's symbol on the figure's chest: a light blue G with a lightning bolt behind it. The civilian head pops off, to be replaced by Super Grover's head, complete with the weird knight's helmet he wears. His cloth cape is folded neatly in the package, and features elastic loops for his wrists and a yellow cord you can tie around his neck. Super Grover looks great in his super identity.
Bill Mancuso did an absolutely wonderful job on the sculpt. Grover is fur from head to toe, so the figure has tons of tiny, swirly details re-creating that. Both Grover heads capture the look of that famous Muppet perfectly, with the bulbous pink nose and the bright red lips. The paint apps just bring the details to life - the colors are very vibrant, and just what we would expect to see on Grover.
Super Grover stands 6" tall, though his various hats add a bit to that total. He moves at the Big Five - neck, shoulders and hips - just enough to grant him "action" figure status. Additionally, the eye guard on the helmet moves up and down. Since Grover's arms are thin and spindly, there is really no room for articulation. But he is a wild and floppy guy, so to simulate that kind of craziness, Palisades made his arms bendy. You can pose them however you like.
If that was all we got, this would still be an excellent exclusive. But Palisades, as always, has gone above and beyond. Carrying the superhero theme just a bit further, Palisades included one giant acessory: a full and complete phonebooth for Grover to change in.
The green booth is 8 3/8" tall and 3" square, more than large enough for Super Grover. It is large enough, in fact, for DC Direct and Marvel Legends figures to use. The "glass" is clear plastic, and the hinged door opens like the real thing. The floor of the booth has a diamond plate pattern and the phone is remarkably detailed:
the receiver can be lifted from the cradle, each number on the rotary dial has the correct three letters by it and the coin collector has the appropriate aged metal look. There is even a sticker with tiny, tiny text and a pair of classic Bell logos (they look like the 1889 and 1900 logos, but in reverse order - it is really too small to tell for sure, though). This is a killer accessory. I am surprised that Palisades did not give us tiny, tiny coins that actually fit in the coin slot - that is how detailed this accessory is.
Forget the "new" Muppets. Forget a Cookie Monster who cannot eat cookies and a Burt and Ernie who cannot take a bath. Forget Elmo dryhumping Rosie O'Donnell to make a quick buck (or was that the other way around?). Remember a Snuffleupagus that no one ever saw. Remember that when it comes to monsters we love, Grover was the original, and he is still the best.
What is your favorite Grover sketch? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.