DC Comics is owned by the sprawling megacorporation that is AOL/TimeWarner, so Mattel's deal for Batman and Justice League figures is really a deal with them. It should come as no surprise, then, that they announced a line of Looney Tunes figures.
There have been a few attempts at Looney Tunes figures over the years, most of them fairly unmemorable. Mattel obviously hopes to buck that trend, and gave fans an advance preview at Comic Con International '03.
While the lines for their Batman and Keldor exclusives wrapped around the convention hall, Mattel was quietly selling another exclusive to anyone who asked.
Offering a figure of tiny little Tweety Bird by himself wouldn't really work: if the figures are all in scale to one another, Tweety would be all alone in a big empty blister; it would take some pretty impressive accessories to make the figure worth purchasing. But what if Tweety was just the accessory to another, larger figure?
Though it might make the most sense to pack Sylvester and Tweety together, Mattel opted for having the little canary all by himself, in a way. Drawing on the many, many cartoons in which Tweety found his way into Dr. Jekyll's laboratory and drank something he shouldn't have, regular Tweety comes with large monstrous Tweety.
Articulated at the shoulders and hips, Monster Tweety stands 6" tall. His body is covered with a thin, flexible rubber to accommodate his action feature: press the lever on his back and his mouth opens wide, ready to swallow whoever is bothering him (move your mouse over the picture to the left for an example). I don't know how well this rubber will hold up, whether it will last the ages or dry out and rot like so many other flexible figures have done, but for now it works well.
While the standard Tweety set features the big guy in the same yellow and orange as his cartoon appearances, the SDCC Exclusive had to be a bit different. In a fun little nod to one of their competitors, Monster Tweety is painted green and purple. Yes, that's right; Tweety has Hulked out.
The two-tone greens match up to the varying shades on regular Tweety (at 1 5/8" tall, he's unarticulated but still in his normal colors), and the bottom of his body has been given a ragged purple edge, to simulate the Hulk's shredded pants. Clever!
Limited to only 750 pieces, this exclusive is an example of good thinking. It's a simple repaint (rather than an entirely new character), which means that no one is missing out if they don't get it. It's different enough from the regular edition that buying it is worthwhile. And perhaps best of all, no one had to stand in line to enter a raffle for the chance to buy it.
Who's your favorite Looney Tunes character? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.