Sometimes as toy collectors, we can look across our displays and only see the toys that aren’t there. They are the missing figures. The characters toy companies never got around to, never thought were important enough, or worse – the figures companies felt the need to show us at comicon in the “We’re Never Gonna Make These” case. Saturdays are for these figures…
JLU is the grandfather in the superhero section of the toy aisle. The toyline is in its seventh year and is zeroing in on 200 unique characters. Even more impressive, the tie-in cartoon it was based on ended three years ago and the lines been flying solo ever since. It’s even expanded to include figures of characters that were never featured on the show. I’m excited for some of these (Firestorm, Doom Patrol, etc.), but I’m also aware that the line has left a handful of characters that did appear in the show out of the line. The first among them gets the nod from us today: Toyman.
If you’re a JLU fan, a few names might have popped into your head that you might want before Toyman: Vandal Savage, S.T.R.I.P.E., Kalibak, Livewire, etc. They’re all valid choices, but we’re choosing Toyman this week for a few reasons. To start with, as Chip Cataldo pointed out in his blog, Toyman’s got the most screen time of any DC Villain behind Luthor and Joker. That’s a big reason right there. But I think there’s more to it besides his show appearances.
First, this is one of those characters that the animated series made their own. Granted that credit goes more to STAS than JLU, but it’s all the same in my book. When we do get our Toyman in DCUC, it won’t be this one. A DCIH Toyman won’t be this one either. This is a JLU figure through-and-through. JLU/STAS creators were able to take a low-level DC villain and make him creepy and diabolical enough to keep him interesting. His absence in such a vast JLU collection is mind-boggling.
Second, he’s his own sculpt head-to-toe. Now that’s probably the thing that’s been keeping him from making the cut this whole time, but Mattel needs to look past it. They need to embrace it, in fact. Fans know that Toyman is going to take some extra work and effort. Not only do I think Mattel owes that effort to the completists and fans that have kept his line alive, but I think fans will know what went into finally getting this figure out and appreciate the effort too. It’s a win-win for Mattel.
Ideally, I’d like to see him in a six-pack based on “Hereafter”. Toyman (All-new sculpt), Savage Superman (new head and animal skins), Vandal Savage (new head), Ceremonial John Stewart (new coat), Ceremonial Wonder Woman (new head), and Mattel can even go cheap and make Flash with a black armband to round things out. It’s got 4 versions of the Big 7 in it and it still manages to be a great set.
With JLU always on the precipice of winding down, Mattel shouldn’t waste time waiting to do a Toyman. It’s time to hunker down, do the unique tooling, and knockout one of the biggest oversights in the toyline – and the sooner the better.