Outdated thinking is all around us. I’ve talked before about what one person sees as true does not necessarily apply to the next person, but when time is thrown is a factor things get even more complicated. What’s true for a person on Monday may not be true for them Tuesday, or a year, or a lifetime from now. We kind of suck at realizing that. Once we get a truth that we consider universal in our head, we hold on to it. It’s stabilizing. It’s reassuring. It’s terrible.
The outdated thinking I’m talking about today, of course, is that girl action figures don’t sell. I’m not going to get into a history lesson and talk about the G.I. Joe Nurse. Obviously, there was a time that you couldn’t throw a girl figure at a boy – that’s fine. But the Nurse thing happened over a decade before I was born (And I’m getting pretty damn long in the tooth myself). I’m too young to understand that thinking. I loved having Wonder Woman in Super Powers, the first of many Diana figures I own. April O’Neil. Janine Melnitz. Lady Jaye. Jinx. Zaranna. Teela. She-Ra. Ripley. Princess Leia. I had ‘em all. And I wanted more.
My problem isn’t with the notion that “girls don’t sell” in general, it’s that so many toy companies backed down and ran from it. If it really was true, or really is true. It shouldn’t be a warning to be heeded. It should be a challenge to be answered. Make the women figures worthwhile. How often have we seen a girl figure look terrible or phoned in compared to the men in the same line? That’s self-fulfilling right there. What are the examples of a toy company putting out top notch girl figures and getting their butts handed to them? “Girls don’t sell” is deterministic thinking when it’s really a call for problem solving. Drives me nuts.
Luckily, modern collectors have had it a little better. G.I. Joe got back to having girls in their rosters. Hasbro & Mattel put a lot of the ladies in their comic lines (though tons more are still needed). She-Ra & her Princesses of Power are thankfully being included as full-fledged members of MOTU Classics. The biggest recent issue where this stupidity raised its head, though, was Avengers.
Hasbro put out this relatively great line of 6” figures for the movie. There are a few things I would’ve liked differently. A better Thor & Cap for one. But the worst thing about that toy line was it only made five members of the six member team. Cap, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye… and that’s it. (A great, but too small, Loki figure rounded out the assortment). No Black Widow.
Maybe the folks at Hasbro had a great reason to not include her that was based on tooling, budget, etc. Maybe they could only have six figures and just desperately wanted to get Loki in there. I don’t know and I’m not really interested. The only thing I was interested in after picking up those figures was “fix it”.
And, finally, they did. Black Widow, appearing alongside Cap in Captain America: The Winter Soldier was also included as one of the three movie-based figures in the Marvel Legends: Captain America: Infinite Series (they really need a better name for these toy lines). I was ecstatic to see her included. My Avengers and I have been sitting around for nearly two years waiting for this day.
Even better than Hasbro finally making her, Hasbro knocked her out of the park. I’m going to nitpick it to death in the various sections my review covers, but I love this figure. This is two figures in a row where I feel like Hasbro really had stepped up to the plate and delivered a girl figure on par or better than the guys. Both Black Cat & Black Widow are amazing and I’m hopeful to see what they have coming up.
Black Widow is an all-new figure. The new body is covered in movie-accurate details. The now-familiar movie multi-texturing, the various belts, strap, and buckles. It all looks sharp. Some of the details make her a more definitive CA:WS figure than an Avengers figure, but only the most diehard among use are likely still waiting for a proper Avengers figure after this release. Another interesting thing about this sculpt is that Widow’s body isn’t overly… Barbiefied? The proportions are much more realistic than I’m used to getting and I think that’s pretty cool. I think the figure is actually closer to Scarlett Johansson than some of the Photoshopped movie posters. That’s pretty funny and something I love about the figure.
On top of all that is a killer head sculpt. Hot Toys unveiled their newest Black Widow yesterday and, while good, it was a criticized for having a blank stare. Ironically, this figure kinda has that too, but I might characterize it more as she’s not interested. It’s like she’s staring through you. The likeness is dead-on though, can’t argue that. I mentioned in the previous paragraph that the figure is a little too Cap movie to be Avengers and that only matters because Hasbro did an awesome thing: there are two heads! Continue to Page 2…