- The Washington Times - Friday, April 9, 2004

Thanks to the proliferation of film, comic-book and cartoon characters, companies are bombarding consumers with an incredible selection of action figures.

With tongue in cheek, let’s take a peek at some of the specimens worthy of a place in Zad’s Toy Vault.


Mezco Toyz gives fans of Revolution Studios’ film “Hellboy” an awesome selection of action figures of their favorite heroes and villains. The 8-inch-scale beauties have an average of 20 points of articulation, and the lineup includes Hellboy in zippered muscle shirt, Abe Sapien with breathing apparatus, a sword-enhanced Kroenen, the hell hound Sammael, Rasputin with a baby Hellboy, and the red-skinned protagonist with an undead friend hanging from his back.

Figure profile: The world’s greatest paranormal investigator originally was summoned by Hitler’s occult team near the end of World War II in the form of a horned red devil baby, but during a battle between a battalion of Allied forces, the future member of Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.) was captured and adopted by Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, an expert in the mysteries of the occult.

Accessories: Our petulant 20-year-old comes dressed in full-length leather coat, pants and biker boots, accessorized by the upper half of a rotting corpse (held with a hangman’s noose). He also gets his famous revolver, “the Good Samaritan,” which cracks open to reveal its chamber, and a holster to hold the firearm that would make Dirty Harry envious.

Price: $11.99

Read all about it: Hellboy has been part of the sequential-art world since 1993, when Dark Horse Comics published Mike Mignola’s horror creation in Dark Horse Presents, issues Nos. 88 through 91 ($4 each in near mint condition).

Words to buy by: Mezco offers its best release to date by perfectly capturing actor Ron Perlman’s likeness in this figure, and its gorgeous detail combined with sturdiness makes it great for young Hellboy fans to enjoy as well as older admirers to perch on a shelf and ogle.

Strange but cool

A short look at bizarre products associated with the new “Hellboy” movie.

• Hellboy Premium Trading Cards (Inkworks, $2.29 per six-card pack). The 72-piece collection includes subsets such as character, movie story and behind-the scenes cards as well as bonus pieces ranging from autograph cards (one per 36-pack box) to pieces of costumes worn by the characters crammed into a card (one per 36-pack box) .

• Abe Sapien Beanie (Diamond Select Toys, $13.99). The oddest ode to the horror film comes in the form of 8-inch Beanie Baby-type plush dolls offering likenesses of the Mer-Man, Hellboy and Sammael. Hey guys, it’s the perfect date gift to induce a female into the theaters to see the hippest testosterone-driven action hero.

• Hellboy lunchbox (Dark Horse Comics, $14.99) and coffee mug (Dark Horse Comics, $9.99). Make or lose friends at the office when you break out a cool cup for a caffeinated beverage featuring this lunchbox. The lunchbox is emblazoned with Mike Mignola’s art of the famous paranormal investigator along with a classic, regulation-size metal food container covered with original Mignolian illustrations. It has a black interior.

Redbeard’s Ghost

Equity Marketing Inc. celebrates the release of the film “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed” with three new action-figure sets based on villains featured in the movie and sculpted from the legendary Hanna Barbera cartoon series.

Fans can choose from Freaky Face Scooby and the Zombie, Crazy Face Scooby and the 10,000 Volt Ghost and a fake swashbuckler who tried to pull one over on the famed teen detectives way back in 1969.

Figure profile: This pretend pirate was introduced in the first-season episode “Go Away Ghost Ship.” His pranks included using a ghostly sword (actually worked by wires), a talking skull (really a hidden microphone) and magic mist (dry ice).

Accessories: The 5-inch pirate comes with his trusted sword and a petrified pooch sporting a silly look on his face.

Price: $5.99

Read all about it: DC Comics offers a monthly comic book featuring the exploits of the Mystery Inc. gang ($2.25).

Words to buy by: The figures will never win any awards compared with the works of such companies as Mezco Toyz and McFarlane Toys.

Strange but cool

A short look at bizarre products associated with the new Scooby-Doo movie.

• Get a Clue Scooby-Doo Kids Meal (Burger King, free premium with purchase of a children’s meal). The home of the Whopper teams up with Warner Bros. in offering five minitoys. The set includes Face Your Fears Scooby-Doo (a mirror reveals a twisted puzzle), Shaggy Gets Zapped (a spinning hippie toy), Fright Ride Scooby Doo (dog gets propelled while sitting in a cart), Glowing Ghouls Mystery Machine (van acts as a ghost miniprojector), and Scooby-Doo Finds a Clue (pooch with a magnifying glass).

• Scooby-Doo Group Photo (USAopoly, $14.95). This clue-seeking card game challenges fans 6 years and older to match image and biography cards of their favorite Scooby-Doo characters.

Up to four players get acquainted with animated legends such as Shaggy, Velma, the Creeper, Wolfman and Carlotta the Gypsy as they use wild cards to thwart opponents and quickly assemble a winning hand. The set includes 72 cards, 14 beautifully illustrated group photos and comes in a collectible tin.

• Race and Chase RC Mystery Machine (Equity Marketing Inc., $19.99). This 7-inch, radio-controlled vehicle comes with glow-in-the-dark stickers for children to personalize the famous van, a flashlight to power the stickers for nighttime driving and a controller to accurately chase the house pet. It requires four AA batteries and a 9-volt.

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