Just before leaving Coney Island, we spotted a vaguely defined souvenir shop, mixing the typical volley of local postcards and Coney-logo sportswear with a bunch of cheap, imported toys. Somewhere in the midst of all the battery-operated swimming frogs and chirping puppies, I found the greatest set of bootleg action figures ten bucks could possibly buy.
Painstakingly forged in China, it’s the Super Hero Super Action Series action figure five-pack! This concentrated mass of trademark infringements features some of the most poorly constructed action figures I’ve ever held, even by bootleg standards.
Mixing the Marvel and DC universes is par for the course with sets of this type (and indeed there are hundreds of similar sets on the black market), but this one goes the extra mile with the randomly included Mr. Incredible figure. That’s even better than the errant red Power Ranger who usually rounds out these collections.
I’ve seen enough of these sets to become desensitized to the poor translations littering the packaging, but it’d be criminal not to mention such gems as, “THIS IS BATMAN! HE WILL CATCH ALL BADDY!” Also, the back of the package proudly proclaims that “EACH SUPER HERO HAS HIS OWN SUPERFINE ACTION WEAPON,” which is neither true nor even lied about using actual words.
I apologize for the glare, but cheap plastic is pretty reflective. The Hulk and Thing figures are the best in the set, looking at least moderately the way they should. If you were going to complain that Hulk’s skimpy trunks are outside of his accepted costume canon, get a load of the rear view.
I can’t make much sense of the Batman figure, which is permanently positioned to ride a horse. Not a motorcycle, mind you, because that’d almost make sense. With legs spread that wide, horse jockeying is the only plausible explanation. Since the set lacks a horse figure (and oh how I would love to see these particular toymakers take a stab at that…), Batman finds himself unable to stand without the support of his sworn enemies from Marvel.
Course, the inability to stand is nothing compared to the poor guy’s face, which looks like the halfway point between zombie flesh and a wedge of aged Roquefort.
Despite Mr. Incredible’s toothpick-thin ankles, he’s somehow able to stand under his own power. This surprising plus is tempered by the package’s claim of some kind of button-operated electronic action feature, which not only doesn’t work, but actually doesn’t even exist. Oh, there’s a button all right, and there’s even what appears to be a loose interpretation of a light bulb on Mr. Incredible’s chest. But there’s no inner mechanics to make it do anything. I knew these bootleggers liked to make their stuff on the cheap, but I never pegged them for outright liars.
Spider-Man is the worst offender of all. At first glance, he seems okay enough. He looks like Spider-Man, and he comes with a big rubber web. A closer inspection reveals that one leg is longer than the other, and that his wrists are flanked by what could only be considered web shooters if you were being really creative in your answers.
Obviously there’s some demand for these shitty bootlegged figures, as they’ve been around forever. I still can’t figure out how certain companies, even nameless companies, manage to pull off such an obvious scam. It’s not like I expect government officials to start raiding potato chip stands in Coney Island, but toys like these are virtually everywhere, and you’d have to imagine that the trucks or boats or planes full of two-cent Batmans would’ve been caught by someone by now. On the other hand, I shouldn’t complain, as there are so few avenues to satisfy anyone’s morbid curiosity over what Hulk’s ass actually looks like.
Kinda like fly eyes, I think.