Playmates Toys Monster Force Creature from the Black Lagoon Playmates Toys, 2013
Day #777: October 25, 2013
Creature from the Black Lagoon Spring-powered Grappling Hook!
Monster Force Action Figure
Item No.: Asst. 1600 No. 1608 Manufacturer:Playmates Toys Includes: Hook, launcher, stand, treasure chest, coins, jewels, lid Action Feature:Spring-powered Grappling Hook! Retail:$4.99 Availability:Fall 1994 Other: Based on a cartoon you've never seen or probably heard of
Just in terms of how it looks, there's no Universal Monsters creature I like more than the Creature from the Black Lagoon. It's a creepy fish dude! He's awesome! He also has had numerous action figures, including this nifty line from the 1990s that attempted to transform these classic monsters into some sort of team that you want to watch on TV. That didn't quite click - the 1980s method of creating a franchise with a TV show begat numerous ideas in the 1990s, of which very few thrived. There was a strong interest in Universal's monsters then, and as such this was a nice, cheap figure.
Figures of the 1990s were usually roughly 5-inches tall, and this one was no exception. This figure came out during the time when Ninja Turtles was starting to cool down, Star Trek was still doing fine, and seaQuest was, well, done. This was another attempt to grow their then-massive action figure business, which really tended to flourish in this era of licenses. It didn't hurt that the figures were generally good - the Creature had a nifty sculpt with giant hands and feet, a good head sculpt, and a nice, pearlescent paint job. It's not remotely authentic to the movies, but it really is a charming and well-made figure. He has 5 joints and has no problems standing.
He comes with a surprising amount of accessories - a swell display base had a backdrop made from the action figure's cardback. A treasure chest may be plugged into it, and you can store jewels and coins in there. For some reason the figure also has a spring-loaded grappling hook, which to this day seems like a strange choice unless he's also some sort of wall-crawling cat burglar. It's goofy, but as a display piece it's great, plus it's a durable action figure. That doesn't happen much, particularly when you consider just how cheap this was when it came out. I can't imagine this being less than $10-$15 were it released today... of course, given the aesthetics, it's not like anyone would buy it today anyway.
Prices on eBay are all over the place, but $15 or less seems to be the going rate. This is actually higher than I'd have expected, even though it's a really good figure. Released at around the same time was a TMNT version of Creature from the Black Lagoon Leonardo, I think the Monster Force figure is better but Leo is unquestionably more novel.
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