I skipped The Wolf Man from Universal Monsters at first. I bought the Funko Wolf Man ReAction Figure [FOTD #1,041] in 2014, and I thought "eh, it's good enough." To be honest, the head of this 2018 release is a little weird, but I bought it less for its many improvements but more for its pedigree. Allegedly it was sculpted by an ex-Kenner sculptor responsible for a lot of toys I had as a kid, and that was reason enough for me to seek it down and give it a good hard look.
While I don't have the Remco The Wolf Man figure - despite my having a few action figures when those were still on the market, my parents did not give me monster toys that early - it's kind of fascinating to see multiple 3 3/4-inch versions of Lon Chaney Jr.'s The Wolf Man, all of which seem to be riffing from each other in interesting and weird ways. Some figures add elements, others remove them, and nobody can agree on what the right colors are - such is the challenge from being based on a black-and-white film from 1941.
If you've never seen The Wolf Man, go check it out. You'll understand why people are fanatical about it. If for any reason you don't, there are legions of now-old "monster kids" who are happy to talk about it. I'd recommend checking out The Dana Gould Hour or the late Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast for some fun discourse thrown in about the film on the regular, mostly because you really do want to hear about it through the eyes of fans. I'd argue the legends and backstory surrounding the film is more fascinating than the excellent film itself. If you're a Star Wars fan with mountains of reference books, you'll understand.
Normally I try to find novelty in this site, yet this time I went after something very similar to another, cheaper figure I already owned. The 1997 Burger King version has a very similar pose, and also eschews the rear pockets on the pants - curious! The 2018 figure's head seems to be more inspired by stylized designs from the 1960s - particularly the head reminding me of tiki stuff - but it could be my imagination. I appreciate the bent legs and elbows, which give it a lot more personality than the 2014 Funko x Super7 version. Funko's take is good, but more by the book - it feels more like a guy in a costume fitting photo, with his hands at the side, the pants nicely pleated, and generally just standing around being a good boy.
The 2018 figure got all the personality - the fingers are splayed out a bit, he's got more of a grimace, the clothes have more wrinkles that feel lively, and he's also standing up on the balls of his feet. The arms posed with the hands rotated gives the figure an air of movement we didn't necessarily see in the era of peak 3 3/4-inch figures, but there were loads of figures with poses that went beyond "posed at attention." It's a common misconception that these figures were just bored guys standing around, which you'll see if you compare the early Super7 x Funko ReAction Figures and compare them to Kenner's 1979 Cantina aliens or many other releases. There's some magic going on in the old toys, and you'll see some of that in this this figure too. The sculpted detail is a little more subtle than the deeper grooves of an old Remco or Kenner toy, but I think it get the point across a little better than the pose of the Funko Wolf Man. I will, however, give the Funko one points for materials - the glossy blue green shirt felt a lot more "old" than the matte green shirt of 2018.
As to the colors, I don't even know what to say - when you look at photos that were probably colorized, old toys, newer toys, and other reference materials, I can't say I have a good sense as to what "right" is or even if they're all right because he changed his pants in the film. I don't know if I buy the technicolor green shirt and blue pants, but it looks cool - it works better than a black-and-white or sepia tone figure, and it's more vibrant than the old Remco figure.
Lawrence Talbot's cursed form looks just fine, with the bent knees giving him a little bonus functionality in that he can actually sit in some 3 3/4-inch figures that his straight-legged peers can't. I love that the hands look like they were elongated by the curse, and that the shirt's buttons and collar really look like they put some care into making them great. The mouth is really weird, and the head shape is striking in that it feels a little off. But so did all the other ones. The Burger King figure may have captured the personality but missed out on colors, so each figure is likely to give you something that the others are missing. I wouldn't say that the Wolf Man redux is as essential to a good toy box as Maria from Metropolis or Cornelius from Planet of the Apes, but I like it, and I don't regret buying it. And I assume he'll be menacing some Adventure People or Nancy Drew some day.
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