Jul 23, 2013
Over the years I have mentioned on several occasions that I am no devotee to the superhero genre. Sure, I can appreciate how vast the field is and that it has millions of fans. The truth is though, for the most part I can take them or leave them. My one major exception is the Hulk. It started when I was a kid and I loved the TV show starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno – AWESOME!
Even though the Hulk is my guy as it were, I do have a bit of a soft spot for another couple of characters from the superhero-verse. One such character also hails from the pages of Marvel comics, the Fantastic Four to be specific. The one I have in mind is similar in many ways to my green friend in that he is super strong, smart, and tends to leave a trail of destruction and broken stuff in his wake. I am of course referring to the Thing, or Ben Grimm as he was originally known.
The appeal? Simple, he is bright orange, looks hugely muscular, and the best part is that he looks like he is made from solid rock. How could you not love him? Being part of the FF, a franchise that has not been all that popular outside of comics, has meant that over the years there has not been a ton of Thing merchandise released.
Recently I was away on a trip to Los Angeles with Ms. ToyNerd. We stayed with a friend and as I had never been to the City of Angels before, I was asked what I wanted to do while there. Without hesitation I had a response: I wanted to hit up some of the local bodegas. Not very sexy I know, but with a majority population of Mexican-Americans, I figured there were bound to be some sources for cool bootleg toys. Once you cross the border and head south, bootleg toys can be found in practically every market. I figured my chances might be pretty good in LA… I was correct.
The first piece I snagged was this one. Standing an impressive 15″ tall, here we have what looks more like a movie version of the Thing. What is most impressive is that this item made it back on the plane in one piece.
This is actually a coin bank and you can see the slot on his back conveniently located between his shoulder blades. The piece has been crudely painted and this is typical for bootlegs of this type. Most surprising is that the whole thing was made from plaster and is quite fragile. Once filled with cash the only way to get it back is to smash the bank. I’m pretty sure that I don’t plan on doing that any time soon.
Next up is a five pack of 5″ action figures, and these could not be more bootleg if they tried. Mixing Marvel, Disney, and DC licenses all in one set would be almost impossible to make happen in the real world. Miraculously it has here though.
Batman comes packaged with the Hulk and Mr. Incredible…
… side by side with our friend, the Thing, and of course Spider-Man! These things are so poorly made, I love them. If you look you will quickly spot that the Hulk and the Thing are exactly the same figure just with different heads and paint jobs. Awesome.
Coincidentally while we were away Ms. ToyNerd reminded me that she was holding another Thing item in her pocket book for me. I had forgotten all about it.
It is a zipper pull that was released by the design house Tokidoki. The whole line is really cool and all I know is that they sold like bonkers in my shop. At just 1″ tall they are small enough to fit in to any collection and costing just a few bucks, why not?
Last up is a piece I received from one of my business partners a while back. It is a ceramic mug of the Thing’s head. I love this piece and it has sat in my office since I got it. Made by Sherwood and released in 2005, I think it is a must have for any Fantastic Four fan.
Everything shown here can be had for under $10 a piece. Can you now see why I have such a Thing thing going on? Thought so.
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