Two pop culture worlds will collide in February when Plastic Man gets his own Mego-style action figure.
(The previous sentence might be the most nerdy thing you read today not involving Doctor Who.)
Alright, let's take these geeked-out talking points one at a time:
• Plastic Man is a superhero created in 1941 and now owned by DC Comics. Criminal Eel O'Brien fell into a tank of chemicals and gained the ability to stretch and to shape himself into almost anything. Plastic Man's peak media fame came in the late 1970s when he had his own Saturday morning cartoon. Since then, he's bounced around along the edges of the pop culture world, with a few cartoon appearances and action figures here and there.
• Mego was a toy company that from 1972-80 made action figures based on DC and Marvel Comics superheroes as well as on Star Trek, Planet of the Apes and other media properties. The 8-inch-high plastic figures had removable cloth costumes and well-designed heads and facial features. They're among the most widely collected action figures in the toy market.
• Figures Toy Co. got its start in the late 1980s as a collectibles business based in New England. By 2004, the firm had begun making its own Mego-style action figures based on classic TV series. The FTC lineup now has expanded to include figures based on TV shows the Dukes of Hazzard and Gilligan's Island, as well as on the rock band Kiss.
In 2014, FTC — now based in Tampa, Fla. — got the rights to make figures based on DC characters. They've already made more than 20 DC figures and the line shows no sign of slowing down, especially with superhero movies still filling seats in theaters.
Got that? OK, in spite of his Saturday-morning status, Plastic Man never had his own classic Mego figure, most likely because the line was winding down its run by the late ‘70s. Mego did make a Plastic Man figure in 1979 in imitation of Stretch Armstrong, a bizarre 1970s toy whose arms and legs would stretch and whose insides were filled with some type of gelatinous red goo.
So part of what FTC is doing is wish fulfillment for adult collectors who for years have wished that Mego had made more figures. Christmas will come a little bit late for those collectors this year, since the Plastic Man figure won't be available until February.
The new Plastic Man figure comes complete with “fist-fighting action,” a feature that will allow it to deliver a karate chop or to punch with both hands. This will come in handy in case any 8-inch-tall intruders try to enter your home or office.
You won't find the FTC Plastic Man in Target or Wal-Mart, but they'll be stocked by most comic book shops and will be available online at figurestoycompany.com.
As for seeing Plastic Man on the big screen, well, since obscure Marvel character Ant-Man got his own movie, we really can't rule anything out. For several years, a Plastic Man script written by siblings Lana and Andy Wachowski — the folks who wrote those Matrix movies — was floating around. It most recently surfaced in the mid-2000s, when the project was attached to Matrix star Keanu Reeves.
(Insert joke here about Reeves, an actor infamous for his wooden performances, playing a pliant superhero.)
Movie or no movie, fanboys and fangirls will be able to get their Plastic Man fix in February, thanks to Figures Toy Co.