SPIDER-MAN (TOY BIZ)
During their lengthy run doing 5-inch Marvel figures, Toy Biz really took a stab at getting out as many characters as they could, even if they were rather obscure. Though they never got as far into any property as they did X-Men, their Spider-Man line sure gave it a shot. Among the huge slew of villains the line gave us was the very first action figure of the somewhat offbeat villain Jack O’Lantern, which is the figure I’ll be looking at today.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Jack O’Lantern was released in the “Bug Busters” series of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man line. He was an interesting inclusion, seeing as he wasn’t ever featured on The Animated Series, but this was around the point that Toy Biz was moving away from using the cartoons as an influence in general. The figure stands about 5 ½ inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation. This figure is based on the classic Jack O’Lantern design, which means it can serve as both the Jason Macendale and Steve Levins (the first and second Jack O’Lanterns), since they both had essentially the same design. Sculpturally, this figure was totally unique, which is both a blessing and a curse. On the plus side, the more character specific details, such as his head and his scale-mail tunic, are handled very nicely. The downside is that this figure came at the height of Toy Biz’s fling with oddly proportioned figures. The hands are enormous, dwarfing even his extra-large head, but they’re attached to a rather scrawny set of arms. Well, maybe the arms aren’t scrawny. From some angles, anyway. What they really are is flat. Jack also has in impossibly tiny waist and pelvis, which continues into a rather large set of thighs. He’s definitely got an odd appearance. The paintwork on Jack is pretty solid. He matches the multiple tones of green from the comics quite well, and he’s even got some very nicely rendered accent work on his head and torso. It would be nice if some of the accent work continued onto the rest of the figure, but it’s not too horribly jarring. Jack included a large bug thing, as well as a disc for it to shoot. These were both part of the gimmick of this particular series, and neither really adds to Jack in any meaningful way.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Jack O’Lantern is figure 13 of the 15 I got from this year’s Balticon. I didn’t have Jack growing up, mostly due to being relatively unfamiliar with the character. I’ve come to appreciate him over the years, and have been on the lookout for this figure since. Like a lot of Toy Biz’s output from right around this time, this figure shows his age. The goofy proportions are the biggest issue, though, given the character’s ghoulish look, they aren’t impossible to overlook. Not a bad figure at the end of the day.