THE SIMPSONS: 25 OF THE GREATEST CELEBRITY GUEST STARS
It’s a rather rare occurrence for one toy company to deliberately design a toyline with the express purpose of directly emulating and continuing another company’s toyline. But, that’s what NECA did when they picked up the Simpsons license for the property’s 25th anniversary: they put together a line of figures deliberately designed to emulate the style and scale of Playmates’ World of Springfield line, despite it having been years since World of Springfield had ended. It’s worth noting that NECA did have a much more focused aim than Playmates, placing a direct focus on The Simpsons’ plethora of celebrities who had guest stared as themselves. The line introduced 25 new figures for collectors to add to their Simpsons displays, including today’s figure, Mark Hamill!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Mark Hamill was released in the second series of NECA’s The Simpsons: 25 of the Greatest Celebrity Guest Stars line. He’s based on Mark’s guest appearance from the Season 10 episode “Mayored to the Mob.” The figure is about 4 ¾ inches tall and he has the same 4 points of articulation that would be sported by a standard WoS figure. Sculpturally, Mark is tasked with two things: capturing his look from the show, and capturing the style of the Playmates figures. These can be slightly conflicting ideals, since the Playmates figures weren’t always 100% accurate (though they were always very close). Ultimately, I think this figure does a good job balancing the two aesthetics. He’s about as good a 3D rendering of the 2D design as you’re gonna get, and he also manages to fit in pretty seamlessly with prior offerings. Hamill is just wearing a fairly generic button-down shirt and a pair of khakis, <which is one of the outfits he wears in the show. The other is the more distinctive Luke Skywalker outfit, but something tells me that there would have been some legal issues with trying to do that look, which makes this the more preferable design>. The likeness to Hamill is admittedly filtered through the usual Simpsons style, but it should be pretty clear to most fans who this is supposed to be. The paintwork on Mark is pretty basic and straightforward. Lots of flat color work, which is befitting of an animated design. Everything is pretty clean, and he matches up pretty nicely with what’s seen on the show. Mark Hamill includes no accessories, which is a little sad, since accessories were one of the defining parts of the WoS line. Obviously, he couldn’t come with anything Star Wars specific, but a microphone or I don’t know, a fork in reference to the “Use the forks” gag would have been pretty amusing.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Since I mostly skipped the World of Springfield line, I also mostly skipped this line while it was at retail. I did occasionally eye up one or two figures, but I’m honestly not a huge Simpsons fan, so I never felt a big pull to get them. However, I do remember “Mayored to the Mob” being one of the few episodes of The Simpsons that I saw when it was still current (mostly due to Mark Hamill being in it). Back when ToyFare magazine ran their article proposing potential celebrity guest stars who might be made in the World of Springfield line (this was the same article that revealed that it was Stephen Hawking who would actually be getting a figure), I was rather disappointed to find out that the Mark Hamill figure shown was just a custom, and no official figure would be made. So, when NECA finally released the official figure, I really kept meaning to pick him up, but never got around to it. While taking advantage of my local MovieStop’s going-out-of-business sale, I came across this figure for under $3, a price at which I definitely wasn’t passing him up. Is he the most exciting figure of all time? No, he’s a normal guy in normal clothes, and he’s not even all that posable. That being said, he’s perfect for the style NECA was going for, and he’s pretty much exactly what I was looking for when I bought the figure.