This is the one we’ve been waiting for. Since 1978.
If you needed any more proof that we are living in a Golden Age of collectibles, this is it: NECA’s 7-inch-scale Christopher Reeve Superman action figure is here in all its plastic Kryptonian glory.
This is an action figure I never expected to see. For whatever reason, we’ve seen 12-inch pieces and 3 3/4-inch pieces from different companies. NECA itself this year produced a colossal 18-inch figure (which I reviewed here). A standard-size figure? You’d have a better chance at unlocking the secrets of the universe by reading the ingredients on a chewing-gum wrapper.
But NECA startled the toy world a couple of weeks ago by announcing the imminent arrival of Reeve‘s Superman, along with Adam West Batman and Heath Ledger Joker in 7-inch scale. This is not the way this usually works. Usually, you get a big announcement, followed by months of teases, speculation and impatience. (For more info, check out my interview with NECA’s Randy Falk, here.)
Fans were understandably excited but it was Superman’s inclusion that really drove it, because unlike the other two, there’s never been a Reeve figure even close to this scale. (For a review of West’s Batman and Ledger’s Joker, which are excellent, click here.)
Y’know, it took me a long time to realize that I’m more a Reeve Superman fan than I am an outright Superman fan. I liked the George Reeves show as a kid in the ’70s but neither it nor Superman’s comics adventures thrilled me all that much.
I wasn’t even among the first to see Superman: The Movie. I waited a couple of weeks before going to the theater — but once I did, everything changed. I would become a Superman fan for life — sort of. (Click here for why Christopher Reeve was the greatest Superman of them all, by the way.)
What I found was Krypton’s Last Son still left me cold in most media, comics included — other than a few stretches here and there over the last 37 years. If I couldn’t picture Christopher Reeve when, say, reading an issue of Action Comics, I wouldn’t last. I was so much a Reeve fan, though, that all I wanted for middle-school graduation was to go see Superman II.
I had my Mego Superman, which was cool, as all Megos are. I even got a new one after seeing the first movie — even though I already had one — because it was the closest thing to getting a Reeve figure.
So the NECA 7-inch figure fills a hole that’s been there for decades.
And I gotta tell you, it’s a dead-on depiction of Christopher Reeve, with superb detailing and articulation.
It’s so refreshing to see Superman in his classic, bright blue, red and yellow outfit. No dark hues here. On the other hand, fans were aggrieved that Reeve looks angry instead of happy or relaxed. I too would prefer a gentler face, but that’s hardly a deal-breaker. There were plenty of times when Superman looked determined — like on the poster for Superman II, for example, or as he prepared to save Lois’ life by flying backward around the world.
Or in this scene, which remains one of my all-time favorites:
Like the 18-inch version, the detailing stretches from the seams of his boots to his jersey-fabric cape, which is soft and looks as if it were cut from the same bolt of material as the one in the movies.
OK, so how do you get him? Well, he’s available online (info here) — but he’ll be in select Toys R Us stores any time now, if he’s not already. So start hunting if you’re so inclined. (He’ll run you in the $20-$30 range.)
Superman comes with a change of hands that allows you to simulate flying, though I do prefer the standard fists. The attractive box is similar to the 18-inch version, setting Kal-El in his Fortress of Solitude. Also: The figure’s a bit on the fragile side so take care when handling.
Overall, this is a moment that Superman and Christopher Reeve fans should celebrate because it’s been a long time coming.
Oh, and one last thing: Like the 18-inch version, now you can do this: