PIX APLENTY! A figure befitting the cinematic Man of Tomorrow.
Superman: The Movie was a watershed moment for the latent fan in me.
Superman‘s comics didn’t thrill me, the George Reeves show never quite spoke to me and my Mego was useful mostly as a stand-in Bruce Wayne head after my original had long since disappeared.
Then came Christmas 1978 and the movie’s premiere. I didn’t even bother seeing it right away. But eventually I did. I liked it but I don’t remember falling in love with it until it hit HBO some time later.
I grew so obsessed that I was compelled to watch it every time it was on. Ultimately, between TV and the theater, I saw that movie exactly 25 times by the time I finished 8th Grade. (My Highland Park Middle School graduation present? A trip to see Superman II that night.)
All things considered, it may still be the movie I’ve seen more than any other.
I know the dialogue, the cadence, its successes and faults (San Andreas and otherwise), backward and forward, just like the Earth itself.
Mego Superman became a reasonable stand-in but it wasn’t until this weekend when I got a chance to really embrace what is the ultimate Superman: The Movie action figure: NECA‘s 18-inch Man of Tomorrow.
There are relatively few Reeve figures out there, and none that quite capture what NECA brings to Metropolis. As I’ve noted before, I only recently gave in to the notion of the 18-inch figure, but there’s something really appealing about seeing Superman at this scale. (Cost is around $100+, depending on where you get it. It’s just now hitting retail, so shop around.)
The outfit is colored beautifully, with the just-so blue painted on in a way that gives the illusion of cloth. The bright red boots are detailed and his chest emblem is perfectly proportioned across his chest.
What intrigues me to this day is how silly the Superman costume doesn’t look in the world Richard Donner‘s movie creates. Clark Kent‘s city is Metropolis in name only. It’s 1970s New York, and Superman should look like a fool in that environment. That he doesn’t is a major testament not only to the script and direction but to Christopher Reeve‘s commitment to selling that role.
That all comes into play in NECA‘s figure — which says Reeve and Superman in equal measures. His facial resemblance is outstanding and, unlike some others, withstands close-up inspection. And while some earlier attempts seemed a little too dainty, this figure’s features are both handsome and strong. (Greedy person that I am, I would have LOVED an alternate head with an affable face.)
Perhaps the best part, actually, is the cape, made from soft and thick jersey fabric. It hangs beautifully, which is important because how a cape hangs can really help or hinder a figure. I do wish there were some kind of wire in the hem though, because posing him for flight — despite the inclusion of a pair of “flying” hands — is a bit of a challenge.
I like NECA‘s decision to keep his upper torso one piece, as opposed to dividing the chest from the abdomen. Splitting the two really hurts the illusion at this scale and what Superman loses in articulation, he gains in verisimilitude. It’s a trade I’ll easily make.
The packaging is pretty much what you’d expect: Superman standing in the crystalline Fortress of Solitude. It’s nice enough that I’m split on whether I’m going to display him inside or outside the package.
That is, as they say, a nice problem to have.
This now makes three NECA 18-inchers in my collection — and the best part is I can now achieve my youthful dream of this pairing, the world’s finest: