Monday, August 5, 2013
Another New Toy: MOTUC Man-E-Faces
Man E Faces is the one character I've now owned all three versions of- the classic MOTU toy, the Mike Young cartoon version, and now this 6 inch badass. I've always loved the design- he's a Kirby-tech space barbarian wearing a costume that's half space suit and half gayclub leather boy.
As a toy, he's incredible, with tons of articulation. He's not as heavy as I imagined he would be. From the pictures I've seen on line, I assumed a certain heft to the MOTUC figures, especially given their retail price point. With the relatively lighter, softer plastic used, Man E Faces turned out to be quite a bit lighter than expected. His articulation, though is wonderful, and his action feature works exactly like the classic toy. However, Mattel included a second head drum, with three new faces- a generic He-Man face, Orko and Skeletor. I'm a traditionalist, so I'm keeping Man E Faces posed with his classic head drum (hero, monster, robot). Of the new faces, the Skeletor skull face is easily the coolest and might occasionally get display. By the way, Man E Face's monster face is exactly the way I've always pictured and described D&D Orcs in my games.
The paint choices are pretty nice. I would have preferred the more orange skin tone of the classic figure, but the flesh tone is growing on me. It makes Man E Faces seem more like a space barbarian than a superhero. I'm pleased with the way purple was used to unify the design. The purple detailing on the cheeks of Man E Face's robot and hero faces, not to mention Orko's scarf perfectly matches the rich purple on his pipes and armor plating, and looks great. I wish the design had integrated some of the monster or skull faces' green into the body- perhaps as detailing on the 'button' visible above the air tanks right above the figure's sternum? As it is, the lurid green used for the two monstrous faces seems out of place in an otherwise purple, peach and blue figure.
There's one thing I've always wondered about the character- did Jack Kirby have a hand in his creation. I know that in the early 1980s Kirby was doing character design work for animation, including work for Thundarr the Barbarian, but did he ever work on MOTU? I ask because the jagged, orange and purple 'war paint' on Man E Face's hero face looks very Kirby to me, and characters with weird or exaggerated heads is a Kirby staple (see the Red Skull, Arnim Zola, Modok, ect). His powers and general look have always given Man E Faces the 'Kirby creation' tag in my head, which may be why he's one of my favorite MOTU characters.