Saturday, 21 November 2015

POP! Heroes – Swamp Thing (glow-in-the-dark variant)

Company: Funko
Series: POP! Heroes

Year: 2015

It has not been a good few weeks over here at the LBC. For the last few weekends I’ve been laid low with various illnesses and maladies, so updates have been pretty thin on the ground. So I’m sitting at home, struggling to keep to it together as snot emerges from my nose at a frightening speed. What connection does this have to Swamp Thing? Well, he’s quite green and is presumably always dripping with ichorous fluids, so yeah, let’s go with that. 

I always liked comics as a kid, but Swamp Thing is the one that really pulled me into my current level of interest. Y’see, back in the late 1990s, DC republished a bunch of Alan Moore’s run on the title as black and white single issues. Flash forward to 2006 and Gosford Book Exchange had a bunch of them in stock – a relic of the long-closed Phantom Zone store that had once been next door. This was right around the time the film of V for Vendetta had been released, so I held Alan Moore’s name in quite a bit of esteem. They were going cheap, so I picked them up and promptly became a huge fan, rekindling an enjoyment of comics that actually became quite unhealthy for a while. 

But I emerged better for the experience, and here we are today. Pretty much ever since I started collecting POPs, I’ve wanted Funko to do a Swamp Thing. But I wasn’t confident that would happen – his complex design was quite far removed from the simplistic style Funko was working with at the time, and the character’s peak popularity was a couple of decades ago.    

The box art is great. The Funko art style is a good render of the character’s distinct look, and they’ve incorporated the old-style logo, rather than the New 52 version. The back of the packaging is a little curious; as Swamp Thing has been released solo (I’ll get to that in a moment) rather than in conjunction with other characters, the box just depicts the first few DC POPs that were released, including the now-rare Batgirl. Fingers crossed for a re-release of her, as I didn’t pick her up in back in the day and she’s now exceedingly expensive…

The sculpt is some great work from Funko. Lots of little details have been worked into the sculpt, like the vines, the I think the nose should have been a little bit more prominent on the face, like this, but it’s otherwise quite well executed. He's cast in semi-translucent plastic, which is a good idea, but does mean that the head and body are slightly different shades of green. He’s been given a black wash to bring out all of the little details, which is a good touch. But on the subject of paint…     

Paint…sigh…well, I don’t need to tell any regular readers or fellow POP collectors that Funko tend to do a below-average job when it comes to paint. Swamp Thing does not buck that trend, unfortunately. The front of him is okay; the brown vines could be a little neater and red eyes, but they’re within the acceptable range. But turn him around and you’ll see he just hasn’t been painted – all the details are just blank!

Now, I should clarify that this may be because I picked up the glow in the dark version specifically. There are three versions of this POP available – a regular, a glow one and a flocked one. All of them look pretty good. The regular and glow versions look virtually interchangeable; you’ll notice on the box that there isn’t the usual “Glow in the Dark” sticker, so how these will be told apart in a shop setting (as opposed to ordering online) is a bit of a mystery to me. The flocked version also looks fantastic, and I was tempted to order that too – but we’ll see.         

Overall, Swamp Thing is a good addition to the collection -- I never really thought we'd see him released, particularly not in multiple forms. While I don’t think they quite knocked it out of the park, I do think that Funko have delivered a solid product in sculpt, if not paint. Highly recommended for Swamp Thing fans, regardless of era. 

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