Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Hitman Goes Yellow

Everyone loves when their interests crossover.  Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't, but you always end up with something that you never thought you would have seen.  Being the popular phenomenon that it is, wrestling usually ends up appearing with every other form of entertainment in one way or another, even with television's favorite family, The Simpsons.  But it wasn't Springfield's own grapplers such as The Shrieking Sheik, El Bombastico, or even Dr. Hillbilly that appeared on the cover of WWF Magazine with Bart Simpson, it was Bret "The Hitman" Hart.

I think everyone my age watched at least the first several seasons of The Simpsons.  It was on every kind of item marketed to kids despite having adult humor, yet was just tame enough not to elicit any objections from parents.  Some viewers stayed on as the show moved forward, while others moved on.  I'm in the latter group, as aside from catching an episode here or there, my viewing habits were elsewhere.  Around 2001, this changed.  Playmates Toys picked up The Simpsons license to produce an action figure line known as "The World of Springfield."  The figures were not only great looking, but also spoke lines from the show when plugged into playsets of various Springfield locales.

In all, over two-hundred "World of Springfield" figures were produced.  Fairly early into the run, I found myself drawn to them despite not being a regular watcher of The Simpsons for years.  I couldn't believe that so many random, goofy characters of an animated sitcom were being produced. This also led me back into the show itself where I remain a fan to this day.  Unfortunately, the toy line would only last a fraction of the years that the sitcom has, leaving many collectors yearning for more.

In 2014, a company called NECA picked up licensing rights for The Simpsons, most notably more action figures. Other figures of Bart, Homer, Krusty, and the gang have been produced since the Playmates line ended, but you can't top greatness.  Nothing aside from adding figures to the Playmates line was going to appease longtime collectors, so that is exactly what NECA did.  Calling their line "25 of the Greatest Guest Stars," NECA began producing figures of some of the most memorable stars who have appeared as themselves on the show.  NECA has rounded out the line by throwing in some regular characters such as Homer and Milhouse in designs not produced by Playmates.

The topic of this entry, Bret Hart, arrived in Series 3 of the line.  So far, Hart is a true standout as many of the guest stars chosen have been musicians.  For those of you who don't remember, Hart appeared in the episode "The Old Man and the Lisa."  Springfield's power plant owner and evil billionaire Montgomery Burns suddenly learns that his fortune has dwindled.  Before receiving help from little Lisa Simpson, Burns is forced to sell off his infamous mansion.  One of the potential buyers is Bret Hart.

The figure appears exactly as Hart did on the show.  In fact, a picture of the scene in which Hart appears in the same pose as the figure is shown on the back of the card.  All of the NECA figures so far have been released on a slim cardback with a large image of Homer applauding the star.  On the back is a great synopsis of the celebrity's appearance on the show as well as several images.

The figure does not have much articulation, nor should it.  These figures are intended to fit right in with the older Playmates figures which had neck, shoulder, and waist movement.  If you want a wrestling figure of Hart, you have countless other options.  This figure is all about Bret joining the denizens of Springfield, and it does a great job.  From the hot pink color to the hair to the shades, NECA did "The Hitman" right.  Hart himself has allegedly spoken of an exclusive version to come down the pike in the future, but nothing else is known nor can I think of how it would differ and remain true to the show.  Fox is very particular about toys from The Simpsons appearing just as they did on screen.

I already know fans who do not normally buy figures that have picked this one up.  It's the perfect example of a crossover collectible, as many in this line have become.  Many fans are already hoping that this line continues after the first twenty-five celebrities (bands count as one) have been produced.  My votes?  Barry White, Betty White, Adam West, and Linda Ronstadt.  And, in case NECA is watching, how about Maude Flanders?  Please?  Longtime collectors will understand.  When it comes to The Simpsons, the possibilities have proven to be endless for over a quarter of a century!

Ay caramba!



I picked up my Simpson's hitman figure last week at toys r us.

J\/\/ said...

Awesome! It's a great figure.

Bret Hit Man said...

Very awesome i like it.