In the past I've compiled several entries on wrestlers who have never had action figures. What you are about to read is not about a figureless wrestler, but it does involve a growing trend which may very well ensure that nearly every superstar who deserves an action figure ultimately gets one. Independently produced toys and action figures are becoming more and more prominent. Some are mere takeoffs on existing lines. Others are attempts at continuations on popular toy lines of the past. Taking quality and rights issues into consideration, there's often a fine line between collectible or high-quality custom when it comes to these items. Ultimately it's up to the collector as to whether or not these items are "acceptable" and something that they want to own. I, myself, have come across two such items that I have added to my collection and thus have appeared on this blog. The first was back in 2019 when Exotic Adrian Street had a figure of himself created and produced. This time it's the beginning of a new line.
For the name that he was and as popular as he remains today over thirty years after his death, Bruiser Brody is relatively underrepresented as far as action figures go. Aside from a stateside inclusion in Jakks WWE Classic Superstars line coupled with a few brief appearances in Japanese wrestling figure lines, collectors were somewhat limited as to how they could add Brody to their toy shelves. Thanks to a creator out of Australia known as Junk Shop Dog, we now have the man known outside of wrestling as Frank Goodish in a style that he probably should've been part of in the first place.
In 1981 a Japanese company called Popy produced what is considered to be the first line of wrestling action figures. The figures were soft vinyl "sofubi" figures and the lineup largely consisted of gaijin (foreign to Japan) wrestlers who had made their name in Japan. Highly sought after today, Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Harley Race and The Funk Brothers are just a few of the names who made up that initial wave. As big as he was in the country, Bruiser Brody was not part of that group. Until now.
Junk Shop Dog has revived the line, not only replicating the style of the figures themselves but the look of the packaging as well. The figure and other merchandise (available at junkshopdog.com) is officially approved by the Goodish family. This should be important to any collector grappling with the aforementioned dilemma of whether items like this are "official" or not. This one absolutely is.
This isn't a figure that you're going to be doing spectacular wrestling poses with, as none of the Popy figures are. That makes it no less visually stunning. Brody fits right in with all of the originals, right down to the scarring on his forehead. Because of the vinyl used, it's also a very pleasant figure to hold in your hand. The materials are obviously very sturdy and the back has production markings just as any mass produced figure would.
Another nice feature is that the packaging is the absolute definition of what would be deemed "collector friendly." Want to remove the figure? Just slide the backer card out and remove the plastic tray. Feeling like hanging it on your wall? He's perfectly replaceable with nothing whatsoever to destroy. No matter carded or loose, you can have the best of both worlds on this one. Speaking of the cardback, it is printed with high-quality photos of Brody and looks nearly identical to the Popy packaging of yore.
I first learned of Junk Shop Dog and this figure on Instagram, though they seem to have a presence on most social media platforms. I can personally attest that they are very easy to work with as far as obtaining one for yourself, payment, shipping, etc. In addition Tom Billington's daughter has already announced that Dynamite Kid will be the second figure in this revived line. You can count me in for one of those as well. And for those of you who are interested in the monetary side of collecting in an interest for the future, many of these independently produced figures have already risen in secondary market value. Considering the names and the retro styling, I can only predict similar results here.