Collecting the Rondo Awards 2015 Best Toy Category – Part 10
Funko ReAction Universal Monsters Collection
This is the final installment in my review of the 2014 nominees for the Best Toy, Model, Collectible category of the Rondo Hatton Horror Awards and we finish with the most classic of all monsters –the Funko ReAction Universal Monsters.
In 2013, Funko and Super 7 partnered to bring Kenner’s unreleased 1979 Alien prototypes to market. It wasn’t long afterwards that Funko announced a full “ReAction” line of retro 3 ¾” action figures based on characters from 1980’s cult, sci-fi and horror cinema: Escape From New York, Back to the Future, Terminator, a Rocketeer figure, iconic horror villains as well as the Universal Monsters. These news collections were designed as an homage to classic Kenner Star Wars action figures of the 1970s and early 80s.
The retro style has been a bit controversial as these figures have been panned by some for the lack of detailed likeness to the actors/character. Funko even extended that feeling of “vintage-ness” through the packaging, which is the same size as the original Kenner packaging from the late ’70s /early ’80s. This has also met with some push-back by collectors who find the side-panel style packaging a challenge to display.
Reis O’Brien, Funko’s head designer of the ReAction line, explained the design inspiration for these figures in this quote from the FunkoFanatic Reaction Forum:
We did originally look towards the first run of Kenner Star Wars figures for inspiration, especially when we first got started, so that’s why you’ll see that our Terminator and Snake Plissken sort or mimic that “softness”, but as we went on, things got a little more detailed, a little closer to ROTJ figures, which you’ll see in the Universal Monsters and Horror lines. Basically, we think there’s a sweet spot somewhere in there that we keep trying to hit. But Kenner remains our main inspiration as opposed to, say, Remco or Mego. But they have their charm, too.
I buy that logic fully and think that they nailed the retro styling of the characters. I particularly like the packaging, though finding them in pristine condition on store pegs has also been a frustration for collectors.
There are a lot of great reviews on these figures already published and, frankly, from folks with greater expertise then me. For your reading please, here’s a great review from one of my go-to resources for collectible toys, Brian Heller at Plaid Stallions.
Here’s the Funko ReAction Universal Monsters collection, in order of theatrical appearance:
Funky ReAction Phantom of the Opera
from The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Funko ReAction Dracula
from Dracula (1931)
Funko ReAction Frankenstein’s Monster
from Frankenstein (1931)
Funko ReAction The Mummy
from The Mummy (1932)
Funko ReAction Invisible Man
from The Invisible Man (1933)
Funko ReAction Bride of Frankenstein
from The Bride of Frankenstein (1932)
Funko ReAction Wolf Man
from The Wolf Man (1941)
Funko ReAction Creature from the Black Lagoon
from The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
- 3 ¾” action figures
- Five points of articulation
- bubble photo card
- MSRP: $9.99 each
Like all variants, forced scarcity is either the bane or the blessing of the completist collector. The glow variants were limited to one figure per every six cases and the clear Invisible Man was an Entertainment Earth exclusive.
Funky ReAction Mummy Glow in the Dark
Creature from the Black Lagoon Glow Variant
Where to Buy Funko ReAction Universal Monsters Collection
These figures are available near and far, so the real goal is finding them at the best price. They have been in the market long enough that they are widely available on secondary resale sites like eBay, but prices have increase because they are still available at retail prices in most stores. This makes it a buyers market for these figures.
Amazon offers a full set of figures:
- 8 figure set includes Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, the Wolfman, Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Phantom of the Opera, Bride of Frankenstein, and the Invisible Man
- Numerous sellers competing on price, with lowest being $75.48 shipping included ($9.44 per figure)
Good availability of the Mummy Glow-in-the-Dark Variant starting at $14.99
Best Price I’ve found on the Clear Invisible Man Variant — listed at $9.99 with 7 in stock
Lots of Glow Creature variant figures as well, starting at $19.99
While I appreciate that modern toy collectors have gotten used to incredible like-like sculpts, the fact that this line is inspired by 1970’s and 80’s toys is central to the design style. My Han Solo figure from Kenner didn’t really look like Harrison Ford in 1978 and I didn’t care; I loved it completely and totally.
I think the ReACTION line would have missed the mark if the figures were too realistic. They certainly wouldn’t have been as retro, so I’m fine with the less-then-realistic sculpts. In short, I think Funko nailed these figures.
My favorites are pretty much in line with my favorite monsters; The Creature and The Wolf Man were the two “must-own” figures for me. I was surprised by how much I liked the Invisible Man too. So far, those are the only three I’ve purchased, but this review has me re-considering the variants, at lease for the Gillman and Invisible Man.
These are priced really well. So well, in fact, that I got my kids a couple of the figures to open and —gasp– actually play with!
As a child of the 1970’s, who owned the original Kenner Star Wars figures, these bring back waves and waves of nostalgia. As an adult vintage monster toy collector, I love how these figures fit right into my collection. I don’t tend to buy many modern monster toys or collectibles, simply because I focus my limited collecting budget on high-grade vintage pieces.
So thumbs up on the figures from me all the way around–design, price, packaging — Funko nailed it. And with the recent announcement of the Jaws and Gremlins series, looks like we’ve got lots to look forward to from Funko ReAction.
Let me know your thoughts– do you like the retro style of the Funko ReAction Universal Monsters line or do you prefer the more sophisticated style of modern collectibles?