Monday, January 26, 2015

Missing in Action (Figures): Black Widow

Check out Luke Brown's fine article over at Comics Alliance on the upcoming Funko assortment of Avengers: Age of Ultron toys. Luke, as befits the Force-sense of his Star Wars namesake, cannily points out the complete absence of a Funko figure portraying Marvel Cinematic Universe Avengers founding member Black Widow in the set.

Um, hello, Funko? Who doesn't want a super-deformed big-eyed Scarlett Johansson sitting on their desk? As proof of concept, here's Skottie Young's take on the idea of Mini-Natasha. CUTE!

Variant cover of Black Widow (2014 series) #1 (March 2014), art by Skottie Young

(Fairness in disclosure: Yes, Funko did issue a Natasha figure to coincide with last year's Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Sundance Kid movie, but that's long since vanished from the shelves. I know the character is going to be in Avengers 2...why omit her this time?)

Anyway, my point...and I do have one: I'm reminded of my recent visit to The Disney Store, which, among the Mickeys and Elsas and Lightning McQueens and Pocahonti, carries a small variety of Marvel superhero clothing and toys, especially those directly connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You know, like the movie that starred these guys?:

That's one of several dozen figurine playsets the Disney Store sells, ranging from their classic movies to modern Pixar films. Please note there are exactly five figures in this set, and one of 'em ain't Black Widow. Really, guys? I know it's "traditionally" boys who buy action figure sets, but A) do you think they're going to avoid a set like this because it has one woman in it, and B) this is the ferschluggin' Disney Store. With all those members of the Princess Pantheon, young girls are your target market. Is it maybe because you can only fit five figures in the case? Hmmmmm?

Nope. Not only does the Incredibles figure set fit its the entire team in the same size box, plus the baby, and Frozone, not to mention the villainous Syndrome. Admittedly, I did not weigh these two sets, and maybe Hulk weighs too much for them to have profitably added a sixth figure to the Avengers set. But seriously, Disney Store? Do you want to make the point that action women aren't collectible or fun to play with? What's next, a Star Wars set minus Princess Leia?

I know, I know, the first rule of business: "never assume ill-intent when profitability is probably the real reason." But like Funko, for Disney to omit featuring a truly kick-ass hero like Black Widow is dangerously setting a trend for toys and collectibles.

I'm reminded of this politically incorrect but still funny cartoon by B. Kliban.

Hands off, bitch! That's a MAN'S hairspray!
Cartoon from Two Guys Fooling Around With the Moon and Other Drawings (March 1982), by B. Kliban


Blam said...

¶6: Incredibels
Which is probably how they measure how loud the kids are being. (And bee-tee-dubs, The Incredibelles would be an awesome Disney mash-up that somebody's probably done.)

Bully said...

Whoops! Fixed! Thanks Blam!

SallyP said...

It really is amazing how tone deaf the marketing people are.