(Just a friendly reminder of where you are)
It wasn't too long ago when I showed off the set of Presidential Monster figures I ordered just before I broke my shoulder earlier this year. Since then, they have quickly become one of my more favorite retail toy purchases of this year. Which is saying a lot to be honest because I don't normally dig newer toys. I think part of the fact they stuck with me so much is because they are a specialty item only available through limited markets. With secondary market prices on the rise and a piece I read on strangekidsclub.com , the desire for a set of these figures became a dire need and superseded just about everything I was actively hunting down at that very moment. Through a course of fortunate events, mostly because eBay prices were creeping out of my price range, I met a man who led me to his website where he sold complete sets for retail prices. He also happened to be the proprietor of Heroes in Action , the main website for the Presidential Monsters line.
(man, just watching this makes my shoulder hurt again)
To be honest, there is plenty of reasons why this line really struck a cord with me. Mainly I was stuck at home for the better part of a month in a brace and unable to reach my collection and these were the only things I could see on a regular basis without bugging my wife. When I feel bad, I like to surround myself with things that make me happy as I'm sure a few readers do too. I bought them at first for the novelty and figured eventually I'd probably flip them for a decent return since the value of a complete set was constantly on the rise. But getting to sit and study them for a lengthy amount of time, I grew to really appreciate the detail behind each figure. From the patterns on the cloth used for each figure to the scales, fur and rotting skin sculpted on the faces and hands; these were something of an unsung masterpiece in the toy world. Why doesn't anyone sing the praises of these marvelous toys?
(I guess there was no need for this photo but I like it anyways)
The first set, some still available here, was comprised of 7 Mego-style figures on colorful, character specific cards complete with original artwork. I'm a really appreciative fan when it comes to packaging featuring character specific artwork, it's the small details that can make me love or hate a series of figures. Not because I'm an asshole (because I am, let's not forget that fact) but I think a figure should be just as eye catching in the package as it is out of it.
Zom-Bush (George W. Bush)
Everyone's favorite former head of state parodied for the sometimes dead look on his face during press conferences. The torn and tattered clothing along with the really awesome undead paint scheme really drive it home to be one of my favorites from the line. They were even so nice as to pack in a single sheet Zom-Bush poster which was promptly hung up in our room shortly after receiving our set. I wonder if Bush got one of these or was even aware of it? Next time I know he's coming to my town I'll get him to autograph mine, I'm sure he wouldn't mind.
The Ronmy (Ronald Regan)
This was one that I wasn't sold on when I was buying the set. To be honest, I was gauging whether it was worth just buying the ones I want or buying the set outright and parting out the figures I didn't want. To get the 4 I wanted cost the same amount as it would have to bought the whole set and I'm a sucker for getting more toys for my money. All in all, Ronmy was actually a decent figure. I love the fact they used the classic Mad Monster pajama like bodysuit to pull off the mummy bandaging effect. It makes for a really nice throwback to the classic figure lines that inspired this set.
Wolf Bill (Bill Clinton)
Here's one I was considering not buying in the first place. I've never been much of a Wolf man fan unless it was Lon Chaney. I'm more of a Dracula and Frankenstein fan that and I get the joke they were making but I guess I was hoping for more of a Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde sex fiend. I guess I'd go more high brow or maybe I just make jokes no one gets (I'm fairly sure it's the latter). But, so far there's a theme with these last 3 figures I've touched base on, none of them have shoes. I do like the sculpting of the fur and how they captured the mid transformation wolf and man hybrid, making him hairy enough for people to get the reference but human enough to recognize hound dog Bill Clinton.
Phantom of the White House (John F. Kennedy)
Our first figure with shoes! Here's another one I wasn't really sold on till I got it in hand. That's the problem with online exclusives; I've not bought pieces from toy sets and then seriously regretted it at a toy show when I get it in hand and really get to admire it. Where this figure impresses is the outfit; cape, vest, shoes and pants are really great quality. Also, the sculpt is a dead ringer for JFK without obscuring it for the Phantom joke they were going with. They did give him a tan / peach colored (I'm bad with describing colors) demon mask. I was kind of hoping they would go for something closer to the Red Death mask from Phantom of the Opera but I'm not too disappointed.
Monster from Watergate Lagoon (Richard Nixon)
The Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Gillman, Swamp Monster, Fish Man; no matter what you call him he's probably my favorite of all the classic monsters. Richard Nixon, Dick Nix, Tricky Dicky; no matter what you call him he's probably my 3rd favorite president. Two great tastes that taste great together ( that sounded better in my head than it does in print but I'm going to go with it). I really like the head sculpt on this, the bloated gill man head with the predominant nose sells the toy for me. The added touches of webbed hands (molded into the iconic "I am not a crook" victory signs) and feet make this figure one of my top 4 favorite figures from the line.
Baracula (Barack H. Obama)
There is no denying how cool and funny this figure is. Love the man or hate the man, they captured the current Commander and Chief's likeness and gave you probably the best costume of the line. I'm not sure if the current president can take a joke or not but I'd love to show him this figure if I had a chance. This figure does go for more as a single figure outside of a complete set and most places won't sell you a Baracula unless you buy the other 6 figures. Truly one of the crowning achievements of the line and I suggest if you buy one figure from this series to seek him out.
Lincolnstein (Abraham Lincoln)
In this series, Lincolnstein and Baracula are just about neck-and-neck my favorites from the line. What an awesome figure. Great costuming complete with top hat and the sculpting is by far the best of the line. Little details like stitches and neckbolts are not neglected, overall the entire run hasn't skipped on detail and value. Yet again, this is another figure most sellers won't let you have outside of a complete set so he is another, at least in my opinion, must have figure.
My only gripe with the series, and I hope the powers that be at Heroes in Action are listening (well, reading), is that to enjoy the figure outside the package you have to destroy the packaging I admire so much. I love what Gentle Giant Toys did with the Jumbo Vintage Star Wars figures and I think more companies should follow suit. Make the package into a semi-clamshell that can be carefully disassembled to display the figure whenever the consumer wishes while also give the owner the ability to put it back in the package and hang it on a wall with ease. Either way I really like the line overall, more so than I ever thought I would. For anyone who thought these figures are as cool as I think they are, they are available in limited quantities through Heroes in Action, famous online retailers and eBay. I suggest you act quickly, another round of Presidential Monster mash ups are heading to online retailers sometime this year with more amazing concepts as Van Palin: the vampire hunter, Romney the Robot, Teddy the Yeti, Martian Van Buren and Jacksferatu.
(Martian Van Buren)
(I really want to know what's up with the Yeti variant)
(I really like this on many levels)