At last year's Baltimore Comic Con, I noticed a stack of Bucky O'Hare graphic novels on Neal Adams' table. I was surprised to see the connection between Bucky and Neal (who produced the comic), so I picked up a copy. It turns out that Neal wasn't the only comic book "superstar" involved in the production of Bucky O'Hare: the first few issues featured Larry Hama (of GI Joe fame) as writer and Michael Golden (Micronauts) as artist. Golden's work in the comic is so amazing that I needed some plastic momentos of the characters, so I picked up an eBay lot of figures from the vintage Bucky O'Hare line. In this first review, we'll take a gander at Bucky and his android Blinky.
Each card features fantastic artwork specific to the character. The art is very much in the style of the comics, and I suspect Michael Golden illustrated the cards himself.
I never watched the cartoon, although I remember the addictive theme song remarkably well, so I took a quick YouTube crash-course in Bucky 'toons before writing this review. The cartoon was very similar to the comic both in tone and storyline (which is surprising since it aired in the era of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a property that was so drastically altered for its cartoon that it barely resembled its comic origins). However, not only was the animation for the Bucky O'Hare cartoon inconsistent at best, but Bucky himself was such a drag. He never veered from his gravely serious vocal tone that sounded less commanding and more depressing. The comic Bucky was much more emotive and full of personality. So, my fandom references in this review will center around the fun comic Bucky rather than the drab cartoon Bucky.
Year Stamped: 1990
Size: Bucky - 4" (including ears), Blinky - 3 1/2"
Price: $20.00 for set of 5 figures from eBay
Bucky held his blaster in his left hand in the comics, a fact which I noticed after the above picture was taken. I apologize for the egregious inaccuracy of the pic.
Bucky looks exactly as he should. The sculpt is a great representation of the comic character, like the figure was designed by Michael Golden himself. The only real difference is that this sculpt features some sort of silver space-tubing on the front of the jacket. I'm not sure what the point of that is, but it adds some nice detailing to the cool overall design. The figure's coloration matchs that of the comic character almost perfectly; technically, his goggles should be blue and the nubs at the base of the ears should be red (because they're supposed to be part of the helmet), but I nit-pick. Proportionally, Bucky is a bit off, being too squat and stocky. But that's okay, it just adds to the toy-like nature of the figure.
Blinky's sculpt is similarly accurate to the comic. He's got all the right details, but like Bucky, his proportions are a bit off. Unlike Bucky, those changed proportions detract from the look; the comic character's longer forearms and shins would have made the figure cuter. Also, the comic Blinky has a reflective hide, whereas the figure is cast in a relatively matte gray plastic. Either a vac-metallization effect (like the recent Playmates Fugitoid) or a swirling gray effect (like the "metal" Glyos figures) would have worked much better. The only paint apps on the figure are used for his singular eye, which is the most striking aspect of the figure.
Bucky and Blinky from the comics.
Bucky has 7 points of articulation: swivel neck, shoulders, wrists, and hips. The neck is hindered by the shoulder pads, but the rest of the joints move well. The ears swivel too, but that's not particularly impressive. Overall, Bucky's articulation is better than his Kenner contemporaries, which averaged only 5 POAs, but it's not nearly as useful as the Playmates TMNT articulation.
Blinky has swivel neck and hip articulation. The shoulders might swivel, but the arms are made of such a rubbery plastic that they don't seem to hold a pose. But I suppose the rubberiness of the arms counts as articulation in a way, since they're flexible enough that you can move the arms into different positions during play. But they're not bendy arms, so they can't hold a pose.
The blaster to the left in the pic above is Bucky's, the other blaster and the backpack are Blinky's.
Bucky comes with his signature blaster, which I appreciate since it's comic-accurate. But I wish he came with something more substantial. Maybe a few different types of blasters would have been fun. Blinky comes with a backpack and a blaster. The backpack is cool, but it alters the balance of the figure so displaying him with it on will be problematic. The blaster is a bit uncharacteristic of Blinky, who spends more time working on the warp drive of the Righteous Indignation than blasting toads.
I got a set of 5 Bucky O'Hare figures for $20, which averages out to $4 each. That's a great deal given the "vintageness" of the figures. They're also made of good quality plastic that's less stiff than Ninja Turtles, with some rubbery parts like Blinky's arms and Bucky's hands and cape. It seems like the figures won't break easily, but I think the softness of the plastic, especially the rubber, makes them susceptible to rubbing discoloration from other figures. I'd be careful with storing these guys for the long-term.
The 3 great captains: Kirk, Picard, and O'Hare.
For fans of the comic like me, Bucky is pretty much exactly what we need. I love the figure's coloration: the highly-saturated green, red, and yellow makes Bucky exude toyness. Although the collector in me wonders how cool the figure would look with weathering and spray paint apps that would add depth and realism, the kid in me loves the fun colors.
Blinky reminds me a lot of Fugitoid. And he would have looked cooler with either Fugitoid's vac-metallized plastic or the Glyos swirling "metal" effect.
Blinky scores well with an effective representation of the comic character, but he needs some sort of extra level of coolness. Vac-metallized plastic or the Glyos swirling effect sure would help, but my favorite feature of robot figures is an opening panel that reveals internal circuitry. Removable limbs that could be swapped with other robo-limbs would be awesome, as would a "glowing" eye (which would be nothing more than a clear plastic eye that shines light through a hole in the figure's head).
Left: Samurai Rabbit and Space Rabbit square off. Right: Calamity and woe, indeed.
Bucky is a rockin' figure. The sculpt is certainly a "child" of the comic book designs and the coloration is wonderfully toy-like. He even comes with a comic-accurate blaster. But that's all that Bucky comes with, and some additional weaponry would have catapulted him into true action figure stardom.
Blinky is more or less representative of the comic but he needs just a bit more oomph to have any real distinction, whether that's better articulation, vac-metallized plastic, or some fun play feature like a glowing eye. Still, he's a solid figure and certainly a requirement for your Righteous Indignation crew.