10 of the Worst Female Action Figures Ever [Girl Week]
As part of Girl Week here on ComicsAlliance, we’d like to celebrate the good and admonish the ugly when it comes to the role of women in comic books and popular culture at large. One area where this is a particularly common problem is the world of action figures — rare is it that toy collectors actually get to see their favorite female heroes and villains represented in plastic form, and even when action figure manufacturers decide to fulfill those wishes, the resulting toys are often sloppily sculpted, whether due to a rushed job or just a blatant ignorance of how to accurately craft the female figure.
Narrowing down the worst female action figures of all time is no easy feat – but I can certainly tell you which ones I like the least. Behold, ten of the most awful toys based on women in popular fiction to ever enter our plane of existence!
Wonder Woman (“Comic Action Heroes,” Mego Museum)
What you see here is one of the earliest examples of toy companies not knowing what the frak to do with a female action figure. This is Wonder Woman, if you couldn’t tell, one of the most iconic and powerful women in the history of comic books. Except as rendered by Mego Museum, she looks like a cross-dressing circus performer on the cusp of traumatizing a room filled with children with inappropriate hand gestures. Seriously, even in the 1970s, how did anyone give this arm positioning the green light?
Princess Leia Organa (“Star Wars,” Kenner)
As far as a 1978 sculpt goes, this Princess Leia isn’t the single worst action figure I’ve ever seen, despite the shoddy coat and awkward leg articulation. So, while I have no real hard feelings towards this Leia, the fact that she represents Kenner’s nervousness towards crafting the feminine physique earns her a place on my most hated list. Editor’s note: Her ’90s Power of the Force” toy was almost worse.
Storm (“X-Men,” Toy Biz)
Even though Toy Biz produced many of the most beloved and worn-in action figures of my childhood, it’s hard to forgive the company for crimes against humanity such as this early Storm. Articulation isn’t even the big problem here — as a kid, even I knew that this thing was fugly. The plastic cape? Ridiculous. Exaggerated widow’s peak hairline? Even more ridiculous. And, sure, she’s the master of weather, but there’s just no way that Storm is going to run around holding onto a lightning bolt like that. I know we’re talking about superheroes here, but a little realism wouldn’t hurt.
Jean Grey (“X-Men,” Toy Biz)
First off, let’s just acknowledge the fact that Domino from “X-Force” got an action figure before Jean Grey did. That in itself is a major strike against Toy Biz, but it gets worse – the first ever Jean Grey toy was a repaint of said Domino. Two characters that couldn’t possibly be more different sharing the same body with just a few color alterations. Because I was eager to complete my “X-Men” set back in the day, I begrudgingly accepted the repaint, but I wasn’t happy about it at all.
Jubilee (“Generation X,” Toy Biz)
My anti-Toy Biz trilogy ends here with one of the most absurd action figures I’ve ever laid eyes upon. It was bad enough that the brilliant “X-Men” cartoon series decided to feature Jubilation Lee so prominently, but to offer this as the character’s action figure counterpart? No good. She looks like a human hot dog on roller skates! Although, if there is any plus side to this Jubilee toy, it’s that I’m suddenly craving a trip to Gray’s Papaya.
Space Marine Lt. Ripley (“Aliens,” Kenner)
Anybody that knows me knows how much I adore “Aliens,” but even I can’t get behind this Ripley action figure. It’s not that there’s anything inherently wrong with the toy itself – it’s finely sculpted and comes with a nicely detailed if over-sized firearm – but it looks absolutely nothing like Sigourney Weaver. Extreme realism wasn’t a common trait of action figures back in the early 1990s, but even still, Kenner didn’t even come close to a movie accurate version of the character. Like I said, not an unusually bad toy – just one that broke my heart.
Barbie as Catwoman (“Barbie,” Mattel)
Nobody’s going to argue that Halle Berry’s “Catwoman” is one of the most atrocious superhero misfires of all time and any merchandising related to that god awful film should be burned on sight. But for some reason, I am so completely dumbfounded by the fusion of Berry’s “Catwoman” and Mattel’s “Barbie” line that I don’t think I could bring myself to hammer down on such evil. The sheer audacity of combining these two franchises is just too frightening for me to face.
Blackarachnia (“Beast Wars,” Hasbro)
I love “Beast Wars,” I love Blackarachnia, but I do not love the first Blackarachnia figure from Hasbro’s “Beast Wars” toy line. Like the aforementioned Jean Grey, it’s simply a repaint of another figure… except that it’s a repaint of a male figure, Tarantulas. Seriously, this is one of the most sultry and seductive characters in “Beast Wars” lore — and yes, I know I just referred to a machine as sultry and seductive, deal with it — and she’s based on a man? Luckily, the subsequent Blackarachnia figures were much more accurate and awesome, but man, what a way to start.
Cover Girl (“G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” Hasbro)
For a recent example of how a fantastic toy manufacturer can still drop the ball on the female physique, look no further than Hasbro’s Cover Girl from “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.” Without even delving into the question of why Cover Girl was included in the “G.I. Joe” movie in the first place — but seriously, why? — this Hasbro sculpt is just laughably bad. Is the Joe team’s recruitment effort hurting so badly that they’re willing to take any Frankenstein-faced junkie off the street and into its fold? If that’s how low the standards have gotten for these real American heroes, then we as a nation should just surrender to Cobra now. We’d be better off.
Bella Swan (“Twilight,” NECA)
I don’t really need a reason here, do I?