Monday, 18 July 2016

POP! Marvel – Doctor Strange

Series: POP! Marvel
Year: 2016
Company: Funko

I’ll confess – I have only a passing familiarity with the good Doctor here, primarily through The Infinity Gauntlet. He played an important role in that story, after discovering the Silver Surfer near-powerless in his attic (as one does). But he actually debuted back in 1963, one of Marvel’s first supernaturally themed superheroes. Though never as controversial as say, Ghost Rider or Son Of Satan, he still managed to find himself in a bit of hot water back in the early 1990s, when the cover of one of his issues used the unauthorised likeness of then-prominent Christian singer Amy Grant. Marvel eventually had to come to an out-of-court settlement on that one, though I doubt the whole situation would raise the same kind of ire these days.    

The first thing you’ll probably notice is that this POP is quite heavy, due to the cape attachments on both his shoulders and head. It’s quite a clever solution, actually – attaching part of the cape to the head means that the bobble is retained without massively disrupting the look.

Doctor Strange has had a few costumes over the years, but this is his best-known look. And boy is it a product of its time! It’s a great martial artist meets wizard combo – and though definitely dated, it offers a nice contrast to the usual superhero spandex garb. Benedict Cumberbatch looks to be wearing very similar garb in the upcoming film, though the colours are a little more muted. Speaking of which, the colours all contrast nicely with one another, with the exception of the orange gloves. Online research seems to indicate that his gloves are usually yellow – maybe he’s meant to be casting a spell here or something? Or perhaps it’s a Marvel style guide thing. The control art on the box renders the gloves a slightly different shade to his sash and cape trim, but the difference isn’t this extreme. Hopefully a running change fixes it later.  

On the upside, his hands have been sculpted in his signature spellcasting/heavy metal/webslinging poses. Which makes me think wishfully – we’ve had an Ozzy POP, could we get a Dio one sometime soon? Also, intentionally or not, his arms sort of mimic the traditional Baphomet pose from Eliphas Levi’s famous illustration, though his hands are held quite differently. Sinister hidden symbolism? I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but I’m sure there will be at least one parent out there that stops their kid from buying it for exactly that reason.   

The Eye of Agamotto holds the cape on at his neck, though it probably could have been picked out a little more with paint – for all its importance to the character, it’s barely noticeable here. The rest of the paint is fine; the hairlines could be a bit neater. The only odd choice is that the lower half of the cape is actually cast in blue, and then painted red. It seems an odd choice – I can only assume it was a costing thing at the factory; there’s no other reason it makes sense. 

Doctor Strange is a character I’d like to read more of, particularly in light of his upcoming debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’m mostly planning to check out his 1970s adventures, as I suspect the film will draw most heavily from that era; but if anyone has any suggestions, I’m more than happy to hear them – list them in the comments below. 

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