Long ago and far away, I was a young girl with a topsy-turvy doll. It was Little Red Riding Hood on one end, and flipped, it was Grandma on one side with the Big Bad Wolf dressed in her clothing on the other.
I thought it was the greatest toy ever.
This preface is to demonstrate that I am somewhat new to the world of what makes any given action figure “cool.” Thank goodness I have my son to show me the way. For example: He owns a Martian Manhunter figure which he assures me is the greatest thing ever, because his head comes off. I have to admit that that’s a fine feature, indeed.
Well, now I no longer have to rely only on my son (who—I have it on good authority—has a mean mother who refuses to buy him everything he wants) as my sole source of information on the coolness of action figures. Now I can consult ToyFare’s assessment of the 100 best action figures of the past decade.
Number 1 comes as no surprise to anyone, of course:
1. 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime
Hasbro, 2004 $95/$45 (Grey Gun) $90/$40 (Black Gun)
In the toy hierarchy, one figure stands alone. He can command the attention of any room. He’s a model of design. He’s even been known to sway a toy-apathetic girlfriend or two. We cried when he died in the animated movie. Hell, one random dude even changed his name after him.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Transformers, Hasbro released the ne plus ultra (that’s French for “awesomest”) Optimus Prime, with enough detail to make even the most demanding fan gooey with lust. His appendages bend and contort with ease, while a switch on the back of his head allows his “mouth” to move. Flip open his chest plate and marvel at the Matrix of Leadership, a glowing blue ball of light that means he’s the boss. And did we mention he turns into a truck?
As the “Prime” example of the potential in toys, he’s the model to which all other playthings should aspire.
What did surprise me was some of the other entries. To name a few: “Adventure Kermit” comes in at number 15 (your favorite muppet frog goes all Indiana Jones), the Swedish Chef at number 25 and Fozzie Bear at number 38 (who knew muppet action figures were so cool?), The Simpsons Stephen Hawking figure at number 70 (his wheelchair comes with a boxing glove and helicopter rotors), and my personal favorite:
21. Super Grover
Sesame Street, Palisades Toys, 2005 (E: 2005 cons) $50/$15
If the sight of Grover dressed in a cape doesn’t give you the warm fuzzies, you might as well get a job euthanizing puppies, you monster. Bonus: a telephone booth and Clark Kent-esque nerd clothes!
Who knew there were so many cool figures out there? Not me. And I’m sure it was just an oversight that there aren’t any Ben 10 figures on the list. I mean, seriously. Even an old square like me knows that Kevin 11 about as cool as it gets. I mean, short of being Super Grover.