Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Retro Toy Week: Beta Ray Bill!

Hey, an unintentional self-portrait! Thank god I was wearing pants when I did this... I almost gave this chap away when I started doing Bastards of the Universe at Poe Ghostal's Points of Articulation. Then, I cleaned him up a bit, set him down, and almost forgot him for this week. I'm glad I didn't: from Toy Biz's 1997 Silver Surfer line, Beta Ray Bill! Not familiar with Beta Ray Bill? Get familiar! Short answer, he's alien horse Thor. Longer answer: Walt Simonson introduced Bill in the first issue of his massively awesome run on Thor, issue #337. Thor investigates an alien ship approaching earth, and mixes it up with a weird cyborg onboard. After Thor reverts to Dr. Blake, Bill smacks the cane on a wall and being worthy, gets the power of Thor. Eventually, in one of the least dicked-up things we've ever seen him do, Odin has a hammer made especially for Bill: Stormbreaker. Beta Ray Bill is a regular guest in Thor, has had a couple limited series, and is currently in Annihilators with the Surfer, Quasar, and Marvel's other cosmic heavyweights. So, the figure: it was a somewhat massive figure when it came out--most figures mid-nineties were what, five inches or so? Best guess, Bill's in a six-inch scale, even if he's in a bit of a crouch; he'd be about the same height as a comparable Marvel Legends figure if he could stand up straight. See: And he's wide. Bill just feels like a good lump of toy. I usually don't display him with his removable cape, since the cape is also massive. I think there's more plastic in that cape than there is in a lot of figures on the racks today...

The articulation is sparse: cut wrists, shoulders, neck, waist, and hips. Not ultra-poseable, yes; but he is vac-metallized! And so is his hammer, Stormbreaker, which is also bigger than its Legends counterpart.

Beta Ray Bill was a bit persona non grata for a few years there, I think: some people have a problem with space horse Thor being part of the same core Marvel Universe as the Punisher, for example. Those people can get bent. Bill is awesome. And you could do worse than having this one on your shelf.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Wow, for those who bought the ML Bill(like I almosy did)after seeing that the toybiz one's hammer is bigger and better, must feel alittle shafted. As for the size, you're right, they were big back in the day. Especially the Captain America and Thor figures they came out with in what late 97'-98'. Cap was friggin' huge! Thor too. I had both by the way.
Finally, did you mean to say "take your kid to work"? Typos suck, I should know I make a few myself.