Sunday, February 21, 2010

Shades of Black, Part Two: Hasbro Male Complexions

The action figures shown above are from left to right:

G. I. Joe Basic Training Heavy Duty Lamont A. Morris, Heavy Ordinance Specialist
G. I. Joe Tuskegee Fighter Pilot
Star Wars Attack of the Clones Mace Windu
G. I. Joe Valor vs. Venom Roadblock a.k.a. Marvin F. Hinton
Star Wars Return of the Jedi Lando Calrissian

Hasbro colors their Black males from medium red brown (Mace Windu) to dark expresso brown (Lando Calrissian). A recent exception though would be the Black Joe character, Ripcord in the recent G.I. Joe movie.

Aside: Hasbro's newer action figures avoid the "Ken bump" or "no bump" by dressing their male figures in molded underpants either in "flesh" colors OR in the color of the molded on tee shirt or top. Later Kens have used the same approach to male dolls' anatomy. Would be interesting to see if the molded underpants proved less traumatic than the "no bump" body.


Black Doll Enthusiast said...

Another great shades of black comparison.

Physique-wise, I think GI Joe Basic Training Heavy Duty has the most proportionate body. Samuel L's (Mace Windu's) head is way too large for his body.


AilanthusAltissima said...

Another great comparison pic! Great poses! These all seem to have a lot of chest and arm muscle definition and then suddenly an odd lack of detail below the belt line, only to resume detail below the hips. I can only wonder what children make of this.

They all seem to have perpetually gripped hands and are forward glancing (I can't quite tell about Mace Windu). Is this the case with male action figures in general?

D7ana said...

DBG, this version of Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu is NOT considered one of the better ones. Probably considered one of the worst, but he reminds me of someone I know. And his "watermelon head" and beady eyes amuse me.

Thanks, Kim! This will sound sad/pathetic, but I *get* the lack of detail below the belt line. Toy manufacturers fear showing any sign that a doll or an action figure has a penis (oooohhh, used that forbidden 5 letter word - waiting for a bolt to appear - guess the machine is down today). Remember the 1970s 11" plus G.I. Joes? They had nothing, no Ken bump, no molded underpants, nothing between the legs and the torso. On a child's toy - a penis cannot be seen. That brings "sex" (oh, the naughty three lettered bad word. That bolt is gonna get me yet.)

I suppose the parents and the manufacturers feel that gendering the doll "down there" could lead to serious mental damage. A baby doll could have a penis, but NOT an adult or teenaged male figure.

Or maybe it was deemed that a mini penis could get "knocked" off in childplay. Shrug. Possible. (Maybe that's why some guys hold their crotch in public?)

That's why I thought the Ken bump made a somewhat acceptable compromise. If nothing else, it filled the space when the doll wore fitting pants. Aesthetics, see.

Offhand, I would say that male action figures tend to look directly forward - all part of "masculine" posturing and perhaps to "dare" anyone from checking below that beltline ... I'll look into that with my figures though to check. That would be an interesting post. Thanks for the question ;-D

Up close, Mace looks directly at you. Mostly LOL.

Dolls of Color said...

is that supposed to be "skin" or "underwear" on G. I. Joe Valor vs. Venom Roadblock a.k.a. Marvin F. Hinton's torso O_o

the Lando Calrissian doesn't look as youthful as in the movies... maybe he's the version from the novels!

D7ana said...

Poor Marvin has a molded on orange tee shirt and underpants. (He had some kind of protective vest over that so I think it's an outerwear tee shirt.)