I mentioned this on Dino Drac’s Facebook page, but it’s way too important to lose in the social media ether.
Returning as part of the Ninja Turtles Classic Collection, it’s motherfucking KRANG. One of my favorite action figures EVER, and by far my favorite TMNT character. Hell, maybe my favorite character PERIOD.
Lots of capped words, plus a “motherfucker.” Can you tell that I’m excited?
Look, Krang was my gateway drug into All Things Turtles. Not sure if I’ve told this story before, but while I got on the TMNT bandwagon early, I didn’t get on it from the very start. On a trip to the grocery store with my friend and his mom (excitement), I bought a spiral notebook with the Ninja Turtles on the cover. I didn’t know much about them at that point, and my purchase had more to do with “oooh shiny new notebook” than “oooh Ninja Turtles.”
But later that afternoon, my friend showed me what I’d been missing. We watched the cartoon in its normal weekday afternoon slot, and I was IMMEDIATELY taken with Krang. By then, he already had his now-trademark robot body. (The bald guy with the bedroom in his stomach.) Between Krang’s look, voice, and weirdly laissez-faire approach to villainy, he was “my guy” from Minute 1.
HE WAS A TALKING PINK BRAIN.
LIVING INSIDE A HALF-NAKED ROBOT’S STOMACH.
FOR CHRIST’S SAKE.
Now firmly turned onto TMNT, I became a megafan. I watched everything. I collected everything. I ate Crunchabungas and gained 20 pounds. I saw the first movie on opening night. Same with the second. I’ve had many obsessions, but TMNT was up there with the biggest of ‘em all.
Of course, I was waaay into the action figures. Hobbies have often turned me to lunacy, but man, I was especially crazy when it came to Ninja Turtles figures. When a new wave came out, I’d force people to bring me to toy stores every single day. Maybe I was spoiled, or maybe it was because my pleading was on the level of someone begging off a serial killer.
“YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. THIS MEANS EVERYTHING TO ME. I WILL QUOTE THE ROOM FIFTEEN YEARS BEFORE IT GETS MADE. TAKE ME TO GEOFFREY NOW.”
With the Ninja Turtles being so popular, shortpacked figures weren’t easy to find. For me, Krang was one of the toughest. Actually, I’m not sure if I ever saw the original Krang in stores. My mother eventually ordered one from God Knows What retailer. Hopefully Bradlees, because Bradlees was #1.
This figure is an exact (?) match for the 1988 original. Contrary to what some believe, the suit Krang uses here actually did appear on the show (in a sense, at least), but it isn’t nearly as famous as the aforementioned robot body. (Which Playmates eventually released — and in various sizes, to boot!)
When I hunted Krang, this was the only figure representing him. Some of the early villain figures were admittedly weak, but Krang was MAGNIFICENT. He may have existed outside the scale boundaries set by the other figures, and sure, if you were watching Krang march around in his robot body on TV, this chair-with-legs thing felt a bit incongruous. To these gripes, I hereby issue an official “So What?,” as what we’re dealing with here is an alien brain with facial features who uses an exosuit to fire a metal plunger. “Awesome” wasn’t popularly used until 1988, and it was all because of this goddamned Krang.
I almost wish I knew nothing about TMNT. I think Krang would “sell” even better if I didn’t. Surely there’s someone reading this who never got into the Ninja Turtles. Maybe you’ve never even heard of Krang. If so, tell me… does this action figure not fascinate the shit out of you? Are you not dressing your soul salad with the oil and vinegar that is love and confusion? Mouth agape?
And yes, the little monster can separate from his walker. Since he’s semi-hollow, Krang nicely doubles as a finger puppet for people with exceedingly thin fingers. (You could also suction-stick him to your tongue… not that I speak from the experience of one who has done that five thousand times. No, not me.)
Also, I just realized that my affinity for hot pink mixed with electric blue may stem entirely from Krang. Better him than Brutus Beefcake’s ass.
Though the packaging resembles the original, it’s not 100% faithful. In the Classic Collection, we’re missing the hilarious cutout biographies that each figure used to come with. That was kind of a crucial element; I imagine that Playmates only did away with them because they sometimes treaded into pretty “dark” territory. Maybe some of those sentences wouldn’t fly in 2014?
On the plus side, the origin of the Ninja Turtles is told via comic strip, and it’s the same strip from the old days. (I especially remember it as the “wrapping” on my can of retromutagen ooze.)
TMNT Classic Collection figures cost around $9 each, and obviously, the line extends well past Krang. All four Turtles have been re-released, as well as Splinter and Shredder, and more that are either out now or coming soon. (Fans seem split, but I’m especially digging the Movie-Style Turtles.)
I usually don’t go bonkers for re-released toys — for me, the magic is in the memories. This time, though, something feels different. The mere action of opening the package was like Proust and his madeleines. The magic with these is in the memories I’d almost forgotten.
Thanks for coming back, Krang. Stay awhile. Staaaay forever.