One of Comic-Con's indisputable niches at this point is toys based on directors.
Funko has Taika Waititi and James Wan, and this year NECA is giving us Guillermo Del Toro and Shane Black. But while Funko tends to use a uniform house style across its brands, each of NECA's dual genre director figures has a unique approach, look, and size.
General audiences may not remember, but Black has dabbled in acting before, most notably as Hawkins in the original Predator, where he's best known for telling a dirty joke to Billy (Sonny Landham) that makes him laugh, which the Predator hears. NECA secured his likeness rights while working on the toys for The Predator, the latest film that Black is now the director on.
Del Toro, on the other hand, has a deal with the company for the "Guillermo Del Toro Signature Collection," a line that will encompass characters from all his independent films like Pan's Labyrinth and The Devil's Backbone. While Black's "Hawkins" action figure is scaled to Predator figures and re-uses some military body parts, Del Toro has the "retro-action" body based on 1970s Mego toys, which allows for more obscure licenses by saving costs on a more generic inner physique concealed by clothing. (It should perhaps be noted the company has previously made Quentin Tarantino figures in both styles, depending upon the relative success of the given movie he was making/cameoing in at the time.)
The figure's only accessory is a Pan's Labyrinth notebook, filled with eye-straining microscopic detail.
Although if you count cardboard backdrop inserts as accessories, both figures do come with one. Hawkins/Black's is in Predator-vision, which is incongruous but looks cool.
Hawkins may be slightly more articulated--despite a big backpack, there's a lot of movement to the ball-jointed waist hidden under his shirt--but Del Toro's no slouch. If you want to have him fight other characters, it's doable.
What he really wants to do is direct, though.
Hawkins is better equipped, with a machine gun, a pistol that fits in an underarm holster, and a knife that doesn't seem to go anywhere. He's in a slightly smaller scale than his counterpart (GDT is 8 inch scale, while Predator figures are 7-inch), but the likeness is even better. It's harder to make glasses look good the smaller you get, but that face looks photo-realistic at times.
The Del Toro figure is $40, and part of a limited run of 2,000. Hawkins is $30, with a limited edition of 3,000. NECA typically runs the one Comic-Con booth these days that's cash-only, so be prepared for that if you want to grab yourself some genre greats.
What director would you like to see rendered in posable plastic next? If they had a fight, who would win? We'll ponder these things in between making pew-pew-pew noises.
Images: Luke Y. Thompson