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First Look – Mattel’s Christopher Reeve Superman

*Cue the John Williams Superman theme* Are you ready? The long-awaited Mattel Christopher Reeve Superman figure has finally arrived and we have a Look at him just a few days before he goes on sale on December 15th.

The Man of Steel

Fans of the Donner Superman movie have been waiting a very long time for a Superman merchandise based on that movie and the likeness of the late Christopher Reeve. Now it seems like several companies are in the process of producing Reeve-Superman items, and if I am not mistaken, the likeness rights come with a mandate to donate to the Christopher and Dana Reeve foundation. Mattel has taken part and it is good to see that such a beloved and much-anticipate corner of comic fandom can go to a good cause.

Fortress of Solitude accessory "locker"

That said, Mattel has taken their time to really make sure that they do this figure justice. It has gone through several incarnations, each time with some subtle changes, primarily to the face sculpt. By the time SDCC 2010 rolled around, they were ready to go with a late 2010 release. Well, in the last Matty Day of the year, Superman will be flying onto shelves of fans everywhere and that pesky General Zod finally has his match.

He comes packaged in what has become the standard rectangular window box of the Mattel 12-inch figures. There is a Fortress of Solitude theme to the front of it with a font that harkens back to the original Reeve movie. The side features a still from the movie and the back features a movie “bio”.

Come, son of Jor-El!

For the figure itself, it is tall heavy and stately. There has always been an air of class to the image of the Christopher Reeve Superman image and I think it just grows over time. His costume is actually pretty authentic to the movie and is the basic red and blue spandex. I think the blue is pretty closely matched to the on-screen fabric of the movie. The boots are sewn with intricate care too and he has rubber soles on the bottom. My favorite part of the figure though is the cape. It just hangs and flows in a fashion that I liken exactly to Superman. It is strong but flowing and you can put it around the figure in a variety of poses. Very nice. A warning though, it is tacked to the packaging so take care as you remove it.

I am Superman

The body is made of the standard Mattel 12-inch body, which I like quite a bit. It is well designed with a solid sculpt and tight joints without being overly built. He features three sets of hands – fists, flat and gripping.

Then there is the head.  I REALLY think the likeness in the sculpt is there. It is the same sculpt that was shown at SDCC and that one was pretty dead on. This one does retain all of the sculptural detail and, as it has been shown with a lot of Reeve products – the guy is hard to capture. You see that a lot with classically handsome people, there are not outstanding features or imperfection to latch onto and bring out.

Up, Up and Away

Where I wish we would have had a bit more  is in the paint department. Paint can make or break a fantastic sculpt, especially at this scale and I think that painstaking care has to be given to making sure that the paint adds to the aesthetic and does not detract. That being said, I wish the paint would have been just bit more detailed to really bring out the sculpt. The paint job is fine, and to me it does look a lot like Reeve, but a few more paint apps would have knocked it out of the park. The paint job does not detract from the sculpt, but it does really accentuate it either. I think some of it comes from the fact that paint used is just a touch shiny so light bounces off of it and distracts the eye. Like I said, it is a solid paint job but a few more apps here and there might have helped it along. I am really looking forward to skilled customizers trying their hands at repainting the face, I really do think the sculpt will pop more with just a little bit of love.

Functional flight stand

Overall, this is a very solid Superman figure and I am very glad to finally have a Reeve version for my collection. The figure and the costume (and the Fortress and flying stand) are very well made and feel like a very nice collectable. The likeness is also quite good, but again, a little more paint and it would have been even better to me. Look for yourself though. I will say this, with the price of 12 inch figures going pretty much exclusively north of the $100 mark, the figure is a very solid value at 60 bucks. It is a very fine figure to own if you have been waiting for your own piece of Christopher Reeve Superman history.


*Thank you to Mattel for letting us look at this figure for a preview, we really appreciate it. Still a few more things up our sleeves!

Additional Links

Christopher Reeve was, and continues to be, Superman

4 thoughts on “First Look – Mattel’s Christopher Reeve Superman

  1. I have to agree on all points. I will be picking this figure up VERY soon, and I’ll be customizing the face.

  2. Well… I got my Superman and General Zod in the mail today and they freakin rock. I dont really own a lot of Hot toys or any of those other “high-end” figures cause i believe that toys should be handled and I’m not about to pay 100 smackers for a toy. I am very pleased with these guys and all i gotta say is … i’ts about time !

  3. I really like this figure! While not Hot Toys quality, it’s a pretty solid sculpt for the very reasonable price. The costume is very good, and the packaging is fantastic! It’s so good in fact, that I think the figure looks better left in it.

    The most impressive thing for me though is the “S” symbol. They actually replicated the slightly imperfect hand-sewn version on the original costume rather than going with the standard perfectly symmetrical version. VERY nice touch.

  4. First off, the packaging and the extras looks fantastic. And they got the colours of the costume spot-on. I find the body a little broad but I can live with it.

    Still, Something got lost since we saw this at SDCC. I find the reflective facial paint is distracting. And the expression seems so bland. It’s missing that Chris Reeves spark. Perhaps it is all in the paint job. But I shouldn’t have to fix this myself, should I?

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