This has been a Figure Friday column I’ve been waiting a long time to write. We’re coming up on my two year anniversary at Biff Bam Pop!TM and one of my earliest wishlist items has finally been delivered. NECA’s Creature from the Black Lagoon has arrived and it’s everything I had hoped it would be.
The debut of Universal’s 1954 film The Creature from the Black Lagoon took audiences deep into the Amazon! This 7” scale Ultimate action figure depicts the mysterious and terrifying Creature in extraordinary detail. It comes with three extra pairs of hands, and three interchangeable head sculpts. Display-friendly window box packaging with opening front flap.
Good things come to those that wait. When NECA launched the Universal Monsters line of Ultimate figures, the first and only figure I absolutely had to have was the Creature. I bought Frankenstein and have been so impressed with each release that I continued to buy the entire line of Universal Monsters to this point. NECA tends to be a very slippery slope as we’ve discussed before. In hindsight, I think that NECA needed to learn from each subsequent release to get to what I consider to be the greatest Gillman figure of all time.
The Creature is my favorite of the Universal Monsters. I first saw the movie as a kid in the ‘80s when one of the local tv stations ran the 3D version for a scary movie marathon. They put 3D glasses in the newspaper and at a few stores around metro Detroit to promote the broadcast. It was one of the first times I got to experience 3D. I was bored out of my mind but when the Creature hit the screen, nothing else mattered. Here was this half man, half lizardfish(?), the titular Creature, protecting his home from trespassers. He falls in love, but that love is rejected. The hero(?) saves the day and rescues the girl while killing poor Gillman in the process… or did he? (dun dun duuuuuuunnnnnnn) The Creature slowly lumbering towards me in 3 dimensions is burned into my mind to this day.
My first Creature figure came shortly after that when I found a glow in the dark REMCO Creature at a discount store. That figure will always have a special place in my heart and it’s one that I wish I still had. To say that we’ve come a long way from those days is an understatement. NECA has done an excellent job of using soft plastic to cover joints and points of articulation. The Creature is sculpted beautifully and engineered to allow most of that soft plastic to get out of the way when needed to provide for an excellent posing experience. The neck and head illustrate this quite nicely by allowing you to get more range of motion to hit those swimming poses really well. Gillman is a lovely shade of green with some gold dry brushing to pull out the scales and detail work. There’s also a black and white version upcoming that was on display at Power Con last month.
My Creature from the Black Lagoon collection is one of my favorite corners of the Cap Cave. As a kid that loved dinosaurs, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and stories of Lizard Men, the Creature checked all the right boxes for me. He’s iconic. A scaly misunderstood reject that just wanted to live in peace till he fell for the girl and then got murdered by the girl’s boyfriend. It’s a tale as old as time with a much slimier beast.