Toy Review: Adventure Kermit
One has to consider Todd McFarlane to be a trend-setter. For those of you unfamiliar with Todd, he was previously one of the most lauded comic artists in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Many were impressed by his comic art regarding Spider-Man, but eventually, he broke free and went to the start-up Image Comics with a number of other famous comic artists and writers. It was there that he created his own character named Spawn, and shortly thereafter, set out to change the face of action figures.
From the quality sculpts and detailed paint jobs, other companies soon rose to compete, taking cues from McFarlane Toys. One of those was Palisades Toys, which soon began creating toys based on such popular properties as Invader Zim, and Ren and Stimpy. However, they were eventually able to secure one license that makes many remember them all these years later: The Muppets.
Over the course of 4 years, Palisades crafted dozens of figures of different Muppet characters, and even went so far as to create detailed playsets (including one based around the backstage of The Muppet Show!). Sadly, bankruptcy in 2005 cancelled the future of the toy line, as well as the possible promise of figures based on other Henson properties like Sesame Street, and Fraggle Rock. The closest those other properties came to production were prototypes, and a convention-exclusive figure of Super Grover.
During the early 2000’s, Palisades was no strange to exclusives, and they released numerous retail exclusive figures, as well as those offered through their Collector’s Club, and convention exclusives. In 2004, I picked up one of these : Adventure Kermit.
And in case some of you were wondering, any references to Henry Jones, Jr, were not to be found on the packaging due to copyright reasons. Even so, there was mention in Adventure Kermit’s bio, that he does like laws allowing for parody, and legendary film producers & directors with a sense of humor.
In case you weren’t aware, Kermit did dress up like Indiana Jones in 1990. During the TV Special The Muppets at Walt Disney World, Kermit takes part in the Disney MGM Studios’ Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. Of course, Kermit was only shown from the waist up, and was outfitted with a very simple outfit. When Palisades decided to do their own version, it was as if someone had gone up to Lucasfilm, analyzed a screen-worn outfit, and sized it down to fit Kermit.
The texture and detail on Kermit’s attire definitely makes this an exciting figure! Several paint applications give character to Kermit’s satchel.
Another surprise is the whip that’s included. Palisades could have just given us a coiled piece of plastic, but this item uncoils for Kermit to whip around, and a small hook on his belt allows one to coil it back, and attach it.
This picture is a nice example of the texture that Palisades employed with Kermit’s ‘skin.’ While some would have gone with a nice smooth finish, the sculptors chose to give a texture that seems very much like the actual felt used to create Kermit.
Of course, unlike a human head, Kermit’s doesn’t lend itself to having a hat sit nicely atop it. To prevent collector-frustration about perfectly balancing the hat atop the frog’s angled head, Palisades did the only thing possible: cut a hole in Kermit’s head, put a magnet inside, seal it back up, and then put another magnet in the hat. Pure genius!
It should also be noted that this Kermit has the most articulated arms of the different Kermit figures released. While he does come with wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints, he also has a rotating joint in the middle of his upper-arm, that helps increase the poses his arms can make. One almost wishes added poseability would have been added to his legs. Due to the bow-legged angle of the legs, Kermit is saddled with just standing normally. If Kermit maybe had some rotation in his ankles, it would have helped.
Even though he isn’t supposed to be named after a certain archaeologist, Adventure Kermit did come with a little artifact that he was after: The Golden Gonzo (or The Golden Weirdo, depending on who you talk to). The small gold statue featured a kneeling chicken’s body, with Gonzo’s head atop it (the less thought about that combination, the better!). Palisades even ran a contest in the summer of 2004, for a drawing to win a 8-12 inch version. Sadly, the one that Kermit was searching for appears to have disappeared from my collection. However, just enter Golden Gonzo into your search bar, and you should be able to find some photos floating around.
Despite a few flaws here and there, this is still a great figure. I heard that there were several production runs of the figure, with varying differences in paint applications. One of the most significant, is one production run included gold paint on Kermit’s jacket zipper, and the clasp for his satchel. Personally, I prefer mine that isn’t so shiny-it makes our green adventurer look like he’s been using his gear for quite awhile.
At the time this came out, we hadn’t had any Indiana Jones merchandise for years, so this filled a void with its peanut-butter-and-jelly combination of both Jones and The Muppets. Before the line died out, I did manage to procure a few more exclusive Muppet figures, and I can guarantee that one of them will be seen in an upcoming review…one figure that was so significant, I just couldn’t pass it up.