THE AFJ REVIEW: NECA "WEIRD AL" YANKOVIC!
By Jarrett Kruse
NECA's 2016 dominance continues with this kitschy 80's throwback figure of an American icon. Yes, icon. I grew up on "Weird Al" and had all of his tapes and listened to them ad nausea on hundreds of family car trips. His videos on MTV (Oh, MTV used to show music videos) were always comedy triumphs and in heavy rotation on the network. The parodies that Al created resonated with both kids and adults and it is hard to argue that the performer has made his mark on the pop culture world. He is in rarefied air among only Madonna & Michael Jackson as the only artist to have a song on the TOP 40 in each decade since the 80's.
The cult of "Weird Al" has continued to grow among a whole new generation and his 2014 critical and commercial smash, "Mandatory Fun", cemented him as a true pioneer artist. Lets not forget the cult film UHF from 1989 that Al wrote and starred. Al is now in a position to release his music via the Internet whenever he feels its time for a new dose of musical hi-jinks rather than work via an archaic record industry format. So while "Mandatory Fun" may be the last full length album we get from Al, it feels like he is just getting started. And that means the ultimate salute, an awesome new action figure from high-end but affordable New Jersey based outfit and AFJ favorite, NECA.
As mentioned, NECA is having the equivalent of the Golden State Warriors record breaking NBA season. The Warriors had Steph Curry, NECA has Randy Falk. At this juncture with Con in less than a week, it seems that they can do now wrong and this "Weird Al" piece convinces me that as of right now, NECA is walking on water giving other toy companies a good scare with them producing high end product at affordable prices. Now onto the NECA "Weird Al" Yankovic figure injected with Polka Power!
I have to say that this piece is one of the most eclectic and random figures produced this year but you can't say that it is undeserving. Al is a star like no other and this figure does amazing work to capture the old Al look with the Coke bottle glasses and curly afro to his modern day appearance without glasses and his long curly flattened out locks. Yes, we get TWO interchangeable heads for Al dialing up the nostalgia factor for those who worshiped Al as a kid, and those that are introducing their kids to Al for the first time. And every time I think that NECA has outdone themselves on a facial sculpt, they manage to usurp their last creation. These head sculpts are insanely accurate and completely recognizable. The packaging continues NECA's streamlined box, but it is a heavy cardboard and can take a real ding without getting much damage for you MOC collectors. The goofy font and "Injected with Polka Power" blast is dead serious once again giving Al the opportunity to parody himself as himself. That sentence is so meta!
I am a sucker for MEGO-style cloth figures as they were the first ones I owned as a kid. Then I started getting back into them with the now defunct MARVEL Famous Covers. Here with Al, you get his wild button up shirt, black pants and of course the domino slip on shoes. The clothes are not shabby in that they actually feel hand sewn and put together by a master customizer. Absolutely classic from top to bottom. Al's signature go to instrument, the accordion, is a big part of this figure. It comes with a faux leather strap and is meticulously designed for full on Polka madness. Al is also replete with a wireless microphone as well as an extra hand for playing the accordion. The articulation is there but not exactly necessary in my opinion. Why mess with near perfection when Al does not need 32 points of articulation? Oh and Al stands at roughly 8-inches tall so he is really competing with the big boys here. And why shouldn't he? He's "Weird *&^%(! Al!!"
THE FINAL WORD
This piece really took me down a nostalgic road and NECA really sticks the landing. This figure along with an old Al record is the perfect introduction for your kids into the world of top shelf parody. The figure is unapologetic and you can see Al's influence everywhere on reality shows like America's Got Talent. Yankovic broke new ground with his work and now he rightfully takes his place in the pantheon of plastic perfection.