Daily Lists

The 21 Greatest Medicom Kubrick Figures

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?The Medicom Toy Company is based in Japan, but given their amazing output over the years you’d be forgiven if you thought that their corporate headquarters were in Awesomeville or on Shithouse Bonkers Toy Island. Medicom’s most significant releases are Kubricks, terminally cute block figures that appear to be the offspring of Legos, sunshine and puppy dog smiles. Having licensed every property from Sesame Street to Planet of the Apes, the company continues to release highly collectible Kubricks that are available through your favorite comic store and online toy dealer.

The toys take their brand name from Stanley Kubrick, and the fact that there has yet to be any Kubricks based on the director’s films is an example of the wonderful frustrations that they inspire. The problem with the damn things is that they often come in those irritating so-called “blind boxes,” so you never really know exactly which one you are buying unless you go through the hassle of trying to rip the suckers open in the store. Another issue is that Medicom is apparently run by cruel geniuses who create chase Kubrick figures that are terrific and therefore impossible to find. Equal parts public service and dick move, this Daily List celebrates the 21 greatest Kubrick figures released thus far. You may not know these exist, but good luck living without them once you do. Be warned though, these toys tend to be as costly as they are cool.


21) Andy Warhol

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?Just another example of The Factory’s far-reaching influence or Warhol’s commentary on art as commodity from beyond the grave? You decide.


20) Mario

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?Mama mia! Before Jersey Shore, Mario was pop culture’s premiere source for Italian stereotyping. Celebrate his borderline offensive behavior with this adorable little figure that comes complete with a hammer to smash barrels and gigantic monkey tormentors with.


19) Carol

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?Where the Wild Things Are didn’t set the box office on fire because audiences failed to realize that it was a film for emotionally stunted thirtysomethings as opposed to kids who loved Maurice Sendak’s book. Being a proud member of the former category, Carol here warms my jaded, Karen O soundtrack-listening heart. All is love indeed.


18) Tommy Vercetti

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?Medicom has made several Grand Theft Auto-themed Kubricks, but only Vice City‘s Tommy is wearing a stylish, tropical shirt.


17) Rocky

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?Kubrick’s Rocky line doesn’t have a slab of meat for the Italian Stallion to punch (unlike the bravado Jakks Pacific action figure assortment), but at least you can get a variation of the titular pugilist in which his face is bashed to bits. Which, if the above picture is anything to go by, is a sight disturbing enough to make Adrienne hail a cab and get the hell out of there. Or maybe she was just offended by the script for Rocky V.


16) The Gill-Man

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?Undersea terror is where it’s all at folks. Which Universal monster did you think would make this list, the Invisible Man? Sunglasses or not, there’s nothing cool about an albino in a bathrobe.


15) Count Chocula

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?Note to Edward, Bill Compton and the angst dude from Being Human: Vampirism isn’t about being sensitive and not giving into your urges while indie rock plays softly in the background. It’s about death, bloodlust and enjoying a chocolate-flavored part of a complete breakfast.


14) Mazinger Z

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?Overseas, this robotic beauty is known as Mazinger Z. In America, we call him Tranzor Z, because apparently the word “Mazinger” threatens freedom.


13) Benjamin Linus

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?You know how you can tell that Ben Linus is up to shenanigans? The arched eyebrows. (Arched eyebrows are also a surefire sign of ballyhoo and, oddly enough, incontinence). He’s the chase figure in the Lost line, and he’s tougher to find than a coherent explanation about just what the hell is going on with Jacob. Zing!


12) Jiminy Cricket

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?Throughout the years there have been many great Disney Kubricks — the black and white Steamboat Willie figures are probably the most joyful Mickey Mouse toys ever released — but none encapsulate the magic of childhood wonder as well as Jiminy does. He came packaged with Pinocchio, and unlike many of the other entries on this list you can still grab him fairly cheaply. See? Sometimes any thing your heart desires actually will come to you…that is if what you desire is plastic crap manufactured in Tokyo.


11) Rorschach

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?You may have hated the Watchmen film, although if it weren’t for that we never would have gotten this adorable replica of everyone’s favorite bean-eating vigilante. Like that will stop Alan Moore from casting his black magick spells upon anyone who buys one.


10) Sid Vicious

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?On the back of every Kubrick box is a message stating that the figures are meant for collectors aged 15 and up. Here’s an example why. But if you can’t teach kids about punk rock, heroin, (suspected) murder and general excess, what’s the point of teaching them at all?


9) Sam the Eagle

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?This disapproving patriot was the stand out in The Muppet Show Kubrick line that was released in 2004. Unfortunately, there were only six figures issued in the assortment — depriving toy lovers everywhere of the bliss that a Medicom-produced Swedish Chef could have brought into their lives.


8) Apethoven

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?This one is pretty self explanatory. Ape + Beethoven = win.


7) Cornelius as Astronaut

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?The only thing better than a simian version of one of history’s greatest composers is an ape in a spacesuit. Thus Cornelius dressed up in his cosmic duds as seen in the opening scenes of Escape from the Planet of the Apes nearly monkeys his way into the top five. Get it, monkeys? Uh, no. Next.


6) Tron

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?In 2002, Medicom released four sets of Tron Kubricks that included characters and vehicles from the film. The best of these comes with a yellow light cycle and little versions of Tron and Yori that you will doubtlessly put in inappropriate sexual poses before making with the tee-hees and the LOLs. You know exactly what I’m talking about here, don’t play coy.


5) The Count

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?That’s two, two toy vampires on this list. Bwah ha ha. Where are the “Team Count” shirts? Someone go to Threadless and make one, capice?


4) Boba Fett (Unpainted Variant)

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?There have been Kubricks of every imaginable variation of Boba Fett, from his appearance in the Star Wars Holiday Special to this chase figure based on the original Kenner prototype that features GENUINE ROCKET FIRING ACTION. (Or at least allegedly, can someone confirm this in the comments?) Naturally, this toy is more elusive than Bigfoot and if you want one it’ll cost you hundreds of dollars. Once again the age old question that every geek must face comes into play — what’s more important, food or toys?


3) Alien

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?Wrongly thinking that Alien would be a family-friendly funfest a la Star Wars, Kenner snatched up the film’s merchandising license and proceeded to terrorize toy aisles with an 18-inch replica of the flick’s terrifying monster. Kids at toy stores across the country greeted the figure’s arrival with screams and soiled undergarments. Parents wanted nothing to do with the thing, and eventually it hit the bargain bins before belatedly finding appreciation on the secondary market. Kubrick’s version of the toy is a perfect, albeit unnervingly huggable, reinvention of the Kenner toy — right down to the box art. Unbelievably enough, you can land this one for less than $30. Yet it’s still not the greatest Alien Kubrick. That honor goes to…


2) Kane (Chestburster Variant)

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?Relive the scene that scared the bejesus out of Veronica Cartwright over and over again with this chase figure of Kane with the alien exploding out of his chest. From the spurts of blood drenching plastic John Hurt’s spacesuit to the look of pained horror on his face, this is an epic achievement in contemporary toy making. Damn shame none of us will ever be able to score one.


1) Blue Snaggletooth

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?The folks at Medicom are such hardcore fans of Kenner’s original Star Wars figures that they released this tribute to the rare blue Snaggletooth that was originally offered as part of Sears’ Cantina Adventure Set and as a mail order offer from the store back in 1978. Of course, the film version of Snaggletooth wasn’t tall or blue. This whoopsie led to each blue Snaggletooth becoming incredibly valuable. The fact that a Kubrick reissue of the toy as a rare chase figure exists proves definitively that the only thing Medicom loves more than pleasing toy collectors is fucking with them.

About Author

Chris Cummins is a pop culture writer and Archie comics historian who has contributed to The Robot's Voice, Den of Geek US, Philebrity, Geekadelphia, Uproxx, and Unicorn Booty. He is the co-producer and co-host of Nerd Nite Philadelphia, and is regularly involved in producing and hosting New York Super Week events. In 2014, Chris began Sci-Fi Explosion, a mix of live performance, trivia and funny clips celebrating the weirdest in science fiction that regularly travels around the United States. He wrote the introductions to the compilations Archie's Favorite Comics From The Vault and (with Paul Castiglia) Archie's Favorite High School Stories. You can find Chris on Twitter at @bionicbigfoot and @scifiexplosion.