Simpsons Comic Book Guy/Collector Mini-busts

Sideshow Toys makes some amazing sixth scale figures, no doubt about it.  But they also make some terrific sculptures and busts for a variety of lines including Muppets, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, and yes, even the Simpsons.

We've been treated to the family - Homer, Marge, Lisa and Bart - in the first wave (reviewed here), and since then have gotten Mr. Burns and Moe (reviewed here).  Apu and the Comic Book Guy are the third wave, along with the special exclusive Collector, the superhero/villian persona of the Comic Book Guy.

You can pick these up directly from Sideshow, or from any one of a number of on-line sources.  I have some suggestions for you at the end, and you should be able to find them in the $30 - $35 each range.  The Collector is limited to only 1000 busts, and CBG has a run of 

Packaging - **1/2
The artwork is very basic, and looks just like something FOX would approve.  Amazing just how unimaginative they can be.  There's also no COA, which is a bit disappointing.  The good part though is that you can see the bust through the front window, always a big plus.  And these busts are in there nice and tight, with sturdy Styrofoam all around.

Sculpting - Collector ***; CBG ***1/2
The sculpting on both of these busts is good, but the design of CBG is just so much better than the Collector, that it becomes clear just how important that aspect is to the appearance.

CBG is in a classic pose, reading a copy of Radioactive Man while munching on a hot dog.  Sure, maybe a taco would have been better, but you can't argue with the appropriateness of the overall theme.  He looks great, and it fits the character perfectly.  I wish the design of the comic book was reversed, with the thicker brown cover on the inside and the white pages on the outside - that fits more in line with the stickers we see on the front and back - but that's a minor quibble.

On the other hand, the Collector is in a very basic stance, doing what looks like a proclamation.  It's not a terrible pose, but not one that really takes advantage of the quirkiness of this character.

But once you get past the general poses and look at the detail, you'll be pleased with both busts.  Even though the general character design is fairly simple, it's still possible to screw it up, but the proportions, shape and size of the sculpt matches the source material extremely well.

Paint - ***
The paint application on both busts look great, but CBG is just a tad better for two reasons.

First, it's simply cleaner.  There's a little less sloppiness around the eyes, and between the various basic colors.  The Collector has a few more problems on the face paint, but they are fairly minor.  His big 'C' on his chest and cape both look excellent, however.

The other edge is due to the nifty sticker on the comic book in CBG's hands.  There's a sticker on both sides, showing several panels from the comic, and the quality is very good.

That being said, both could use a little better quality on the paint work.  The lines between the colors are rough, with some bleed, and some overspray.  In the bust market, you expect paint application to be spot on perfect.

Quality - ***1/2
These are fairly small busts, especially compared to the Muppets or LOTR.  But that's not necessarily a bad thing - the prices are lower, and these type of basic character designs don't look good when blown up too large.

The base is consistent with the rest of the line if not the most appropriate.  I really wish we'd have gotten the power plant stack, but I can live with the column.

Value - ***
These busts are really a slightly better value than usual, especially if you can pick them up for less than $30 (as you can at Alter Ego Comics).  For my purposes, I'm assuming you pay $35, but even that is better than most of the other current mini-busts on the market, and the Simpsons license is definitely not a cheap one.

Overall - The Collector ***; CBG ***1/2
Even though CBG scores a tad better in the overall final analysis, I couldn't do without the Collector.  He's simply one of the coolest cartoon characters ever to hit the screen, and now that I have two versions of him - the bust and the Playmates action figure - I can truly die a happy man.

Okay, maybe not.  There's still a couple more things I need to do before then, but I'm happy to have these on the shelf, and I never thought I'd see the day.

Where to Buy - 
These are available at some comic shops, and several on-line stores. Options include:

- Sideshow has the Collector and CBG for $35 each.  They also have the first set of the family members on sale for $31.50 each.

- Alter Ego Comics has most of the busts, including CBG, for just $28 each.  That's an excellent price!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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