10/24/16

The Phenomenon of Bootleg Chinese Lego Marvel Super Hero Minifigures

Or, as I call them, "BOOTLEGO"....

When I was a teenager, and discovered bootleg CD's, I had a saying:  "Power to the pirates"!  Then the Internets exploded, and piracy took on new levels of existence.  That said, you may have read that Lego has recently levied a lawsuit against various companies operating in China, who are producing low-priced copies of actual Lego sets, often very quickly.  (For example, you may have seen some of the "STAR WNRS" sets, that steal the set, the artwork, and everything, floating around.)

However, this exact type of product isn't what we are discussing here.  It's one thing (and pretty blatant) to copy existing Lego products, but slightly another to offer items and characters that, for various reasons, Lego doesn't (or won't ever) produce.  That's what we will be looking at (for the most part) today.  

You probably remember when the word "bootleg" meant shoddy or inferior quality, like fake Nike's that would fall apart when you wore them, or jewelry that turned your fingers green.  This is no longer true.  Some of these Chinese companies are producing figures very close to the quality of what the Lego Group makes!  Let's look at a handful of Marvel characters that are missing from the physical Lego Marvel universe (but, mostly, exist in the games, in fact!):
1) First up, STAN LEE.  Huge oversight by Lego not offering him, as he is omnipresent in their wonderful Lego Marvel video games.  He should have been a pack-in offer with one of the games, but then again, I'm sure there is a reason for this, like maybe Stan wanted too much money? Would that surprise anybody alive? I bet not.
2) Baron Zemo was an impulse buy, but one that we aren't likely to see in a Lego set, especially in his classic comic version.
3) Yes, we got a great ANT-MAN minifigure, but it was the movie version, and it left the comic version woefully unrepresented.  (Although, bootleggers, those are Lego SPIDERS, but nice try, there...)
4) Daredevil also should have been made by now.  I know he often has batons, but for some reason they included two red lightsaber blades, which is weird.
5) Spider-Woman...oh, how did that get in here? She was actually a Comic-Con exclusive, and is a very expensive figure, that's how.  Moving on...
6-10) We all know why there is no Lego Fantastic Four...because movie studios that aren't Marvel aren't done corrupting the original characters yet, and won't admit defeat.  We all also know what needs to happen--exactly like Sony did with Spider-Man--then, we might see a Lego FF.  Until then, this will do.  Also note the transparent Human Torch.  There is a reason that Lego won't produce minifigures that are entirely translucent:  because the required plastic creates a chemical bond when placed up against itself, rendering your figure into a statue.  Or, that's what I've read.  So far, this figure still moves, but just in case, I positioned him in "flying mode."  The cool Thing looks like he stepped out of the video game.  He comes with a boulder, which, strangely, is on a stick, which I discarded.
11) The Rhino is another no-brainer...but yet when we got one, it was the stupid Sony version from their second Amazing Spider-Man film.  I do hope that Lego will make a Rhino, and that he will be exactly like this. 
12) The Silver Surfer, of course, is lumped in with the same batch of rights issues that the Fantastic Four are, but he's also needed.  I wouldn't be surprised to see chromed versions coming out of China soon, because lately that is the trend.
13) Out of everything in this post, I would put money on Mysterio being the most likely minifigure to be produced by Lego.  They have been very diligent about providing us with classic Spider-Man villains, and have given us a long list.  This figure has a clear head, a two-piece bubble that clips around it, and a neat cape that is actually velvet-y on the outside, but I can see Lego outdoing themselves when it happens.
14) In the cool-but-a-little-ridiculous department, Galactus would be an amazing minifigure, but if he were made (and he should be lumped in with the FF licensing problems, so...not), he would need to be at least the size of those large minifigure clocks...even Minimates did something similar, and made him twice for that reason.  Anyway, you are probably noticing that his legs are longer than the typical minifigure legs, and you are correct (another manufacturer uses this trick for Mr. Fantastic, to make it look like he is stretching)...I can't decide if this is really cool, or just really silly, but the original sculpt of the amazing helmet made it all worthwhile.

If you decide to pursue some of these figures, know that it will take around a month to get them to the United States.  What you have seen above was completed in four orders with no problems at all. There is an excellent blog that goes much further into sites, sellers, and tracking, and you can read all about it here:  It's Not Lego!

Of course, bear in mind that accidents still happen, as in this review I saw posted:
No other problems though!

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