Way back in the ’80s, at the height of He-Man’s popularity (but right before it came crashing down), Mattel hosted a Create-A-Character contest. The winner would receiv a college scholarship, trip to Disneyland, and visit at Mattel’s corporate office! Said winner was a kid by the name of Nathan Bitner, who designed a camera-faced bloke named Fearless Photog. He got his scholarship and his vacations, but… alas, Fearless Photog was never produced. Bitner went on to work for Bungie Studios and serve in the military, but… well, there was no Photog, so th world wept a this grievous sin. Whatever could be done? (and hey, you complaina bout Mattel’s broken promises NOW, do you?)
All that changed in 2012, when Mattel made a 30th Anniversary Mini-Sub for MOTUC, featuring characters created by the Horsemen, Scott Neitlich, and others, including a brand-new winner of a Create-A-Character contest. But they couldn’t just make that new guy without rectifying their old error, could they? And thus, nearly thirty years later… Fearless Photog finally received his toy. Finally.
FEARLESS PHOTOG: HEROIC MASTER OF CAMERAS
REAL NAME: JEY
Apprentice to Gwildor, Jey often daydreamed of a life as a member of the Masters of the Universe. His dreams became a reality when he was selected along with five other inventors by the Science Council to journey to Eternos to present his latest creation; the Photog Emulator. During the presentation, a slight miscalculation lead to a flux overload merging Jey with his invention. Finding he could drain his enemies powers and display their defeat on his chest, Jay called himself the Fearless Photog and was offered membership with his idols in the Masters of the Universe. He heroically fought during the Second Ultimate Battleground helping to defeat several of Skeletor’s warriors including Clawful and Whiplash. Photog drains his enemies power, displaying their defeat for all to see!
“Display this defeat for all to see?” There’s no two ways about this, it’s snuff. He kills a guy, films it, and then shows it off. Apparently on his bare chest, too. That’s… creepy.
We’ve seen this before, and will see it again.
Fearless Photog has a mix of old and new parts – well, new at the time… but yeah, new enough. Mostly, he keeps everything smooth to match his bespandexed look. In a way, he paved the route for Oo-Larr three years later, but that’s another story. Despite his essential simplicity, Photog has a fair amount of tiny details, like the film reels on his belt. Yeah, this guy isn’t pigenholed as a photographer, is he?
Fearless Photog’s head is the big focal point, though. And it’s just as detailed as his body is smooth, looking both like an actual movie camera and a futuristic robo-head. Even though it is what it is (an inanimate object), the Horsemen went all-out in reproducing Nathan Bitner’s art, and the end result is fantastic! He’s almost expressive, in a way.
But he does have a flaw – as this is an older MOTUC figure, it hails from the era of Quality Control of Doom. Back when Roboto cracked, Snout Spout rotted, and the Goddess exploded, Fearless Photog has a crack on his lens more often than not. Mine has a tiny nick, but some are practically split in half! Whatever was going on in that factory, it wasn’t very good for these figures.
Fearless Photog is primarily yellow, black, and blue. His colors remind me of some of the Sinestro Corps, but that’s unintentional. H stands out pretty well, and the paint does differentiate between textures – his head is wonderfully metallic, for example. Th lines are crisp and clean, too, which help Photog look good, the way he should… wait, did I just rhyme?
And let’s not forget the first of Photog’s two action features: The lenticular image on his chest! If you turn hom around, it shows a little animation of a guy (or several guys) running. Sure, it’s not “displaying an enemy’s defeat for all to see,” but it’s a nifty little gimmick, and part of that extra mile you don’t necessarily see in this line.
Photog starts out with typical MOTUC articulation, really not varying from anybody else. His head has some trouble angling up or down, though everything else seems unimpeded and sturdy. His articulation is fine.
But Fearless Photog also comes with that rare unicorn among MOTUC figures – an action feature! If you slide the little switch on top of his head forwards or backwards, it extends his camera lens! That’s a cool little feature even if it doesn’t go very far, and relates what might have been the vintage figure’s action feature if he had been released back then. Of course, he also has the lenticular image, so this guy’s really got two features for the price of one.
Photog comes with two accessories – a gun and a shield. The gun did not show up in his original concept sketch, but it’s quite awesome and fitting. It is really a camera, complete with film reels, a crank on the side, and… wait, are we sure that this is a gun? I mean, sure, his head’s a camera, but maybe this is a spare so he can film his creepy murder movies from more than one angle.
Photog’s shield, which was part of his concept art, resembles a gigantic flashbulb. It’s pretty good, too, with two layers of plastic to help it look more like the real thing. It clips smoothly onto his wrist.
Forget paying $26 plus shipping for this guy – Fearless Photog should cost you about $50-$60.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Watch that head and lens, as they seem to be the most fragile parts of Fearless Photog.
WHERE TO BUY:
Holy crap, try Amazon or eBay and pray for financial relief.
Despite Photog’s long and storied history, how is it as a toy? I’m glad to say that Fearless Photog does not disappoint – his design might be a little more futuristic and less swords & sorcery than most of this lin, but he fits right in with all the extending knights or cyborg cowboys He-Man has to offer.
The 30th Anniversary mini-sub sure had some weird ideas. Fearless Photog stands out even among Mighty Spector and Cy-Chop as kind of a weirdo, but you know what The line is better for having this character in it. It was an injustice that it had never been produced before, and Mattel finally rectified their ancient mistake. The fact that this figure has more effort put into it than most of the line is only icing on that cake.