JANINE MELNITZ & SAMHAIN
REAL GHOSTBUSTERS RETRO ACTION HEROES (MATTEL)
There was a real drought of Ghostbusters product in the ’90s and ’00s, no doubt tied to there being a real drought of Ghostbusters anything in the ’90s and ’00s. When 2009 reunited the original cast for a video game sequel, the franchise was given a shot in the arm, and toymakers, most notably Mattel, went full force. It was Ghostbusters galore for a couple of years, as we got the crew in just about every style you could think of. Mattel was on something of a Mego-revival kick at the time, so the Real Ghostbusters cartoon got in on that treatment. Today, I’m looking at the only non-main team offering from the line, Janine Melnitz and Samhain!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Janine and Samhain were the last offering in the Real Ghostbusters Retro Action Heroes line, hitting shelves a few months after the main four ‘busters. The pack was an exclusive to Toys R Us, though like the rest of the line, there was no specific denotation of this. There was an elaborate cardboard back-drop behind the figures in the box as well, which served as a “playset” version of the firehouse, though it was really just a very tall backdrop.
A more strictly supporting character in the movies, the Real Ghostbusters cartoon gave Janine the opportunity to get in on the action a bit more frequently. Subsequently, this figure follows that set-up, presenting her in gear to match the rest of the ‘busters. The figure stands about 7 1/2 inches tall and she has 18 points of articulation. She used Mattel’s equivalent to the Mego female body, which is overall a pretty decent match for the original, barring one major issue: those hands. Just as they patterned parts of the male body on Big Jim, the female body, specifically the hands, takes influence from Barbie. The end result is that she has hands that aren’t designed for holding anything, which is in pretty stark contrast to all the stuff she’s clearly designed to hold. Janine got a new headsculpt, which is pretty much on par with the others in the line. It’s a solid match for her cartoon design, and they’ve even managed to not make those glasses look atrocious. Janine has a cloth jumpsuit, similar to the others, but obviously more tailored for this specific body, as well as a pair of rubber boots (taken from Wonder Woman, meaning she’s hiding peaked boots under the suit), and the same proton pack used for the others. Janine also got all of the equipment that was divi-ed up amongst the others, the PKE meter, Ghost Sniffer, and Ghost Trap. Most importantly, she gets one new accessory, the Ghostbusters “mascot” Slimer. He’s a little on the small side, but it was nice that he didn’t get totally overlooked for this line.
The Ghost of Halloween is one of the few recurring ghost foes for the ‘busters, with a handful of appearances in Real Ghostbusters and a pair of focus episodes in that show’s sequel Extreme Ghostbusters. Also, unlike the other prominent ghost, the Staypuft Marshmallow Man, he could be built using mostly standard parts. And so he is. He’s just the basic male body, with a pumpkin head and a robe thrown over it. That’s really kind of it. I mean, I guess the pumpkin head is kind of distinct, and the robe has a nice flow about it, but…he’s just not a lot to talk about. And, without any accessories of his own, there’s not even any fun side extras to discuss…so that’s really about it.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I was actually pretty darn supportive of this line when they were new, and, having picked up the main four as I found them, I was quite happy to find this one at retail and complete the set. Janine’s pretty solid, and Slimer’s a neat little addition to the collection. Samhain doesn’t really do much for me, but I suppose it’s not the worst thing in the world to give the ‘busters something to, you know, bust.