Friday, October 5, 2012

The Coolest Thing Chris Latta Has Ever Done

After some large impact on my wallet, I've gotten my hands on a D'Compose figure from the Inhumanoids line. He was expensive, and a character I have no emotional connection to, but he's just so cool. Folks like to say he looks like a dinosaur or a vulture, but his head reminds me more of a rat's skull, which works even better, making the figure look even more fucked-up.

Although this figure is from 1986, the sculpting on him is amazing, a network of cracks and tubes and even a few protruding bones. His attack gimmick is a rib cage that opens due to levers on his back, which 3 ¾" action figures can be "trapped" in. There's not much tension on my figure, and I'm not sure if his gimmick was meant to "snap" shut when he was new, or what.
Behind the rib cage is also a rubbery wall of organs, too, making his chest very deep. This is just a great, freaky toy design, one that's also pretty big, at 14". He's kind of thing I would have gone crazy over as a kid, and now my inner child can do the same.

Inhumanoids was one of the less-popular popular 80s toy-cartoons, and it's famous among nerds for being one of those shows that seems like it would give kids nightmares. I watched the  five-part pilot of it, and it was okay, but it didn't live up to the expectations that I had. I mean, I liked the monster designs, and the moments where I was startled by the content, and the way that it tries to replicate the feel of a classic monster movie while still being targeted at children. But what prevented me from getting into it was that the human characters were boring and monsters usually had no character. It looks like the window for me to enjoy 1980s cartoons that I didn't grow up with has closed.

(In tone, the series is very much like the Transformers episode "The Dweller in the Depths", right down to the heavy shading and the monsters constantly wheezing and snarling.)

D'Compose was one of three chief monsters, along with the lava-beast Metlar, and the plant-beast Tendril (animal, mineral, vegetable…sorta). He's described as an "undead horror", though it's never said what species he used to be. Because he was found encased in amber, and his head design is much more saurian in the cartoon, many viewers think of him as a zombie dinosaur.

D'Compose's power, besides catching people in his rib cage, was to touch them and turn them into giant zombie-looking monsters. That was pretty fuckin' rad, though it was undone by sunlight, which D'Compose himself could also be harmed by (laaammeee). I liked the design of the female team member when she transformed, because it's so rare to see a genuinely disturbing female monster in fantasy. Unfortunately, it didn't last.

He was voiced by Christ Latta, the Starscream and Cobra Commander guy, though most of his lines consist of crying out, "D'Compose!" in Latta's trademark screech. I'm a Transformers fan, but never liked Starscream, and never got into G.I. Joe, but D'Compose is pretty nifty, so there you go.

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