#3. Judge Dredd
One of the main reasons comic book fans hate the 90s film adaptation of Judge Dredd is that the filmmakers not only dared to show the titular character's full face for the first time ever - for some reason, he barely even wears his iconic helmet in that film.
We're sure it had nothing to do with freakin' Rambo being under the helmet.
But the comics are a different story: To this day, they've never shown his face, and in fact there's an actual rule preventing writers and artists from doing it. Dredd's creator explains that "it isn't necessary for readers to see Dredd's face, and I don't want you to" and also says the Stallone movie "had little connection with the character we know from the comic." Since the comic was originally in black and white, for a while they even hinted that his race wasn't necessarily white.
Dredd is actually a very well disguised Mexican woman.
Even when he takes off his helmet, there's always a convenient shadow or object blocking the viewer, exactly like with Austin Powers' privates. So his face is never visible anywhere in the comic, and that's true for the action figures too.
Or so everyone thought, until action figure collector Russ Knifton pried Dredd's helmet off and found something weird:
For some reason, the company had sculpted and painted a full head on Dredd anyway, even though the helmet wasn't meant to come off at all. They never bothered to paint his hair, though - which, oddly enough, makes him look like Peter Weller from RoboCop.
We always wondered what the immortal RoboCop would be up to in the 22nd century.
This wasn't an advertised feature: Nothing in the box art encouraged fans to take the helmet off and find out Dredd's real face. In fact, the collector who sent us these pictures couldn't do that without causing some minor damage to Dredd's hair.
Via Russ Knifton
This really makes you wonder what sort of pop culture mysteries could be solved if only more toy collectors were be willing to take a pair of pliers to their action figures . Master Chief's face? The protagonist of V for Vendetta? Barbie's unused vaginal tract?
#2. The Phantasm from Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
And then there are action figures that just don't give a shit about spoilers.
In Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (the theatrical film for the acclaimed animated series), Batman spends the entire movie trying to hunt down the grim reaper-esque vigilante killing off high-level mob leaders all through Gotham. At the same time, Bruce Wayne has to deal with the return of his first love and one-time fiance, Andrea Beaumount.
After a lot of twists and turns, within the last 10 minutes of the film we learn that (spoilers for an 18-year-old film you'll probably never see if you haven't already) Batman's beloved and Batman's enemy are actually the same person, which is kind of shocking because the "Phantasm" getup totally made her look like a dude.
Via DC Animated
Batman was suspicious when he heard Phantasm complain that her boobs were all squashed.
Of course, this crucial-to-the-enjoyment-of-the-film revelation wasn't so shocking if you happened to see the following action figure:
"With Careless Spoilery Action!"
What the hell, Warner Bros., you big jerk? Why would you even do that? Was it so hard to cover her face with a sticker or, you know, maybe leave the damn mask on? Instead, it's like they're openly mocking us by proudly announcing, "AS SEEN IN BATMAN: THE ANIMATED MOVIE! OR NOT, SINCE WE JUST RUINED IT FOR YOU!"
This sort of thing doesn't just happen in America, though: Japanese animation series Saint Seiya may not be very well known in the U.S., but it back in the 80s and 90s, it was a huge cultural phenomenon in places like Europe and South America. The action figures based on the series were also massively popular in those countries, so stores were often importing them directly from Japan. Like this one:
Unfortunately, this particular figure gave away the end of the 73-episode first season when it revealed that (spoilers for a Japanese cartoon you statistically don't care about) those two characters in the box are actually the same dude. Learning that when you were halfway through the series is the cultural equivalent of that time your roommate walked in while you were watching a movie and casually asked, "Is that the one where the bad guy turns out to be Kevin Spacey?"
#1. Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget
One of the more awesome things about Inspector Gadget (besides how monumentally dumb the titular character was) was the fact that you never see Dr. Claw's face during the show. All you saw was his gloved hand and the cat sitting on his lap.
Via Progressive Boink
We've established by now that awful movie adaptations don't count.
Dr. Claw practically made the show because he could be whatever evil criminal you could think of, with his 10-packs-a-day smoker's voice and compulsive cat-stroking. Even after the series' original run, fans never gave up speculating on who the mysterious man in the chair was. In the age of the Internet, some enterprising folks have even cooked up bizarre theories involving Dr. Claw and Inspector Gadget.
Ever wondered what his other hand was doing?
The creators of the show knew all this, and that's why six years after the show stopped airing new episodes, they actually released a Dr. Claw figure that wasn't just a hand and a chair. They even put a sticker on the box so you couldn't see his face unless you bought it.
Via Parry Game Preserve
Or, you know, looked at it from the side.
And if you spent your (parents') hard-earned money, you'd get to see ...
What the fuck? That's Dr. Claw? No wonder he couldn't kill off a tremendous idiot like Inspector Gadget -- he looks like an even bigger moron. That's a face that belongs on a sex offender registry, not the leader of a respected criminal organization like M.A.D.
Via Progressive Boink
Also, he looks like they took that picture while he was riding a rollercoaster.
This wasn't just a one-off thing, either. They showed the same face in the Super NES game released in 1993 and an iPhone game released last year. You know what? Suddenly the movie doesn't look so bad.
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