Saturday, January 22, 2011

Great Balance, A Very Animated Look: Hallmark's 2009 Wonder Woman Ornament Stands Up!

The Good: GREAT sculpt, Lasso is neat, Good balance
The Bad: Very animated look, Cape is an atypical look for the heroine.
The Basics: In 2009, Hallmark Keepsake produced a Wonder Woman ornament that holds up even now, despite having a slightly cartoonish quality to it!

As many of my loyal readers know, 2010 was my Wonder Woman Year (stay tuned for the announcement of this year's hero I'll study!) and my wife was remarkably supportive of that exploration. So, for Christmas, she surprised me with an addition to my small collection of Wonder Woman collectibles when she presented me with the 2009 Wonder Woman Hallmark Keepsake ornament. My wife knows of my collection of ornaments and thought it would be a nice way to commemorate my Wonder Woman Year by adding an ornament to my collection. And she's right; the Wonder Woman ornament is nice.

There is a little irony to my critique of Hallmark's Wonder Woman ornament that might seem awkward to those with less-high standards than me. Given recent action figure quality - most notably the Wonder Woman Series 1 figures (Diana Prince is reviewed here!) - it has been clearly illustrated to fans and collectors that Wonder Woman need not have a particularly cartoonish look to her. But with the Hallmark ornament, there is not an animated look to the sculpt, there is a blandly cartoonish look to the face and detailing on the costume. While this is not nearly as devastating as the animated look to the Edward and Bella Twilight ornament (reviewed here!), it is still less likely to thrill more mature collectors the way Hallmark undoubtedly hoped it would.


The Wonder Woman ornament faithfully presents Wonder Woman, the iconic DC super hero in her bustier outfit with the knee-high red boots and golden tiara she is known for. She carries in her right hand her Lasso of Truth and her bracelets - used to deflect bullets - are clearly sculpted on as well. This version of Wonder Woman seems to be more the ambassadorial model as her battle suit is not all she is wearing; she has a red cape with blue and white trim on it. The cape is flared out, as if it were blowing in the wind. It is an interesting creative choice from Hallmark and sculptor Joanne Eschrich as Wonder Woman very seldom wears a cape. That said, the ornament looks pretty good with Wonder Woman standing with her left hand on her hip looking fairly regal.

The ornament, released in 2009, is a generally good work in terms of the amount of surface details and coloring. Measuring three and seven-eighths inches tall, two and three-quarters inches wide and one and three-quarters of an inch deep, the Wonder Woman ornament is one of the few DC super hero-based ornaments released by Hallmark. Wonder Woman came with an original retail price of $15.00 and it seems it did not sell out at its full price in most venues.

The Hallmark Wonder Woman ornament is made of durable plastic and real fabric (it looks like embroidery floss) for the Lasso. Wonder Woman's costume is colored in bright red and yellow with very little detailing on the breastplate and belt area. This version of Wonder Woman has the double W symbol on her bustline, instead of the eagle symbol some of her costumes featured. The tiara is the same bright yellow color, instead of gold but it looks fine. The cape is monotonally red, save the trim which continues the blue with white stars motif of the bottom of her outfit. Hallmark made the boots look great with the white stripe running up the front of each boot.

As for the rest of Wonder Woman, she looks like an animated character. Her face is sculpted a little rounder than one might expect, making her look younger and less mature than the comic book character. Similarly, while her hair is sculpted to look full and wavy, it is almost monotonally colored. I write "almost monotonally" because instead of just being black, mine seems to have bluish highlights. Whether this was by choice or the black paint is already denaturing, it makes for a disturbing cartoonish look to the character. The skintones are monotonal as well with a nice peach color to them.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the Wonder Woman could have a sound chip or, I suppose, a light-up function. She has neither. The closest she has is her Lasso Of Truth and that twists slightly without using a stiffener to keep it straight in its loop.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Wonder Woman ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate super hero Christmas Tree, the Wonder Woman ornament is an essential piece. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top of Wonder Woman's head. As a result, the ornament, when affixed to a tree with a hook, hangs perfectly balanced from that loop. The loop is as unobtrusive as possible and does not distract from the overall look of the ornament.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas of almost all major franchises like DC comics, The Wizard Of Oz and Harry Potter. The Wonder Woman ornament was not an exceptional commercial draw; fans bought it, but the general public did not seem willing to invest in it. The result was that it was overproduced and when dealers and collectors gobbled them up, they became readily available (and still are) on the secondary market, at about the same price - or less! - as it was originally issued at. In other words, this is not an ideal investment piece!


Fans of Wonder Woman and DC comics characters are likely to be happy to have a Wonder Woman ornament (I know I am!), but this is not the perfect ornament some might have hoped it would be. Even so, most fans and collectors will be happy with it and will hang it with pride on their trees or display cases!

For other genre Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2010 A Gift For Dobby Harry Potter ornament
2009 Retrieving The Idol Indiana Jones ornament
2010 Defender Of Justice Iron Man ornament


For other ornament reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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