Category: Action Figures and Toys

Val’s Toy Chest- Heroes and Villains Day 2/New Arrivals

There’s toy news this week as well as the second part of my Heroes and Villains experience- let’s dive right in!

The second day at Heroes and Villains was as awesome as the first, this time I had subscription goddess, Julia, as well as our friend/FP regular, Tony and the three of us walked around the floor, while deciding which actors we were going to meet that day. Julia got a photo with Hawkgirl, Ciara Renee, while I opted for a photo with Colin Donnell, who played Tommy Merlyn during the first season of Arrow. Super nice guy and not bad to look at either. He was very into talking with fans and was all around pleasant.

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Next up was the gorgeous Katrina Law aka Arrow‘s Nyssa Al Ghul, Tony had met her the day before and was definitely won over by how friendly she was. She was definitely into making the fans feel loved and tried to have as much interaction with us as we could during a setting like this. She also decided to let those getting a photo at her table get two- one serious, the other funny. Julia got to meet her too and was as enamored with her as it seems every fan there was. I congratulated her on her new CBS series and then was off, trying to figure out what I would do next. IMG_0644

I decided that I would go and get an autograph from Katie Cassidy this time, since I had gotten a photo with her the day before-then while I was waiting in line, I decided I’d rather just get a second photo with my live-action “Pretty Bird,” so that is what I did instead. I spoke with Katie briefly and went on my way with Julia and Tony. IMG_0647

All in all, Heroes and Villains was a positive experience and reaffirmed for me that even though I hate what Arrow has become as a TV show, especially for mistreating my all time favorite character, I still LOVE and support the majority of the actors that brought these characters to life- I would definitely return for a second NY/NJ Heroes and Villains Fan Fest if the lineup of talent is as solid as this year’s was. My next convention stop, if all goes as planned will be August’s Monster Mania, featuring guests from my favorite A Nightmare on Elm Street movie, The Dream Master!

Now on to the toys for the week- It’s been a while since I mentioned Hot Toys, but we’ve got some new ones in the store- last summer’s blockbuster- Avengers: Age of Ultron still has product in the pipeline, and one of those has finally reached our shelves with the release of the main villain of the film- Ultron. Ultron has a newly designed android body and features multiple points of articulation as well as LED lighting. Coming soon from the same film will be the new Iron Man Mark 45, which should be here within the next week or so. If DC films are more your speed- we’ve also received the first piece from the Batman V Superman film, Superman! This figure features the likeness of actor Henry Cavill as seen in this film, as well as a fully detailed costume and accurate body type for the character as seen on the silver screen.

Fans of Marvel Legends will be pleased to know that we have received the new Civil War box set, featuring Captain America, Iron Man and Spider-Man, all with movie accurate costuming. Both Steve and Tony have battle damage, while Spidey has Cap’s shield. I think these will be hot, especially considering how well received Tom Holland was in the movie.  Speaking of Cap, Gentle Giant’s line of oversized action figures recreating the toys of the 80’s and ’90’s has branched into the Marvel and DC universes. Five releases will hit our store shelves this week- Captain America from Secret Wars, The Flash and Wonder Woman from Super Powers and The Joker and Robin from Batman: The Animated Series.

Finally- Star Trek: Beyond POPs have started making their way in. Our initial shipment features Chris Pine’s Kirk, Karl Urban’s Dr Bones McCoy, Simon Pegg’s Scotty and John Cho’s Sulu. This will mark the first Star Trek line that Funko has done that will have all seven bridge crew members as Uhura, Spock, and Chekov will be released as well.

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Val’s Toy Chest- Saga/DC Collectibles/Funko POP and More

Saga fans have a lot to look forward to and a lot to be upset about all in one fell swoop this week.  First off- the long-awaited Lying Cat plush doll is finally in stock. I haven’t had a chance to test the talking feature of the plush out yet, but I do love the Image comic series it is based on. On that note- Lying Cat seems to have come out at the perfect time, especially if you only read Saga in trade. I love reading single issues , but I got into Saga long after the first arc was done and made a conscious decision to wait for the trades to release. It makes waiting for each arc to play out in single issue form before being collected GRUELING, but I also manage to avoid spoilers for Saga– thank goodness. That being said, a brand new volume of Saga is out this week with the release of volume 6 of the Brian K. Vaughan/Fiona Staples series. I cannot wait to see what Marko, Alana, and Hazel are up to now. Speaking of Marko and Alana, I am sure if you are a fan of the series, you are drooling over the San Diego Comic Con Exclusive Action Figure Two-Pack from McFarlane Toys of the star-crossed couple. I hope individually packed figures make their way to comic shops at some point, because these figures are gorgeous and this two pack will almost certainly be hard to find.

Shifting gears to DC Comics and their stable of characters, DC Collectibles is finally starting to get some of their long-awaited figures out into the world. From the CW TV series I don’t watch anymore,  comes the Malcolm Merlyn action figure. Based on the character as he appears in the 3rd season of the show, this figure also features the likeness of actor John Barrowman, also known as Captain Jack Harkness for you Doctor Who fans.  From the Flash TV series, we get a figure of Heat Wave, now also a cast member on Legends of Tomorrow. Heat Wave features the likeness of Dominic Purcell and can hang with the previous Captain Cold figure. Future CW figures include Ollie in his season 3 outfit, the long-awaited Laurel Lance Black Canary figure and the Reverse Flash. If the current CW based figures aren’t your thing(and if they aren’t I can’t blame you, especially after the debacle on that show…), we are also receiving the Batman The Animated Series Mad Love 2-pack featuring Harley Quinn and the Joker. The figures are both fully articulated and Harley is an exclusive Nightgown version. Each set also comes packaged with a full color trade paperback of Mad Love and other stories, featuring plenty of Joker and Harley Quinn tales. Finally, fans of Supergirl and of late artist Darwyn Cooke have a sweet release to look forward to this week as the first in DC’s new Designer Series is released. Supergirl is based on Cooke’s retro-style artwork and will come packaged with a couple of her super pets. Future figures include Batman, Harley, Flash, John Stewart and Wonder Woman.

New Funko product just keeps on coming. This week we have received The Green Arrow and Speedy(Thea) POPs, Suicide Squad DORBZ and Mopeez, as well as a handful of Scooby-Doo and Game of Thrones DORBZ. We also got Zoom, the BFG, Captain Marvel, She-Hulk and some others in recent weeks. The Game of Thrones 3 3/4″ figures have also arrived including Jon Snow and Ghost. For those of you with a more political bent, we have received a limited supply of the three presidential candidate POPs, including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. I will say no more.

I’ve spoken at length in previous columns about the new set of DC Superhero Girls figures and dolls that Mattel is introducing to capture the younger female audience. We are finally getting a couple of cases of these action figures in and having seen these before, these are nice poseable, inexpensive figures that should appeal to little girls and boys as well as female action figure collectors. Each character may not be wearing the traditional versions of their iconic outfits, but they are all still highly recognizable. Figures that have been introduced into the line thus far are Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Bumblebee.

Briefly: a new Texas Chainsaw Massacre 8″ figure has arrived depicting Leatherface as he appeared in the 2nd film and Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is back in stock as a ReAction figure. That’s all for me this week- next week, I’ll give you my impressions of Heroes and Villains Fan Fest as I venture to meet the fabulous women of the live-action DC TV universe, including Katie Cassidy, Caity Lotz, Katrina Law, Willa Holland and Ciara Renee. Can’t wait!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Toy Biz 5″ Marvel Flashback

While at EternalCon two weekends ago, Justin and I walked around and saw many vendors with old toys, including some with figures from the old 5″ Toy Biz lines. Toy Biz was one of the upstart toy companies that came out of nowhere during my youth and lasted until I was an adult. Toy Biz’s first foray into action figures came with the release of Tim Burton’s Batman movie in 1989. Interestingly enough, even though Toy Biz started off making toys of DC characters, they would eventually hold the master toy license for the Marvel Universe for a little over a decade. The Marvel line originally started in 1990 in a 5″ scale compatible with the DC Superheroes line, which was also one of the few times back in the day that one company held both the DC and Marvel licenses simultaneously. These days, DC and Marvel have many license holders in common, but back in the day it was a rare occurrence.

My first real Marvel line was the 1991 X-Men line which came out before the hit Fox cartoon came on the air. I had the entire first series including the notorious pegwarmer, Storm. In fact, I loved Storm because at the time, she was a  new female superhero to add to my collection other than Wonder Woman. The 1991 Storm figure was outdated by the time she came out, wearing a costume she was no longer using in the comics. Storm also suffered from a weak sculpt with pencil thin arms and legs and no curves whatsoever. Her face sculpt was decent though. Storm’s weak performance in the toy aisles nearly spelled doom for any further female characters in any of the Marvel lines, although Invisible Woman would make it out in extremely limited numbers, due to a faulty action feature, the following year. The X-Men Animated Series changed all of that, as Fox and Toy Biz discovered that not only were boys watching the show, so were girls- and they wanted the female heroes from the series in plastic form. At this point, it was roughly two years since Toy Biz had released a female action figure, so they gave one of the breakout characters from the cartoon an action figure that proved to be extremely popular with collectors and kids. That character was Rogue, who had an action feature that delivered a power punch. I  remember seeing the pictures of Rogue from the 1994 Toy Fair in Tomart’s Action Figure Digest as well as Lee’s Action Figure News and Toy Review, Hero Magazine, and Wizard and couldn’t wait to add her to my collection. I still love that figure. The ensuing years included more female figures as well as more diverse lineups including Fantastic Four and Iron Man series based on the syndicated cartoons, the Spider-Man animated line based on the Fox show and many more. As the lines got larger, the sculpting got better and that eventually paved the way for the 6″ scale Marvel Legends line, but that’s a discussion for another time.

One of the things I miss about the old toy lines is the dedicated character artwork on the packaging. Action figure packaging is very generic these days, but Super Powers, TMNT, G.I. Joe,  and the initial years of the Toy Biz Marvel lines had some beautiful artwork gracing the fronts of their blister cards. This doesn’t include the Star Wars line, which back in the day had gorgeous stills from the movies as card art. Some of my favorite packaging art from the Toy Biz lines include Rogue, Phoenix, Venom, Spider-Man, Iceman and Gambit.

As far as a top 5 figures from Toy Biz’s 5″ lines, I’ll have to go with the following from the initial years of the Toy Biz Marvel lines:

5. Iceman (X-Men 1992)- one of my favorite Marvel characters when I was growing up since he was one of the stars of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. Was a notoriously hard to find figure back in the day because of the color changing paint.

4. Iron Man(Marvel Super Heroes 1991)- a decent sculpt with removeable armor and mask to switch between Iron Man and Tony Stark modes, the Iron Man armor made him look nice and bulky, which I liked.

3. Venom(Marvel Super Heroes 1991)- another decently sculpted figure, Venom came with a spider-shaped tube filled with black slime. This was the first ever Venom figure(if you don’t count Black Costume Spider-Man from Secret Wars…).

2. Rogue(X-Men 1994)- still one of my favorite Rogue figures, great sculpt, great action feature and the beginning of a new era of female action figures from Toy Biz.

1. Phoenix (X-Men 1995)- An even better sculpted female action figure, this was definitely one of the turning points for the Marvel line and how much better the figures got after her wave, her action feature also made sense for the character with light up eyes and hair. Originally cast in Phoenix green, this same sculpt would be repainted as Dark Phoenix later on with a gorgeous shade of red.

Briefly: New Dragon Ball POP vinyls are in, but some are already sold out. Star Wars Tin Toys have come in and includes Force Awakens characters. Our shipment of Star Wars TFA figures from Hasbro came in recently and includes General Hux, Asty, and a variant of Rey, who now comes packed with a blue lightsaber. We’ve also gotten in the Takodana Encounter 3 3/4″ Action Figure set which features the first ever Maz Kanata action figure.

That’s all for me this week! Catch you next time!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Funko Goes Retro and NECA Gets Catty

Funko kicks off this week’s column as we’ve gotten several new items from them that are still fresh in my mind. I also have some really cool toy news to share from one of my favorite companies: NECA and whatever other news I can fit into this column.

Newly arrived from Funko this week are the very cool Barbie Rock Candy vinyl figures. These join the previously arrived DC Rock Candy figures and are all very nice and affordable. Barbie outfits from the 1950s thru the 1980s are represented, including Barbie as a Hippie, an Astronaut, in a Red Dress, Gym Outfit, Rocker, Surgeon, a Superstar and in her classic Swimsuit. I am partial to the 1986 Barbie and the Rockers look since that is my favorite decade and all. We still have the DC ones as well. with the exception of the two Batgirl figures which I anticipate will be here before too long. New DorbZ have also arrived including Wilson Fisk, the Masked Vigilante, and Matt Murdock from Netflix’s Daredevil series, Finn, The Flame Princess, Marceline, and Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time and a Daedric Warrior from Skyrim. Fans of Funko’s most successful line are sure to love the new Harry Potter POP Rides. Harry, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley each come with a part of the Hogwarts Express and the sculpts on each character varies from the original single boxed versions. These will probably go really fast. Last but not least, everyone’s favorite talking dog from this columnist’s favorite Disney/Pixar film has made it out in POP form with the release of Dug from Up.

NECA and I have a complicated relationship- I love plenty of their lines, but I wish they would do certain characters that they deem to be too niche(e.g; Nancy Thompson- A Nightmare on Elm Street). That being said, NECA announced a brand new 1/4 scale figure to go with some of their previously released 1/4 scale pieces. The latest announcement from NECA would gladly claw your eyes out and purr while doing it. I’m talking about the Batman Returns Catwoman, featuring the likeness of actress Michelle Pfeiffer, who memorably brought Batman’s favorite feline femme fatale to life in the 1992 blockbuster. Catwoman should be out before the end of the year and features movie accurate detailing, an interchangeable head with battle damaged mask, a whip and a taser weapon. Just announced as I was putting this piece together is another 1/4 scale figure- this one of fan-favorite Marvel character, Deadpool. Deadpool will come in his traditional red and black outfit and features plenty of weapons. That one should be out by the end of the year.

Odds and Ends: We should be getting a ton of Hasbro Star Wars Black 6″ The Force Awakens figures soon. We’ll finally have Rey, Chewbacca and General Hux. I’m looking forward to completing my own Star Wars: The Force Awakens 6″ collection with a couple of the aforementioned characters. Hot Toys’ latest addition to their collection of Marvel figures is a doozy. Plenty of those Marvel characters can call him their creator. I’m speaking of Stan Lee, who has been getting plenty of action figure love these past few years. This is also the last year he plans to do conventions, so meet him while you can.

Speaking of conventions, I will be at Eternal Con on Saturday. I skipped out on Wizard World Philadelphia this year to go to this one. As you may or may not know, I’m a big fan of celebrities and have met a ton over the years. This convention has a couple of neat guests that I am interested in seeing in person. For Dr. Who and Guardians of the Galaxy fans, Karen Gillan a.k.a. Amy Pond will be in attendance. Star Trek: The Next Generation fans can meet Lt. Commander Data himself, as Brent Spiner is making an appearance. Finally, from one of the comic shows that hasn’t completely let me down this year is one half of Agents of SHIELD‘s FitzSimmons, Jemma Simmons herself, Elizabeth Henstridge. I am planning on meeting Ms. Henstridge and will try and have a convention report in the next column!

That’s it for me this week! Next week if my sources are accurate, should see some neat new DC Collectibles. Catch you then!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Crisis on Infinite Toylines

This week’s issue of the Weekly Planet is dedicated to the huge crossover events that have defined DC and Marvel comics for the past three decades. In that vein, this week’s column is dedicated to some of the toylines based on those events. I will also touch on some of the new stuff that has arrived recently.

The first toyline based on a huge comic event was Mattel’s Secret Wars line.  The first series included famous Marvel luminaries such as Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man and Wolverine alongside villains Kang, Doctors Doom and Octopus and Magneto. Several of Marvel’s characters made their action figure debuts in this series such as Magneto, Wolverine, Hobgoblin, Black-costume Spider-Man and Daredevil. The line was short-lived though and only went to 2 series in the United States with a rare 3rd series issued internationally. Interestingly enough, several characters issued in the toyline were not involved in the comic book storyline at all. My favorite from this line: Black Costume Spider-Man. It was a sleek neat look and has always been my favorite of the Spider-Man costumes.

When DC Collectibles started in 1999, the goal of the line was to make several characters that had been neglected in prior mass-market toylines. Characters such as Black Canary, Zatanna, The JSA and others made their debut during this time. Several years later and after acquiring the rights to make characters from the Batman and Superman families, DC Direct issued a 20th Anniversary line based on their classic story- Crisis on Infinite Earths. The first wave featured new and alternate versions of characters such as Robin and Supergirl plus Harbinger, Psycho-Pirate and the Monitor. The line also lasted three series and would include other major players from the story such as The Huntress, The Anti-Monitor, The Kimiyo Hoshi Dr Light and Barry Allen. Crisis sequel, Infinite Crisis would also receive its own line that featured Donna Troy, Power Girl, Alexander Luthor, and an OMAC along with new figures for DC mainstays like Superman and Wonder Woman. Crisis was also the theme for the first series of Infinite Heroes from Mattel and included characters seen in the earlier DC Direct set as well as characters not associated with the original mini-series at all. My Favorite From This Line: (DC Direct and Mattel) Headband Supergirl. One of the most 80’s costumes ever, this was the look I first knew Supergirl for and I love both the DC Direct 6″ version and the Mattel 3 3/4″ version.

Blackest Night was one of the biggest Green Lantern related events in DC history and also got a dedicated toyline from DC Direct which included all of the deputy Lanterns such as Red Lantern Mera, Orange Lantern Lex Luthor and Blue Lantern Flash plus Lantern leaders like Indigo-1, Arkillo and Atrocitus. Zombified versions of Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Superman and Firestorm also crept their way into the series. Several characters also made their way into the Mattel DC Universe Classics line. My Favorite From This Line: (DC Direct) Red Lantern Mera- one of the coolest designs for the oft-neglected wife of Aquaman also included the first-ever figure of Red Lantern Kitty Dex-Starr.(Mattel) The version of Dex-Starr from the DC Universe Classics is my favorite as he is slightly less stylized than the DC Direct and also comes with a piece that protrudes out of Dex-Starr’s mouth to simulate the Red Lantern’s blood-spewing action.

In this week from Funko- the Women of DC are back in vinyl form and in a brand new series. Rock Candy was first shown at Toy Fair and features DC women and a Barbie set. The first pieces have arrived in store and include Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn and the Gal Gadot Wonder Woman. Each figure is in the same price range as the Funko POPs and are adorable. Sailor Jupiter has joined the rest of the Sailor Scouts in Funko POP while new POPS from Independence Day, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Ghostbusters 2016 have all arrived.

Catch you guys next time!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Toyetic Villains

This week’s issue of the Weekly Planet is an all-villain issue, so this column is a tribute to some of the bad guys and gals of the toybox. Whether they originated in the movies, TV or the comics or even the toyline itself, plenty of villains have found their way onto toy shelves since the advent of media tie-in action figures. I’m going to take a quick look at some of the more notable ones from the past thirty-plus years or so.

Star Wars- Darth Vader was the premier villain in the 1977/78 line by Kenner. Vader was hardly the only villain produced in the original line but he was definitely a striking figure dressed in his all black outfit with vinyl cape and red lightsaber. I never had Vader as a child but bought him when Kenner brought out the 1995 Power of the Force line. Other notable villains in the classic trilogy line include the Emperor, Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett. I definitely don’t have to tell you what those guys look like as their iconography has transcended pop culture.

Masters of the Universe/Princess of Power– 1982 was the very first year of the classic Mattel line and there was no shortage of baddies in the line. Skeletor was the main bad guy for the first couple of years with lackeys such as Mer-Man, Beast Man, Trap Jaw and Evil-Lyn as his henchmen. Skeletor would come in several variant versions during the series’ heyday which would highlight a new action feature such as a water-spraying dragon or battle armor that would show damage every time it was hit. My childhood included the two versions mentioned above but not the original version for some reason. 1985 was the year that Hordak joined the series and his black and red armor and bat motif definitely resonated with me. Hordak was introduced in the He-Man line but fans of the mythology know that he was the main antagonist in the She-Ra animated series. She-Ra’s toy line had its own feline foe in Catra who was also on the cartoon as one of Hordak’s army. He-Man was my first major toyline and I had a good portion of those baddies growing up, as well as several She-Ra dolls, Catra included.

Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesThe Shredder, Krang, Bebop, Rocksteady, The Foot Soldier– Playmates’ 1988 line featured all of these characters and would expand to include villains of all sorts of shapes, sizes and species. The original Ninja Turtles series was the very first expansive line that I had every unique character from. And they were definitely unique, from the fly version of Baxter Stockman to the cajun alligator Leatherhead with a dose of a psychotic pizza chef(Pizzaface), an actual CAT burglar(Scratch) and everything in between, chances are if there was an animal or concept you liked, there was a Ninja Turtle character inspired by it.

Star Trek– 1992’s Star Trek: The Next Generation line kicked off a good seven year run of action figures from Playmates Toys, which would eventually include characters from all four of the original series and several of the movies up til Star Trek: Insurrection. Characters such as Khan, Q, The Borg, The Borg Queen, Gul Dukat, Sela, Seska and more made it into the series. The articulation and depth of character selection for a Trek line has thus far remained unmatched by any modern line, with most stopping at the crewmembers and including very few of the bad guys and/or aliens.

Of course there have also been multiple toy lines featuring the pantheon of DC and Marvel characters from companies like Mego, Kenner, Mattel, Toy Biz and Hasbro. Most of the classic DC and Marvel villains have seen some form of plastic immortality particularly with the modern DCUC  and Marvel Legends lines. For example, characters like the 13 members of the legendary Legion of Doom from the 1978 season of Challenge of the Super Friends were all released in the DC Universe Classics line over the 20-plus series of figures. For those playing at home, that lineup included: Lex Luthor, Bizarro, Brainiac, Toyman, The Riddler, Scarecrow, Cheetah, Giganta, Captain Cold, Grodd, Black Manta, Solomon Grundy and Sinestro. Marvel villain teams like the Sinister Six and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants have seen multiple plastic incarnations in several different sizes as well. Though villains aren’t always considered great sellers, the smarter toy companies know that we need them to build our universes.

Honorable villain shout-outs to: The Baroness, Destro and Cobra Commander from G.I. Joe, The Misfits from Jem and the Holograms and Mumm-Ra from Thundercats.

Briefly: NECA’s latest wave of Predators have hit which includes three figures from Aliens Vs Predator: Ancient Warrior Predator,Masked Scar Predator, Temple Guard Predator  and we’ve also received our shipments of Hot Toys’ Ant-Man and Princess Leia Organa. Catch you in the store next time!

 

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- She Is The One Named

Hey readers, we’ve got some cool stuff in this week including a couple of new Hot Toys, some eagerly anticipated Funko POP figures and I’ve got some cool toy news to share as well.

Our newest Hot Toys arrivals include a Bounty Hunter and one of Iron Man’s army. Everyone’s favorite Mandalorian is here in two distinctive versions. The regular Boba Fett features his detailed armor and helmet as well as several accessories, a standard base and interchangeable hands. The Deluxe version features all of the same components of the regular figure as well as a Sarlacc Pit base and blast effects for his jetpack.On the Marvel side of things we have the Iron Legion from last summer’s Marvel blockbuster: Avengers: Age of Ultron. The Iron Legion figures the usual standard of Hot Toys articulation as well as moveable fingers and light-up features. There are a couple of incoming Hot Toys as well that should be arriving within the next couple of weeks, if not sooner. The first of these is the Ant-Man figure as seen in last year’s feature film, the other is a character from a galaxy far, far away.  Yes- one of my most anticipated Hot Toys will make her debut as the Princess Leia figure is due to arrive, complete with her white dress, blaster and iconic hairstyle from Star Wars: A New Hope.

Funko POP has been compared to fads like Beanie Babies and Troll dolls, while there could be some truth to that statement, I think Funko POPs will last a whole lot longer. Why? It’s all due to licensing. Trolls were a revival of a 70’s fad while most Beanie Babies were just cute plush animals. POPs offer up a variety of licenses from all over the pop culture spectrum. One of the biggest markets right now is the Manga/Anime genres. One of the most famous of these is Sailor Moon and Funko now has figures based on the characters from that series. Currently in stock at the moment are Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Mask, Sailor Mars, Sailor Venus and Sailor Mercury. Jupiter has yet to arrive. Sailors Moon and Venus each come with a cat companion, Luna and Artemis, respectively. Also new to the store are the Harry Potter Neville Longbottom POP and the Pac Man POP.

If your idea of nostalgia involved turning on the TV to watch Lion-O yell “Thunder-Thunder-Thundercats- Ho!,” then you’re in luck. Mezco Toyz decided to finally finish the adult Thundercats lineup with the addition of Tygra to their ranks. Tygra stands in scale with the previously released Lion-O, Panthro, Cheetara and Mumm-Ra and comes with his signature bolo weapon. Thundercats merchandise in particular hasn’t been as regular as He-Man merchandise has been, though there are set to be exclusive Mattel website figures later in the year. Fret not however if you’ve missed previous figures in the Mezco line as Lion-O is due back out with his sidekick Snarf and Cheetara may also find her way back soon too. I’ll keep you posted.

Finally in cool toy news- NECA continues to widen the character roster on their Aliens line of figures. Last week, Aliens Day was on 4/26 and to celebrate, NECA started announcing a few items which were solicited later in the week. Firstly, there is a Toys R Us exclusive Kenner colors Ripley, which looks gorgeous. Then actress Carrie Henn announced a Newt action figure which will be available at San Diego Comic Con. Finally, Series 9 of Aliens was announced which will include the concept Albino Alien, Private Frost and the frequently requested Vasquez figure. Vasquez and Frost will both be sculpted to resemble Jenette Goldstein and Ricco Ross respectively and will come with dedicated accessories. NECA will also revisit everyone’s favorite dream street, Elm with a new 18″ Freddy Krueger based on his appearance in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. As much as I love Freddy- where’s my Nancy Thompson, NECA?

On that note- I bid you farewell for the week and I will catch you next time!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Star Wars Black In the House!

If you’ve read my past columns, you know that I’ve been a casual Star Wars fan since I was a little kid. I haven’t been a fan of the entire saga, choosing to mostly ignore the prequels as they didn’t appeal to me. I did give the latest film a shot and really loved it- it helped immensely that there was a strong female protagonist in Rey and characters I loved like Chewbacca, Han Solo and Leia Organa were back. On that note, after a long wait, we have finally started seeing some new pieces from Hasbro’s 6″ Black Series line. There have also been a couple of restocks including one of my very favorite figures of the entire series thus far.

Fans of the Original Trilogy, The Force Awakens, Star Wars: Rebels and even the prequels should be thrilled with the assortment of figures just released by Hasbro. From the very first movie, A New Hope, comes the Luke Skywalker figure dressed in his famous white and beige outfit. Luke comes with his signature blue lightsaber and a pair of binoculars which clip on to his belt. His white tunic is made out of cloth and he features several points of articulation. The Force Awakens still gets the lion’s share of the Star Wars Black line for the moment- at least until Star Wars: Rogue One comes out later in the year. Figures out in this recent assortment include First Order Snowtroopers and Flametroopers, plus Han Solo as he appeared in this seventh installment of the fan-favorite film series. Each of the troopers comes clad in their respective armors with multiple points of articulation and character-specific accessories. Han comes with his blaster and is also fully poseable.

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Star Wars: Rebels has been a fairly popular animated series on the Cartoon Network and took over the reigns of the now defunct Clone Wars series. Hasbro has taken the character designs from the animated series and has given them a realistic look to fit in with the aesthetic of the regular Star Wars 6″ Black line. The first of the 6″ Rebels figures to arrive are Jedi Kanan Jarrus, the character played by Freddie Prinze, Jr. and fan-favorite character and original Clone Wars character, Ahsoka Tano, who has recently shown up on Rebels. Each figure comes with their distinctive lightsabers and follows the same poseability model as previous Star Wars Black figures. Finally- prequel fans get one of the cooler looking characters with the release of the Jango Fett 6″ Figure. Jango has his silver and blue Mandalorian armor, a removable helmet, his jetpack and two blasters.

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Back in stock from Star Wars Black is the premier villain of the entire Star Wars universe, Darth Vader. I’d argue that this is probably my favorite figure in the entire Star Wars Black line, even over the Leia in Boushh disguise figure. Vader comes dressed in his iconic black armor with a sweeping black fabric cape, his famous helmet and his red-bladed lightsaber. The blade is detachable and the helmet is removable, which helps you to recreate the scene at the end of Return of the Jedi where he reveals his scarred face to Luke. Definitely one of the best 6″ figures at this price point. Also back in- one of the newest heroes from the Force Awakens, Finn. Finn is dressed in the outfit he crashed on Jakku in. Still available are X-Wing Pilot Poe Dameron and Constable Zuvio, whose character ended up on the cutting room floor.

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Other toys scheduled to arrive this week include some Star Wars 3 3/4″ figures from the recent film, plus a restock on items from the wildly popular DC Collectibles Batman: The Animated Series line. Characters such as Bane, Batgirl, Killer Croc, The Joker, Harley Quinn, plus Batman and Robin should all be gracing our DC toy shelves again sometime this week. Newly arrived is the next figure in NECA’s popular videogame line, The Terminator 2 T-800 figure as seen in the 1991 T2 Video Game. Decorated to resemble his 8-bit pixelated appearance in the game, the figure is fully articulated and comes with interchangeable heads and a shotgun.

On a quick note, I’ve been listening to a lot of Prince this week due to his untimely passing. Prince may not have had a deep comics connection other than his soundtrack contributions to Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film and a rare Piranha Press one-shot comic book, but he was an icon nonetheless and was definitely a memorable part of my youth. R.I.P. Purple One and thanks for “Manic Monday,” “When Doves Cry,” “Purple Rain” and so much more.

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- The Eighties Will Never Die

If you’re familiar with me, you’ll know that I have been obsessed with 80’s pop culture since like forever. If you hear a familiar tune from the decade of excess playing in the store, it most likely will be my playlist. Why do I bring up the ’80’s you ask? Well there’s some cool 80’s-related memorabilia in stock or coming in this week. So put on your legwarmers or bandannas, pop in the Huey Lewis or Ray Parker Jr.  song of your choice into your tape deck and let’s see what we’ve got.

I spent most of the day today receiving our restock of Funko’s ReAction figures in the basement and there’s a ton of 80’s goodness there. Horror fans especially have something to look forward to here as the two biggest 80’s horror franchise villains are represented. In one corner- the man of your dreams is back- Freddy Krueger has returned to give the rest of your 3 3/4″ action figures their worst nightmares.  In the other corner is Camp Crystal Lake’s most notorious murderer- the man with the machete- Jason Voorhees. You can pit the two against each other ala 2003’s Freddy Vs. Jason or add them to your respective A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th collections. Bloody horror wasn’t all the 80’s had to offer and Funko has the perfect solution- time to cue up “The Power of Love” on your Walkman and chill out with the Back to the Future ReAction figures of everyone’s favorite time travellers- Marty McFly and Doc Brown as skillfully played by Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd respectively. Finally if you love furry critters with plenty of rules attached to them, you might want to take a gander at the Gremlins line, everyone’s favorite Mogwai, Gizmo is back in stock and we still have a handful of his human friend Billy left as well as a Gremlin in a bandit mask. ReAction figures may not be as articulated as modern figures but the throwback style to vintage Kenner action figures and inexpensive price range make these a fun addition to your collection.

If ReAction figures aren’t your scale or style, turn up Ray Parker Jr’s. “Ghostbusters” to 11 and check out Diamond Select’s latest series of Ghostbusters Action Figures. Which characters make up this second wave of figures? The lineup is solid with Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman, Harold Ramis’ Egon Spengler and Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barrett(Zuul possessed version) all releasing this week. Each figure in the series stands approximately 7″ tall and feature multiple points of articulation and come with pieces to build a giant rooftop diorama.  Still in stock from the first series are Ernie Hudson’s Winston Zeddemore and Rick Moranis’ Louis Tully(Vinz Clortho possessed version). Future pieces in the line will include Gozer, the first ever Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz figure and more. Definitely a step-up from Mattel and NECA’s earlier lines.

If these ’80’s throwbacks aren’t outrageous enough for you, we’ve also got my second favorite all-female band(after the Bangles) returning to comics shops with a brand new issue. Jem and the Holograms #14 releases on Wednesday and is the next part in the current “Dark Jem” storyline. Can the Holograms disconnect Synergy and stop the infectious dark sound from spreading or are they too late? And if you’re behind on the series overall, the second trade of Jem and the Holograms will also be out Wednesday. This volume collects issues #7-10 of the ongoing plus the 2015 annual and holiday special.

There’s so much more 80’s nostalgia peppered throughout our shelves, whether it be trade versions of famous comic book events like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Secret Wars or even DVDs and Blu-Rays of obscure and cult-classic 80’s horror films to t-shirts,  magnets, housewares and more based on properties like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Masters of the Universe and beyond. You should check it out! As for me, I’m going to “Walk Like An Egyptian” right out of this column for this week and catch all of you next time!

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Arriving This Week – Muppets Figures From Diamond Select

Yaaaaaaay! Forbidden Planet NYC’s receiving new Muppets toys from Diamond Select this week!

New Muppets toys action figures from Diamond Select

These multi-packs will be on sale Wednesday 3/28/16 in-store and are available to order via mail order through the following links:

Gonzo and Camilla – “If you were a chicken you’d be im-peck-able!”

Scooter and Fozzie

Kermit with Robin and Bean Bunny

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Val’s Toy Chest- Civil War 2016

Marvel’s got a massive movie coming out this May which is essentially as close to an Avengers film without actually being one. I am of course talking about Captain America 3: Civil War. Marvel is no stranger to merchandising their current spate of Marvel Cinematic Universe films and this year’s film is full of toyetic characters.  Before I started work on this week’s column, I was inundated with a massive amount of Funko boxes- many of which contained characters from the new movie. What did we get? Let’s take a look.

There are 11 announced figures coming out in Funko’s Civil War POP line and we’ve gotten 7 of those in this week’s shipment. Team Cap and Team Iron Man are both represented with the new POPs of Chris Evans’ Captain America and Robert Downey Jr’s. Iron Man. Fans of the female characters have Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and Elizabeth Olson’s Scarlet Witch to collect while Don Cheadle’s War Machine and Chadwick Boseman’s highly anticipated Black Panther round out the male heroes of the film that we’ve received thus far.  I think the Black Panther figure is going to sell out quickly, so jump on that one if you want it ASAP. That isn’t all as we’ve also received Frank Grillo’s Crossbones as a POP vinyl. I anticipate that he will also be a brisk seller since he is a brand new character to the line.

Funko and Vinyl Sugar have teamed up to bring us DORBZ and they’ve also crafted some Civil War collectibles for us. Vision, Black Widow and Iron Man are what we have right now with the others on the way soon. If you prefer to keep your lapels pinned, Funko has a line of Civil War POP pins using the POP style of several characters and those have shown up at the store as well. Characters available are Black Panther, Captain America, Crossbones and Iron Man.

It wasn’t all Civil War,  as more from the 2nd series of Harry Potter POPs have also started to hit our shelves. Luna and Malfoy came today as well as new versions of Harry and Ron. Hot Toys Snowtroopera Snowtrooper Officer and the impressive DeLorean from Back to the Future rounded out my very busy day at work.

Next week- if DC Collectibles’ current schedule holds, should see an awesome array of figures from the Animated Series as well as the current CW series- including my most anticipated figure of the year- Laurel Lance/Black Canary. I’m planning something special in the Weekly Planet for that figure if she comes out next week.  See you then!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Odds and Ends

She’s here! Actually that phrase applies to a couple of items we have received over the past week and a half. I mentioned in last week’s article that we’d gotten our shipping notice for the Hot Toys’ Scarlet Witch from last summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and she has finally arrived. The likeness to Elizabeth Olson is excellent and the rooted hair doesn’t detract from the figure at all, plus the costuming is gorgeous and the accessories all make sense. A very tempting piece for sure, I know I’m going to want one.

The other “she’s here!” piece I am referring to is the breathtaking Yvonne Craig as Batgirl Tweeterhead statue. Approved by Ms. Craig before she passed away last summer, the folks at Tweeterhead definitely put their best foot forward with this release. The Batgirl Maquette features the costume as seen in the 1960’s Batman TV series as well as a base that features the secret door to access her BatgirlCycle. Definitely one of the best Yvonne Craig likenesses out there and highly recommended if you are a fan of that iteration.

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Back in stock for Star Wars fans out there are the Hasbro Star Wars 6″ Black Series figures of Captain Phasma, The Guavian Enforcer and Poe Dameron have returned to our shelves and new to the store is the 6″ Kylo Ren figure. We also have a few assorted characters from the basic 3 and 3/4″ line still in stock as well as a handful of vehicles for both scales of figures. Speaking of Star Wars, Funko and Diamond Comics have teamed up to bring out their latest exclusive POP vinyl figures. The Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Funko POP three pack features Luke Skywalker, a 6″ Rancor and fan favorite Oola in POP vinyl form. Oola and the Rancor are both first timers for the POP line and this piece should also be a hot one.

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I don’t frequently talk about comics in this column but I thought I’d mention one this week since it is a character dear to my heart written by a person that I also adore. Black Canary #9 hits the stands on Wednesday and instead of the solicited story by regular series writer Brenden Fletcher, will feature a story by former FP employee and writer of last year’s acclaimed We Can Never Go Home, Matthew Rosenberg. Black Canary(the band) is hired to play at the birthday party of a young girl named Julia(possibly named for a fellow FP employee…) and there seems to be more to the gathering than meets the eye. I definitely think this issue will be an underrated gem and highly recommend picking it up as soon as you see it.

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That’s it for me this week, catch you guys next week with more toy and comic news. See you in the store!

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Val’s Toy Chest- MARVELous Toys Assemble

This week’s column continues the Toy Fair excitement and this time around, we will look at the various Marvel action figures heading our way this year.  Hasbro, Mezco and Diamond Select lead the pack for new releases in all different sizes from 2″ Minimates to 6″ cloth-costumed figures and even a new 12″ fully articulated line.

Hasbro has been the main license holder for Marvel action figures for over a decade now and though there have been slight hiccups after inheriting the Marvel Legends line from defunct toy company Toy Biz, they’ve been firing on all cylinders the past couple of years. Marvel has several films in the pipeline which includes the recent Deadpool, Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse and Doctor Strange. To fulfill all of our figure needs, Hasbro has a bevy of Cap-related figures, a wave of X-Men and Dr. Strange figures and a couple of Spider-Man waves in the traditional 6″ line coming throughout the year. Characters making their debut in 6″ form include Nuke, Silk, Red Guardian and Nico Minoru plus we will receive new versions of Phoenix, Deadpool, Rogue, Ultimate Spider-Men Peter Parker and Miles Morales, Hobgoblin, Havok, Iceman, Kitty Pryde and Cable. Movie versions of Captain America, Iron Man, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange will also make their way into stores. Each of the 6″ figures will come with a piece to build a larger figure.

Hasbro’s 4″ and 12″ lines will also be sold under the Marvel Legends banner. The latter line was revealed at Toy Fair and will kick off with Iron Man, Captain America and Spider-Man. Each figure will come with alternate body parts and accessories. New characters in the 4″ line include Gamora, Living Laser, Rage and Hydro-Man. Rogue, Vision, Morbius and Quasar will also be part of the single-packed series. The 4″ Comic packs return this year with 2-packs featuring Spider-Man, Scarlet Spider, Hyperion and Carol Danvers Captain Marvel among others. Retailer exclusives for the 4″ and 6″ lines are also expected.

The previously discussed Mezco Toyz One: 12 line was on display at Toy Fair and features DC, Star Trek, Judge Dredd and now Marvel characters. The first three characters announced for the line are Captain America, Daredevil and the Punisher- all in a variety of costumes. The anticipation for this line is pretty high and deservedly so, as these are gorgeous figures with full articulation and cloth costumes. All that is left is for Mezco to bring us the female characters and we might have a home-run of a toy line.

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Diamond Select Toys continues their line of Minimates with figures based on Captain America: Civil War, Netflix’s Daredevil and Jessica Jones series and the traditional Marvel comics characters. Minimates of characters from Marvel’s Giant-Size X-Men#1 were also shown.  The coolest reveal in my opinion was the Man-Thing Minimate, especially since he isn’t a character that gets too much merchandise.

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Diamond’s Marvel Select line continues with figures of Iron Man, Captain America and The Winter Soldier from Civil War as well as a re-release of their wildly popular Carnage action figure.  Marvel characters are also being incorporated into DST’s Femme Fatales line with Medusa, Captain Marvel and Jane Foster Thor shown off at Toy Fair. NECA also had the impressive 1/4 scale Hulk action figure on display. Definitely one of the highlights of Toy Fair.

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Briefly:

This week sees the release of the next issue of one of my favorite current ongoing series: Jem and the Holograms. Issue #12 features the next part of the “Dark Jem” storyline which features a corrupted Synergy infecting the music of Jem and the Holograms and a new Misfits lead singer following Pizzazz’s injury.

Chuck Dixon’s early issues of Birds of Prey are being reissued in new volumes that also feature never before reprinted stories including the fan-favorite Birds of Prey #8 which told a memorable Barbara Gordon/Dick Grayson story. Catch that tale in Birds of Prey Volume 2. I know I will.

Finally- fans of DC character Mari Jiwe McCabe have something to look forward to as the character makes her live-action debut on this week’s Arrow. For those not in the know, Vixen made her Arrowverse debut on the CW Seed during the hiatus between Arrow and Flash seasons in her eponymous animated web series and now Megalyn Echikunwoke who voiced the character is bringing her to life this Wednesday night on the CW. I cannot wait to see her interact with Oliver, Laurel and the rest.

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Catch you guys next week with a few more Toy Fair tidbits and whatever other toy news I can gather.

 

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Val’s Toy Chest Extra- Photo Edition

Hi guys- got some more photos today at Toy Fair- here’s some of the cool DC stuff coming out sometime this year!

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Mezco’s Shazam!, Reverse Flash, Green Arrow and Flash from their One: 12 Collective Line.

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Funko’s Rock Candy line featuring Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn and Supergirl.

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DC Collectibles’ Batgirl of Burnside from the DC Icons line. Not depicted: the awesome Batcycle she comes packaged with. Want to know more about this version of Batgirl? I’d recommend the Batgirl of Burnside TP or the second volume, out this week: Family Business.

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Flash and Green Arrow two pack from the current season of each TV series. If you’re interested in either show, there are a couple of trades out including The Flash: Season Zero as well as Arrow Season 2.5.

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Katana statue from the forthcoming Suicide Squad film.

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DCC’s new DC Films Premium Action Figure line’s Wonder Woman as seen in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.

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Batman: The Animated Series Zatanna Action Figure- should be in stores soon!

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Batman: The Animated Series Ventriloquist and Scarface– scheduled for later this year.

I have more pictures that I will share next week with some of the cool Marvel stuff I saw and maybe some other surprises! Catch you guys next week!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Toy Fair Part 1: DC-Palooza

Hi guys and gals- I have returned from my first day at Toy Fair and there is so much to talk about this year that I am going to split the news over the next few columns. This week we will discuss figures from the comic book company nearest and dearest to my heart- DC Comics!

On Thursday, DC Collectibles revealed a good portion of what we are to expect from them within the next year,  and there is a lot coming- let’s start with one of the best lines to come out of DC Collectibles recently- Batman: The Animated Series.  On display were a couple of figures we already knew about such as Zatanna, Commissioner Gordon and Etrigan, but DC Collectibles also showed off figures of Talia, The Ventriloquist and Scarface, Detective Harvey Bullock and Clayface from the original iteration of B:TAS and The Joker, Harley Quinn, Firefly and a “Girls’ Night Out” five-pack from The New Batman Adventures.  The five pack is slated to include repacks of Harley, Ivy and Batgirl plus brand-new figures of Supergirl and Live Wire.  There will also be a three-pack of figures based on The Dark Knight Returns characters as they were featured in the TNBA episode “Legends of the Dark Knight” A Batman Beyond three-pack and a massive Batplane/Batwing round out the series for the year.

I’ve discussed the DC Icons line in past columns and DC showed off some highly tempting items for this series as well. Swamp Thing, Wonder Woman, Cyborg and Deathstroke make up the newest single packed figures in the series while a DC Icons 7 pack of the New 52 version of the Justice League is due for release sometime during the year. A couple of deluxe sets will also be available including a two-pack of Darkseid and his daughter, Grail and arguably the best reveal from the Icons line thus far: the Batgirl of Burnside featuring the latest Babs Tarr designed incarnation of the dominoed daredoll with a motorcycle to display her with as well as interchangeable parts so she looks like she’s riding the cycle. Having gotten to see this piece in person, she is a beauty and definitely one that will break my wallet later in the year. Fans of cool accessories also have two accessory packs to collect to augment their existing figures. These packs come with smaller characters like Ch’P plus various DC artifacts and different hands or attachments.

I admit that I don’t pay much attention to the video game based lines since I haven’t really played any of the latest DC/Batman games but the new Arkham Knight Batgirl and Oracle set has been revealed and both figures are very stylized and a welcome addition to a Barbara Gordon collection.  Other figures shown include Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and the Red Hood.

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The biggest news from DC Collectibles is that they are releasing their own figures based on both of this year’s DC Comics films. In scale with their TV figures, DC showed off figures from Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad,  2013’s Man of Steel is also represented. DC luminaries such as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are joined by Lex Luthor, General Zod, Faora, Jor-El, Harley Quinn and El Diablo?!?! Each figure features more articulation than your standard DC Collectibles figures and the pricing on these are TBD. Speaking of the TV lines, this was the one area where I was disappointed with the showing as we are only getting the latest versions of Flash and Arrow(now Green Arrow) as seen in the current seasons of the hit CW series. The new TV Flash figure comes with a Grant Gustin/Barry Allen head which is cool. Hopefully DCC has more characters lined up for the TV line as there are a ton of characters I’d still love to see from all three of the DC TV shows airing on the CW. DCC also has a Harley Quinn line based on Amanda Conner’s artwork and more Darwyn Cooke and Greg Capullo designer figures in the pipeline.

Briefly:

Diamond Select had a few new Gotham pieces including Bruce Wayne and Barbara Kean, plus Gotham Minimates and assorted JL and BTAS products.

Funko’s catalog offered a teaser of Speedy/Thea and Green Arrow POP from Arrow along with POPs of the classic comics versions of Firestorm, Power Girl, Supergirl, Cyborg and Black Manta.

Cryptozoic is getting into the blind box arena with a DC Bombshells vinyl figure line that will come randomly packed in tin boxes.

Mezco revealed a brand new Batmobile in scale with their One:12 Collective line, very cool piece. Price range is unknown at this time but it is a NICE toy for sure.

The last thing I will discuss today is the Mattel Multiverse line. Thus far Multiverse has covered BVS, Arrow, The Flash and the comics. Get ready for more as we have additional characters from BVS including Luthor and Aquaman and a good assortment of figures from Suicide Squad including the Joker, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, Killer Croc and Katana. The best reveal for me other than Katana is the TV Supergirl figure based on the CBS series starring Melissa Benoist. She looks great and I cannot wait to add her to the collection. Other figures to come include more from the Dark Knight Returns.

That’s it for me this week- next week: the Marvelous side of Toy Fair! Catch you then!

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