Category: Star Wars

Val’s Toy Chest- HUGE DC Week! Plus Star Wars!

Hi there- plenty of figures coming in this week including a ton of merchandise from a certain female-led comic book movie coming out next weekend. DC is the main focus of this week’s column as we have four all-new DCTV figures hitting our shelves this week and the aforementioned Wonder Woman product as well. Let’s dig right in, shall we?

By the time you read this column, Supergirl and The Flash will have aired their season finales, with Arrow‘s episode being on later tonight.  What better way to spend the hiatus of all the series than with action figures of several of the characters seen on our small screens either week after week or on special guest star occasions. Two of the figures fit the first criteria while the other two fit the latter. Who’s joining the CW TV cast this week in plastic? Glad you asked! Hailing from her very own show, Supergirl and Martian Manhunter both have figures dropping this week and each features several points of articulation and are based on their appearances on TV. Supergirl features the likeness of actress Melissa Benoist and should be a popular one. Meanwhile…over on Arrow, two of the fourth season’s most memorable guest stars are here to help build your live-action DC Universe with the arrival of the Vixen and John Constantine action figures. Vixen is based on her appearance in the season 4 episode, “Taken” and features the likeness of Megalyn Echikunwoke who plays the Mari McCabe version of the character. (The version of Vixen seen on Legends of Tomorrow and played by Maisie Richardson-Sellers is the made for TV grandmother of Mari, Amaya Jiwe.) John Constantine, whose show originated on NBC was allowed to appear on the “Haunted” episode of Arrow Season 4 to help Ollie and Laurel bring Sara Lance’s soul back to her body.  Played by the delightful Matt Ryan, John was definitely a significant presence during his one-off appearance. Both figures though based on live-action appearances also tie in to the CW’s streaming animated series of Vixen, whose first two “seasons” of episodes is also releasing on DVD and Blu-Ray this week, as well as the forthcoming Constantine animated show which hasn’t revealed a release date as of yet.    

Wonder Woman is coming out next week to theatres and I couldn’t be more enthused about it. We’ve already received the Multiverse figures in the past and will be restocking all four of those later this week. (To refresh your memories- Cloaked Wonder Woman, Diana of Themyscira, Queen Hippolyta and Steve Trevor are all part of the wave and feature parts to build Ares). Coming soon are the following items courtesy of Mattel- different doll assortments including Wonder Woman in her costume, as Diana Prince in her blue dress with sword, with a horse, and a more traditional deluxe Barbie edition, as well as a Queen Hippolyta doll with horse. As far as action figures go, there will also be a deluxe 12″ Multiverse figure of Wonder Woman which is absolutely stunning and includes snap on effects to make it look like she is deflecting bullets off her bracelets. Definitely an exciting time to be a fan of the Amazing Amazon.

There is also a Star Wars wave hitting shelves this week- it isn’t the second series of 40th Anniversary figures though- this time it’s wave 11 of Star Wars Black- who’s in this wave? K-2So is back for those who missed him the first time around as well as Director Krennic from Rogue One. The four new figures in the line span all three of the original trilogy as well as one of the prequel films. From the Phantom Menace comes Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon Jinn as a poseable 6″ figure, while A New Hope gives us the Tusken Raider, who will also make an appearance in series 2 of the vintage carded 40th Anniversary series. The Empire Strikes Back gives us a figure of Mr Billy Dee Williams himself- as the suave Lando Calrissian. Lando is definitely going to be a popular one in this store.  Finally from Return of the Jedi, the Emperor’s Royal Guard will make their 6″ debut and these look SWEET! I’ve always been drawn to this particular design as it is so simple yet awesome, plus they are attired in my favorite color- so huge win for me!

Anyway- hope you’ve enjoyed reading this week- see you next time!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Welcome to the Dark Side…

Hey guys-it’s a brand new week at the Planet and there’s definitely some new items to discuss this week. If you follow this blog/article regularly you know that we received the first wave of the 40th Anniversary Star Wars Black figures a while back, this week we should be getting the deluxe Darth Vader set which comes with a display base to recreate the original Early Bird Kit that shipped back in the 70s. Vader is carded on a vintage card just like the rest of the series and comes packaged in a box reminiscent of the same Early Bird package. The Sith Lord is fully articulated and should be a popular piece.

Speaking of darkish things, Kidrobot released a brand new blind boxed series of Dunnys this past week and they’ve been fairly popular among the staff here. The new set, Arcane Divination takes inspiration from the Tarot and features several artists’ interpretations of these cards in Dunny form. My colleague, Andrew Guinn has more on this cool blind box series in his own column this week.

NECA has been releasing plenty of new toys over the past few weeks as we’ve seen the brand new Rocky figures including Rocky, Apollo, and two versions of Ivan Drago, a new 1/4 scale Iron Man from Iron Man 3, and this week- the first series of Preacher action figures based on the AMC series, which was in turn adapted from the very popular Vertigo series from back in the day. This first series features Jesse Custer, the titular Preacher as played by Dominic Cooper and Cassidy, the Vampire played by Joe Gilgun. Featuring the usual standards of NECA sculpting, these figures are here just in time for the Season 2 Premiere in June. Tulip better be in Series 2, NECA.

Speaking of another Cassidy- Katie’s back as Black Siren in this week’s penultimate Arrow episode, this and next week’s season finale episode will reintroduce the character who is set to be a regular part of the show next season- we’ll see how this develops as I’ve been majorly let down by this show before. Next week will also see the finales of Supergirl and The Flash.

DC Comics continues their blueline collection of figures this week with the release of Wonder Woman. Based on Jim Lee’s art, Wonder Woman is the third in this series of figures which feature the character in a 3D rendering of black and white pencil art. Kind of a neat concept.

Funko keeps cranking out the licenses and this time, they’ve tackled the Disney side of Kingdom Hearts with POP vinyls of Mickey, Goofy, Donald and Pete arriving this week, as well as some more Overwatch POPs, Clarke from The 100 and a couple of Nightmare versions of the Five Nights at Freddy’s characters.

Last but not least, everyone’s favorite Merc with a Mouth is now a 12″ Marvel Legends figure and is available NOW. Equipped with interchangeable heads as well as an arsenal of weapons, this deluxe Deadpool figure should be a favorite among fans of the character.

Anyway- that’s all for me this week- see you next time!

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Val’s Toy Chest- A Funko Kind of Week

Hey there- not the biggest week for toys this week, though you can always rely on Funko for providing us some cool stuff to talk about. Some news on our next Hot Toys release and some brief odds and ends round out this week’s column.

Funko continues to release product from pretty much every license under the sun as evidenced by this week’s product.  With a revival on the horizon for later this year on Showtime, Funko has crafted an awesome four pack based on David Lynch’s cult classic Twin Peaks. If you’ve been in the store recently, you’ve probably seen the recent POP vinyl figures, both Dale and Laura are currently sold out, but Bob, Audrey and the Log Lady are still available. The aforementioned four pack features four different characters and are part of Funko’s new 3 3/4″ action figure line(that replaced ReAction figures). Dale Cooper, Laura Palmer, The Log Lady and Bob comprise the set and each figure is sculpted really well, particularly for this scale. Dale, Bob and The Log Lady each come with an accessory, while Laura is wrapped in plastic. One of Funko’s other releases in this series was Suicide Squad, based on last year’s movie. The last figure to arrive is Will Smith’s Deadshot, who features at least 9 points of articulation and an accessory.

Looney Tunes provides the characters that comprise our next few releases- from the DORBZ line comes Elmer Fudd, ready to look for that Wascally Wabbit, as well as Pete Puma, most famous for his disastrous tea party with Bugs Bunny. And speaking of that wabbit- Bugs headlines the new series of POP vinyls based on the 1990s film, Space Jam.  Characters that we’ve received thus far include Bugs Bunny, Swackhammer, M3 Blue Monstar and Marvin Martian.  Other products based on these characters should be in soon including Taz from the Space Jam line as well as Daffy and Bugs DORBZ. Keep checking!

A pair of comic book characters, one from a TV adaptation, the other from a pin-up line of statues are next up- Netflix has had plenty of success with their new streaming Marvel TV series. The first of these Daredevil, completed its second season last year and Funko now has product from the three most prominent characters that season- you’ve seen the season 2 Daredevil, as well as Elektra over the past few weeks- now get ready for- The Punisher!  Based on ex-Walking Dead actor Jon Bernthal- the Punisher POP comes dressed in his long trenchcoat, signature skull shirt as well as a heavy duty firearm. If Frank Castle is your fave- I’d recommend you grab this one now, especially with the Punisher’s own Netflix series recently wrapping production.

Briefly:

Joining her Suicide Squad brethren comes the Mafex version of Harley Quinn as portrayed by Margot Robbie.  Harley is fully articulated and comes with a variety of accessories to maximize your posing possibilities.

The next Hot Toys to arrive will be the Han Solo and Chewbacca 2 pack from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, following shortly after that is the single-packed Han Solo figure also based on his appearance in The Force Awakens.   If you’ve been in lately, the solo Chewbacca figure has been on display for a bit and looks really cool. The 2-pack should be popular since you can get both in one shot.

Sideshow recently released some new pieces in their 1/6 horror line- this includes Beetlejuice, Ash and now straight from Camp Crystal Lake- Jason Voorhees. Jason comes prepared to murder some teenagers with a couple of sharp weapons in his arsenal- the axe and the machete. Jason is on the prowl waiting to stalk your 1/6 collection. Later this year from the line- FREDDY!

Anyway- that’s all from me this week- see you around the store!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Buffy Turns 20, Star Wars Turns 40…

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is quite possibly my favorite TV series of all time. It also turned 20 years old this year, which is quite jarring considering that was the same year I graduated high school. I bring up Buffy in this week’s column because I finally got to meet Sarah Michelle Gellar last week. Sarah was promoting a new cookbook that she wrote at Barnes and Noble. Unfortunately B&N changed their picture policy at the last minute, so no shot of me and Sarah to share with you all. That being said, Sarah was nice and I was thrilled to meet Buffy herself during the year of her anniversary. Sarah is also the latest member of the Buffy cast that I have had the pleasure to interact with as well.

As with Star Trek, my first introduction to Buffy was through the toys- I remember checking out the Moore Action Collectibles line and falling in love with the Buffy Season 3 Cordelia figure since she had a real chain on her purse. Little details like that was what compelled me to start collecting the line and also start watching the show. Cordy has been my favorite Buffyverse character and Charisma Carpenter my favorite Buffyverse actress since then.

What I enjoyed most about the show was of course the strong female protagonists, the humor and the action. I can put on an episode of Buffy and get drawn right back into the story and the characters.

Moore eventually released 4 waves of Buffy figures and 1 from Buffy’s spinoff, Angel but closed their doors before releasing Buffy Series 5 and Angel Series 2. Diamond Select Toys picked up the license and the molds for both series and released them under the Moore brand name in 2004. After Buffy Series 6(the Tara and Anya wave), and Angel Series 3(Wesley and Lorne)- Diamond started crafting their own figures which had nice sculpts but ended up being too tall for the rest of the line. Diamond would continue the Buffy line through 2007 ending with a super-articulated line featuring Kendra, Willow and Kennedy. The Buffy figure license would also be covered by 12″ Sideshow line as well as the more recent Funko ReAction figures and POPs.

Speaking of anniversaries, this year is also Star Wars‘ 40th Anniversary(and Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s 30th, but that’s a tale for another time…). To celebrate, Hasbro has decided to rerelease a bunch of the 6″ Star Wars Black figures in brand-new packaging based on the Kenner vintage figures’ cardbacks. We should be receiving our first batch of figures from this series this week. Figures in the first wave including Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo and R2-D2. There will be a few new characters in the next wave which should be out later this year. Star Wars enthusiasts late to the Star Wars Black line will especially want to pay attention to Han and R2, as both figures have been long unavailable since their initial release a few years back.

The other big news is that we have received POPs of my most anticipated super hero film this year- Wonder Woman! Currently in stock are Wonder Woman herself, Steve Trevor and Hippolyta. Each POP stands about 3 3/4″ tall and have highly detailed sculpting. Wonder Woman has been selling steadily and I anticipate we’ll be sold out by next week. Other Funko Wonder Woman products include the POP keychain and a Rock Candy of Diana in her Amazonian attire. That won’t be all the Wonder Woman toys we’ll be getting either as I have Multiverse 6″ and 12″ figures as well as 12″ dolls on the way. I’ll definitely talk about the other Wonder Woman stuff as it comes in.

To celebrate Buffy’s 20th- here’s my five favorite episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

5. “Hush”(Season 4)- Joss Whedon had a brilliant idea to craft an episode where there is no speech for a majority of the runtime, so everything had to be acted out to convey whatever meaning he was trying to get across. Joss would later do an episode with no music(Season 5’s “The Body”), as well as an all-musical episode(Season 6’s “Once More with Feeling”)- this one started it all and is quite a great and scary episode.

4. “Becoming, Part 2” (Season 2)- The culmination of season 2 finds Buffy trying her hardest to save Angel even though he was now soulless and bent on destroying the world. Buffy has to make a heartbreaking decision and it still gets to me every time I watch it.

3. “Prophecy Girl” (Season 1)- I’ve always maintained that if you don’t fall in love with the show after watching the season 1 ender, Buffy was probably not for you. New alliances are formed, the Big Bad is vanquished and the Slayer actually DIES for a spell. Definitely a strong performance from Gellar when she tells Giles that she’s only 16 years old and doesn’t want to die- even though the prophecy says she will.

2. “The Wish” (Season 3)- Cordelia’s had her heart broken by Xander and wishes that Buffy never came to Sunnydale with nightmarish results after vengeance demon(and future girlfriend of Xander) Anyanka fulfills that very wish. Xander and Willow are vampires, Angel is imprisoned and Buffy is no-nonsense but extremely reckless. Great use of the alternate universe trope.

1. “Passion” (Season 2)- Hands down, my all time favorite episode, this one has everything from an evil Angel terrorizing all of Buffy’s friends and family to the heartbreaking murder(performed by Angelus) of one of the more prominent recurring characters during the first two seasons.  This episode changed everything about the show and showed that all bets were off.

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

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Val’s Toy Chest- She’s Back!

First things first- Just announced as I started writing this- Katie Cassidy will be back as a regular castmember on Arrow next season. I know I rag on the show all the time, but they’ve earned that with their treatment of Dinah Laurel Lance in the past. Katie is playing Laurel’s Earth-2 doppelganger, Black Siren starting with the last two episodes of this current season. Is all forgiven with the show for me?- absolutely not. I am proceeding with caution.

Speaking of DCTV though, what’d you think of the Musical Flash episode? I got to watch it over the weekend and was blown away by Melissa Benoist’s rendition of the classic “Moon River.” Both of the songs Grant Gustin sang on were enjoyable as well. My only complaint- not enough music for a musical episode. I enjoyed it so much, I picked up the soundtrack on iTunes.

We got some more cases of the Star Wars Black Series Wave 9 in this week and the Princess Leia we’ve received with this shipment has the brand-new head sculpt- she looks nothing like the previous figure and has a better likeness to Carrie Fisher. Definitely check her out if you get a chance.  Obi-Wan, Sabine Wren, A Snowtrooper, AT-AT Driver and Darth Revan round out this series, which has been one of the better waves of SW Black in a long time.

New this week:

DC is back with a whole new Designer Series set- this time focused on Amanda Conner. Amanda is currently on Harley Quinn as artist and this release will feature two different Harleys. One is classic Harley and the other is a Spacesuit Harley Quinn figure. That isn’t all from DC Collectibles this week either, as we see the long-awaited Batman Animated New Batman Adventures Dark Knight Returns 3 Pack featuring Batman, Carrie Kelley Robin and the Mutant Leader as they all appeared in the classic TNBA episode: “Legends of the Dark Knight.” Each figure will feature several accessories and the usual points of articulation you’ve come to expect from a DC Collectibles Animated Batman figure.

POP fans have a couple of things to look forward to within the next few weeks. Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks and Wonder Woman Movie POPs should be arriving by the end of the week/early next week. I personally can’t wait to see the Wonder Woman POPs because that means the film is even closer to being released.

Speaking of POPs- last week, we got a restock on several POP vinyls, including some we haven’t seen in years- Nightwing, Batman Beyond, The Joker, E.T., The Hulk, Silver Surfer, Splinter, the Phantom and so much more are ready for your perusal. Some newer stuff like the Dr Seuss collection, Winnie the Pooh and A Bug’s Life are also available now and brand new Steven Universe POPs have started to arrive including Peridot, Rose Quartz and Lapis.

That’s it for me this week- see you next time!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Toy Fair 2017 Part 3- Wrap-Up

Though Toy Fair was a few weeks back, there was plenty to see and read about with everyone’s favorite licenses like Star Wars, DC and Marvel. I’ve covered DC and Marvel over the last few weeks and Star Wars and more movie-related properties will be part of this week’s column.

2017 is the 40th Anniversary of everyone’s favorite space opera- Star Wars and Hasbro is celebrating with a throwback series of Star Wars Black. Each of the Star Wars Black figures will hail from the original film, A New Hope and come on vintage-inspired cardbacks. The first wave in the series features reissued 6″ versions of Luke Skywalker, Ben Kenobi, the long unavailable R2-D2 and Han Solo as well as a resculpted Princess Leia Organa. If you have nostalgia for the old-school packaging, these figures definitely bring you back to the halcyon days of the 70s. Further offerings will include a brand-new Jawa, A Tusken Raider, The Death Squad Commander, as well as the previously exclusive to Walgreens C-3P0 and a Darth Vader deluxe pack featuring packaging reminiscent of the 1977 Early Bird Kit.

NECA has a ton of horror offerings including a few items to commemorate the 30th Anniversaries of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and Evil Dead 2. Freddy Krueger will have two new figures based on the fan-favorite film. One will be the long-awaited puppet Freddy prop replica while the other is an 18″ Freddy Krueger featuring an interchangeable chest of souls. The Evil Dead 2 gets a brand new two pack featuring Ash and all-new figure of Evil Ed, while sequel TV series Ash Vs Evil Dead gets a brand new prop replica of the Ashy Slashy puppet from the 2nd season. In other NECA horror news, Chucky will make his debut in the retro 8″ figure line along with a new Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3.

NECA continues their Aliens line of figures with a brand new series featuring some Kenner inspired Aliens as well as a figure of Lambert in her spacesuit from Alien with a fully authorized likeness of Veronica Cartwright. There will also be a couple of additional items in the Gremlins line including an ultimate Gizmo and a Mohawk figure.

Though I am not a huge collector of Minimates, I do buy them on occasion, typically if there is a character or license I can’t say no to. This next one is one of those licenses. At Toy Fair, Diamond Select displayed prototypes for their forthcoming 1980s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates, based on the original animated series.  I haven’t heard how these will be distributed yet, so I am unsure if these are going to be individually blind bagged like previous series or if they will be in two-packs like most of the other Minimates sets. Characters in the lineup include all four Turtles, Bebop and Rocksteady, Splinter, Krang in his Android Body, Casey Jones, Baxter Stockman, the Shredder, Foot Soldier and April O’Neil. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I have a soft spot for the original TMNT toyline and these minifigures are giving me flashbacks to my youth.

Anyway- that’s all for me this week, hope you enjoyed my look at Toy Fair and I will catch you next time with all the latest news!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Beyond Bats/Kotobukiya and More

A few cool things have come in within the last few days including new Hot Toys, Star Wars and POPs as well as a few new releases this week from Diamond Select, Kotobukiya and DC Collectibles. Let’s get right to it.

Hot Toys Scarlet Witch and Ant-Man are both in stock now and feature the characters as they appeared in last year’s Captain America: Civil War. Each features highly detailed costuming, interchangeable hands, character bases and mini versions of Ant-Man. Scarlet Witch also comes with translucent red spell effects while the full-sized Ant-Man features a light-up helmet and an unmasked head. Speaking of Hot Toys, I just got notice that another pair of characters from Civil War will be arriving by the end of the month and they are…Winter Soldier and Falcon.

Collectors of 1/6 scale figures that happen to be fans of horror will probably love Sideshow’s next figure: Ash Williams from Evil Dead II should be here around the same time as the aforementioned Hot Toys. Ash will feature a fully articulated body including a chainsaw arm as well as film-specific accessories including the Necronomicon and Henrietta’s head. Fans of POP vinyl and the Evil Dead franchise should also know that we have received the entire series of Ash V Evil Dead POPs from the recent STARZ TV series. Included in this series are: Ash, Kelly, Pablo and an exciting one for fans of Xena: Warrior PrincessRuby as played by Lucy Lawless.

Star Wars fans that loved the recent Rogue One film will be pleased to know that two additional characters have debuted in the 6″ Black Series. Both Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus are here! Each figure comes with character specific accessories and features the usual articulation you would expect from Hasbro.

The real Black Canary(and not the fake new Canary running around on Arrow as of last week’s episode) is here with the release of Diamond Select’s Justice League Unlimited Black Canary Animated Gallery PVC figure. Dinah Laurel Lance is featured in her standard bolero jacket, tights and bustier and is captured mid-scream atop a city street base.

img_0771Canary’s cohort from the Justice League, Wonder Woman is the latest addition to Kotobukiya’s Super Powers PVC statues. This Wonder Woman is based on the old Kenner toyline with a design inspired by the artwork of Jose Luis Garcia Lopez. img_0777DC Collectibles continues their Batman: The Animated Series collection with their latest 3 pack featuring the characters from the futuristic spin-off Batman Beyond: Terry McGinnis, Old Bruce Wayne and Ace the Bathound! Each figure is crafted to appear as they did on the old series and features accessories for Bruce and Terry.

Miscellaneous new and restocked items:

Funko has stopped making ReAction figures but are still making figures in that scale. Their second release are the new Suicide Squad 3 3/4″ figures featuring characters from last year’s summer film. Characters in this series include Harley Quinn(Inmate version), Enchantress, The Joker(Shirtless), Katana, Underwater Batman and Killer Croc. Each figure features several points of articulation and some even feature an accessory.

A limited amount of Marvel Legends Deadpool figures from the most recent X-Men wave are expected to arrive this week. I don’t anticipate these will be around for long.

The Mezco One-12 Series have been on fire lately- particularly with the new releases. Coming up next is The Punisher. If previous figures are any indication this will be a blink and you’ll miss it figure on our shelves.

Toy Fair is imminent- I will have photos and more in a couple of weeks, so keep your eyes on this column.

 

 

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- Rebels, Monsters and More…

Star Wars has more characters than ever thanks to media like The Force Awakens, Rogue One and Rebels.  Now in stock from Funko are a few of the awesome characters from the Rebels Animated Series. Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus and Zeb are the first three to arrive on our shelves and they all look pretty cool. True story- I once helped Freddie Prinze Jr. out in the store while he was looking for Star Wars Rebels merchandise, though it was still relatively new and we only had a 20″ doll of Kanan at the time. Still a cool experience and I had to restrain myself from telling him how much I adore his wife- (Sarah Michelle Gellar aka Buffy the Vampire Slayer, if you didn’t know.)

Halloween may be over, but we have more horror toys coming in, including Mezco’s One 12 Frankenstein featuring the Universal Monster in black and white with alternate head and hands.   Also new in the store as of today is the Ash Vs Evil Dead three pack featuring a bloodied Ash and two demon spawn figures.  Finally, Wes Craven’s oft-overlooked seventh entry in the A Nightmare on Elm Street series returns with a brand-new Freddy figure. Based on New Nightmare, this Freddy features an alternate demon head, long trenchcoat and a removable hat.

The Batmobile may be Batman’s vehicle of choice on most days, but sometimes if he needs to fly, he’ll use his impressive Batwing. The Batwing will measure a whopping 37″ in length and is meant to interact with the figures from the Batman: The Animated Series line by DC Collectibles.

Hot Toys alerts:

I told you last week that Hawkeye was scheduled to arrive in store soon, but I found out about three more figures to expect soon. First up is the Black Widow as she was featured in this summer’s Captain America: Civil War. Also on tap is War Machine from the same film, the aforementioned Hawkeye as well as this past year’s breakout movie star- Deadpool. Deadpool should be extremely popular and I don’t expect him to last very long.

Anyway- super brief week this week, but I thought i’d touch base and share the good toy news. Night all!

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Val’s Toy Chest-And Now For Something Completely Different…

Hi guys- I’m doing something a little different this week as I am not just going to talk about toys, but also about what I’ve been currently reading. The goal of Val’s Toy Chest is of course to update you the reader with the latest in the world of action figures and toys, but I will occasionally bring in my opinions on different comics as well. What’s got me all excited this week? Would you believe horror manga? Plus, more POP vinyls make their Forbidden Planet debut and I’ll tell you which Hot Toys figure will be next to arrive in store.

Let’s start with the manga. I don’t typically read much by way of Japanese comics. I dabbled a bit in high school when a friend of mine lent me his Maison Ikkoku manga as well as the Oh My Goddess! anime.  I liked both, but in the long run, Maison stuck with me much longer and I finally read the ending a few years back. As for what got me into Manga again, I picked up the Free Comic Book Day issue of Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito. The story included in that issue was pretty messed up, but definitely something that got me intrigued by Ito’s work. So with last Monday being Halloween, I decided to pick up the full volume of Fragments of Horrorwhich is comprised of several short stories and was impressed with what I read. Fast forward to the weekend and I pick up Gyo.  Gyo was pretty insane as well and I’ve figured out from reading these that I kind of like body horror in my scary stories. I won’t say more about Gyo in case you want to read it, but it certainly was intense.  Needless to say, I will be reading Uzumaki before too long and I am also anticipating the re-release of Tomie in December. I’m also going to read Junji Ito’s Cat Diary, just to get a well-rounded picture of his work. If you like horror stories, I think you should give Ito’s stuff a chance.

Funko POP is definitely gearing up for the holidays as we’ve gotten several new releases in the past couple of days. The entirety of the latest Harry Potter wave is here featuring a new Harry, Prof McGonagall, Mad-Eye, Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix, Fred and George Weasley and the nasty Dolores Umbridge.  Fans of classic 90’s cartoon, Animaniacs have five new figures to choose from including Yakko, Wakko and Dot as well as spin-off characters Pinky and the Brain.

The newest wave of Star Wars Black has arrived in the store with Director Krennic from Rogue One and C-3Po from The Force Awakens. We are sold out of the Scarif Stormtrooper which had a beautiful color scheme. I don’t think the rest of these will last too much longer.

Finally- we got notice today for the newest Hot Toys figure to hit our shelves. The Captain America Civil War Hawkeye is about two weeks out, so expect to see him in our display case shortly. Can’t wait!

Just a quick note for those of you who may be reading this as we open on Wednesday morning, I’ve taken on some more responsibility in the store and as a result, my schedule has been shifted around a bit. So if you’re used to seeing me right as we open Wednesday morning, I probably won’t be around as much during that timeframe anymore. But I am sure we’ll see each other every once in a while.

Catch you guys soon!

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Val’s Toy Chest- NYCC Edition 2016

New York Comic Con was this past weekend and I attended the show on Sunday. I think I might be over the crowds. I also didn’t go through with meeting any of the celebrities I had considered seeing at the show, maybe the next time they appear at a convention I will.  All that being said, I had a decent time seeing some of the new toys coming out within the next few months or so. I also got to see Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman outfit as well as Gal Gadot’s up close and personal, as the DC booth had both on display.

Mezco’s 1:12 line had some awesome additions to the line including a Suicide Squad Harley Quinn, marking the first female figure in the series, an impressive Darkseid, Deadpool, and the 1984 Ghostbusters cast.img_0770

NECA had their Quarter Scale Batman Returns Catwoman on display and she is beautiful. Selina comes with an alternate head and movie-accurate accessories and should probably be out before the new year.

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Diamond Select Toys had some neat PVC statues on display including Zatanna, Black Canary and the Huntress, all based on their DC Animated appearances as well as a brand new bust of the Batman: The Animated Series‘ Batgirl. img_0771img_0774
Diamond Select also had some of the new Muppets figures on display including Miss Piggy and Janice.img_0775

Sideshow Collectibles had some cool stuff to show off at NYCC as well including the 1:6 Lobo, Wolverine, Daredevil and Punisher figures as well as Hot Toys of Star Wars: The Force Awakens Rey in her outfit from the final scene as well as Luke Skywalker from the same scene.

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Super 7 has teamed up with Mattel and is reissuing several of the Masters of the Universe classics figures with additional accessories that will allow for several different looks. I don’t know how these will be distributed yet, but I am looking forward to getting my hands on the Teela and Ram-Man in particular. Other characters announced are He-Man, Skeletor, and Faker.img_0787

Speaking of ’80’s toy lines, Kotobukiya showed off the remainder of their Super Powers statues featuring the original 8 heroes from the initial 1984 wave of the fabled Kenner toy line.  In the coming months, Aquaman, Hawkman and Wonder Woman will join the previously released Batman, Robin, Superman, Flash and Green Lantern. The colors are really vibrant on these and the sculpts are very sharp.img_0777img_0779

That’s pretty much all I saw at NYCC, but we’ve gotten a couple of notable pieces in-store over the past week. Here’s what’s brand new:

The Hot Toys Armored Batman from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice has arrived. Decked out in his armor, Batman comes with interchangeable lower face plates and multiple accessories and should be a popular piece. The regular Batman should be along fairly soon as well.

Monster toys are starting to come back into the store just in time for Halloween. First up is the ultimate edition of Freddy Krueger as seen in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. Freddy comes with several accessories to display several of his looks from the fan-favorite film. Meanwhile, from the next film in the series comes the A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master 8 Inch retro figure of Freddy in his surgical scrubs from the end of the film which comes with his trademark sweater and a pair of sunglasses to recreate another iconic moment from the profitable sequel. NECA is the manufacturer for both these items. If dream stalkers aren’t your thing, we’ve also received the 5″ Chucky figure from Mezco. Chucky comes with a gun and knife.

Not into killer dolls either? What about a couple of Wild Stallyns? Yes, the NECA 8 inch retro box set of Bill and Ted are in stock. Relive Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure with this pair of figures based on the film and featuring the likenesses of Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter. Finally- NECA’s first female quarter scale figure has released with the Batman: Arkham City Harley Quinn based on the clown princess of crime’s appearance in the popular videogame.  Harley comes packaged with a baseball bat, extra hands and a pair of guns.

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

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Val’s Toy Chest- Ninja Turtles, Rogue One and More

Hi readers! It’s a brand new month here at the Planet and the year seems to be proceeding at a rapid pace. It being October- there’s a few things coming up- New York Comic Con is this weekend, the three DC shows are coming back(The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow) with new episodes and Halloween is sure to be upon us before we know it. Before we get into any of that- there’s a handful of new releases this week to discuss.

Fans of the original Murakami Wolf Swenson Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon have some new figures to drool over this week. Playmates Toys has been the master license holder for the Turtles since 1988, but every now and then, we get other companies joining in on the fun. In this instance, we have Bandai taking their stab at everyone’s favorite sewer-dwelling heroes. The S.H. FiguArts line has proven very popular with import toy buyers with the DragonBall, Sailor Moon and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers lines. These fully articulated, true to the original animation style Turtles should prove to be very popular. The first two entries in the line are Leonardo, the blue-clad leader of the Turtles and Donatello, the purple wearing scientist of the team. Each figure should be packed to the gills with accessories including each character’s signature weapon. Raphael and Michelangelo have both been announced and I’m hoping if the line does really well, we’ll see some of the supporting characters like Splinter, April O’Neil, Casey Jones and the Shredder.

Star Wars: Rogue One had its product launch on Friday and now I can talk about what we’ve received.  Star Wars Black featured five new figures including K-2S0, Captain Cassian Andor, an Imperial Death Trooper and Sergeant Jyn Erso from the new film, as well as an unmasked Kylo Ren. K-2S0 has been the most popular one from what I’ve observed. The sixth figure in the series was a repack of the Rey and BB-8 two pack from the previous series. There were a few vehicles and role-play items released as well as two series of the basic 3 and 3/4″ action figure line. Included in the smaller scale were two different figures of Jyn, a new Rey, Rebels characters Sabine Wren, Kanan Jarrus in a Stormtrooper disguise and Leia Organa, plus Darth Vader and Kylo Ren amongst others. Come check out what we’ve gotten as a few items are still available. POP vinyls from Rogue One have also started trickling in, including Jyn, The Death Trooper, a Scarif Stormtrooper, Vader and more.

New York Comic Con is this weekend and there are some cool exclusives available from Funko, though you cannot walk up to their booth and just buy things unfortunately. I do know that if you’re a fan of Legends of Tomorrow‘s Hawkgirl, she will be one of the exclusives at the con and at least one other retailer(not us-unfortunately…). I haven’t figured out what I’m doing on my one day there this year, but I may go and meet Angel and Agents of SHIELD actor, J. August Richards. I’ll keep you posted.

The Flash returned this week with a new episode dealing with the fallout of Barry’s decision at the end of last season. Flashpoint should be an interesting storyline for the show to tackle and it seems to trickle into all of the other shows as well. Supergirl is back on Monday the 10th and Legends of Tomorrow returns on Thursday the 13th. For you DC TV fans, we still have Captain Cold, Flash and Heat Wave in stock from the Flash show, as well as Arrow, Black Canary and Malcolm Merlyn from Felicity and Fr…I mean Arrow still available.

Catch you next time!

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Val’s Toy Chest- DC Collectibles and Star Wars Black

DC Collectibles has been subject to a number of delays this year, but it looks like they’re starting to catch up with their release schedule again. This week sees a number of new releases from DC including more figures in the Darwyn Cooke Designer Series and a couple of ICONs figures.

The Darwyn Cooke Designer Series adds four new characters to the lineup including Catwoman, The Flash, John Stewart Green Lantern and Wonder Woman. Each features several points of articulation and some may come with character specific accessories. The DC Icons series continues with the addition of Firestorm and with his second figure this week, John Stewart. Each character is based on a specific storyline and comes with multiple accessories.

As I noted at the end of last week’s column, the Star Wars Black Series featuring characters from Rogue One as well as select The Force Awakens characters has arrived. They can’t go on sale til Friday the 30th, but I am pleased that we will have them for your shopping pleasure.

Speaking of the Force Awakens, the Hot Toys Rey finally arrived as well as the Rey/BB-8 Two pack.  I haven’t seen the BB-8 yet, but I can tell you that the Rey figure is gorgeous and would be a highlight of any Star Wars collection.

Other new and recent toys:

Mezco’s One: 12 series continues with the release of Captain Kirk from Star Trek. Outfitted in a cloth outfit and packed with interchangeable hands and multiple accessories, the captain of the Enterprise would make an awesome addition to anyone’s collection.

Also from Mezco- a 15 inch talking Chucky from Child’s Play 2, just in time for Halloween as well as a roto figure of everyone’s favorite ghost with the most, Beetlejuice!

New POP vinyls include Ariel, Belle, and Tiana as well as Tulip from AMC’s Preacher.

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

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Val’s Toy Chest- Rogue One and Forthcoming Hot Toys…

Last week we received a shipment of Star Wars: Rogue One 3 3/4″ Figures, a Vehicle and a Role-Play item. Of course these cannot go on sale until September 30th (and I am not divulging any details- SPOILERS!), but I am pleased to say that we will have some of the new product for sale during this year’s Force Friday. 

The most recent Star Wars film, The Force Awakens gets a new addition in the Hot Toys line as Rey is on her way onto our shelves. I anticipate that she will be here by the time this article comes out. Rey will feature the usual attention to detail that Hot Toys are known for as well as a bevy of accessories to recreate a few of her different looks from the film. The Rey we are getting first is the single packed version. The version that comes with BB-8 should be along shortly.

Speaking of Hot Toys, there are a few more items expected to drop within the next month or so. Included in this list are the first of the Captain America: Civil War figures, an Avengers: Age of Ultron piece and a Batman V Superman item as well. From Captain America: Civil War comes the brand new Captain America Hot Toy based on Steve Rogers’ look from the most recent Marvel Cinematic experience. Cap will feature movie-accurate accessories and is based on actor Chris Evans’ likeness. Every hero team needs a villain to fight and we’ve got one coming as The Avengers: Age of Ultron- Ultron Mark I will be arriving in a few weeks. Ultron Mark I features his look from the film and includes a damaged Iron Legion accessory and a base.  Finally from Batman V Superman, we get the Armored Batman figure as seen in the recent feature film.  This Batman figure comes with different facial expressions as well as movie-accurate accessories and a base and is modeled after Ben Affleck’s portrayal of the Dark Knight.

In other news, NECA has sent us some cool product over the past few days. You know about Aliens Series 9, which is still available though, predictably, Vasquez has been moving the fastest.  We also got in the Glow-in-the-Dark Aliens Egg Set, the brand new Cinemachines series and a massive 1/4 scale Hulk from Avengers: Age of Ultron. The latest wave of Cinemachines features a Scout Ship from Predator, the Lost Tribe ship from Predator 2 and the Narcissus from Alien. I expect these to be as popular as series 1 was.

Briefly:

I’ll be attending a Weird Al concert in Atlantic City on Friday, so what better time to bring up the 8″ Cloth “Weird Al” Yankovic doll which we still have in stock? Al will also be at Radio City Music Hall for the last night of his Mandatory Fun tour. Why not get an Al to commemorate?  Can’t wait to see him as he puts on an AWESOME show.

We should be getting some cases of the newest Marvel Legends wave. This new wave features a movie accurate Scarlet Witch from Captain America: Civil War which is set to be the most popular piece in the set. Also in the wave: Wonder Man, Captain Britain, The Eel, Iron Skull, and Secret War Captain America. The Build-A-Figure is of the Abomination.

Breaking News:

Looks like we’ll also be getting our shipment of the brand new 6″ Star Wars Black Series in time for Force Friday. Definitely plan to spend some time with us here at the Planet and check out the new wares from this winter’s newest Star Wars epic. I can’t wait! Catch you all next time!

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Val’s Toy Chest- POPs Everywhere…

As I was working in the Forbidden Planet Forbidden Zone(aka the basement) today, I realized we have a TON of POP vinyls down here. They are still extremely popular and Funko certainly has one of the widest array of licenses out there. Since Friday, we’ve received about ten-to-twelve new POP figures and there’s definitely a whole bunch more coming. One of the hottest series thus far is the Golden Girls-so much so, that we’re currently sold out of the quartet. We should be getting more of those however, so I’ll save my Saint Olaf/Sicily stories for another time. For what we do have in stock- Labyrinth POPs just arrived. We have all four of the figures in now and I know that the Jareth POP will go fast- he is David Bowie after all. Sarah (Jennifer Connelly!) with Worm, Hoggle and the 6″ Ludo round out the series. A new series of Doctor Who POPs are in featuring variants on Doctors 10, 11, and 12. The 12th Doctor with guitar is pretty awesome. A 6″ Davros has also arrived. Though I’m not the biggest Whovian, an Amy Pond and an Astrid Peth need to happen. (Astrid was portrayed by Australian Pop star/ex-Cammy Kylie Minogue and I’d LOVE a POP figure of her.)  Something new that Funko is trying this year is the new collection of POP Pets. Several different kinds of dogs and cats are in this first wave and they are pretty darn cute. I’m a cat person myself and I think the Siamese is precious. Batman fans that prefer a little camp with their Dark Knight have the Joker from the 1967-1968 season’s “Surf’s Up! The Joker’s Under” dressed in his baggies and complete with surfboard to add to their collection.  No sign of Batman yet, though he’s probably out repelling a shark somewhere. Racing back onto our shelves is the Zoom POP from the most recent season of The Flash. I wouldn’t wait on that one FYI. Finally for you 80’s enthusiasts out there, Funko has introduced a line of scented POPs featuring everyone’s favorite fragrant female- Strawberry Shortcake. We have her and Lemon Meringue currently. Strawberry Shortcake smells like bubble bath in my opinion.

Other toys and toy-related items this week:

DC Collectibles has five brand new statues out this week from the recent Suicide Squad film. I haven’t seen it yet, but all my friends are currently split on it. We’ll see.  Characters that we have statues of include Deadshot, The Joker, Katana, Croc and Harley Quinn.

The Captain Phasma Hot Toys from Star Wars: The Force Awakens has arrived and she is beautiful. The chrome armor looks really striking and I hope she plays more of a role in the next films. Speaking of that film and Hot Toys, I just got notice that a certain someone will be scavenging her way into our store within the next couple of weeks. If you were a fan of Rey, she’ll be making her way in as a single figure soon. No word on the Rey/BB-8 two pack yet.

NECA has been crafting figures in 8-bit style for several years now and this time around we get a cool two-pack featuring one of the iconic games of the 80’s, Contra. The two pack features two fully articulated action figures painted to resemble the 8-bit style as well as a ton of accessories to recreate the video-game experience on your own shelves.

Lastly, my very first column featured a write-up on the Dark Horse Art of He-Man book which I can’t recommend enough. Continuing this tradition, I thought I’d mention the release of the complete guide to He-Man and She-Ra which will be on shelves this week.  The new book sounds like a blast as it details the Filmation adventures including trivia, synopses and more, I am definitely going to grab one ASAP!

 

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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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