Category: Movies and TV

Val’s Toy Chest- New Hot Toys and Funko

The Guardians of the Galaxy came back to theatres this year and Hot Toys has finally released the last member of the original film team with the recently arrived figure of Drax the Destroyer based on the character as played by Dave Bautista.  Drax features interchangeable hands, a character base, a completely different pair of pants as well as two knives. Drax features the usual Hot Toys articulation scheme and should be a nice addition to your Guardians collection as we eagerly await figures from the 2nd film.

Speaking of characters on the horizon- Hot Toys recently showed off their forthcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming figure featuring the character in his more traditional looking outfit. The figure features an interchangeable head sculpt with Tom Holland’s likeness as well as different accessories including some awesome extras in the deluxe version. Spidey won’t arrive til sometime next year, but I think he will be a huge hit, considering how well-received the character was in Civil War. We should be getting both the basic version as well as the deluxe version of this sure-to-be popular piece.

Batman ’66 has been in the public consciousness again with the passing of Adam West- which makes the release of Funko’s new 4″ line of figures from the classic series all the more bittersweet. A couple of characters appear in this line that did not appear in the Mattel 6″ line including King Tut, Mr Freeze and Bookworm. The variant version of Mr Freeze features the likeness of actor Eli Wallach who hasn’t been made as a figure in any of the lines including the 8″ Figures Toy Company Mego line. Rounding out the line are Batgirl, Batman(with a variant based on Adam West’s original screen test outfit) and Julie Newmar’s Catwoman. There is also a Batmobile with Batman and Robin figures included that we are currently out of. On a related note, Diamond Select’s line of Batman 66 busts continues with the addition of that princess of plunder, the purrfidious Catwoman to the series. But wait, you might say- wasn’t there a Catwoman bust already based on Julie Newmar’s likeness? Yes indeed there was- this latest one is the Season 3 Eartha Kitt version featuring a similar body sculpt to the Newmar with a brand new head sculpt featuring the likeness of the sultry songstress from her stint on Batman. I think the Eartha will be a hit personally.

Back to more modern superhero series, after a quick sellout on her day of release, we have received more stock on the Melissa Benoist Supergirl statue. Standing atop a base featuring her logo, this Supergirl statue will make a fine addition to your Supergirl or superhero collection.

On the Marvel TV side of things- Hasbro has revealed their Netflix line of Marvel Legends figures. A couple of characters hail from the comics as well including the cool Build-A- Figure for the wave. The lineup consists of Daredevil, Punisher and Elektra from Netflix’s Daredevil series featuring the likenesses of actors Charlie Cox, Jon Bernthal and Elodie Yung, respectively, Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones from her eponymous Netflix series as well as Blade and Bullseye in more traditional comic book attire. The build-a-figure: Man-Thing! An improvement on the Toy Biz figure, I know several people who are chomping at the bit for this particular character. This one should be a fun wave to collect.

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

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Val’s Toy Chest- Adam West 1928-2017

The 1960s Batman TV Series has always held a special place in my heart- ever since I started watching the brief reruns on WNYW/Channel 5 during the 1984-85 season as well as during the summer of Batmania in 1989 on WPIX 11. I had a hard time when Yvonne Craig died back in 2015 as her Batgirl remains one of my favorite live-action super hero characters to this day. As you have no doubt heard- Adam West died this past weekend- I never got to meet the man, but I always had fun with his take on the Caped Crusader. That being said, I was definitely attached to his version of the Caped Crusader possibly more than any other live-action interpretation to date. (Michael Keaton is a close 2nd as I still love the two Tim Burton films to this day.) Adam played Batman relatively straight compared to the actors who played his over-the-top villainous counterparts like Burgess Meredith or Cesar Romero, though West had his fair share of zany too- such as the show defining Bat-Tusi dance from the very first episode of the series.

Comic book fans haven’t always been kind to the 1960s series over the years, but thanks to Adam West, Batman permeated pop culture- he was everywhere in the 1960s- from lunchboxes to trading cards, different toys and more. Most people of that generation will likely tell you that they got into Batman because of Adam West and the ABC show. It may have been tarnished somewhat when DC decided to return Batman to his gritty roots in the 70s, but campy, humorous Batman has a place in DC’s history books as well. West’s portrayal definitely brought a different dimension to the historically dark character and fans ate that up- even down to this day with new merchandise still being released for the show.

Everyone has their heroes- I was at a convention with a friend this weekend, where he got to meet one of his personal childhood heroes. That was where I found out about Adam West’s passing.  I didn’t want to believe it, especially as he was scheduled to appear at a convention in August- but somehow I knew it was true.  I don’t think the weight of it has settled in yet-  I will say this much though- the Adam West/Burt Ward series definitely shaped my perceptions of what Batman should be as well as which other characters I expect to see in a good Batman adaptation- this includes The Joker. Catwoman, The Penguin and the Riddler as well as Barbara Gordon’s version of Batgirl. All of these characters were made important due to the success of the TV show and DC used them as definitive Batman villains and allies going forward from 1968 to the present. Adam’s Batman, as well as Burt Ward’s Robin and of course Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl, were just a few of my childhood heroes- there’s definitely others, but this particular trio was always special to me and it is a reminder of one’s mortality when your heroes start dying.

For many, Adam West will forever be remembered as Batman, younger generations will know him as Mayor West from Family Guy. Some may even recall his work with Batman: The Animated Series as the Grey Ghost, Bruce Wayne’s childhood idol.  No matter what role, Adam West has earned the right to be considered a legend due to his part in the nearly 80 year legacy of Batman. Whether he was playing the suave debonair millionaire or the strait-laced boy scout of a crimefighter, Adam West will always be a part of my childhood and I will keep his Batman interpretation close to my heart. Thanks for the memories, Adam- rest in peace.

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Marvel’s Netflix Heroes Unite In The Defenders #1

The streets of the Marvel Universe have never been safer…right?

So, nobody is surprised that this book is here, right? I mean, we all know that coming later this summer is the next Marvel Netflix TV series called The Defenders. So, of course the House of Ideas is going to release a comic book with the same title and line-up as the show. It’s just good marketing. If you’re psyched for the upcoming small screen offerings then don’t you want to get a sneak peek months early? Thus, Defenders #1 coming out this week on shelves.

Hey, that’s not a knock against Marvel. Putting Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones is not a bad (or new) idea. This is a street level team of heroes who are going to, well, defend the streets against a threat from their pasts who has become something greater than they can presumably beat up on their own. Can this team of TV stars/ex (current) Avengers find a way to coexist in this latest status quo shift at Marvel? It’s been an interesting time for all of these characters in their own solo series, it’s could be a lot of fun to see how they do, or don’t, mix when forced to suit up side by side at this moment in their journeys.

Plus, check out the big name on the credits (couldn’t quite get my “Pulp Fiction” reference to work but I tried!). Brian Michael Bendis has a long history with the majority of these characters. He took the ball from Kevin Smith and ran circles around him with one of the greatest runs of Daredevil EVER. Bendis also created Jessica Jones in Alias and is the current scribe on her self-titled series. He also brought Luke Cage to the forefront through Alias and his seminal New Avengers run. The only one I’m not sure he’s written much for is really Iron Fist, aside from supporting appearances in the aforementioned books that y’all need to read if you haven’t read.

This has mass market appeal written all over it. The juiciness is to see what kind of writing’s inside it or if, like another recently repurposed team moniker (Black Panther & The Crew), the writing will soon be on the wall.

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Val’s Toy Chest- Summer Blockbusters

Did you all see Wonder Woman last weekend? I LOVED IT! I definitely want to go for a repeat viewing ASAP. As anticipated, Wonder Woman items have seen an upswing since the movie’s release and I am thrilled that one of my favorite heroines is finally in her own feature film and has a merchandising extravaganza behind it. Speaking of summer films, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 was another hugely anticipated flick and there’s been a good amount of items related to the movie already released.

That being said, there are several items in stock for Wonder Woman already and we should be getting series 2 of the Guardians Marvel Legends in this week.  To refresh your memory of this wave: the Build-A-Figure is Mantis, who featured in the recent sequel, along with single carded figures of Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket and Nebula as seen on the silver screen, comic versions of Ex Nihilo, Death’s Head II and Adam Warlock make up the rest of the series. I predict that these Legends won’t be on our shelves very long, much like any of the recent Marvel Legends releases. Also coming in within the next few weeks will be the Hot Toys Drax figure from the 2015 film to complete your original Guardians team.

Lots of new Funko POP figures dropped at the end of last week including figures from Bojack Horseman, Rugrats, AAAHH Real Monsters, Mr Robot and Batman 66. The new Batman 66 POPs include Batgirl, The Riddler, The Penguin, Mr Freeze and King Tut.  I think this may be my favorite wave of DC Pops yet, with Batgirl’s shimmery purple, King Tut’s intricate Egyptian outfit as well as the Riddler and Penguin’s classic designs.   Funko needs to bring on the new 4″ figure line as well as I cannot wait to see how those turned out. The beautiful Entertainment Earth Diana Prince POP also released featuring Wonder Woman as she appeared during one of the more humorous scenes in the film.

Briefly:

A new DC Collectibles statue of Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl will hit our shelves this week and if the recent DCTV action figure is indicative of how the sculpt will look, this is going to be one beautiful piece.

Hot Toys has announced their first figure from the Wonder Woman movie and it will be Diana in her Amazonian Training outfit. The Gal Gadot likeness on this one is pretty breathtaking and this one is going to be hard to resist when she releases next year. The long-delayed Batman V Superman version should be releasing soon as a redone sculpt has surfaced and rumors of her shipping soon have started to circulate. I’d expect her sometime in July-August if current estimates are correct.

Speaking of Wonder Woman, Mezco has opened pre-orders on their Wonder Woman One:12 figure. The One:12 line has been wildly popular and this one is scheduled to drop around the end of the year. Based on the recent movie version of Diana, this will be just the second female figure thus far announced in the Mezco line.

I am headed to a convention in Connecticut this weekend and will likely have a report for you in next week’s column. Catch you then!

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A Taste of The Epic Untold Saga of Frankenstein The True Story

The Epic Untold Saga Behind
FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY (1973)
Explodes in the Special New Issue of
LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #38

by Sam Irvin

I’ve been a fan of Frankenstein: The True Story ever since it was first broadcast on NBC-TV in two parts in 1973. First of all, the cast was incredible: James Mason, Leonard Whiting, Michael Sarrazin, David McCallum, Jane Seymour, Nicola Pagett, Agnes Moorehead, Sir Ralph Richardson, Sir John Gielgud and Tom Baker! The scope of the movie was epic – and I later learned it had the highest budget of any made-for-television movie AND the highest budget of any horror film up to that time.

When Richard Klemensen, editor and publisher of Little Shoppe of Horrors, offered me the opportunity to spearhead an issue of the magazine devoted entirely to Frankenstein: The True Story, I couldn’t resist the opportunity.

This movie inspired an entire generation of writers and directors, myself included. Immediately upon seeing the film, Anne Rice was directly inspired to write Interview with a Vampire – and she has contributed a foreword to the issue.

Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) is another fan who contributed an essay called “Queer Frankenstein” examining the gay subtext of the film – which was scripted by legendary gay couple Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy.

Guillermo del Toro wrote that the movie is “quirky, brilliant and moving.”

So why is this film so often forgotten? It is my mission to rectify that injustice and to present, for the very first time anywhere, a detailed analysis of the making of this groundbreaking milestone – with over twenty interviews of cast and crew, including Leonard Whiting, Jane Seymour, David McCallum and co-screenwriter Don Bachardy. Whether you are a fan or not, the adventure behind its creation is so astounding, it is an epic unto itself. Prepare to catch your jaw before it drops to the floor.

To give you just a taste of what I have uncovered during years of investigation, here is an excerpt to whet your appetite – a chapter entitled The Elsa Lanchester Crisis:

Hunt Stromberg Jr., producer of Frankenstein: The True Story, set his sights on collecting guest stars to play the various featured roles in the film. For the part of Mrs. Blair, the nosy landlady of Dr. Frankenstein – which Ingrid Bergman and Bette Davis had already turned down – Stromberg wanted a “Una O’Connor type,” referring to the quirky Irish character actress who played Minnie, the mettlesome and skittish housekeeper, in Bride of Frankenstein.

In 1942, when Universal released The Ghost of Frankenstein, critics noted that certain actors in the movie, such as Lionel Atwill and Dwight Frye, had portrayed different characters in earlier Frankenstein films, prompting the studio to issue a press release stating that it was “the custom of the studio” to bring back some of “the same faces in each succeeding feature of the Frankenstein series.”

Inspired by this hallowed tradition, Stromberg suddenly became obsessed with the idea of Mrs. Blair being portrayed by Elsa Lanchester, 70 – next-door-neighbor of Frankenstein: The True Story screenwriters Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy – who had so memorably played Mary Shelley and the female creature in Bride. Stromberg met Lanchester in early 1935 when he was just 11-years-old – when she was simultaneously shooting his father’s movie Naughty Marietta at MGM and Bride of Frankenstein at Universal – and, from then on, she’d remained a family friend. In the 1960s, when Stromberg was VP of Programming for CBS, he personally cast her as a guest star on a number of CBS shows – and, impishly, he made a habit of ending letters with this tongue-in-cheek wrap-up: “Must close now, as Elsa Lanchester has just arrived to show off her new wart.”

Though she occasionally grumbled about her fame as the Bride, in truth, Lanchester basked in the glory of her most famous role – and, in the autumn of her career, she did not shy away from spooky projects that played upon that image, including Blackbeard’s Ghost (1968), Willard (1971) and an episode of Night Gallery (1972). And she certainly had no problem adding those two familiar wavy white streaks to her frizzy mane when she guest-starred as a mad scientist on The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Brain-Killer Affair (1965) – a shameless sendup of her electrifying coiffure in Bride. That gig also introduced Lanchester to U.N.C.L.E. series regular David McCallum who would work with her again in Frankenstein: The True Story if Stromberg had his way.

Lanchester truly wanted to do it – but, alas, she was already committed to shoot two back-to-back, low-budget horror films in Hollywood at the very same time – Terror in the Wax Museum and Arnold for Bing Crosby Productions. Gnashing his teeth, Stromberg offered to buy out Lanchester’s contract but the producers held firm. Then, he turned to his associate producer Ian Lewis and said, “My father managed to work around Bride of Frankenstein in order to get Elsa into his movie. Why can’t we figure out a way to do the same?”

I remember ‘the Elsa Lanchester crisis’ very well,” recalled Ian Lewis. “Hunt damn near drove us crazy but, ultimately, she just couldn’t be reasonably scheduled.”

Heartbroken, Lanchester honored her contract and remained Stateside to perform in two of the most forgettable films on her resume. What’s even sadder is that, after finishing those films, she didn’t work again for two-and-a-half years (until her comeback in the all-star spoof Murder by Death).

For the role of Mrs. Blair, Stromberg finally landed Agnes Moorehead, 72, who had won an Emmy, two Golden Globes, and four Oscar nominations – not to mention her iconic role as Endora, Samantha’s witch of a mother, in Bewitched (1964-1972).

As luck would have it, Moorehead knew Una O’Connor quite well, having worked with the actress in RKO’s Government Girl (1943). So, Stromberg’s directive to play Mrs. Blair as “a Una O’Connor type” was taken to heart – resulting in Moorehead affecting a thick Irish accent and hamming it up for all it was worth.

This is just a tiny sliver of my 50,000-word exposé that is presented in Little Shoppe of Horrors #38. The making of Frankenstein: The True Story is jam-packed with surprises beyond your wildest imagination and reads like a Who’s Who, directly involving such luminaries as Marlon Brando, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Francis Ford Coppola, John Boorman, John Schlesinger, Jon Voight, Roman Polanski, Warren Beatty, Franco Zeffirelli, Olivia Hussey, Laurence Olivier, Frank Langella, Jacqueline Bisset, François Truffaut, Angela Lansbury, Boris Sagal, Barbra Streisand, Jon Peters, Mia Farrow, Sid Sheinberg, Lew Wasserman, Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Geoffrey Holder, Harry Saltzman, Peter Ustinov, James Bridges, Albert Finney, Rex Harrison, Simone Signoret, Julie Christie, Lindsay Anderson, Richard Chamberlain, Mervyn LeRoy, Alec Guinness, Oliver Reed, Vanessa Redgrave, Orson Welles, Peter Bogdanovich, Valerie Hobson, John Profumo, Robert Morley, Peter Yates, Candice Bergen, George Seaton, Alan Bates, Maurice Jarre, Anthony Perkins, Michel Legrand, Burt Lancaster, John Barry, Anthony Quinn, Richard Rodney Bennett, Tuesday Weld, Neil Diamond, Ernest Borgnine, Mae West and Queen Elizabeth. I kid you not.

To help us celebrate the completion of this issue, events are being scheduled as though this were a book. Well, it pretty much is!

To kick things off on the West Coast, Creature Features – Taylor White’s amazing store and gallery in Burbank, California – is hosting a retrospective discussion and exhibit (of FTTS memorabilia and all the original artwork in the magazine) on Sunday, June 18, 2:00-3:30 PM, with guest panelists James Duke Mason, Julian Barnes (supporting actor in the film), Denise Mellé (widow of the film’s composer Gil Mellé), artist Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series) and yours truly. Limited edition prints, signed and numbered, of the cover mural artwork by Mark Maddox will be on sale exclusively at the Creature Features store/gallery and website.

On the weekend of June 23-25, LSoH editor Dick Klemensen, cover artist Mark Maddox, interior artist Neil D. Vokes and I will be attending the Monster Bash Convention near Pittsburgh, PA, to meet, greet and drumbeat the issue.

Then, it’s on to Manhattan where Dread Central & Forbidden Planet are co-presenting a FREE screening and discussion of Frankenstein: The True Story at the Quad Cinema, 34 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011, on Tuesday, June 27, 6:00-10:00 PM, hosted by legendary Tony Timpone (former editor of Fangoria). A unique 16mm print will be projected with everything from the original telecast, plus extra seconds of censored footage only seen in the foreign theatrical release. Guest panelists will include Alec Smight (son of the late Jack Smight, director of Frankenstein: The True Story), Philippe Spurrell (founder of Cinéclub/Film Society of Montreal; curator of this unique 16mm print), James Anthony Phillips (who wrote the sidebar on Gil Melle’s score for the issue) and, again, yours truly.

And, finally, on Thursday, June 29, from 6:00-8:00 PM, I will be signing copies of the magazine and chatting up a storm at Forbidden Planet, 832 Broadway, New York, NY 10003, thanks to the store’s intrepid manager / gore guru Matt Desiderio.

I look forward to seeing you at these special events and/or communicating with you on my Facebook page. I hope you enjoy the issue! It has been the ultimate labor-of-love.

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Val’s Toy Chest- Wonder Woman is Here!

All hail the princess known as Diana of Themyscira as she finally headlines her own solo feature film this week. As a result of the Wonder Woman film releasing this week, DC is making this Saturday June 3rd, Wonder Woman Day. Similar to previous years’ Batman Days, DC has provided some special material for Wonder Woman day this year, including a couple of special edition comic books as well as a tiara and bracelets. Further information is forthcoming on what else will take place in store on Wonder Woman day, but it should be fun.

If you’ve got an itch for Wonder Woman items, we’ve got several figures from the new film including the Princess Diana figure, Steve Trevor, the cloaked Wonder Woman and Queen Hippolyta figures from the DC Multiverse series, a bunch of awesome dolls including Diana in her blue dress from one of the more anticipated scenes shown in the trailer as well as other Mattel items.  We also have a few DC Collectibles figures and statues as well as miscellaneous other Wonder Woman product.

If you want to read more about the Amazing Amazon, there are several graphic novels available including Diana solo, with the Justice League of America as well as teamed up with Superman. Recommended runs from this Wonder Woman fan include the George Perez 1980’s series,  the Greg Rucka run from the early 2000s as well as his Rebirth stuff from the past year and Brian Azzarello’s New 52 storyline. There is also a Wonder Woman: The Art and Making of the Film book scheduled to drop this week featuring the behind the scenes aspect of the highly anticipated movie.

Briefly:

Old Man Logan makes his debut in the Marvel Gallery line from Diamond Select Toys. Standing approximately 9″ tall, Logan joins previous figures like Deadpool, Thor and Spider-Man in this popular line of vinyl figures.

Hot Toys has a few items scheduled to drop in the next few weeks including the Yoda figure and the Suicide Squad Purple Outfit Joker. Check back for news in this column on those as they are sure to be popular items.

Anyway that’s all for me this week- go see Wonder Woman this weekend, I definitely will! I’ll catch you next time!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2- This Week!

So it’s shaping up to be a huge week with the theatrical release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2., plus Free Comic Book Day this weekend.  There will be two exclusive toys for sale this weekend and they are strictly limited to one of each piece per customer as supplies are limited. The first is a Cryptozoic Lil Bombshells Wonder Woman figure which comes packed in a tin, while the other is a Funko POP of Netflix and Marvel’s most recent hero: Iron Fist.  The Iron Fist is labeled as the Gold version on the packaging and is different from the recent Previews Exclusive piece. Again these are limited to one per customer.

Guardians will be out on Thursday and I just wanted to do a brief recap of toys we currently have in stock to fill your need for Guardians memorabilia. Currently available in store are most of the new Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 POP vinyl figures with the exception of Groot, a Hasbro Star-Lord and Yondu 3 3/4″ two pack based on the movie, two different versions of Dancing Groot as well as a Rock Candy of Gamora and blind bagged Pint-Sized Heroes.  There’s a ton more stuff coming out soon including Series 2 of the Marvel Legends, a 6″ two-pack featuring Star-Lord and Ego and more! The movie should be fun if they continue being as sharp as they were in the first film.

Notable DC items this week: The next two figures in the Harley Quinn Amanda Conner Designer Series will arrive on our store shelves this Wednesday as well as a new statue of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman atop a horse straight from their new Wonder Woman movie statue line. The sculptors working on the new stuff from Diana’s solo film have really outdone themselves getting the likenesses just right, including DC Collectibles and Mattel. Here’s hoping that the long-awaited Hot Toys Batman V Superman Wonder Woman figure comes out just as nicely.

POPs in this week include the last few Godfather pieces, some Westworld, a small restock on Stranger Things Eleven figures as well as the Previews Exclusive Carrie Kelley Robin from the Dark Knight Returns and the previously mentioned Iron Fist which will be out Saturday.  Coming soon will be items from the third super-hero movie coming out in as many months with the Spider-Man: Homecoming series of POP also expected to arrive sometime over these next few days. Definitely a busy time for you Funko fans out there.

Lastly, the newest Godzilla has become an awesome action figure from NECA. The Shin Godzilla is 12″ long from head to tail and should be a popular item for all you Godzilla fans out there. Godzilla is available in-store NOW!

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

 

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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 Extra- Who’s Who in the DC Universe- Hawkgirl

This week’s print issue of the Weekly Planet has another Who’s Who entry to commemorate the release of DC Collectibles’ brand new Hawkgirl/Kendra Saunders action figure from the CW’s DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. For the previous entry, go here.

Template based on the 1985 DC Comics series: Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe.

Layout: Justin Bacolo

Text: Valentine Chhann

Note: Height and Weight info was researched online for both this entry and the previous one.

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The Lego Batman Movie Giveaway

We’re giving away THREE sets of bags, t-shirts, toys and tickets to see the Lego Batman Movie on our Twitter feed! Just head over and RT to enter. Simple as that.

Here’s the synopsis of the flick:

In the irreverent spirit of fun that made “The LEGO® Movie” a worldwide phenomenon, the self-described leading man of that ensemble – LEGO Batman – stars in his own big-screen adventure. But there are big changes brewing in Gotham, and if he wants to save the city from The Joker’s hostile takeover, Batman may have to drop the lone vigilante thing, try to work with others and maybe, just maybe, learn to lighten up.

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Val’s Toy Chest- Smorgasbord

This week sees the beginning of all-new episodes for the CW’s DC TV shows, some notable figures this week and some Funko news straight out of London Toy Fair- let’s begin!

Supergirl, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow will all have aired by the time you read this article, with Arrow premiering tonight. This week’s Arrow features the return of Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance and from all the trailers out there, it looks like she will be playing Black Siren, who debuted at the end of the second season of the Flash. Whether or not she ends up claiming the mantle that was left open with the controversial death of Black Canary last season remains to be seen and from other sources, it seems they may be setting up a new, original character as Black Canary. Color me not happy. We’ll see where this goes, but right now I’m waiting to see how much more Arrow can screw up.  My only hope is that Katie is signed up to appear on all the other DC shows this season save Supergirl(for now), so maybe she’ll remain Black Canary yet.

New toys are still sparse this week, but there’s at least one new Marvel Select figure ready to arrive this week. Benedict Cumberbatch fans can rejoice as Diamond Select Toys has crafted a brand new Marvel Select figure of the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange! Based on his appearance from the 2016 feature film,  the Dr. features a diorama base, costuming accurate to the film and the likeness of Mr. Cumberbatch. Should be a popular one.   Back in stock this week is the neat Destroyer/Odin figure that we originally received last week. I’ve never been a follower of the Thor franchise, but this particular figure is gorgeous. Featuring a shiny metallic-esque body and interchangeable heads, I can see this figure flying out of here as fast as it did last week. Just in this week are the Death Trooper Star Wars: Rogue One Hot Toys as well as a 1/4 scale Iron Man Mark XLV from Avengers: Age of Ultron.

London Toy Fair is happening and Funko debuted plenty of goodies to their devoted Funatics this week. Debuting for the first time are Twin Peaks POPs and 3 3/4″ Action Figures,  a second POP set of Batman: The Animated Series, Lord of the Rings POPs, Alias POPs and more.  Mystery Minis include DCTV and Retro Games, plus there’s more from Funko’s other toylines as well.

Briefly:

DC Collectibles announced a brand new Batman: The Animated Series 5 pack ahead of Toy Fair and boy is it a doozy. Each figure comes with accessories and is housed in their own jail cells. Featured figures include: Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, Bane, and Killer Croc in their B:TAS looks as well as first time figure Renee Montoya. Definitely a good-looking set, but maybe too rich for my blood at the moment.

Garbage Pail Kids Series 2 Blind Boxes are in, continuing the theme from last year’s hit series based on the classic Topps trading cards.

The next Hot Toys figures scheduled to arrive should be Ant-Man and Scarlet Witch from Captain America: Civil War, I’ll keep you informed as they get closer.

Two classic TV heroes meet for the first time in comic book form this week, with the physical release of Batman ’66 meets Wonder Woman ’77. See the worlds of Adam West and Lynda Carter collide in this special miniseries from DC. On a related note, Wonder Woman ’77 will also continue her team-up with the Bionic Woman on this week’s comic book shelves.

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

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Girls & Corpses signing Nov 11th

Attention Forbidden Planet customers! Prepare yourself for a massive signing for the premiere horror/comedy magazine Girls & Corpses!
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GIRLS and CORPSES MAGAZINE signing at Forbidden Planet NYC
Friday November 11th 5:30 pm to 8 pm
832 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

with special signing guests:

ROBERT ‘Corpsy’ RHINE Girls and Corpses Founder/Deaditor-In-Chief (Exec Prod Rob Zombie’s 31)
ROY FRUMKES (writer/producer Street Trash, Slime City Massacre, Killer Rack)

JOEL REED (director Blood Sucking Freaks, Night of The Zombies, Blood Bath)
WEYLIN Coyote WEGNER (Senior corpsepondant Girls and Corpses)
BRIAN ORLOWSKI (Illustrator for Girls and Corpses and Last Laughs book)

and the bands:

NECRO (NY Death Rapper)
KISSING CANDICE (Long Island deathcore)
QUENTIN and WENDELL JONES (The Reach Around Rodeo Clowns / Rock-a-Billy Hall of Fame)

This is the first East coast signing ever for Girls and Corpses Magazine! All celebrity guests will be signing their issues of Girls and Corpses and also their films, posters and photos.

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The store signing at Forbidden Planet will be followed by a Midnight screening of the film PARASITES (executive produced and co-starring Robert “Corpsy” Rhine) as part of the NYC Horror Film Festival at the Chelsea Cinepolis Movie Theater (260 West 23rd Street, NYC)

Parasites Info, tickets and movie trailer here: http://nychorrorfest.com/movies/parasites/

 

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Tales of Poe DVD Release Party October 26th 7-9PM

Forbidden Planet and Wild Eye Releasing team up once again for a DVD release party of spooky proportions.

Wednesday October 26th from 7-9 get freaky with the cast and crew of Tales of Poe.

Just check out this guest list…

Alan Rowe Kelly Director The Blood Shed
Randy Jones Actor Can’t Stop The Music (The Cowboy from The Village People)
Brewster McCall Actor
Cartier Williams Actor
Joe Quick Actor Horrorween
Joe Zaso Actor Nikos The Impaler
Douglas Rowan Actor
Desiree Gould Actress Sleepaway Camp

Wanna get your Tales of Poe DVD signed by the cast and crew but can’t make it to our release party on October 26th? No sweat. Just order a copy from www.fpnyc.com and we will make sure to get it autographed for you by all guests attending and then we will send it out.

Order link… https://www.fpnyc.com/Tales-of-Poe-DVD/760137882596/DVDs

talesofpoe

Based on the timeless horror works of Edgar Allan Poe. Three of Poe’s most popular stories (The Tell Tale Heart, Cask of Amontillado & Dreams) receive unique retellings by directors Bart Mastronardi & Alan Rowe Kelly. A compelling and shocking journey into madness and the macabre, and featuring some of the most beloved final girls in horror movie history from series like Friday the 13th.
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Val’s Toy Chest- A Voyage to the Star Trek Convention…

If you’ve been reading my column since its inception, you’ve probably guessed that I am a fan of a LOT of different properties. One of those is Star Trek. I don’t generally mention Star Trek too much in this column since there has been a dearth of product from the license in recent years. Plus- my favorite Trek is Star Trek: The Next Generation, followed closely by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and there’s not a lot of product going on for either lately, save the occasional trading card set and high-end figures for TNG. That being said there is at least one cool TNG product coming within the next year, which I will mention at the end of this article. All that being said, I attended my very first Star Trek Convention this past weekend and it was a lot of fun, though different than what my usual con experience is.

I went to the Star Trek Mission New York 50th Anniversary Con on Friday with the intent on meeting some of my favorite women of Star Trek. I checked my Facebook feed before I left for the show and found out that another of my faves was going to be there. Denise Crosby wasn’t listed on the website as an attending guest but was there anyway to promote Star Trek Online, where she voices one of her TNG characters, Sela. Denise was signing complimentary 8×10 photos promoting the game and was also posing for candid photos with her fans. Crosby has long been on my bucket list of TNG actresses to meet, so naturally I jumped at the chance to see Lt. Tasha Yar in person. Denise was an absolute pleasure to meet and she was accommodating, making sure to make time for everyone who had come to see her.

IMG_0733I will say this much about the show floor itself- it was tiny. I can understand this since it was the first official Star Trek convention in NYC in quite some time, but if you were looking for a wide selection of older/vintage items, this sadly was not the convention for it. The exhibitors were mostly involved in either gaming, currency, starship models, magazines and even postage stamps that debuted at this convention. That being said, it was still a fairly cool experience. As I had a few hours to kill, I decided to attend the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine panel that took place on the main stage.  Castmembers in attendance were Rene Auberjonois (Odo), Michael Dorn(Worf), Terry Farrell(Jadzia Dax), Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko), Armin Shimerman (Quark) and Nana Visitor(Kira). The six castmates had an hour long discussion about the show, acting as a profession and other interesting topics. As I was only going the one day, I decided to meet Terry Farrell and get an autograph from her as opposed to a professional photo with her, since you don’t get to interact much with the latter and almost none of the actors offered table photos.  Terry was as pretty as she was back during the heyday of DS9 and I briefly mentioned to her how Dax was my favorite DS9 character. Interestingly enough, though I forgot to mention my enjoyment of it to her, Terry played the role of the mannequin on a brief vacation in the remake of my all-time favorite Twilight Zone episode, “The After Hours.”

I did some more walking around after that and finally got what I most wanted to get out of this convention- a picture with Gates McFadden, a.k.a Dr. Beverly Crusher, my favorite Trek character of all time. The Gates interaction was brief, but she made it a point to greet the fan coming in for the photo op before we smiled for the camera. I did get to meet McFadden back in 2014, but that was a similar situation where I chose one option over the other. Being amongst all the Star Trek actors, made me want to start meeting more of them, particularly the TNG ones. Patrick Stewart is at the top of my list, and I should meet Armin Shimerman one of these days since he is also a Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum.  All-in-all I had a great time at Mission 50 and would do it all over again.

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The cool TNG item coming out next year is a blind bag series by Titan, featuring the entirety of Picard’s original crew as well as some notable aliens. These are similar to the Dr. Who ones we currently carry.

Briefly: DC Collectibles has three new figures out this week from the Greg Capullo designer series including Wonder Woman, The Flash, and a new Batman. We will also be getting a restock on the Flash and Captain Cold TV figures, which join our still in stock Arrow, Black Canary, Heat Wave, Malcolm Merlyn, and Reverse Flash figures. Reenact your own adventures with these detailed figures from the different CW series…AND if you can’t wait til she crosses over with the Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and that other show, the Mattel DC Multiverse figure of Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl will also be arriving on our shelves this week.

Ripley, Alien Queen and the first of the Preacher TV POPs have arrived in stock and Legends of Tomorrow should be real soon…

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

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