Category: Movies and TV

Val’s Toy Chest Extra- R.I.P. Arrow 2012-2016

THIS PIECE DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEW OF FPNYC JUST YOURS TRULY

A few years ago, I found myself at Target on Thanksgiving night and saw season 1 of the CW series Arrow on sale, so I decided to give it a shot- one since I was a massive DC fan, two since I am and always will be a fan of Dinah Laurel Lance, the Black Canary whom I knew was a regular character on the series. It helped that an actress(Katie Cassidy) that I liked from previous roles was cast as Laurel, which was the name they called her by on the show and I also knew she wasn’t Black Canary yet. I didn’t watch the series right away, but when I did, I was hooked. It had action, a strong male and female lead, easter eggs to DC characters minor and major and an intriguing femme fatale in Oliver’s own mother. Before I read reviews online, I had no idea how badly Laurel’s character had been received on the series, I loved her and thought she was for the most part fairly well-written. Others despised her because she was frequently antagonistic to Oliver, although in most contexts she had every reason to be. Many of the show’s fans were instead drawn to a new character named Felicity Smoak, who in the earlier seasons fulfilled the awkward sweet tech girl role and was a fun character and they decided that they wanted to see her with Oliver, which in and of itself is fine, Ollie and Laurel didn’t need to be together throughout the series.

Season 2 was a great season which found Oliver facing off against Deathstroke and introduced us to Laurel’s sister, Sara- who was going by the Canary in her costumed persona. That was also fine, Laurel has always been the second person to use the Canary persona, inheriting it from a relative. Katie Cassidy had a strong character arc for Laurel during season 2 where she found herself hitting the bottle and clashing with her family and Oliver before she picked herself out of her funk and started to become a stronger character from it, setting the stage for her taking on her comic book destiny as the Black Canary. Laurel also had her own nemesis during season 2 in the form of Brother Blood, which folded in nicely with the larger story of the season, especially as she found out Oliver’s identity as the Arrow and exposed Brother Blood in conspiring with Deathstroke to kill Ollie’s mother.

Season 3 had different showrunners at the helm and found Sara assassinated and falling right into Laurel’s line of view, causing her to take up her sister’s mantle and become the Black Canary, saving the city with Oliver’s team as he had gone missing after fighting Ra’s Al Ghul and continuing in the role into the next season. Season 4 found Laurel still fighting the good fight but relegated to a background character for much of the season. It also teased that someone would die 6 months from the premiere. Despite the fact that Black Canary has a strong comic book pedigree and nearly 70 years of stories that could be told, the people in charge of the show decided to kill off Laurel Lance instead of drawing from the rich catalog of stories that they could have. Showrunner Marc Guggenheim didn’t even have a good reason for murdering off the last authentic comic book character other than Oliver, just that he had to fulfill the promise of killing someone off and that Laurel’s death would make in his opinion, the best storyline. There were other things he said that led to their choice of Laurel, but they reek of BS. The kicker is that they’ve also dismissed the comic book fans by saying that they are aware of the comics but ultimately think they are making the best story, which they really aren’t. They also revealed that they never had any intention of pursuing the Laurel/Oliver pairing again which is also another slap in the face to comic book fans, whom without there wouldn’t even be these characters to write about in the first place. You don’t need to be a slave to the comics but you need to at least honor the source material and not kill characters that are intrinsically tied to the main character across different forms of media. Plus the way she went out didn’t even honor her as a heroine as she is killed to send a message to her father and to make Diggle and Oliver feel guilty.

Here’s what I would have done with the characters they said they couldn’t kill off:

Thea Queen– I would have left her alone, she is still one of the best characters on the show and I will miss her.

Quentin Lance– He was grave candidate number one for me. I would have killed him off and had that trigger the next round of stories including Laurel improving herself and growing more into her Black Canary role. He also would have propelled Felicity’s story since he is dating her mother as well as Oliver whom he had a strained father figure/son relationship with. They could have found a way for Thea and Diggle to be affected as well. This also fits in well with the theme of parents sacrificing themselves for their children that the season seemed to be writing towards.

John Diggle– since his brother betrayed him, it would have made sense for Dig to pay the ultimate price. This would have affected all of the Team as well.

Felicity Smoak– Is a shrill and abusive girlfriend and frankly the way they’ve written her this season makes any sensible person want her in the grave, alas she was shown as safe during the midseason premiere.

In all, I would have preferred that they left the entire team alone since I generally like all of them, including Shrillicity when she’s written well.

That boneheaded decision finds me breaking up with a series that I used to love and support. I’ve talked about Arrow in my weekly column quite frequently. I’ve met Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy and I still have a ticket for the next Heroes and Villains Con which I’m not as excited for unless Katie attends.  I’ve bought the tie-in comics, the action figures, DVDs and trading cards but that ends here. The last thing I will buy that is Arrow related is the forthcoming Laurel Lance/Black Canary action figure, since she was the one that was wronged and she is and always will be my favorite.The only way you’ll get me watching the show again and buying the merchandise is to reverse the death, I can live with the Oliver/Felicity pairing though I despise it, but Laurel should never have died in the first place.

I’ll leave with a Laurel quote dedicated to a show I once felt something for:

“It’s hard to remember a time when I was ever in love with you…”

R.I.P. Laurel Lance and Arrow. She deserved better.

If you are upset as I am, I want to hear from you on Twitter: ValentineC1979 and you can also tweet #NoLaurelNoArrow, if you’re appalled by this decision.

 

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- The Cat and The Canary

DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU WANT TO AVOID POTENTIAL ARROW/FLASH/LEGENDS OF TOMORROW SPOILERS.

Hey guys- at the beginning of this season on Arrow, a mysterious death that is supposed to stick was teased on the show to take place sometime during the back half of the season. That mystery looks to be solved in this week’s episode and if all the leaked pictures are to be believed, including shots of SPOILER Dinah Laurel Lance’s SPOILER grave from the Legends of Tomorrow first season finale, Star City is about to have one less vigilante and it is a bone-headed decision. That being said, further spoilers for the penultimate episode of The Flash Season Two seem to show us a completely new iteration (i.e. Earth-2) of said character, portrayed by the same actress appearing to either fight alongside Barry or against. I don’t know what to believe anymore, but I think the CW DC TV shows will go down as a massive joke if they kill an iconic character and one as important to the Green Arrow and Justice League mythos such as the Black Canary without some sort of way out. I will drop Arrow out of protest, though I haven’t watched the past two episodes anyway. I will continue to support Katie Cassidy’s career if she is the one being written off the show and still hold out a brief glimmer of hope that her Flash stint could become permanent. I’ve already dismantled my Arrow toy shelf in anticipation of the big death. If Laurel survives, then I will gladly eat crow.

END SPOILERS

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That bit of news aside, there’s a couple of neat items to discuss this week- both featuring everyone’s favorite feline femme fatale. The first is the Tweeterhead/Sideshow Batman Returns Catwoman piece. Based on Michelle Pfeiffer’s likeness, this statue finds Selina Kyle atop a rooftop base, whip in hand, ready to strike the Batman. 040232300646The other Catwoman piece is a statue from Diamond Select Toys which like its predecessor, Batgirl, is based on the now 50-year-old Adam West Batman 1966 TV series. Catwoman is sculpted to resemble Julie Newmar and comes standing atop a base with the classic Batman TV logo emblazoned upon it.699788813287

Other Catwoman items in-stock now include the Batman 1966 Catwoman bust, also based on Julie Newmar’s likeness, the Cover Girls of the DC Universe Catwoman statue and the Batman: The Animated Series Catwoman bust designed after her look in the 1992-1995 series. If Catwoman isn’t your thing, but you love 1966 Batman, we’ve still got a number of items in stock from that era of Batmania. This includes the Batman, Robin and Batgirl three-pack, the Batmobile with Batman and Robin figures, the To The Batcave set with Bruce Wayne and the Batcomputer and the Tweeterhead Yvonne Craig as Batgirl Maquette. Tweeterhead also released one other awesome piece recently, particularly if you enjoy Batman comics from the 1950s- the Kathy Kane Batwoman maquette recently arrived and she is in all her retro glory.

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As I started working on this column, we received a limited refresh on Batman: The Animated Series figures which probably won’t last too long. Harley Quinn, The Mad Hatter, The Penguin, The Riddler, Robin, The Joker and Man-Bat from the original Animated Series are all back in stock as well as Batgirl, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, Robin, Bane, Scarecrow, The Creeper and Mr. Freeze from The New Batman Adventures. The Batman and Phantasm two pack completes our restock of animated style action figures.

I got to see Batman V Superman last week and I mostly enjoyed it. It isn’t the best superhero movie in the world, but I had fun watching it. Brief thoughts on the film- it was a little disjointed at times, Batman was a massive jerk, Superman was fine, Wonder Woman is AMAZING! Gal Gadot’s portayal of the Amazon Princess, no matter how brief made the film for me. Whether it was the thrill of finally seeing her on the big screen for the first time or because I just love Wonder Woman, she was a breath of fresh air. If you’re feeling like you need merchandise from the film, we’ve gotten a restock of action figures of the DC Trinity as they appear in the movie back on our shelves. You too can own a Ben Affleck Batman, Henry Cavill Superman, and Gal Gadot Wonder Woman if your heart desires. Each figure from Mattel has a piece to build Batman’s Grapple Gun and are fully articulated so you can pose them for your own adventures. If Barbie dolls are more to your liking, we also just received the Batman and Superman Barbie Brand dolls from the movie. No Diana yet, sadly.

Next week: the 500th issue of the Weekly Planet. Catch you guys then!

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Game of Thrones Blu-Ray Giveaway Contest From Forbidden Planet NYC

Be sure you’re following Forbidden Planet NYC on Twitter. Lots of great stuff over there. Take this sweet Game of Thrones giveaway contest for instance…

ONE grand prize winner will receive all five seasons on Blu-Ray from us. FIVE runners up will receive one random season each. Follow us and RT that sometime before March 18th. Good luck!!!

UPDATE: Here’s a pic of the grand prize sitting on my desk to illustrate just how truly bodacious this giveaway is:

Forbidden Planet contest free giveaway Game of Thrones Blu-Ray DVD

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Val’s Toy Chest- MARVELous Toys Assemble

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Briefly:

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

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

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

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

 

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Upsidedown Cross DVD Release Party This FRIDAY 2/26

Exploited, Abused, Addicted and Sick… Nadine Survived the Streets, but Can She Survive an Exorcism?

Find out this Friday February 26th from 7 to 9 at the Upsidedown Cross DVD release party at Forbidden Planet NYC!

Check out this video Alternative Cinema put together promoting the film and event!

Once again Forbidden Planet will team up with Alternative Cinema home entertainment to host an in-store event of epic proportions! This time for for the release of Upsidedown Cross, the newest feature film by director William Hellfire (Duck! The Carbine High Massacre, An Erotic Werewolf in London). Celebrate with the stars and crew and get your copy of Upsidedown Cross signed!

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About the Film…

Nadine (Erin Russ/Porkchop), a drug addicted young prostitute in the throes of withdrawal, returns to her childhood home and the mother she ran away from. Nadine’s mother, Delilah, is a delusional religious fanatic that believes demons have possessed her daughter. In search of a “cure” for her daughter’s erratic behavior, she finds a rogue preacher (David Yow of The Jesus Lizard) willing to exorcise the demons.  But neither mother nor daughter recognize the true devil until it is too late!

This collector’s edition of Upsidedown Cross – limited to 1,000 copies – includes a 2-sided cover featuring original photography by Jackie Cerniglia, an illustrated Chick Tract comic by notorious underground comic artist Mike Diana, and image galleries featuring photos and original illustrations inspired by UpsideDown Cross.

What: Upsidedown Cross DVD Release Party and signing.
When: Friday February 26th 7 – 9PM
Who: William Hellfire: Duck! The Carbine High Massacre, An Erotic Werewolf in London
Erin Russ: Porkchop, When Black Birds Fly
Tina Krause: Nikos The Impaler, Woodsman: Forest of Pain,
Mike Hunchback: The Long Island Serial Killer, Diary Of A Deadbeat
Rick Savage: Silence of the G.A.M.S., Backdoor Lambada
Jimmy ScreemerClauz: When Blackbirds Fly, Where the Dead Go to Die
Why: Support independent cinema!
Can’t make it to our in-store event with the cast and crew of Upsidedown Cross? Don’t sweat it it, Forbidden Planet has got your back! You can pre-order a copy of Upsidedown Cross now at www.fpnyc.com and we will get it signed for you by all guests in attendance on February 26th. Then after the event we will ship it right to your door. So if you live in another state or are just really lazy you can still get a signed copy of Upsidedown Cross and lie to all your friends about how great a time you had at the Upsidedown Cross in-store event at Forbidden Planet NYC!

Too lazy to even go to our site and use the search engine to find Upsidedown Cross? Well click right HERE to order!

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UPSIDEDOWN CROSS DVD RELEASE PARTY

Exploited, Abused, Addicted and Sick… Nadine Survived the Streets, but Can She Survive an Exorcism?

Find out at the Upsidedown Cross DVD release party on Friday February 26th from 7 to 9 at Forbidden Planet NYC!

upsidedown

Once again Forbidden Planet will team up with Alternative Cinema home entertainment to host an in-store event of epic proportions! This time for for the release of Upsidedown Cross, the newest feature film by director William Hellfire (Duck! The Carbine High Massacre, An Erotic Werewolf in London). Celebrate with the stars and crew and get your copy of Upsidedown Cross signed!

About the Film…

Nadine (Erin Russ/Porkchop), a drug addicted young prostitute in the throes of withdrawal, returns to her childhood home and the mother she ran away from. Nadine’s mother, Delilah, is a delusional religious fanatic that believes demons have possessed her daughter. In search of a “cure” for her daughter’s erratic behavior, she finds a rogue preacher (David Yow of The Jesus Lizard) willing to exorcise the demons.  But neither mother nor daughter recognize the true devil until it is too late!

This collector’s edition of Upsidedown Cross – limited to 1,000 copies – includes a 2-sided cover featuring original photography by Jackie Cerniglia, an illustrated Chick Tract comic by notorious underground comic artist Mike Diana, and image galleries featuring photos and original illustrations inspired by UpsideDown Cross.

What: Upsidedown Cross DVD Release Party and signing.
When: Friday February 26th 7 – 9PM
Who: William Hellfire: Duck! The Carbine High Massacre, An Erotic Werewolf in London
Erin Russ: Porkchop, When Black Birds Fly
Tina Krause: Nikos The Impaler, Woodsman: Forest of Pain,
Mike Hunchback: The Long Island Serial Killer, Diary Of A Deadbeat
Rick Savage: Silence of the G.A.M.S., Backdoor Lambada
Jimmy ScreemerClauz: When Blackbirds Fly, Where the Dead Go to Die

Why: Support independent cinema!

Can’t make it to our in-store event with the cast and crew of Upsidedown Cross? Don’t sweat it it, Forbidden Planet has got your back! You can pre-order a copy of Upsidedown Cross now at www.fpnyc.com and we will get it signed for you by all guests in attendance on February 26th. Then after the event we will ship it right to your door. So if you live in another state or are just really lazy you can still get a signed copy of Upsidedown Cross and lie to all your friends about how great a time you had at the Upsidedown Cross in-store event at Forbidden Planet NYC!

Too lazy to even go to our site and use the search engine to find Upsidedown Cross? Well click right HERE to order!

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Val’s Toy Chest- DC Media Action Figures

It’s a brand new week here at the Planet and I definitely have some cool toys to discuss in this column. The majority of our toy news has to do with DC Comics and their world of characters and there are some neat pieces from Funko due within the next few weeks. Let’s see what’s coming out.

DC Comics’ staple of characters have been active on the small screen since the debut of the 1950’s TV series: The Adventures of Superman all the way through to the newest series: Legends of Tomorrow. This latest CW show is all about time travel, so let’s travel back in time ourselves to late 1967/early 1968. That was the year of the third and final season of the legendary Batman TV series starring Adam West. Though Batmania was waning by this point in the 60’s, people never forgot the original Batman series and when the 1989 Batman film by Tim Burton came out, the reruns of the 60’s shows started airing again and turned me into a fan at the tender age of 10 years old.

I bring up the classic Batman TV show because there was no screen accurate merchandise for the series back in the day. That all changed back in 2012 when Warner Brothers and DC announced a new program that would allow actor likenesses from the old 60’s show to be used for toys and other merchandise. One of the last actors to agree to offer her likeness in this program was the late Yvonne Craig which is why you are only now starting to see Batgirl product using her likeness. This week we will be receiving an awesome three-pack featuring TV’s Terrific Trio as made by Mattel. Each figure comes housed in their own separate slot in a cool window package with colorful graphics designed to evoke the feeling of the old TV show. Batman, Robin and Batgirl each come with a character stand and are fully poseable. In addition to the three-pack, we will also receive an accessory heavy set called “To The Batcave” which will include a bunch of the iconic props seen on the show including the Batphone, Shakespeare’s Bust and more. Batman is featured in this set along with an interchangeable Adam West as Bruce Wayne head.

Moving forward in time to the current era of live-action DC Comics brings us to the current CW trinity of Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. The former two series have plenty of merchandise available including two new figures shipping this week. Mattel’s DC Multiverse series will bring together the comics, TV, movie and video-game iterations of many DC favorites. The Flash and Arrow are part of the Justice Buster Collect and Connect series stand about 6″ tall, are fully articulated and come with pieces to build the aforementioned figure. Shipping with this set will be a figure of The Joker as he appears in the recent Batman storyline, “Endgame”. Future figures in the series include the TV version of the Reverse Flash,  the Superman of Earth-23 and more.

Speaking of DC Media, there’s a new Batman and Superman movie coming out and the DC Multiverse series will also be issuing figures from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Figures set to arrive this week are Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and an Armored Batman. All four of these figures are based on their appearance in the new film and feature the likenesses of actors Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot, respectively. Each action figure is fully articulated and come with accessories and a piece to build Batman’s Grapple Gun.

Turning our attention to Funko, Funko POPs that should be arriving soon include POPs from Shrek, Netflix’s Daredevil, Call of Duty, Supernatural and more. On the DC front, we’ve gotten in the Aquaman POP from Batman V Superman and we’ve received a restock on Arrow’s Felicity. Funko Wacky Wobblers from the Batman V Superman movie are also here and feature Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman.

That’s pretty much it for me this week! See you in the store!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Heroes and Villains to Gather

As we get further and further away from the beginning of the year the toy releases are starting to trickle in slowly. I’ve got some intel on what Hot Toys we should be getting within the next few weeks(should release schedules hold up), as well as details on what will be here this week. Lastly- CW shows are back on this week and I am heading to Heroes and Villains Fan Fest this weekend to meet a bunch of the actors from these very shows.

First we’ll talk about the new releases schedule to come out this week. The latest figure in the Marvel Play Arts Kai series is due and it just happens to be my favorite Marvel character- Natasha Romanov- the Black Widow. Black Widow will come with an array of accessories including weapons and blast effects and is fully articulated. Another of my favorite characters makes her dazzling debut in the high-end Robert Tonner doll collection with the release of the Classic Batman TV Series Batgirl. Batgirl will be 16″ tall and dressed in her glittery purple bodysuit with gold emblem, a purple and gold cape, a belt and will feature the likeness of the original live-action Batgirl, Yvonne Craig. The doll will have a removeable brown wig to simulate Barbara Gordon’s look on the show as well as a mask with attached red hair to complete the Batgirl ensemble. Elsewhere in the DC Universe- the Mattel figures I mentioned in last week’s column should start to hit this week. The first Mattel product will be the basic Batman V Superman movie line which will showcase Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. There will be three versions of the Caped Crusader, two of the Man of Steel and one of the Amazing Amazon in this initial shipment. All figures will feature limited points of articulation as well as kid-friendly gear and weaponry.

Now as far as Hot Toys go- we’ve gotten notices for two very exciting figures to be released within the next few weeks. First among these is the long-awaited Guardians of the Galaxy Thanos 1:6 scale action figure. Thanos will come with a newly developed muscular body sculpt with body armor and a light-up throne for him to rule the galaxy. The other even more exciting release in this author’s humble opinion is our first non-Stormtrooper Hot Toy from the recent box-office smash Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I’m speaking of the villainous Kylo Ren. Kylo will come dressed as he appears in the film and will come with his lightsaber and the usual Hot Toys articulation and interchangeable parts. Another Star Wars Hot Toy that should be here soon is the First Order TIE Fighter Pilot featuring the character as it appears in the new movie.

The Flash returned with a new episode last night and tonight sees the return of Arrow. Will Oliver Queen find his quarry Damien Darhk after the attack on his –groan– fiancee Felicity Smoak? Will Felicity become a low-rent Oracle in everything but name? Will Diggle, Thea and especially Laurel ever get a meaningful storyline for the rest of this season? We shall see. The long-awaited debut of Legends of Tomorrow will bethis Thursday and I am excited about it. The show follows the adventures of a ragtag team that includes fan-favorites like The Atom and ex-Canary Sara Lance (now going by the name White Canary) alongside new heroes Hawkman, Hawkgirl and Firestorm and Flash rogues Captain Cold and Heat Wave gathered by a time-traveler named Rip Hunter. Their goal: stop Vandal Savage from becoming a threat in the far future.

Speaking of the Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow– this weekend at the Meadowlands will be the inaugural Heroes and Villains Fan Fest put on by the same people that run Walker Stalker Con. This particular show is also co-organized by one Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen/Green Arrow) which explains the high volume of his fellow castmates attending the show this weekend. If you’re a fan of Arrow, Stephen will be there along with Katie Cassidy (Laurel Lance/Black Canary), David Ramsey (Diggle), Willa Holland (Thea Queen/Speedy), Paul Blackthorne(Detective Lance) John Barrowman (Malcolm Merlyn), Colin Donnell (Tommy Merlyn) and Katrina Law (Nyssa Al Ghul). Flash fans have Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin Snow), Robbie Amell (Ronnie Raymond/Firestorm) and Teddy Sears (Jay Garrick) to look forward to. Legends of Tomorrow fans will get to meet the two lovely ladies of the series with Caity Lotz(Sara Lance/White Canary) and Ciara Renee (Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl) scheduled to make an appearance at the show. Fans of Gotham will also have a couple of castmembers present and Doctor Who fans can look forward to Karen Gillan(Amy Pond) in addition to the aforementioned Barrowman. I will be in attendance both days and I will try to have my con experience for all of you in my next column.

On that note- catch you guys next time!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Top 5 Action Figures of the Year

It has been quite an eventful year in the worlds of fantasy, sci-fi, comics and horror. We’ve lost a few stars of the genre this year including the beloved Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), sassy librarian Barbara Gordon a.k.a. Batgirl (Yvonne Craig), the father of some of our worst Nightmares (Wes Craven), Superman’s best friend Jimmy Olsen (Jack Larson), the original Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) and another of Kirk’s crew,Yeoman Rand (Grace Lee Whitney). It wasn’t just a year of loss as we witnessed the Age of Ultron and saw The Force Awaken(s) on the big screen. Heroes arose in live-action on regular and internet TV(Black Canary, The Atom and Speedy on Arrow, Hawkman and Hawkgirl on The Flash, Jessica JonesDaredevil and so much more) and the silver screen (Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, The Vision plus the heroes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens) to much fanfare. The toy world has exploded with all sorts of characters this year including a bunch from the aforementioned properties and there will be a bevy of awesome figures coming out next year as well.

To close out this year at Forbidden Planet- we’ve gotten and are getting a few noteworthy items to talk about this week and I will also talk about my five favorite figures that I’ve purchased in 2015 and my five most anticipated figures for 2016. Kicking it off with NECA’s products- the excellent Terminator 2: Judgement Day action figure of Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor has arrived and she is AWESOME. Fully articulated with three interchangeable heads and a neat array of weapons I’d highly recommend her for Terminator fans and female action figure collectors. NECA has also released a new series of Aliensfigures- this time based on the Alien: Isolation video game and featuring figures of a Xenomorph and two versions of Ripley’s daughter Amanda. If you are a fan of the Alien figure series- these figures follow the same styling and articulation scheme as previous Aliens figures. Finally- we are getting the newest entry in Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo series- my favorite stunning siren- Dinah Laurel Lance- the Black Canary. Featured in her classic fishnets and leather look, this statue should please longtime fans of the series as well as Canary fans like myself.

Now without further ado- my top 5 Action Figures of 2015:

5. Aliens Series 5 (NECA): Ellen Ripley– Dressed as she appears in the 1986 classic Aliens. She was one of my most anticipated and she definitely did not disappoint.

4. Marvel Legends Thanos Series (Hasbro): Hellcat– Currently the star of her own ongoing series, this 6″ fully articulated action figure of Patsy Walker is a first time figure and has always been a favorite character of mine.

3. Star Wars: The Black Series (Hasbro): Princess Leia Organa Boushh Disguise– One of my all-time favorite Leia variations made her way into the 6″ Star Wars Black line and she is a beauty. With a removable helmet and all the accessories one would need to reenact her scenes in Jabba’s Palace- this one was a definite favorite this year.

2. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (NECA): Ultimate Sarah Connor– As stated above- a great figure with a great sculpt and check out those guns!

1. Batman: The Animated Series- The New Batman Adventures (DC Collectibles): Batgirl– Based on the Kids WB version of Batgirl as seen in the 1997 series, this figure was gorgeously sculpted and looks like she just stepped off the screen.

And now- my five most anticipated figures for 2016, thus far-

5. Batman V Superman Movie Masters (Mattel): Wonder Woman– I am unsure how I feel about the film in general but I am still looking forward to seeing Wonder Woman in action on the big screen and collecting various paraphernalia. Based on Gal Gadot’s portrayal of the famed comic book character, this should prove to be a popular piece.

4. Marvel Legends Onslaught Series (Hasbro): Mockingbird– Never before available in a 6″ format- this figure of newly minted TV star of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Bobbi Morse features her in her latest outfit and should be a good figure for those building their Marvel Universe in figure form.

3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Hot Toys): Rey– I loved when spoiler and also that scene where spoiler. I don’t want to talk too much about her since the movie is still new but she is an amazing heroine and the Hot Toys version of her is sculpted to look just like actress Daisy Ridley. I know quite a few staff members anticipating her release. On a side note- I am also excited to find the cheaper 6″ Star Wars Black Hasbro version sometime in the new year.

2. Batman: The Animated Series (DC Collectibles): Zatanna– Based on her appearance during the 1993 run of Batman: The Animated Series this Bruce Timm designed figure was always one I wanted when I was a kid. The closest we ever got was the Justice League Unlimited Figure from Mattel. This one comes with episode specific accessories and should be as gorgeous as previous offerings in the series.

1. Arrow TV (DC Collectibles): Black Canary– It took two and a half seasons for Katie Cassidy’s Laurel Lance to fulfill her destiny as the Black Canary on the CW’s Arrow and this figure is a nice commemorative piece for a character and a show I mostly love. Combine it with the fact that Canary is my favorite character of all time and you have a real winner.

There’s sure to be more coming out next year that I’ll love and you can bet I will discuss them in this very column. That’s it for me this year! Catch you next year with an all new Val’s Toy Chest. Happy New Year!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Christmas with the Super-Heroes

It has been a busy weekend at the Planet- so much so, that I actually didn’t get to see the complete list of what’s coming in this week. I know we will be getting the new Justice League: Gods and Monsters Animated Movie Figures of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman– all of whom are not the traditional versions of the characters and maybe a couple of other DC Collectibles items. This week’s column is a little different as I won’t be talking about our new items but rather discussing my all-time favorite comic book holiday tale.

The year was 1988 and I remember seeing and getting the DC Comics Christmas with the Super-Heroes special either at my local newsstand or at one of the mall bookstores I would sometimes find myself at. The cover featured seven of DC’s celebrated characters as illustrated by John Byrne in front of a Christmas tree with some very badly wrapped presents in front of them. Black Canary, Green Arrow, Batman, Superman, Wonder Girl Donna Troy, Robin Dick Grayson and Wildfire were the representatives of the six reprinted stories in the $2.95 cover-priced comic. There were two Batman solo stories, a Superman/Santa Claus team-up, a swingin’ sixties Teen Titans tale, a Legion of Super-Heroes tale and the one story that could quite possibly be my favorite Justice League of America story of all-time. First- a little background.

Now I know I mostly talk about toys in this column- so here’s something you might not have known about me- I am a huge fan of the classic JLA run- starting from when they were in the Secret Sanctuary with a mascot named Snapper Carr all the way thru the Satellite Era. I haven’t really connected with the Detroit era as much as I’d like to- but that’s another story. For me the very best of the original JLA title was the Satellite Era line-up which had been around maybe a couple of years by the time of this X-Mas tale. The Christmas tale entitled “The Man Who Murdered Santa Claus” was originally presented in Justice League of America #110 and was written by Len Wein and penciled by Dick Dillin. JLA members Superman, Batman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, The Red Tornado and the newly introduced John Stewart make up the issue’s roll call.

Something about this tale of a murdered Santa Claus and the perpetrator behind this act appealed to me- especially during the more action-oriented parts of the story. Here’s the plot- Old-school JLA villain- the Key is dying from radiation poisoning and wants to get revenge on the JLA. To set the events in motion- he murders a man dressed in a Santa Claus outfit that had been with Batman and Superman. Getting the rest of the JLA to investigate proves to be difficult as most of the members are celebrating the holidays with their families. Ollie, Dinah, and Reddy show up and try to locate the Key’s hideout with Batman, Superman and John Stewart (substituting for an injured Hal Jordan) helping out. Once they find their way into an abandoned building- the Key sets up multiple death-traps to take the JLA out.

I’ve always been a sucker for Ten Little Indians type stories where the protagonists get taken out one by one until you’re down to the last of them and this story didn’t disappoint. The most memorable moment for me is the scene where (of course) Black Canary has to sacrifice herself to save the rest of her team. Superman had just given himself up moments before and the five JLAers find themselves in a room filling with deadly gas which Dinah can hold back by using her sonic scream. Oliver wants to stay with her of course but she judo-flips him out of there as the door shuts separating her from the rest of the team- his despair- classic. I won’t tell you anymore as I think it is a story worth tracking down. As far as I know it has only been reprinted in that 1988 special- a shame since it was a good story that deserves to be read every Christmas season. I often wished that the Justice League cartoon would adapt the story into an episode- but alas.

That’s it for me this week- hope you and yours have an awesome holiday season- if you celebrate Christmas- Merry Christmas to ya! I will catch you all next week with my final column for the year. I’m not sure what I will talk about yet- but it should be a fun one!

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Val’s Toy Chest- DC Collectibles Christmas

There’s just one shopping weekend left til Christmas and this one is full of DC Collectibles goodness. There have also been a few new things out within the last couple of days that I will talk about as well.

DC fans will be very busy this week with 10 all-new figures. The Batman: Mask of the Phantasm two pack from DC’s successful Batman: Animated line will be out on Wednesday with a new Batman figure and a fully masked Phantasm.The New Batman Adventures gets some love as well with the release of the series’ unlikely pairing of Killer Croc and Baby Doll. DC Icons continues with figures from DC’s Forever Evil miniseries, an Infinite Crisis figure and more. Black Adam and Lex Luthor hail from Forever Evil, The Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle is from Infinite Crisis and there will be a deluxe Green Lantern Hal Jordan from a storyline called Dark Days. Finally, fans of Terry Dodson’s Teen Titans: Earth One Graphic Novel can look forward to the next three figures in the Terry Dodson Designer Series. Characters coming out this week include Beast Boy, Raven, and Cyborg joining the previously released Starfire. All of DC’s figures are fully articulated and usually come with at least one accessory.

By the time this week is over there will be a new Star Wars movie and we’ve started to get the new Hot Toys figures in. No major characters as of yet but we have gotten two versions of the new First Order Stormtrooper in. The first is the regular version and there is also the Heavy Gunner which comes with a few extra accessories. Each figure is fully articulated and comes with character dedicated accessories.

The Avengers continue to assemble in Hot Toys form with the release of the Avengers: Age of Ultron Thor. Based on the likeness of Thor actor Chris Hemsworth, this figure comes with two Mjolnirs, one with a light-up feature- the other is a metal one with a lightning effect add-on and a character base. Fully articulated and clad in an authentic cloth costume- the Hot Toys Thor would make a great gift this holiday season.

Finally- this week sees the release of a new holiday one-shot featuring one of this writer’s favorite fictional all-girl bands- Jem and the Holograms!  This new tale features a Secret Santa exchange between rival bands Jem and the Holograms and the Misifts. Will they try and bedevil each other or will the holiday spirit make them do nice things for each other? Should be a fun issue and a perfect stocking stuffer.

That’s all for me this week- catch you guys next Wednesday!

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Archie’s Betty DVD Signing with Filmmaker Gerald Peary at Forbidden Planet NYC

Gerald Peary Forbidden Planet Arhie's Betty Signing EventFilmmaker Gerald Peary will be here at FPNYC on Saturday October 3rd at 3pm with DVD copies of his new documentary “Archie’s Betty,” a terrifically swell Americana piece on the real-life inspirations for the Riverdale gang.

Here’s the official trailer:

Here’s The Boston Globe’s article on the film.

There’s a pre-order for signed copies up on our website (available here) if you can’t make it it the gig.

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Val’s Toy Chest- Wes Craven 1939-2015

The year was 1984: Me and my parents had just moved back to New York City after spending a year or so living in Florida. I was five years old with an impressionable young mind and took in all I could of the city while driving around with my dad in his car. One of the most vivid memories I have from that year was seeing a now very iconic movie poster on scaffolding on one such occasion. Considering when the film was released it had to have been around October or so- the movie: Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. The poster painted by Matthew Joseph Peak combined with the memorable tag line: “If Nancy Doesn’t Wake Up Screaming She Won’t Wake Up At All” has never ceased to fascinate and terrify me at the same time. The artwork for the Freddy’s Revenge poster just one year later also captured my attention because of how chilling and well-composed it was. 1987’s Dream Warriors poster scared the bejeezus out of me as well. Peak was a master of his craft for sure.

Of course, I am waxing poetic about A Nightmare on Elm Street in this week’s column because we’ve lost one of the masters of horror and that film’s main architect within the last week and a half. News of Wes Craven’s death hit on Sunday, August 30th after I had written last week’s column and I hadn’t had time to gather my thoughts about it until today. The specter of Craven’s most famous creation: Freddy Krueger has loomed large in my life since I first saw the image of the wide-eyed girl(Nancy Thompson- as I would later discover) in bed with a skull-faced fiend menacing her over her brown tresses with a clawed hand. I was too young to see the film when I was a kid and frankly I know I would have had nightmares had I watched Freddy at that tender age. I had been very curious about the film and remember asking a family friend how scary it was.The memory they shared with me was Tina’s intense death sequence where she is sliced open by the invisible claws and dragged across the ceiling. The Freddy films always had a certain mystique about them that intrigued me when I was growing up and I remember hearing all the gory details about them from my friends in elementary school. Though I never watched the movies as a kid (save for catching the end of the original on WNYW Channel 5 and the end of Dream Master on HBO), I still kind of wanted to see them despite Freddy’s burnt and scarred visage- which horrified me when I was first exposed to it. There was a time when I couldn’t even look at Freddy for fear that he would show up in my dreams. (He has by the way.)

I finally got over my fear of Freddy in my mid-20s. I caught the 2006 Infinifilm release playing onscreen at my very first Fangoria convention and decided to jump in and buy the movie and I’ve loved A Nightmare on Elm Street ever since. As those of you who’ve read my weekly column know- I am a strong proponent of fierce, powerful female characters and one of the very best of those is the heroine from this film- Nancy Thompson played by Heather Langenkamp. I loved Nancy so much that I refused to watch her on-screen demise in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors for a long time. I eventually got around to the rest of the series after meeting Heather, Robert Englund (a sweetheart through and through and since meeting him, I’ve had no Freddy dreams) and most of the cast of Part 1 at Monster Mania in 2009 for a 25th Anniversary reunion. The Nightmare films are definitely my favorite horror franchise- they’re innovative, scary, not gory for the sake of gore (i.e. very few body parts flying around, no real eviscerations, etc.), fantastical and usually feature strong heroines and characters you actually care about. The trailer for the first film refers to it as a horror-fantasy and I’ve always seen it and the rest of the series that way(not counting Freddy vs. Jason).


Wes was the mastermind behind the original film which is arguably the best in the entire series. His involvement with the later sequels was largely non-existent, though he had a hand in Dream Warriors and the wildly innovative Wes Craven’s New Nightmare which involved several original cast and crewmembers playing themselves. If you’ve been in the store lately we’ve had almost nothing but the original Nightmare and New Nightmare playing on the screen during my shifts in tribute to Wes. Even though we’ve lost the man, his ideas and films live on through home video and merchandise including toys mostly of Freddy though there’s also been a couple of static Nancy pieces as well as items of Ghostface from Scream

Beyond the Nightmare films, Wes also directed The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, The Serpent and the Rainbow, DC Comics’ Swamp Thing and the Scream franchise amongst others. I never got to meet the man, but Craven has certainly left an indelible impression on me through the power of film, one burnt villain, a plucky, courageous heroine and a common street name that is probably most associated now with Freddy than anything else. If you are or were a fan of Wes I’d strongly recommend seeking out the excellent four+ hour documentary Never Sleep Again which takes a pretty in-depth look at the franchise including many interview snippets with him as well as the majority of the casts for all 8 of the films in the original series.
Rest in Peace Wes- Thanks for the screams and nightmares and everything in between.

“Whatever you do…don’t fall asleep…”
Top 5 favorite moments from a Wes Craven-directed Nightmare film.

5. Tina Grey’s(Amanda Wyss) final nightmare sequence where she is chased by Freddy, overwhelmed and murdered while being dragged on the ceiling of her mother’s bedroom- with her boyfriend Rod (Nick Corri) watching helplessly, the sequence is recreated with a few adjustments in New Nightmare with Julie and her charge Dylan- A Nightmare on Elm Street.

4. Heather Langenkamp giving in to reprising her role as Nancy Thompson which blurs the lines between fantasy and reality to stop the entity that has taken Freddy’s form. As she starts to accept her fate- John Saxon changes from himself into Lt. Thompson, Heather’s clothes suddenly turn into Nancy’s pajamas and the exterior of Heather’s home becomes the Thompson house at 1428 Elm Street- Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.

3. Nancy’s dream sequence which finds her following Tina in a body bag down into the boiler room only to encounter Freddy himself both as the hall monitor and in his more familiar form- A Nightmare on Elm Street.

2. Nancy’s iconic bathtub nightmare which finds her asleep while in the tub only for Freddy’s glove to join her and drag her under in an attempt to drown her. A static figure for this scene exists in Mezco’s Cinema of Fear Series 2 released in 2007- A Nightmare on Elm Street.

1. Ten seconds remain on Nancy’s watch and she must find Freddy to bring him out into the real world. When he emerges from underneath the trellis, Nancy doesn’t hesitate to jump straight into his arms to try and grab a hold of him so she can wake up with him in tow. Probably one of the few if not only times a horror heroine runs to their attacker instead of away from him in an attempt to stop his madness once and for all- A Nightmare on Elm Street.

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- Yvonne Craig 1937-2015

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This wasn’t a column I thought I would have to write for years to come, but this is the sad reality, much as I would have preferred it not to be. I wrote this piece the same night that I found out about Yvonne Craig’s death and here it is in its entirety:

My world is a little less bright today. This morning (August 19th) as I was waking up to get myself ready for another Wednesday morning at Forbidden Planet I had gone on my phone to check Facebook as I am wont to do. I’ve been rewatching the classic Batman TV series since I received the entire series as a Christmas gift. My favorite season of the entire series is the 3rd Season, which, if you know your Batman history was the season that introduced Yvonne Craig as Commissioner Gordon’s daughter: Barbara, who by day was a librarian but at night was Gotham City’s “best-dressed crimefightress” Batgirl. Anyway, as I’ve been rediscovering the series I started liking pages on Facebook, finding all sorts of websites discussing the classic TV show and also digging out any related books on the show. One specific Facebook page that I liked was an Yvonne Craig fanpage which not only covered her Batman work but other stuff she had done as well.

It was early- maybe around 6 in the morning when I noticed the page had a post where the author wrote that he was “saddened to say that Yvonne Craig died August 17, 2015.” My mind was reeling from the news, Batman(’66, as it has been known since merchandising for the show started back in 2013) has been a huge part of my life since I was a kid. I have a vague recollection of watching it sometime during 1984 or 1985 on Channel 5 WNYW. I can remember one thing clearly from that mostly hazy(fitting, considering the villain’s motif) memory and that was the cliffhanger shot of Batgirl chained in Lord Ffogg’s dungeon from the episode “The Foggiest Notion.” I never saw the resolution of that cliffhanger on WNYW, but would eventually catch the entire run of 120 episodes on both the Family Channel and WPIX 11 during the Batmania revival of 1989. I recorded all of the special event nights that The Family Channel did where they would run a two hour block of episodes(usually on a Friday). It was during one of those nights where I remember seeing my ‘first’ episode with Batgirl. The episode: “Ring Around the Riddler” aired after the Penguin and Marsha, Queen of Diamonds Three-Parter. I loved seeing the different opening credits with Batgirl kicking the thug and her cycling across the screen on her BatgirlCycle. Something about the character and her laughing in the face of danger while being glamorous and feisty appealed to me. I was hooked on Batgirl and Yvonne Craig from that moment on- to the point that I ended up watching both of the films she made with Elvis Presley. As a kid during the 80s and 90s, I spent quite a few weekends watching my recorded Batman episodes on VHS and eventually I only watched season 3 because my attachment to the Batgirl character and Yvonne’s portrayal, was so deep. Keep in mind that this was shortly after “The Killing Joke” had come out and Batgirl the comic book character was a distant memory leaving us the wheelchair bound Barbara Gordon who hadn’t yet- but would become, Oracle. I wore out a couple of my tapes from constantly rewatching them and didn’t have a way to replace the episodes as most channels had stopped airing Batman by the early ’90s. By the time Batman made its way back into syndication, I didn’t have a VCR anymore and I DVRed the Batgirl episodes to relive my childhood affection for her and the show. Thankfully the series is out on DVD and Blu-Ray now after years of legal wrangling and red tape.

As I got ready to go to work, inspiration struck– I dug out my purple and yellow Batgirl logo shirt to wear and I make the decision to show as much of the third season as possible on the TV at work during my shift. I had a need to do something to honor one of my childhood heroines. I got to start the day out with the initial aired Batgirl episode: “Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin” and made it all the way through to the notorious Season 3, Episode 19 “Nora Clavicle and the Ladies’ Crime Club” which not only has the infamous Siamese Human Knot Bat-Trap but is also extremely sexist seen thru modern eyes. I finally capped the whole marathon with the rarely-seen “Batgirl” pilot film that had been used to sell the character to the execs at ABC. Now as I type this out, I’m at home with the recently released Yvonne Craig Batgirl figure from Mattel, the NJ Croce Bendable figure, and a copy of Yvonne’s autobiography: “From Ballet to the Batcave and Beyond.” I am at the very least grateful that I got to meet Yvonne back in 2000 at a comic convention at Madison Square Garden where she signed and inscribed the aforementioned book to me. I’m also pleased that her legacy will live on not only because of the character she helped shape but also because she was truly a pioneer for female action heroes on the screen. The demand for new product from her era of Batman, along with forthcoming pieces featuring her as well as the series’ upcoming 50th Anniversary will help to ensure that her iconic turn as Batgirl will forever be emblazoned in her fans’ hearts. I will treasure all of it along with the memories and joy that Yvonne’s Batgirl has brought me for nearly three decades.

The Terrific Trio has become the Dynamic Duo again. Rest in peace, Yvonne.

A dedicated fan.

Val’s Top 5 Yvonne Craig as Batgirl moments:

5. Batgirl shows up outside of Lord Ffogg’s estate to aid the Dynamic Duo- The Londinium Larcenies

4. Batgirl’s astonishment at the Batcave after she and the Dynamic Duo are de-flattened- The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra

3. Batgirl fights the Penguin and his goons after both have finished racing the Wayne Foundation Handicap- A Horse of Another Color

2. Batgirl takes on the Cossacks on her own before getting ambushed by Egghead and Olga and forced to perform a Saber Dance with frosted swords- The Ogg Couple

1. Batgirl crashes the Penguin’s headquarters as he tries to dunk Batman and Robin into a vat of acid- Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- Marvelous Hot Toys

It’s another new release Wednesday here at the Planet and there’s some cool stuff coming in this week and beyond. Let’s talk about the toys coming out this week first and then I’ll talk a little more about those we are expecting to arrive shortly.

DC Collectibles is continuing their Designer Series of Action Figures based on different artists’ work. They’ve done three full series of Greg Capullo designs and now they are issuing four new figures in the inaugural Jae Lee Designer Series line. Characters featured in this initial lineup include Catwoman, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Each figure is approximately 6-7″ tall with character appropriate accessories and multiple points of articulation and will be on our shelves starting today. DC isn’t planning on stopping there either as they have series planned for Terry Dodson featuring his designs for the Teen Titans: Earth One GN, Lee Bermejo and Darwyn Cooke. The Dodson wave should be out later this year while the Bermejo and Cooke series should hit the shelves sometime in 2016. DC is also continuing the Greg Capullo series in 2016 with figures of the Joker, Wonder Woman plus the Flash and a new version of Batman.

On the Marvel front, we have new Minimates based on the Axis storyline and also a 2nd wave of Avengers: Age of Ultron movie figures. My own Marvel figure interests have been slowly moving towards Hot Toys lately. I still enjoy the Hasbro Marvel Legends and certain Diamond Marvel Select figures, but Hot Toys has had my interest since the first Avengers film. The original film’s Black Widow figure was what roped me into collecting Hot Toys in the first place and though I have a humble collection of Hot Toys, this next year could change that with all the neat, new figures coming out. Expected to arrive in store shortly is the new Avengers: Age of Ultron Black Widow figure from the recent film. Hot Toys is known for their uncanny likenesses, highly detailed costumes and accessories and this figure looks to follow that trend. If you want one I wouldn’t sit on the fence on it for too long since the recent Avengers Hot Toys we’ve received have been selling out quickly. The next Guardians of the Galaxy figure is also due in really soon with the release of the Rocket Raccoon single packed figure. Rocket was one of the breakout stars of last year’s movie so I also don’t expect him to last long. Rocket‘s cohorts still available in store are the Gamora and Groot Hot Toys figures. Other Marvel Studios pieces that we have in stock include the Winter Soldier, Stealth Suit Captain America, the Falcon and the Iron Man Mark XLI “Bones” Armor figure.

Speaking of Marvel and Avengers: Age of Ultron specifically, the Funko POP vinyl figure of the Scarlet Witch based on the character as portrayed by Elizabeth Olsen is also due to arrive in store sometime in the next week or so. Availability of Marvel POPs and really, all POPs in general are constantly fluctuating so if you are interested in seeing which ones we have, I’d recommend coming in and checking out our selection. We should also be getting some restocks in the near future of earlier pieces so check back frequently.

As of this writing we have just received the newest series of Aliens action figures from NECA. I don’t expect these to last long considering how quickly the previous set sold out. Figures in this wave include Aliens Lt. Ellen Ripley, Aliens Bishop (Queen Attack), plus a Red and a Black Alien Xenomorph Warrior as featured in Aliens: Genocide. The Ripley in particular is an excellent piece and features the likeness of Sigourney Weaver from the 1986 film.

This week also sees the release of the latest issue of Black Canary. Last issue left us with a cliffhanger featuring ***SPOILERS*** Kurt Lance, Dinah’s husband. What is his connection to the people going after Black Canary? I’m curious to see how the rest of this arc plays out. Speaking of Dinah Laurel Lance, rumor has it that the Arrow version (played by Katie Cassidy) will be gaining her motorcycle in the forthcoming season as well as have a significant interaction with Matt Ryan’s John Constantine(from the defunct NBC series) who is slated to make a one-off appearance in the season’s 5th episode. Arrow looks to be packing the first episodes of the season with fan-favorite DC characters (Hawkman, Mr. Terrific, Anarky) and/or well-known genre actors (Jeri Ryan, Neal McDonough, Rutina Wesley) as it and the Flash head towards the mid-season premiere of Legends of Tomorrow which will feature the live action debut of Hawkgirl (Ciara Renee) alongside established characters from Flash and Arrow including Brandon Routh’s Atom, Caity Lotz’s Sara Lance, Wentworth Miller’s Captain Cold and more. Doctor Who alum Arthur Darvill will play time-traveler Rip Hunter on the series. The animated Vixen series that takes place in this same universe should be debuting sometime this month on the CW Seed.

One more thing I wanted to mention this week before I sign off is the return of George Perez’s excellent Wonder Woman run from the late 1980s to the bookshelves. This time around the series is reprinted in DC’s oversized omnibus format and will include the first 24 issues of the series and the first Wonder Woman annual. The first Perez arc has also been made available again in a new hardcover format paired with a DVD featuring the original animated film from 2009. There are other books in the series including Batman: Year One, and the Death of Superman. That’s all for me this week. Catch you soon!

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