Category: 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- 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.

HGWhosWho

 

 

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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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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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Val’s Toy Chest- Heroes and Villains Day One

Way back in January, I was excited to go to the inaugural NY/NJ Heroes and Villains Fan Fest held at the Meadowlands Convention Center. I had purchased my ticket to the show on Black Friday the year before- and was anticipating two days of meeting and greeting the stars of my then favorite show. Then- Arrow Season 4, Episode 18 happened and I was DONE. I had been spoiled about the events of that episode prior to them unfolding, but I was hoping that the producers were putting out false spoilers to hide someone else’s fate. Regular readers of this column know how upset I was(and still am) about the unnecessary death of Dinah Laurel Lance/The Black Canary on Arrow earlier this year, so going to Heroes and Villains after breaking up with the show was going to be an interesting experience for me. Of course, since Arrow is part of the CW DC TV Universe, actors from that show, The Flash, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow were going to be in attendance at the con. I still like the latter two shows, though LoT has me a little upset with the decision to can Hawkgirl and Hawkman. And speaking of Hawkgirl- actress Ciara Renee was one of the biggest draws for me at this convention as I’ve enjoyed her portayal of Kendra Saunders throughout the three series. I headed on over to New Jersey on Saturday with my friend Kim and we met Ciara first thing that day. She was very lovely as we chatted briefly and I told her that I was going to miss seeing her as Kendra on a regular basis. She also loved Kim’s shirt. I got an autographed 8×10 from her(which ended up being the only one I got the entire weekend), as well as a picture at her table with me and Kim in the shot.

hawkgirl2

We spent a lot of Saturday walking around as everyone I wanted to meet had massive lines. I managed to luck out and get on Caity Lotz‘s line during one of the rare times where she wasn’t bombarded with a long queue of people. Caity, for those of you who aren’t fans of the different shows, plays an original character named Sara Lance, sister of Laurel Lance, and in the show continuity, was the inspiration for the Black Canary. Sara portrayed the Canary, a League of Assassins member during season 2 of Arrow, before she was killed off to launch Laurel towards her Black Canary destiny. Sara returned to life via the Lazarus Pit and joined LoT as the White Canary, who is a rather enjoyable character. I decided just to get a picture since I owned one of Caity’s autographed Arrow season 2 trading cards already. She was a doll during our brief meeting and I definitely want to meet her again. IMG_0633

Much like her TV sister, Katie Cassidy had a huge line all weekend. Now I’ve met Katie before, but she’s one that I could meet over and over again, especially since she was the live action version of my favorite comic book character. Since I’ve met her before and got an autograph in person and on a trading card, I opted for the photo- a little blurry, but you can tell its us.

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After the picture was taken, I mentioned to Katie that I was annoyed about Laurel’s death and that I wasn’t going to watch Arrow anymore. Katie told me that I still should, but I told her that I wouldn’t until they announce that she’s coming back. She thought that was sweet of me. Great experience with her as always.

My final picture for Saturday was with Willa Holland, whom I will miss seeing as Speedy/Thea Queen, unless she is in a crossover episode. Very brief encounter with her as well, but she seemed really into her fans, which was nice to see, I definitely wouldn’t mind meeting her again either. She also had a massive line all weekend.IMG_0639

Briefly- new Star Wars: The Force Awakens POPs are in, including Maz Kanata, General Leia, FN-2199, Kylo Ren Unmasked, Snap Wexley, ME-809 and the Guavian. Luke is almost gone, though we should be getting more and Rey and Hux haven’t arrived as of this writing. New Marvel Comic-based POPs are also here including Dr. Strange, Doc Ock, Spider-Gwen and the Falcon. These join the previously released She-Hulk and Captain Marvel. Next time: Part 2 of my Heroes and Villains Con experience! See you next week!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Convention Season Is Upon Us

It is convention season as comic cons will begin their summer reign as soon as this weekend.  MegaCon is taking place in Florida over this coming Memorial Day weekend, next weekend is Wizard World Philadelphia and Awesome Con, and there’s several other conventions forthcoming locally and far away all the way thru October.  Whether you are a comic book fan, a Star Trek fan or even a horror movie buff, there’s surely some convention that’ll strike your fancy.  I won’t go into crazy detail in this column, but there’s some cool people going to the various cons, plus there’s bound to be exclusive toys as well.

If you’re into actors from the various TV shows and movies- next week’s Wizard World will have a bunch of actors from the Marvel Cinematic Universe including Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston and Hayley Atwell. Dominic Cooper will also attend, now also known for his role as Jesse Custer on AMC’s Preacher.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows actor Stephen Amell will also be around next weekend in Philly. I won’t get into the rest of the conventions in this column, but there will surely be a few I will attend. You’ll get my reports then.

How awesome was Black Siren in last week’s episode of The Flash? Though I am still salty about the Black Canary‘s demise on Felicity and Friends, I did enjoy seeing Katie Cassidy vamping it up as her Earth-2 Doppelganger. Icon Heroes just announced that they will be releasing a bookend/statue of Laurel’s Canary which joins the previous Flash, Atom, and that dude with the green outfit that shoots pointy sticks from a bow. Though I refuse to buy anymore product from that show, Laurel product is fair game.  Speaking of Black Canary, Rebirth comes out from DC Comics this week and one of the developments finds her and Oliver reuniting after the past four years completely out of each other’s orbits. I am super-excited to see what Benjamin Percy has in store for our iconic duo and if he is to be believed, we will see neither hide nor hair of that tech-gal now known as Overwatch anywhere near his story.

After a long hiatus, DC Collectibles has a few items hitting this week. First and foremost is the Arkham Knight Red Hood figure, featuring the character as he appeared in the popular series of videogames. There is also a brand new entry into the Bombshells series of statues with the debut of Barbara Minerva as the Cheetah. The Cheetah is depicted in classic safari garb with cheetah print peppered thru her outfit. Finally, a new Joker bust is due out this week based on a design by Jim Lee. It’s good to be getting new DC Collectibles again and I hope their schedule gets back on track soon.

On a final note- we should be getting a new Hot Toy really soon. Fans of Samuel L. Jackson can rejoice as we will be receiving our stock of Nick Fury as seen in last summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. I anticipate that this will be a popular piece, especially since so many people missed the original Fury that was issued after the original Avengers movie was released.

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

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- A Siren Drops In on The Flash

It has been over a month since I last watched the CW show that shall not be named. I still watch the other CW series since they weren’t the ones to deal the killing blow to my favorite character.  By the time this makes it into your hands, The Flash will have aired its penultimate episode of the season. Since this is an unexpected sequel to last week’s all-villain edition of the Weekly Planet, I thought I’d share some thoughts on the Black Siren, the Flash TV show’s villainous Earth-2 version of Black Canary– plus the usual toy news you’ve come to expect from my column with some skewing towards the villains.

For fans of the Cartoon Network’s Justice League series, the Black Siren was an alternate universe version of the Black Canary, at the time of Siren’s introduction, Canary hadn’t appeared in any significant manner, if at all, in the animated universe started by Batman: The Animated Series. The Black Siren alias Donna Nance was a member of the Justice Guild of America, an analog of the classic 1940’s team, The Justice Society of America. The episodes featured a weird setting where the Justice League seemed to be caught in a world where time froze in the 50s and Black Siren was super-domesticated- think June Cleaver or Lucy Ricardo. When Laurel Lance died this season, it was immediately announced that Katie Cassidy would reprise her role as an alternate version of Laurel. It was later revealed that her character would be named Black Siren after the JL character which Andrew Kreisberg, now executive producer of The Flash had a hand in creating. In contrast to the original animated character, the Flash’s Black Siren looks to be a gothy, vampy, black-leather clad villainess working for this season’s villain, Zoom and who possesses a costume very close to the comic book Black Canary’s traditional look, down to her choker and bustier. Why the other show couldn’t get it right, I can’t say. To further distinguish Black Siren from Black Canary, this version has the metahuman sonic scream that was denied to Laurel’s Canary during her four seasons. In my ideal scenario, Laurel would come back from the dead and reclaim the Canary moniker and kick some butt, but the execs on that show seem to want to keep her dead for some stupid reason. My second choice is to have this Earth-2 Laurel reform and become the “real” Black Canary from the comics- basically anything to have my favorite character on TV again. I hope the ratings are way up so the CW can see that killing her off was a grave error.

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As far as toys go- we’ve gotten some exciting pieces in this week. If you like your DC characters, we now have the complete set of new DC POP vinyl figures in. These include Cyborg, Supergirl, Power Girl, Firestorm and Black Manta. The Firestorm piece is pretty awesome and has been a fast seller and I anticipate Supergirl will do well because of the TV show. We have also gotten a restock on the Darth Vader POP vinyl and still have the Hot Toys Boba Fett in regular and deluxe version with a Sarlacc Pit base. If you are a fan of the Star Wars Black Series, we also have the 6″ Darth Vader back in stock, possibly for the last time. DC Collectibles’ Animated Batman line also has its share of memorable villains including Joker, Riddler, Man-Bat, Roxy Rocket and Harley Quinn, which are all back in stock too. Marvel fans have the amazing Venom 6″ Marvel Legends figure to drool over with his interchangeable heads including a McFarlanesque sculpt. We also have more stock on everyone’s favorite mad Titan with the Diamond Select Marvel Select Thanos figure.

We are also expecting figures from the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film. The usual suspects are here, including all four Turtles, Casey Jones, plus villains such as The Shredder, Bebop, Rocksteady, Krang and a Foot Soldier. The figures are all in 5″ scale and feature multiple accessories and full articulation.

On the higher end of things, we have some great villain statues in stock. There’s the Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman statue from Batman Returns by Tweeterhead, DC Collectibles’ Joker and Harley Quinn, a Julie Newmar Catwoman from Diamond Select Toys, a Star Wars Captain Phasma vinyl statue from Kotobukiya and so much more.

That’s pretty much it for me this week. Hope you enjoyed our look at some of the villains we have strewn throughout the store, as well as the brief history of the Black Siren. Catch you all next time with more toy news and rumors.

 

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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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