Category: Toys and Action Figures

Val’s Toy Chest- San Diego 2016 DC Toy and Media News

San Diego Comic Con was over this past weekend and there was plenty of awesome toy news. This week I will look at the DC figures and notable items that were announced at the show from DC Collectibles, Diamond Select Toys, Mattel, Hot Toys and whatever else I can fit in the column. Also a couple of brief thoughts on DCTV and the Wonder Woman trailer.

DC Collectibles has even more characters joining their ICONS line including figures for Booster Gold and Blue Beetle, a Jim Balent styled ’90’s Catwoman, The Demon, Deadshot, Shazam, Sinestro and Nightwing. Each figure comes with several accessories and full articulation. I mentioned the DCTV line in the last column and there were no additions there. The Batman The Animated Series line will be joined by a Superman The Animated Series two-pack featuring Superman and Lois Lane, plus New Batman Adventures versions of Catwoman and the Riddler. Announced but not allowed to be photographed were TAS versions of Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze. DC continues their Designer Series with a line by Ant Lucia, featuring everyone’s favorite DC Bombshells. Articulated versions of Wonder Woman, Batwoman, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy make up the initial assortment. All figures mentioned above should start appearing in stores sometime in 2017.

Diamond Select Toys is continuing their line of DC Vinyl figures and Busts based on the classic Batman, Superman and Justice League Unlimited animated series. Characters announced for the vinyl figure line include JLU’s Power Girl analogue Galatea, this author’s favorite, Black Canary, plus the Huntress and many more. Shazam, Hawkgirl, Green Arrow, Aquaman and John Stewart will all get the animated bust treatment.

Mattel is really stepping up their game with the multitude of reveals at San Diego this year, including a few retailer exclusives announced as well as the normal series. Figures announced include TV versions of Jay Garrick, King Shark, Zoom and Hawkman, Comic versions of Batgirl, Jim Gordon Batman, Batman Year 2 villain, The Reaper, Rebirth Batman, The Finch Wonder Woman from the end of her New 52 run, Damian Wayne, Cassie Wonder Girl and Dr. Psycho. Some will be exclusive to specific retailers, while others will be widely distributed. Again, these should be out starting sometime in 2017.

Hot Toys announced and displayed several figures from the forthcoming Suicide Squad film. Characters shown include Harley Quinn, The Joker and Deadshot. These will come with the usual cloth costuming and character specific accessories related to the film. Harley looks pretty darn awesome. Notable other DC products include Cryptozoic’s Bombshells blind box toys, Mezco’s newly announced comic-style Red Arrow, Deathstroke, Darkseid and Joker One:12 figures, plus the debut of their first announced female One:12, Harley Quinn from the Suicide Squad movie.

Finally- DC Live-Action Media made some interesting announcements over the weekend, including the line-up for the Justice Society of America and Legion of Doom debuting on Legends of Tomorrow, the effects of Flashpoint on the Flash, Superman’s arrival on Supergirl, as well as the return of Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance(not necessarily resurrected, BTW) across all of the CW series. That last bit got me excited as that means we’ll continue to see some iteration of Black Canary in the larger DC TV Universe. If you’re a fan of the DC Extended Universe, the trailer for Wonder Woman dropped and it is GLORIOUS.  Gal Gadot proved she has what it takes to play the Amazing Amazon in Batman V Superman and this solo movie should solidify her status as an action star. Can’t wait!

Next week: Marvel Toy Announcements from San Diego Comic-Con- see you then!

Post to Twitter

Val’s Toy Chest- A Legendary Week /SDCC Preview

As I write this column, we have already burned through most of our newly received Spider-Man Marvel Legends action figures. Spider-Man Peter Parker, Spider-Girl Ashley Barton, Hobgoblin and Electro are all that remain from the wave as of today. Each figure in the wave has a piece to build Space Venom and the two sold-out figures were Silk and Spider-Man Miles Morales. We should hopefully get more of these in the future. Arriving this week will be the heavily anticipated X-Men Legends wave and these will definitely not last very long either. X-Men merchandise isn’t as heavily marketed as it was during the 90s and 00s, so there’s definitely a collector’s void that needs to be filled. The previous wave of X-Men Legends ended up being a shared Toys R Us/Diamond exclusive and command some pretty impressive after-market prices. (I still need you Mohawk Storm!) So my advice on this wave is- if you want it, jump on it fast. Seven of the figures in this series have a piece of the Juggernaut so you can build your own Cain Marko. The seven figures needed are: Brown Costume Wolverine, Cable, Phoenix, Rogue, Havok, Kitty Pryde and Iceman. The final figure in the wave is Deadpool, hot off his movie star turn earlier this year. I rarely buy complete Marvel Legends waves and this wave is definitely calling to me. My personal must haves are Rogue, Phoenix, Kitty, Iceman and Juggernaut. Wolverine is rumored to be the best action figure version of him yet, so proceed with this information as you will. We’ve also gotten restocks on Taskmaster, Mockingbird, Agent 13 and Captain America with the Wolf Head.

San Diego Comic Con is this week and although I won’t be there in person, you bet I will be following all of the latest toy reveals and news. As has been tradition the past few years, DC Collectibles has started showing off their new product before the show. Earlier in the year, I lamented that the DC TV line didn’t have a strong enough presence at Toy Fair. This was a mere few weeks before I disowned Arrow as a show, though there are still characters I would want in a DC TV line, particularly from Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, and Supergirl. DC Collectibles is about to give us a good portion of the DC TV verse in action figure form in a big way. From the worst season of Arrow, we will see figures of Matt Ryan’s Constantine and Megalyn E.K.’s Vixen, both awesome guest stars and welcome additions to my live-action DC heroes shelf. Flash sees Zoom, while the inaugural Supergirl season gives us figures of Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl and David Harewood’s Martian Manhunter. Legends of Tomorrow‘s first three offerings are Ciara Renee’s Hawkgirl, Brandon Routh’s Atom and Franz Drameh’s Firestorm. Though I quit the one TV series, I am down for all of these figures, particularly since I enjoyed Vixen and Constantine so much in their guest roles. All I need now are for Speedy, Black Siren and White Canary figures to be announced. These newly announced figures are scheduled to start appearing on store shelves sometime in 2017.

Sideshow Collectibles has been announcing new figures and statues in the lead-up to SDCC and this includes some cool new items including a beautiful Premium Format statue of this author’s favorite super-heroine, everBlack Canary. Fellow FP employee and Kaijuly author, Pablo is thrilled to see that the Main Man, Lobo is getting his first 1:6 scale poseable action figure. Sideshow’s retail partner Hot Toys has also teased Back to the Future 2 toys, including Doc Brown, Marty and a new movie-accurate Delorean car, plus a teaser for the older Luke Skywalker from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

NECA is sure to have some interesting figures on display at SDCC this year, including horror based action figures such as Freddy and Jason, stuff from their Aliens and Predator lines and more. One surprising announcement made prior to the start of the convention is a very interesting action figure two-pack. Based on the treasury-sized special released in 1978 is a two pack of Muhammad Ali and Superman. Each figure is fully articulated and is done in a stylized manner to evoke the art of Neal Adams as seen on the famous cover. NECA doesn’t usually have the license to make DC figures in this scale, but they must have found a similar loophole as they’ve used in the past to make their Toys R Us exclusive DC figures.

That’s all for me this week- next week- we’ll take a gander at what was announced at San Diego Comic Con! Catch you next time!

 

Post to Twitter

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

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

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

img_0642

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post to Twitter

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.

IMG_0637

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!

Post to Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post to Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post to Twitter

Val’s Toy Chest- Icons, Data and SHIELD

It was an eventful weekend for yours truly as I took a trip out to Eternal Con at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, Long Island with fellow FP employee Justin Bacolo. There’s also some toy news to share as we’ve received lots of new product with even more incoming. If you’re a DC toy fan, this is the week for you.

Firstly, let’s talk about Eternal Con. Eternal Con was a lot of fun. Held at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, Eternal Con wasn’t your average convention. The exhibits were open to the public while the show was going on, so you could take in the museum and the vendors. Food pricing onsite was fairly inexpensive, with the exception of drinks. Justin was there for legendary comics writer and former Marvel EIC Jim Shooter, while I was there to meet Elizabeth Henstridge aka Agent Jemma Simmons from Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.  Ms. Henstridge was a delight during my brief interaction with her.  I couldn’t get any information on season 4 of the show as Elizabeth hasn’t begun filming for the next season yet. IMG_0615

After meeting Elizabeth, Justin and I headed to some of the panels that Eternal Con had to offer. The bigger panels were held in an IMAX theatre attached to the museum which is an awesome place for a panel session. Jim Shooter’s panel was great and I decided to stay for Brent Spiner’s. Brent was an amazing panelist as he hammed it up for the audience and took plenty of fan questions. He even did a spot-on impression of his fellow castmate Patrick Stewart. Once Mr. Spiner’s panel ended, I stayed for Elizabeth Henstridge’s panel which was mostly a discussion between her and the moderator about getting her role as Simmons.  I then decided to venture upstairs again to see if I could ask Elizabeth a question about one of her upcoming projects but she had a line, so I decided to forego that and instead got a picture with Brent Spiner. I’ve been a massive Star Trek: The Next Generation fan since I was a teenager and to meet the man who played Data was an awesome moment.

IMG_0622 IMG_0623

Data and Simmons, pretty awesome weekend. My next con is in a couple of weeks and I cannot wait for that one, despite my not being a fan of Arrow anymore. Yes, I will be at the rescheduled Heroes and Villains Fan Fest. All is not lost as Katie Cassidy, Caity Lotz, Ciara Renee, Katrina Law and Willa Holland will all be there so I can get my dose of girl power, especially my Black Canary.

As far as toys this week: Suicide Squad POPs have started to arrive. We have the Shirtless Joker, two versions of Deadshot, Katana, Harley Quinn, Rick Flag, Boomerang, and Killer Croc. We’ve also received the Iron Man Mark 40 from Hot Toys. Music parody lovers rejoice as Weird Al Yankovic‘s first ever 8″ Action Figure has been released from NECA. Finally, DC Collectibles is back on track with new releases from the ICON line. First time figure Atomica joins Superman, Aquaman, and Harley Quinn in this latest wave. These should be awesome figures if the previous series is anything to go by.

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

 

Post to Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post to Twitter

Val’s Toy Chest- Crisis on Infinite Toylines

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

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

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

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

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

Catch you guys next time!

Post to Twitter

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!

 

Post to Twitter

Val’s Toy Chest- Toyetic Villains

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Post to Twitter

Val’s Toy Chest- She Is The One Named

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post to Twitter

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

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

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

630509394579

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

630509394555

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

653569979746

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

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

 

Post to Twitter

Val’s Toy Chest- The Eighties Will Never Die

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

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

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

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

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

Post to Twitter

Val’s Toy Chest- Avengers Incoming- Happy 500!

It is a fairly light week in FP’s toy department. There are a few items on their way in to us however and I’ll tell you about them now. It’s also our 500th issue of the Weekly Planet, so I’ll talk about my all-time favorite DC Comics Anniversary Issues. If you want my thoughts on last week’s Arrow debacle, please refer to fpusadailyplanet.com where I have my final say on what they did to Black Canary.

A couple of the stragglers from the Avengers: Age of Ultron Hot Toys series will be making their appearance in-store soon. Fans of the film can look forward to figures of Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver and Paul Bettany’s Vision joining their growing cast of movie Avengers. The Hasbro Marvel Legends Civil War Series 2 figures should also be making their way in sometime soon. The hot figure from this assortment is sure to be the Black Panther, who makes his feature film debut in Captain America: Civil War this May, portrayed by actor Chadwick Boseman. Black Panther was also recently announced as a Hot Toys figure. There will also be a small Funko restock of various ReAction figures and Star Wars Wacky Wobblers on their way into the store shortly as well. If you still have Star Wars fever, we will be getting the Rey, Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma and other Wacky Wobblers back in.

So it’s our 500th Weekly Planet issue, I can’t believe it’s already at 500, I remember when I used to shop here(as opposed to working here) and when the newsletter had just started. It was a fun bonus to read with my comic purchases and for a while I had amassed a collection of them, I’ve moved several times since and can’t remember where any of the really early issues could be- maybe at my childhood apartment. I never dreamed that one day I would be writing for it myself.  When I think of Anniversary issues, I think of some of the ones I bought as back issues when I was a kid and since I was always a DC fan, I had a bunch of those.  Batman #400 was one I bought at the newsstand in 1986, I enjoyed the story which had pretty much everyone of importance to Batman involved (with two surprising omissions) and was drawn by several of that era’s finest comic book artists.  The cover itself was striking with the Bill Sienkiewicz artwork, the purple and yellow Batman logo and the Gold DC Bullet and Anniversary Logo. Great story about Batman’s enemies all being sprung from Arkham Asylum in a plot by Ra’s Al Ghul to corrupt the Batman. This was essentially a  done in one “Knightfall” 7 years earlier and to date has not been reprinted.

B400

Another particularly memorable issue for me was 1982’s Justice League of America #200, which I bought as a back issue. I am a massive JLA fan, I have every single one of the now discontinued DC Archives plus a good portion of the issues from the 70s and on. (I even have JLA #75, which is considered the first appearance of one Dinah Laurel Lance) JLA #200 was a pretty much perfect issue, although again, someone prominent was missing from the storyline for some reason. The tale was again illustrated by a bunch of DC’s finest talent of that era and featured the 7 founding  members of the JLA facing off against the new kids- so you had battles between Superman and Hawkman, Aquaman and Red Tornado, Wonder Woman and Zatanna, plus a great Brian Bolland-illustrated Batman Vs. Green Arrow and Black Canary portion amongst other tales. Why are they fighting? I’ll let you read the story. This was reprinted in a now out of print George Perez JLA Hardcover.

Next up is Action Comics #600 from 1988 which I loved as a huge Wonder Woman fan back in the day. This was the issue where the lead story finds Post-Crisis Superman and Wonder Woman trying to figure out if they should pursue a romance, but run afoul of Darkseid and his minions on Olympus during this first date. Great tale by Perez and John Byrne. Speaking of romantic Anniversary issues, Tales of the Teen Titans #50 springs to mind with the nuptials of Donna Troy and Terry Long, attended by Titans past and present as well as some other familiar faces, all mostly out of costume. The Action tale is reprinted in Man of Steel Volume 8, while the Donna Troy(HI JULIA!) story is reprinted in New Teen Titans: Who Is Donna Troy?

There’s many more Anniversary issues out there, but these are the ones that have stuck with me from childhood til today. Hope I jogged some of your nostalgia for some of these old DC tales and I hope you enjoyed this 500th issue of The Weekly Planet! Catch you next time!

 

Post to Twitter