Category: Toys and Action Figures

Val’s Toy Chest- POPs Everywhere…

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

Other toys and toy-related items this week:

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

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

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

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

 

Post to Twitter

Val’s Toy Chest- Elm Street Denizens

I couldn’t make it out to Monster Mania in New Jersey this past weekend, so I ended up missing the mini- A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master Reunion. The fourth Elm Street is widely considered to be the film that firmly placed Freddy Krueger in the cultural zeitgeist, particularly since it was the highest grossing of the Elm Street films until the release of Freddy Vs Jason. I chose ANOES 4 as my top Elm Street film during my Halloween countdown last year, so this time out I thought I’d delve into my 10 favorite non-Freddy characters from across the franchise.008215714354

10. Kristen Parker-(A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master) Kristen had her moments of strength but in the long run was no match for Freddy as he incinerated her in 4, though not before she passed her abilities to Alice. Played by Oscar winner Patricia Arquette in 3 and singer/actress Tuesday Knight in 4.

9. Dan Jordan– (ANOES 4 and A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child) Heroine Alice’s love interest, Dan was one of the few to believe and try to help her during the events of 4. Dan was dispatched in 5 when Freddy merged his body to a motorcycle with bloody and painful results, especially in the uncut version as seen on VHS and laserdisc. Dan’s appeal is mostly due to his chemistry with Alice and he broke the mold of the stereotypical jock you’d see in an 80s film. Played by Danny Hassel.

8.  Lt. Donald Thompson– (A Nightmare on Elm Street, ANOES 3 and briefly in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare) Nancy’s father was one of the original mob to take vigilante justice out on Fred Krueger, creating a monster in the process. He refused to believe his daughter when she started seeing Freddy in her dreams due to his own guilt and endangered her in the process. After being forced to reveal Freddy’s resting place, Thompson had a fatal encounter with Freddy’s skeleton a la Ray Harryhausen and was impaled on the back of a Cadillac in part 3. Played by legendary actor John Saxon.

7. Roland Kincaid– (ANOES3 and ANOES 4)  A no nonsense character, Kincaid had a heart of gold and wasn’t afraid to speak his mind- Kincaid survived part 3 with Kristen and Joey but was stabbed in the gut by Freddy in part 4. Played by Ken Sagoes.

6. Lisa Webber– (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge) Lisa makes it on the list as she faced her fears and confronted Freddy at a power plant in an effort to free Jesse Walsh’s body from Krueger’s possession. It is unknown what happened to Lisa as she is never mentioned again in the series. Played by Kim Myers.

5. Tina Grey/Kris Fowles– (ANOES 1984/ANOES 2010)  The two characters are essentially the same, Tina was Nancy’s best friend and had some great scenes with her during the first film. Kris was an acquaintance of her Nancy and when she started having bad dreams, she tried to get to the bottom of the Fred Krueger mystery, to no avail. Tina and Kris were killed in the same manner with Freddy dragging her across the ceiling and slashing her to death. Tina also gets bonus points for her bloody body bag scene in the original. Tina was played by Amanda Wyss and Kris by Katie Cassidy.

4. Taryn White– (ANOES 3) Fighting her drug-addicted past, this teenager envisioned herself as a punk goddess in her dreams. Being beautiful and bad couldn’t save her as Freddy injected her with a lethal dose of drugs thru his syringed hands. Portrayed by Jennifer Rubin.

3. Debbie Stevens– (ANOES 4) The rare female jock, Debbie was all about improving her body. She also didn’t believe in Freddy but he went all Kafka on her and crushed her like a bug. One of only two characters on this list to have an action figure, the Debbie Stevens figure wasn’t a good seller, but it remains one of my favorite Elm St collectibles. Played by Brooke Theiss.

696198250442

2. Alice Johnson-(ANOES 4 and ANOES 5) Alice started off as a shy introvert but once her friends started dying off, she used their strength, as well as her own confidence to help defeat Freddy twice- surviving both encounters. Alice was played by genre actress Lisa Wilcox.

1. Nancy Thompson-(ANOES, ANOES 3 and WCNN) Nancy is the original Elm Street heroine and nothing compares to her pluck and courage taking on Freddy in the first film particularly. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Nancy running into Freddy’s arms in an attempt to pull him out of her dreams solidifies her place as most badass horror heroine ever. Nancy is killed off in 3 after Freddy tricks her with a vision of her father then stabs her to death. Nancy is the only other character on this list to have a figurine (though she deserves a better one, NECA). Nancy was portrayed by Heather Langenkamp, who now does special effects for plenty of genre shows and movies.

Briefly: Play Arts Kai is releasing an Armored Batman for their Batman V Superman line this week and we should be getting a shipment of Hot Toys The Force Awakens Captain Phasma soon. Just in are two new POP vinyls of Alex from A Clockwork Orange and Willa Holland’s Speedy(now with sword!) from Arrow. 889698100847

Post to Twitter

Val’s Toy Chest Extra- Who’s Who in the DC Universe- Black Canary

Just a fun spread found in this week’s print issue of the Weekly Planet to commemorate the release of DC Collectibles’ Black Canary/Laurel Lance action figure. I wanted to share it here as well.

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

Layout: Justin Bacolo

Text: Valentine Chhann

BC (1)

 

Post to Twitter

Val’s Toy Chest- Laurel Lance Leaves Her Mark

She’s finally here! After months of delays, the brand new DC Collectibles Laurel Lance/Black Canary action figure from Arrow will be arriving in store. Regular readers of this column know how long I’ve been waiting for this one to drop and I am thrilled to say she is now available to purchase! Clad in her black outfit, the Laurel Lance action figure comes with interchangeable hands and Laurel’s tonfa as well as multiple points of articulation and is based on Katie Cassidy’s portrayal of the sonic siren during season 3 of Arrow. Currently available product from Arrow include: Malcolm Merlyn, John Diggle and the evil one, er..Felicity Smoakas well as the Funko POP of Speedy. Also out this week is the season 3 version of Arrow. If the Flash characters are more to your liking, we still have Heat Wave and Reverse Flash in stock as well.

Non CW-based DC Collectible products arriving this week include the Darwyn Cooke Harley Quinn figure joining the previously released Supergirl and Batman figures, a DC Cover Girls Raven statue and plush dolls of Super-Pets Ace and Jumpa.

POP vinyls have proven to be extremely popular over the past few years and we’ve gotten in a bunch of new ones over the past few weeks as well as restocks on a few others. The Agent formerly known as Skye has shaken up our POP shelves with the arrival of the Quake/Agent Daisy Johnson POP from Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. We have also received the first of the new Impopster line of DC POPs including the Riddler and Poison Ivy as Batman and Batgirl, respectively. The remainder of Mega Man POP characters, A-Team POPs and a restock on the massive POP Rides Wonder Woman and her Invisible Jet round out our POP vinyl arrivals for the week.

Last but not least, the latest Marvel Select figures are dropping this week as well. This release features Captain America and The Winter Soldier as both appeared in this summer’s amazing Captain America: Civil War. Each figure features the usual standard of articulation that Marvel Select is known for as well as character specific accessories.

Briefly:

New Muppets select figures are scheduled to drop including Bunsen and Beaker, Statler and Waldorf and everyone’s favorite Electric Mayhem drummer: Animal!

The next wave of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates are coming in featuring Space versions of several fan favorite characters including Casey Jones and April O’Neil as well as a Kraang, a Salamandrian and more. These are based on the currently airing Nickelodeon Animated Series. April is going to be hard to find and as I am April O’Neil collector, I am going to need one.

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

 

Post to Twitter

Val’s Toy Chest- SDCC Marvel Announcements/Batman Animated and More

Hasbro had a decent showing of new Marvel action figures at San Diego Comic Con this year with new X-Men, Dr. Strange, Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy 6″ Figures making their debuts. The next X-Men line includes an updated Jim Lee style Cyclops, 70’s era Dazzler, Sunfire, Colossus, Polaris and a New Mutants Warlock Build-A-Figure, The Guardians will include Vance Astro, Darkhawk, and Angela, while the Spider-Man wave features popular Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan, The Green Goblin, Spider-Man UK, Black Costume Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099. Finally, the Dr. Strange wave features movie versions of the titular Doctor and Baron Mordo, Iron Fist, Brother Voodoo, Nico and a comic version of the Doctor with a build-a-figure of Dormammu. In addition to these Legends, Hasbro has a series of Netflix based figures scheduled which will feature the Punisher and Jessica Jones.If the 3 and 3/4″ figures are more your speed, Hasbro has another assortment in the works which includes the X-23 version of Wolverine, Iron Man from the current Civil War II miniseries, Lady Deadpool, Maestro, Jewel, Shocker, Tombstone and Moon Knight.

Hot Toys fans were treated to the prototypes of several figures from this summer’s Captain America: Civil War including Crossbones, Scarlet Witch and several of the other key players. Netflix’s Daredevil series will also see a Hot Toy or two coming out in the near future.

Recently released and on our store shelves now are the following awesome items:

Finn from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens film is now a highly collectible 1/6 scale action figure, equipped with the usual Hot Toys detail and accessories. He is available on his own or packed with the Riot Control Stormtrooper.

New Funko POP arrivals include video game mainstays, Mega Man and his archenemy, Dr. Wily, Scott Pilgrim, Ramona and Knives from the Scott Pilgrim feature film as well as POPs from the old Jim Henson film, The Dark Crystal. Funko also has new ReAction figures available to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of James Cameron’s Aliens. The three-pack features Ripley, a Power Loader, and the Alien Queen.

849803096465

Finally we will be seeing some new DC Collectibles this week. We should be getting stock on Commissioner Gordon, Ra’s Al Ghul and Zatanna from Batman: The Animated Series as well as the Reverse Flash from the Flash TV show. I personally cannot wait to add Zatanna to my collection of all this week’s new figures.

761941335872

Next week- could it be- could the Laurel Lance Black Canary figure from Arrow finally be shipping to stores? My sources say yes. Let’s hope they’re right! Catch you all next time!

Post to Twitter

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