Val’s Toy Chest- DCpalooza

DC Collectibles continues the celebration of Batman’s 75th Anniversary this week with another set of action figures featuring some of the most iconic looks of everyone’s favorite Caped Crusader. If this set follows the design of the previous boxed set, we should see the four figures in their own commemorative tins in a larger display box. The looks DC is showcasing this time around are from Alex Ross’ “Justice”, the New 52 Greg Capullo design, Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns” and the classic 1970’s animated “Super Friends” TV show. Joining Batman this week from DC Collectibles are a pair of statues from two of DC’s ongoing statue series. Harley Quinn makes another appearance in the “Cover Girls of the DC Universe” line designed by Stanley Artgerm Lau and features her classic outfit. David Finch, current artist of Wonder Woman contributes his interpretation of the Amazing Amazon in the “Wonder Woman: Art of War” series.

Dropping from DC Comics proper this week is “The Trial of Oliver Queen,” the third collection of Mike Grell’s “Green Arrow” run from the 1980s. Never before collected, these stories present Oliver and his lady love Dinah Lance dealing with gritty street level crime while leaving Star City behind for Seattle. Gone were the trick arrows and Dinah’s sonic scream and everything was more realistic. The series was groundbreaking for its time as it featured mature themes and language and eventually paved the way for DC to create an imprint for that audience called Vertigo. Certain elements from this run definitely influenced the earlier seasons of the “Arrow” TV series. DC is back with their regular titles after the two-month “Convergence” event and is proving that everything old is new again as they are returning Oliver Queen to Seattle in this week’s Green Arrow #41 featuring a new creative team that promises to turn GA’s world on its head all over again.

Kotobukiya releases a color variation on last week’s Marvel Now ARTFX Deadpool statue- this time featuring him in his grey and black X-Force outfit as an exclusive to comic book shops thru Diamond.

I’ve discussed the Black Canary for the last three columns now and she is my favorite DC character, however this time I am going to turn the tables and talk about one of my favorite Marvel characters- the Black Widow. Natasha Romanoff first appeared as an antagonist to Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #52 but eventually became a heroine. Widow was always on my radar but I didn’t really fall in love with the character until I saw Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal in the original “Avengers” film. Her opening scene fighting the mob while mostly tied to her chair was almost certainly a callback to Drew Barrymore in the “Charlie’s Angels” film, but she made it her own. I was so in love with the Black Widow after the movie that I ended up buying the Hot Toys version of her from that film and I haven’t really curbed my Hot Toys habit yet. As far as Black Widow collectibles go, we currently have the Marvel Select comic book version action figure and the Eaglemoss Chess piece. Hopefully hitting within the next couple of weeks will be Marvel Select’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” Black Widow figure based on Scarlett’s likeness in the recent film. I will definitely let you know in this column when she comes out.

So I thought I’d take a few moments to introduce myself to the readers out there. I have been avidly buying action figures since I was a child in the early 80’s, and while those figures did not survive what a little kid would have done with them- I had the foresight to get new copies of some of the figures I had when I was growing up sometime in the mid-late 90’s, so I have a nice set of the heavy hitters from the Super Powers Collection all in good shape with minimal wear and pretty much all accessories intact as well as nice copies of a few He-Man figures. Growing up in the era that I did, I had Star Wars toys when I was a kid, mainly from the Return of the Jedi line which was the movie that was out at the time. One of my favorite figures was the Princess Leia in Boushh disguise. Something about that orange and grey helmet struck me as a kid and I also liked that you could hide her face with it. Hasbro has been the main license holder for Star Wars for a long time now and as they start gearing towards Episode VII we’re sure to see more product from all the Star Wars eras. Sometime in 2012, Hasbro announced that they were going to do a special line of figures called Star Wars Black which sees plenty of familiar Star Wars characters in a larger more articulated 6″ scale. Though the previous Slave Leia figure in the Star Wars Black line hasn’t been flying off the shelves, there will be a Leia as Boushh Action Figure coming out sometime in the summer which has me flashing back to the original figure and finding my inner child all over again.(Personally I also want a figure of Leia’s iconic white dress and star puffs hairdo- but Hasbro doesn’t seem to have that in the works at the moment.)

As you can probably guess, I am pretty passionate about action figures, mainly comic-book and science fiction based characters as my focus with the 80s as my golden age. I also like collecting female action figures since there has always been a stigma attached to them by the toy companies.(“Girls don’t sell”) I have a decent sized collection which ranges from Masters of the Universe to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Star Trek, Star Wars, DC and Marvel all well represented. I regularly read toy websites and message boards to keep my ear to the ground to see what is coming out and try to keep myself as informed as possible about the many toy lines that are out there. I don’t really keep up to date with anime or import toys as those don’t fall within my interests. Hopefully this gives you some idea of what I’m trying to make this column about and why I focus on the characters or lines I talk about. Going forward I plan to discuss some of my favorite toy lines growing up as well as talk about the new toys and other miscellany that I think you should know about.

Next week: We’ll flashback to the late 80’s and early 90’s with Playmates Toys’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures. Catch you guys soon!


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