Category: Star Wars

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- Civil War 2016

Marvel’s got a massive movie coming out this May which is essentially as close to an Avengers film without actually being one. I am of course talking about Captain America 3: Civil War. Marvel is no stranger to merchandising their current spate of Marvel Cinematic Universe films and this year’s film is full of toyetic characters.  Before I started work on this week’s column, I was inundated with a massive amount of Funko boxes- many of which contained characters from the new movie. What did we get? Let’s take a look.

There are 11 announced figures coming out in Funko’s Civil War POP line and we’ve gotten 7 of those in this week’s shipment. Team Cap and Team Iron Man are both represented with the new POPs of Chris Evans’ Captain America and Robert Downey Jr’s. Iron Man. Fans of the female characters have Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and Elizabeth Olson’s Scarlet Witch to collect while Don Cheadle’s War Machine and Chadwick Boseman’s highly anticipated Black Panther round out the male heroes of the film that we’ve received thus far.  I think the Black Panther figure is going to sell out quickly, so jump on that one if you want it ASAP. That isn’t all as we’ve also received Frank Grillo’s Crossbones as a POP vinyl. I anticipate that he will also be a brisk seller since he is a brand new character to the line.

Funko and Vinyl Sugar have teamed up to bring us DORBZ and they’ve also crafted some Civil War collectibles for us. Vision, Black Widow and Iron Man are what we have right now with the others on the way soon. If you prefer to keep your lapels pinned, Funko has a line of Civil War POP pins using the POP style of several characters and those have shown up at the store as well. Characters available are Black Panther, Captain America, Crossbones and Iron Man.

It wasn’t all Civil War,  as more from the 2nd series of Harry Potter POPs have also started to hit our shelves. Luna and Malfoy came today as well as new versions of Harry and Ron. Hot Toys Snowtroopera Snowtrooper Officer and the impressive DeLorean from Back to the Future rounded out my very busy day at work.

Next week- if DC Collectibles’ current schedule holds, should see an awesome array of figures from the Animated Series as well as the current CW series- including my most anticipated figure of the year- Laurel Lance/Black Canary. I’m planning something special in the Weekly Planet for that figure if she comes out next week.  See you then!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Odds and Ends

She’s here! Actually that phrase applies to a couple of items we have received over the past week and a half. I mentioned in last week’s article that we’d gotten our shipping notice for the Hot Toys’ Scarlet Witch from last summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and she has finally arrived. The likeness to Elizabeth Olson is excellent and the rooted hair doesn’t detract from the figure at all, plus the costuming is gorgeous and the accessories all make sense. A very tempting piece for sure, I know I’m going to want one.

The other “she’s here!” piece I am referring to is the breathtaking Yvonne Craig as Batgirl Tweeterhead statue. Approved by Ms. Craig before she passed away last summer, the folks at Tweeterhead definitely put their best foot forward with this release. The Batgirl Maquette features the costume as seen in the 1960’s Batman TV series as well as a base that features the secret door to access her BatgirlCycle. Definitely one of the best Yvonne Craig likenesses out there and highly recommended if you are a fan of that iteration.

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Back in stock for Star Wars fans out there are the Hasbro Star Wars 6″ Black Series figures of Captain Phasma, The Guavian Enforcer and Poe Dameron have returned to our shelves and new to the store is the 6″ Kylo Ren figure. We also have a few assorted characters from the basic 3 and 3/4″ line still in stock as well as a handful of vehicles for both scales of figures. Speaking of Star Wars, Funko and Diamond Comics have teamed up to bring out their latest exclusive POP vinyl figures. The Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Funko POP three pack features Luke Skywalker, a 6″ Rancor and fan favorite Oola in POP vinyl form. Oola and the Rancor are both first timers for the POP line and this piece should also be a hot one.

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I don’t frequently talk about comics in this column but I thought I’d mention one this week since it is a character dear to my heart written by a person that I also adore. Black Canary #9 hits the stands on Wednesday and instead of the solicited story by regular series writer Brenden Fletcher, will feature a story by former FP employee and writer of last year’s acclaimed We Can Never Go Home, Matthew Rosenberg. Black Canary(the band) is hired to play at the birthday party of a young girl named Julia(possibly named for a fellow FP employee…) and there seems to be more to the gathering than meets the eye. I definitely think this issue will be an underrated gem and highly recommend picking it up as soon as you see it.

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That’s it for me this week, catch you guys next week with more toy and comic news. See you in the store!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Heroes and Villains to Gather

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

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

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

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

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

On that note- catch you guys next time!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Val’s Toy Chest- DC Collectibles Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Val’s Toy Chest- A Flame Con on Elm Street

There’s a lot going on this week in toys with a few items making their way back in and some new product appearing for the first time. We should be getting some of the Previews Exclusive DC POP Vinyl figures back in- specifically Batman, Deathstroke, Harley Quinn and Wonder Woman. We also have the entire spectrum of Rainbow Batman POPs available courtesy of Entertainment Earth as well as the Previews Exclusive Superman POP figure still in stock for you DC POP fans. On the Marvel side of things, the Juggernaut bursts onto our shelves again with the reissue of the always impressive and massive Marvel Select figure of the unstoppable X-Men villain. We also have fresh stock of the Avengers Marvel Legends Thanos Build-A-Figure Series which includes movie versions of Cap, Iron Man and the Hulk along with the Jessica Drew Spider-Woman and first time figures of Hellcat and Batroc.

We should be getting a brand new assortment of Star Wars Black 6″ Series which is slated to include IG-88, Commander Cody and my most anticipated- Princess Leia in her Boushh Disguise. I already talked about Boushh in a previous column, but she is so much closer now and I am definitely excited to add her to my collection. Fans of another space epic should be on alert as we get our first figure from the brand new Funko 6″ Legacy series based on Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” dropping this week. Previews and Funko have teamed up to bring us the Jayne Cobb in hat figure based on Adam Baldwin’s memorable appearance from the episode “The Message.” The rest of Funko’s lineup will include Captain Malcolm Reynolds, Kaylee, Zoe and Wash.

In comics this week- highly anticipated book will drop on Wednesday courtesy of Brendan Fletcher and Annie Wu comes the all-new “Black Canary” title. If you have been reading Fletcher’s “Batgirl” title you have some idea of what awaits Dinah Lance’s character in this new title. Dinah is now the lead singer of an all-female band christened “Black Canary” and as the group tours they have to deal with danger at every turn. As a fan of “Jem and the Holograms” as well as all-women groups like the Bangles and the Go-Go’s, I am curious to see where DC takes this new rocker version of Black Canary. DC is also issuing last year’s Paul Dini written, Joe Quinones illustrated Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell Graphic Novel in paperback this week. Highly recommended.

As I teased at the end of last week’s column- I went to FlameCon at the Grand Prospect Ballroom this past Saturday to check out the first Comic Con expressly for an LGBT audience and to meet Mark Patton, who portrayed Jesse Walsh in the second installment of the A Nightmare on Elm Street series. FlameCon was fun- it wasn’t your typical convention with vendors selling old comics in long boxes or old toys. If I could compare it to anything it was probably most like an expanded Artist’s Alley with an LGBT focus. Comics creators including Phil Jimenez, Steve Orlando and James Tynion IV were also there to meet fans. It was also cool because I got to run into some friends I hadn’t seen in a while along with several customers that shop here at the store.

I am a huge A Nightmare on Elm Street fan despite the fact that Freddy Krueger used to scare the heck out of me when I was a kid. I first saw the original “Nightmare” when I was at a horror con in NJ in 2006 and was hooked. I quickly became obsessed with the movie and started going to cons to meet the actors from the series with a focus on the original film in the series. I didn’t start watching the sequels until I’d met Robert Englund at Monster-Mania in 2009. “Elm Street 2” isn’t my favorite of the sequels but I feel it is a solid entry and Freddy is still frightening in it. Mark Patton is great in his role as the tormented teen in “Freddy’s Revenge” who gets possessed by the evil dream demon and starts killing for him. I took the opportunity to meet him at FlameCon since “Elm Street” actors don’t come around these parts super often and I am glad I did. Mark was a gentleman and posed for pictures and signed autographs. I got a normal picture with him as well as a picture where he is ‘killing’ me with Freddy’s glove. IMG_0481

I didn’t stay for the horror panel which was standing room only but I am sure he had great stories to tell about acting in the film. I do wish there was a wider variety of characters available as figures from the “Elm Street” franchise as most toy companies seem interested in only making different versions of Freddy Krueger as opposed to making figures of Nancy Thompson, the Dream Warriors, Alice, and Jesse whom all have their fans. Hopefully we’ll get other characters from “Elm Street” one day, I personally want a non-bathtub version of Nancy and a punk Taryn from “Dream Warriors.” Around Halloween time I will put out my ranking of the films in the series.

That’s all for this week!

Next week: Playmates’ Star Trek: The Next Generation line and how it got me into the series and Star Trek in general.

 

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If I told you half the things I’ve heard about Today’s Daily Deals You’d Probably Short-Circuit

Make Comics Like the Pros… One of the year’s best-selling tutorial books, by Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente- two of the most prolific comics writers working today! ($23) $7.99

Jabba the Hutt Star Wars Black Hasbro

Star Wars Black Jabba the Hutt… Han, ma boo-kee, buy this fantastic Black series deluxe Jabba for 46% off regular retail. There WILL be a bargain! ($50) $26.99

Metallica Nothing Else Matters Graphic Novel… ($20) $7.99

Uglydoll DC Comics Babo as Superman… ($20) $7.99

*Forbidden Planet’s DAILY DEALS are updated every morning. Prices are valid in-store til the shop concludes its business day (10pm or 12am, depending on the day) and online for roughly 24 hours. Prices are valid while in-stock supply lasts.

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Gift Ideas: Star Wars Holiday Special

A long time ago in a comic book shop far, far away… all your holiday shopping was taken care of in one shot! Just spend a few minutes with me and I’ll fill you with all kinds of great gift ideas for the Sith on your list.

Darth Vader and Son & Vader’s Little Princess – It’s never too late to force your personal interests on your children. Jeffrey Brown’s take on Vader balancing the everyday realities of being a father as well as preparing to be the biggest baddest bad guy in the universe is perfect for fans of all ages.

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Yoda Candy Bowl Holder – This candy bowl holder stands over a foot tall and can hold a whole mess a goodies in it’s dish. Candy Canes, fill this bowl with, you must!

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Han Solo Silicone Tray – Recreate Han Solo’s most memorable moment of defeat in your choice of deliciousness with this 11 inch long silicone tray. Make Han Jello out of Han Solo. Pass on the Carbonite and pass me the carbonated soda!

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Boba Fett Character Apron – Do you know an intergalactic bounty hunter/culinary expert? Than boy do I have the gift for you. Rock this character apron during your next cook out and look just like Boba Fett!

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Star Wars TP Vol 01 In the Shadow of Yavin – Picking up right where A New Hope lets off. From the mind of Brian Wood, creator of DMZ and The Massive comes this brand new Star Wars comic series. Collecting the first six issues this trade paperback is jam packed with tons of outer space ass kicking!

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Darth Vader Giant-Size Action Figure – This deluxe action figure measures a whopping two and a half feet tall, has seven points of articulation and a cloth cape! Doubt this bad boy will even fit under most trees, I mean its like as big as most Ewoks!

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Star Wars ABC & Star Wars 123 – What better way to get your young ones prepared for the real world than with a little help from George Lucas! Use The Force to force your kids to learn.

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Star Wars Frames – The gift for the ultimate Star Wars fan that has everything! A brand new in depth look at individual frames from all 6 epic flicks. This sexy monster of an art book comes in a slipcase which houses two hardcovers, each one covering a different trilogy. Painstaking put together by The Big G himself. No not Godzilla, George Lucas duh!

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Now if you can’t please a Wookie with something on this list you’re probably… well.. there really is no pleasing a Wookie now is there? See you when The Star Wars Holiday Gift Guide Strikes Back!

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It is hot out, so buy some toys that have been sitting in the AC.

Summer is back, and if it’s not personal this time, I’d be shocked. I’m spare you the exact details of sweat I’ve produced so far this weekend, but just know that it’s been A LOT.

CON NAME DROPPING TIME! I’m Heroescon bound in a few days! I’m super excited to return to Heroes, as it’s probably the BEST 100% comics-focused con in the country. Expect a report next week, full of the usual cosplay, panel, & show floor recaps. This year’s goal is to touch Jason Aaron’s beard, which I imagine will work out fine for me.

So let’s start the look at new toys this week with some Figuarts. I know this is usually Loran’s turf, but lord knows I love me some Dragon Ball. This long running sub-line continues to grow, with some older figures getting re-released (Super Sayian Son Goku and Vegeta, complete with his  now internet-meme-famous scouter), and some new ones joining the mix. Legit new ones, not just variants of pre-existing characters.

Perfect Cell, arguably my favorite DBZ villain, is finally out in Figuarts form and he is awesome. Bandai continues to capture the look of these characters perfectly, as Cell looks like he just stepped out of the manga/anime. And it being a Figuarts, there’s no shortage of articulation, which means we finally have a Cell figure with poseable wings. Aside from that, you get also get the usual collection of accessories-variant hands, faces, and a Kamehameha effect accessories for a variety of neat poses. The DBZ Figuarts usually go for a little over $50 a pop, and well worth it given the quality of the final product.

It’s amazing to see that Adventure Time is approaching “Batman” levels of merchandise of presence of on our shelves. I guess having a hit cartoon show and comic will do that for a brand. And it’s nice to see some sort of synergy between the two. The Marceline comic park packages a plush of the Vampire Queen with the first issue of the recently collected “Marceline and the Scream Queen” mini series, which serves as a nice primer for fans wanting to jump into the comics world. The combination pack will set you back about $17, where as the collected trade runs for about $20. In addition to that, there’s a bunch of AT figurine 2-packs in stock, as well as a pair of 4 packs. Worth noting is that one of those 4-packs is based on the super-popular “Fiona and Cake” episodes, and that will fly off of the shelves real quick.

It almost kills that faux-radical/hardcore gamer in me to close this article out by mentioning we have Angry Bird Star Wars plushies in stock, but I’m soon reminded that I have no less than 4 different versions of the game on my phone. So yeah, hypocrite much? But yes, we have several 5″ plush birds & pigs dressed as several Star Wars characters in stock, retailing for about $15 a pop. You get to choose from Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca (Principal Skinner’s favorite!), a Storm Trooper and of course Darth Vader…in pig form. And now that I’ve properly pimped them out, allow me to go shower. Not that I consider myself dirty to trying to sell you on those plushies, more so because again, super hot out.

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Toy Fair 2013: SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

Toy Fair has happen and  me start this article by thanking whatever Hasbro employee is reading this site on the regular, or stalking me elsewhere, internet or in real life. The fruits of your research are something I’m willing to throw some serious cash at this year, and since my wife is out of town for the next few days, you can be my Valentine this year

The company has done me a solid by releasing not one, but 2 modern Cyclops figures this year, both in a box set in the Universe line (Marvel’s Greatest Teams, packaged with Emma Frost and the Juggernaut possessed Colossus) and a 6″ figure apart of the Wolverine Legends line (which also has a Emma Frost figure!), as well as a modern HAWKGUY (or Hawkeye as he’s more commonly known as). You’ll also see at least another 2-3 waves in the main Marvel Legends line, 2 in the Universe line (until SDCC reveals more), and both 6″ and 3.75″ figures based on upcoming movies like “Iron Man 3” and “Thor 2”, and animated stuff like “Ultimate Spider-Man” and the new “Avengers Assemble” show. Good showing all around from Hasbro/Marvel.

So my Marvel boner aside, what else did Toy Fair 2013 have to offer you ask? Shut up and I’ll tell you stupid! There was Batman merchandise everywhere (no one is surprised by this), but Mattel got a ton of hype thanks to securing the rights to make figures based on the classic live action Batman series from the 1960s. Expect to see both 6″ and Barbie-sized releases this year, amongst others. Square Enix is also going DC Comics crazy as well, with figures based on the Nolan Bat-films, the upcoming Man of Steel film, and giving their own spin to the DCU with the DC Universe Square Enix Variant line. Heroes announced so far were obviously the Bat, Green Lanetern, Batgirl, Flash and Wonder Woman. And not to be out done, DC Collectible showed off a ton of figures based on the Injustice game, The Flash, the Death of Family arc, and the upcoming Justice League of America series.

Mezco, as I reported last time, scored 2 unique licenses, with the hit drama Breaking Bad, and the hit insane webcomic- turn actual comics-turn upcoming animated Fox TV series Axe Cop. They’re going all out with these properties, putting out a variety of different sized figurs/figurines, dolls and plushies. Also joining the 6″ figure arms race is Kenner, with The Star Wars Black series! These 6″ figures will focus on the classic trilogy, so expect the likes or R2-D2, Luke Skywalker, a Sand Trooper and….Darth Maul. Um, I guess they’re focusing MOSTLY on the classic trilogy, not entirely!

There are several other announcements of note too, like McFarlane making toys based on Assassin’s Creed 3 in the same vein of their Halo line, Square Enix branching out and making figures based on Namco, EA and Capcom games, of ton of new and old G.I. Joe stuff, but I’m going to end this focusing on the MASSIVE  2 foot tall Transformers Generation Titan Metroplex. He’s based on his aaperance in last year’s Transformers: Fall of Cyberton game, and yeah, it’s kind of friggin awesome. Aside from the 2 foot robot, he can also transform into a city, and mobile battle station. Not sure  when it will drop, but it will this year and not be cheap.

Gonna end the look at Toy Fair here. I can only tease so much, but fear not, everything big and cool announced at the show will eventually be for sale at Forbidden Planet this coming year, and we’ll be getting better looks at them as they’re released.

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Somewhere Around The Number Ten Best Comics That Nobody Told You About

Part 1:

I love Chris Ware. Bit redundant to say so this holiday season with everyone and their sister buying Building Stories, but with so much comic awesomeness that happened in 2012; between Charles Burn’s second installment to his X’ed Out trilogy, The Hive, and Brian K. Vaughn’s SagaSAGA… It’s too easy for amazing comics to get lost in the stacks, so I’m here to give my somewhere around the number 10 best comics of 2012 that nobody told you about…

LOSE #4

Michael DeForge might be the most prolific cartoonist working right now. He pumps more work and at a higher quality that would make any other cartoonist want to quit, or work harder…..no quit thats the correct response. On top of Lose #4 this year you can also see his work in the pages of Adventure Time comics, where he does the backgrounds,variant covers, anthology stories in  Nobrow 7 (more on that in a bit) and the newest  KUS, not to mention his on going serial Ant Comics, oh and his porn comic that he designs that features work by Johnny Negron, Brandon Graham, and Jillian Tamaki….more on all of them latter too…Bottom line, DeForge has a hand in everything and you’re probably a fan of his already, so read Lose, or Ant comics, or KUS, or Nobrow, or one of the million other things he worked on this year. King of comics 2012 goes to DeForge, no contest.

The Underwater Welder

Did I mention that DeForge is Canadian? Canadians….must be a universal sigh when cartoonist’s who aren’t Canadian talk about them. Jeff Lemire is another cartoonist hailing from The Great White North. Lemire had a full year of releases with Sweet Tooth Volume 4 and 5, the reprinting of his Xeric grant book Lost Dogs and Underwater Welder. Underwater Welder is for lovers of well paced, clear story telling, and the Twilight Zone. Lemire has an economy to his comics, the art is quick yet purposeful in the same manner as the writing, which rewards the reader with a world that they can envelope themselves in. Lemire is an odd school of cartooning, he’s not so deep into independent styled comics as DeForge, but he isn’t mainstream either (though he does write the only two books at DC still worth reading Animal Man, & Frankenstein Agent of Shade ). He’s a cartoonist in love with genre but doesn’t mistake comics to be only that.

Nipper Volume 3

Nipper Volume 3 finally came out! WOOOOOOO! I might be the only American to love Nipper so go buy it and prove my gross presumption wrong. Keeping in theme with brilliant Canadian cartoonists, Nipper volume 3 is the Canadian version of Family Circus, if Family Circus was anything like a real family and not so adorable that even your grandmother finds it lame. Always silent, black and white line work with one beautiful saturation of red dropped into each panel, Doug Wright creates multi-layered story telling, in the most simple yet still incredible complicated drawing. Just go look already, and then come meet me for coffee to talk about it, I’ll be here till next year trying to describe why it’s so effffffing smart.

Diary Comics 4

Dustin Harbin is yet another broken hearted cartoonist, upset that his nationality isn’t Canadian. Diary Comics 4 starts with Dustin talking about how amazing it is to be in attendance at the Doug Wright rewards (the Canadian version of the Eisners), and how he wishes we as American could take comics as seriously as they do. Why can’t we folks? Dustin’s beautifully minimalist drawings deceive readers with their simplicity, when they are really just the right amount of information needed, each mark done with purpose in mind and simply decroative. Go read em’ they’re good. And if your not a fan of memoir, you just like the punching and kicking comics, he did letter Casanova sooo…..I don’t know Matt Fraction wrote Iron Man for like a century right? See the full picture of creators not just the characters you like….

Pope Hat #3

Pope Hat #3 by Ethan Rilly. Rilly is surprise surprise, another Canadian. Pope Hats is technically 3 issues deep but you really only need/want two and three. In Pope Hats Rilly tells the story of Franny, a young law clerk at a massive law firm, picture Wall Street with less Charlie Sheen….okay no Charlie Sheen, just that one part where he gets punched in the face by Michael Douglas… Rilly drawings show traces of his influences but they don’t unhinge the story. You can see traces of Doug Wright’s drapery in the clothing, and bits of Shultz popping up in the rendering of grass and clouds. It’s like a love letter to days past when cartooning was a profession and getting a weekly strip in a newspaper was the dream. Pope Hats narrative shares a similar tone of nostalgia with its drawing, that bitter sweet pain, from an old wound.

Thats the end of Part 1. Part 2 on Sunday 12/23/12.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 2: A Long Time Ago

So here we are at my second column of TRY SOMETHING NEW! already. Wasn’t too pleased with how the the first one came out, 20/20 hindsight and all, but we press on. New comics wait for no man or woman and so this column where I berate you for not buying enough new comics waits for no man or woman. Let’s get right into the berating, shall we?

Geoff Darrow

DARK HORSE PRESENTS #19 comes out this week. Is it stupid to call a series that is on issue #19 “something new?” Sort of. But I did it anyway. DARK HORSE PRESENTS is a monthly anthology of short comics, sometimes stand alones and sometimes serialized stories, from a mix of the best creators in comics and the most exciting newcomers. Each month Dark Horse Presents offers you something new, hence it’s inclusion in this column. Ranging from one page absurdity pieces to stunning series beginnings, DHP has something for literally every type of comic fan. Lately anthology books have had trouble finding an audience which is a shame unto itself, but the level of talent and great comics in DHP turns that shame into a tragedy. This month alone features a new story from Matt Kindt’s excellent MIND MGMT, Duane Swierczynski and Eric Nguyen bring back X, and Gabriel Hardman and Corrina Bechko start a giant monster story called STATION TO STATION.

A bunch of issues back DARK HORSE PRESENTS premiered a new series by writer Frank Barbiere called THE WHITE SUITS. I thought it was one of the best introductions to a series I had read in years. Equal parts SIN CITY, 100 BULLETS, & WINTER MEN, that first chapter filled a void in comics that badly needed filling- smart and stylish crime books with a healthy amount of conspiracy. Now THE WHITE SUITS is returning and I couldn’t be more excited. Even if the other stuff in DHP doesn’t interest you, I promise this story is worth the price of admission alone. RIYL: Short stories, great things in small doses, being into cool stuff before everyone else.

Nowhere Men #2

NOWHERE MEN #2 Eric Stephenson, Nate Bellegarde, & Jordie Bellaire have crafted a really interesting book in NOWHERE MEN. The simple tagline/premise of “What if scientists were our rockstars?” opens the door just enough to make one curious without revealing anything at all. The first issue firmly established Stephenson’s remarkable ability to build interesting worlds and characters all while using some clever narrative tricks. Bellegarde turns in the work of his career so far making pages that are both very effective and visually unique without being hindered by being too “sylized.” And Bellaire is simply one of the best colorists in comics. The book has all the “sciencey” feel of a Jonathan Hickman book, without all of the actual “science.” Other than that is was hard for me to say what the book was about… which I loved.

Since it is a medium that relies on people coming back and paying every month, comics tends to rely on playing it’s cards early and then twisting and turning every month after to keep you interested. It’s feeding the reader just enough so they feel like they paid for a meal, but not enough to that they won’t need to eat again very soon. This works (moderately) well for the industry, but is a terrible hindrance to storytelling as a whole. The NOWHERE MEN team seems to have decided to not care if you “get it” in favor of building a smarter story that unfolds at the pace they want it to. I tend to love comics that are willing to take chances to do better work and that is why I bothered to write this recommendation. If you are a reader who prefers the safe and predictable there are plenty of other books you might want to grab instead. Don’t mind us. We’ll be over in the corner eating weird food, playing with switchblades, getting bad tattoos from sketchy dudes, and reading unpredictable comics. And laughing at you. RIYL: MANHATTAN PROJECTS or TRANSHUMAN, mid-70’s KRAFTWERK, or a weird movie that I am imagining that is a cross between 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE and DR. STRANGELOVE.

Iron or the Waar After

IRON OR THE WAR AFTER Archaia does a great job of finding comics that are truly breathtaking and original and wouldn’t fit in at any other publisher. IRON OR THE WAR AFTER is the newest example of this. Shane-Michael Vidaurri writes and illustrates this surreal tale about anthropomorphized animals engaging in espionage during a literal Cold War. The subtle, slow pacing and beautiful and delicate watercolors almost guarantee that this book will fly under a lot of people’s radars this year. They also guarantee that those who pick it up will have a new favorite book. RIYL: Watership Down, Beasts Of Burden, or Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

Comeback #2

COMEBACK #2 I’ll say it right now. Note the time. Ed Brisson is the next superstar writer in comics. If the Big 2 publishers are not already scouting him then their editors are sleeping on the job. His self published series MURDER BOOK is on par with the best comics published in the last 10 years.

COMEBACK is his new book at Image/Shadowline and the first issue made quite an impression on everyone who was lucky enough to find a copy. Gritty crime noir meets slick sci-fi in a “time travel gone wrong” story. Michael Walsh does stunning work in the wheelhouse of folks like Sean Philips or Alex Maleev. That should be all you need to know.

LOOPER, THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, MINORITY REPORT, INCEPTION, I am sure that Mr. Brisson is already tiring of the comparisons, but there is something inherently cinematic in the way he tells a story. It’s crime for people who are bored with crime, sci-fi for people who are sick of sci-fi. COMEBACK would easily make my Top 10 comics of the year list if I didn’t think Top 10 lists were demeaning and obnoxious. You should go ahead and buy this book now so that when it inevitably becomes a hit movie you can say “the book was way better” and other annoying but true things. RIYL: CRIMINAL, INCOGNITO, or other stuff by Ed Brubaker, Movies by Christopher Nolan that don’t involve a growling dude dressed like a huge flying rodent, Philip K. Dick.

That’s all the room I have. Thanks for taking the time to read this stuff. Please don’t hold it against these great books that I am sort of obnoxious and don’t take this very seriously. Even if none of this stuff grabbed you, remember to try something new. It’s good for you. Stay tuned for my “Top 10 Best Comics of ’12” next week.

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Star Wars The Ultimate Action Figure Guide At Least for Now

Star Wars collectors!!! The only truly indispensable archive of action figures from a galaxy far, far away is in stock NOW! World famous SW expert Stephen Sansweet (author of more than a few of my fave pictorial books on the subject) returns to exhaustive reference books with this gorgeous tome…

Stephen Sansweet Actrion Figure collection

Pretty sweeeeeeeeet.  It’ll be outta date faster than you can say “BoShek is a nerf herder,” but it’s highly recommended nonetheless.  You can find this in-store and online.

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