Monday, March 27, 2017

Imaginext DC Super Friends - CHEETAH!

DC Imaginext - Cheetah & Sinestro Target Exc - Mattel/Fisher-Price 2015

Imaginext has been pretty cruel to us collectors over the past few years by teasing this extremely elusive 2-pack. It was announced two years ago as a Target Exclusive, which a lot of the DC Super Friends were at the time, so I assumed that it would be relatively easy to find (especially considering I have a whopping 18 Targets within my monthly stomping grounds). But despite a few eBay appearances from the Oregon/Washington area (which sold for hundreds of dollars), these characters were a no-show.  Then miraculously a few months ago, a shipment seems to have been nabbed by a few re-sellers and they were posted in large quantities on eBay and Amazon for very reasonable prices (ten to twenty dollars - which is double the shelf price, but worth it for the rarity). Anyway, I finally got my hands on this precious little feline and I love her. There are a lot of new female Imaginext due this year, so hopefully the same distribution problems don't happen again. Let's check out the long-awaited Cheetah below!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Transformers: Titans Return - NAUTICA!

Transformers Titans Return: Chaos on Velocitron Box Set - Nautica - Hasbro 2017

One of the things that has always bothered me about female Transformers is that, historically, a lot of the toys have only been slightly retooled male figures with a stereotypical feminine paintjob. Recently we've been really spoiled with the newer Arcee, Chromia, and Windblade figures, but I haven't forgotten the blocky history. This Nautica is the first figure I've bought that has followed the old "recycled-male pattern." She is essentially a purple Blurr, but I was so excited to get a Nautica figure that I overlooked my previous resistance. I always kind of thought Blurr had a feminine build anyway. I don't know much about Nautica's backstory, but when Windblade was introduced and I started reading Transformers comics again, she was a regular character. She is super intelligent and is a quantum mechanic from Caminus. This figure doesn't really look like the comic character, so I'm hoping for a re-do now that she's on Hasbro's radar (maybe with her friend Firestar!) Let's check out Nautica below!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Superman: The Animated Series - LIVEWIRE!

The New Batman Adventures: Girls Night Out - Livewire - DC Collectibles 2017

I've really been paying attention to the rise of Livewire over the years. Similar to Harley Quinn, Livewire was introduced in a 1997 episode of Superman: The Animated Series. Within a year she was guest starring in the comics associated with the show, and about eight years later she finally crossed over to mainstream comics in Action Comics #835. She's appeared in several animated series (The New Batman Adventures, JLU, and JLU: Unlimited), one movie (Justice League: Gods and Monsters), and two live-action shows (Smallville and Supergirl). So her popularity is consistent, yet somehow understated. She's also appeared in four video games, so she's literally hit every facet of superhero media. I'm glad in a way that she hasn't had the same crazy popularity as Harley Quinn, because her character has stayed pretty true to form over the years, which is pretty rare these days. Although I must say I would love a good solo mini-series or special eventually. Let's check out Livewire below!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Marvel POP! Vinyl - GWENPOOL (AND VARIANT)!

Marvel POP! #197 Gwenpool & #213 Unmasked Walgreens Exc - Funko 2017

One of my favorite things about being a comic reader is when a character evolves organically due to pure fan excitement. One of the most notable examples off the top of my head is Spider-Girl, who was originally introduced in a random episode of What If? and was such a hit that she had two subsequent solo series with over 130 issues. Anole is another case. He was originally an unnamed background character in the 2003 New Mutants series. He never got his own series, but he has been developed into a fan-favorite X-Man. Gwenpool was first introduced as a Spider-Gwen themed variant cover. So essentially she was just a concept design. But then the fans got ahold of her and the internet was suddenly festooned with cosplay and fanart. Soon she was starring in Howard the Duck backup stories and her solo series was inevitable. The first time I paid any attention to her was in her Holiday Special, and I was instantly smitten. She's terribly violent, but she's so quirky and nerdy that it's almost cute.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Ladies of SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE!

Smurfs: The Lost Village - Assorted Action Figures - Jakks Pacific 2017

The Smurfs are an extremely nostalgic property for me. When I was a toddler, I had big dark eyes and a mysterious blue hue to my skin. The Smurfs were a new trend at the time and the comparisons were inevitable. One of my first playthings was a stuffed Papa Smurf and I still have him to this day. Also, I've been an avid Pezhead for 26 years and my first dispenser was a blue-stemmed Smurf Boy I bought for 75 cents at a drug store. So, yeah, I've always loved my little blue buddies. But that fondness has always been at odds with the blatant lack of female smurfs. Hell, there's even a media trope, the Smurfette Principle, highlighting the inequalities. Sure there were a few late additions to the roster: Sassette, Granny, some random Smurflings. But the imbalance could never really be remedied. But now in 2017, we finally have a real significant effort to set things right. The upcoming Smurfs: The Lost Village is not a sequel to the Smurfs (2011) and Smurfs 2 (2013), but a true reboot and it looks fantastic.

Monday, March 20, 2017

DC Bombshells - BATWOMAN!

DC Designer Series: Ant Lucia #4 - Bombshells Batwoman - DC Collectibles 2017

When the DC Bombshells designs first started showing up four years ago, I thought they were really fun, but I honestly wasn't head-over-heels for them. Then a year into the comic variants, I saw the Batwoman #32 cover and kind of fell in love. I didn't necesarily love the art itself or the layout of the cover, but the concept of Batwoman as a baseball-playing bat-woman was pretty genius. Then for a second I got offended about a sapphic softball stereotype, but then I thought about how much I love A League of Their Own and my two Starting Lineup Cooperstown Collection female figures, and I gave her a pass. She is easily my second favorite of this figure series so far (Poison Ivy being by surprise top choice). The sculpts by Paul Harding in this series are fantastic. He has come a long way since those 3.75" Injustice figures. I can't wait to see what figures he does next. I have a hunch he did the upcoming Icons Balent Catwoman which looks stunning. We'll see I guess. Let's check out Batwoman!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The New Batman Adventures - HARLEY QUINN!

The New Batman Adventures: Girls Night Out - Harley Quinn - DC Collectibles 2017

When I first started buying the DC Collectibles Animated Universe action figures I was immediately excited about the prospect of getting two versions of all of my favorite Bat characters. But then I started wondering how they would differentiate between the Harley Quinn in Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures. Catwoman, Batgirl, and Poison Ivy all have very distinctive looks between the two series. But Harley's differences were extremely subtle and I didn't know if the changes would warrant the purchase of a second figure. But then this Girls' Night Out set was announced with two exclusive figures (Supergirl and Livewire) so I knew I'd be adding a TNBA Harley to my collection no matter what. I'm glad I did too because this Harley is surprisingly different from the BTAS Harley in both scale and sculpt. This now reinvigorates my excitement about completing my collection. We should have Ivy and Batgirl by the end of August! Let's check out The New Batman Adventures Harley below!

Friday, March 17, 2017

DC Bombshells - POISON IVY!

DC Designer Series: Ant Lucia #3 - Bombshells Poison Ivy - DC Collectibles 2017

Pin-Up girls have always been a struggle for me. I love the hair, I love the fashion, and I love the overall aesthetic. But I can't escape the reality that this style was born in an era of subservience and exploitation for women. Luckily the modern trend of pinup fashion has reclaimed the look in the name of feminism. What was once idealized imagery for male titillation is now embraced as a symbol of strong, assertive, and creative women. I think one of the coolest pop-culture ripple effects of this trend has been the DC Bombshells series designed by Ant Lucia. In 2013, DC Collectibles released the first retro pinup-styled Bombshells statues. So far there have been 19 original statues (excluding the various repaints), plus at least 4 more on the horizon. Then in Summer of 2014, DC Comics held their first Bombshells variant cover theme, which they repeated the following Summer before creating an entire Bombshells comic series. I count roughly 65 Bombshells issues between the variant covers and the series.