Monday, April 29, 2013


DC Super Heroes - Jack-in-the-Box Kids' Meal Toys - 2001

I love when promotional toys are made to blend in with an established retail line.  I really never need to see a tiny ill-formed Batgirl riding a motorcycle or a weird Wonder Woman-shaped card case.  No, what I want is action figures.  Imagine if cereal boxes and Happy Meal bags contained exclusive JLA figures or never-released Young Justice toys?  I would easily be twenty pounds heavier, but my improved collection would more than make up for the extra weight.  Very few promotional toy lines have achieved this ideal, but this 2001 DC Super Heroes collection from Jack-in-the-Box Restaurants is arguably the best of them.  The entire series of nine figures is roughly the scale of various Mattel JLA or Kenner Animated toylines.  The only downfall is that they actually tried to improve on the retail lines by incorporating action features (which unfortunately often distort the sculpts).  One of my favorites of this series is Power Punch Supergirl.  Let's check her out in detail below!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Land of the Lost CHRISTA!

Land of the Lost's Official Tour Guide, Christa - Tiger Toys 1992
In 1991, Sid and Marty Krofft re-created their 1974 classic, Land of the Lost, with updated special effects and a more lighthearted tone.  It was a major success and ranked #1 in Saturday Morning programming during its first season.  This season featured an all-new cast of humans, focusing on the Porter family who found themselves trapped in the Land of the Lost (as opposed to the Marshall family in the 1974 version).  The 1991 series also included a new character element in the form of Christa, a human who had been trapped in the Land of the Lost since she was a child (from 1960s San Francisco).  Christa knows the lay of the land and acts as a guide, liaison, and friend to the Porters.  Christa was played by the beautiful Shannon Day (to which this action figure does a major disservice).  This action figure means well, but it's just very awkward and unattractive.  I always joke about how I want to be an actor just so I can take on roles that they'll make action figures of, but when I see how her one chance at being immortalized in plastic turned out, I really reconsider my fantasy.  Let's check her out below!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Classic Batman '66 CATWOMAN Revealed!

Julie Newmar as Catwoman - Batman Classics 1966 Series 2 - Mattel 2013
I've been waiting for this figure for a long long time.  My first exposure to Catwoman was through the campy 1960's Batman television show.  I was obsessed with her, and I still am.  Eartha Kitt and Lee Meriweather also portrayed the character spectacularly, but Julie stole the show.  I feel like there has been merchandise made for almost every version of Catwoman except for this one.  I've been the guy in the forums begging for at least a mini-bust of the TV Catwoman for the last ten years. (Speaking of, with all the classic Batman goodies this year, a mini-bust would be really nice).  There are a lot of questions about this Mattel figure still to be answered.  What will her articulation look like?  Will the Masked version be a variant or a snap-on accessory?  And what is the likelihood of seeing a green-colored comic variant?  I was very excited when ActionFigureInsider revealed this figure earlier this week.  I thought for sure I would have seen her at ToyFair, but at least my fears of her being excluded for likeness-rights issues were unfounded.  She's beautiful and I can't wait until I can get my hands on her (4th Quarter 2013). 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Batman Unlimited BATGIRL (and Customization)!

Batman: Unlimited - Series 1 - New52 Barbara Gordon Batgirl - Mattel 2013

Batgirl is one of my favorite superheroes of all time.  I like almost every incarnation of her, and the newly reinstated Barbara Gordon under the cowl in the DCU New 52 is definitely no exception.  She retains all the character traits that I've always loved about Babs, but she seems tougher all-around.  Her costume is pretty classic, but with updated armor detailing and a new Black, Gold, and Purple color scheme (although it seems the Purple has officially been ditched in the most recent comics).  Overall it's a terrific update to a well-loved and greatly-missed character.  Mattel is the first company to make a toy of her in the new duds (not counting the Heroclix, Eaglemoss, and Squinkies pieces).  At first, I would have sworn this was a straight repaint of the Batgirl figure we've seen from Mattel since back in the DCSH days.  But in actuality, this figure uses almost all new (or newly tool'd) parts and is a great and unique addition to any Batgirl collection.  Let's check her out in detail below!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


The Queen of Novelty Figures - Marie Antoinette - Accoutrements 2003
Novelty figures have their ups and downs.  There's the initial gleeful shock value... then the slow creeping guilt at having giggled at something so inappropriate.  (And then you go and watch Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette and you really start to pity her).  Accoutrements' Marie Antoinette is the epitome of this phenomenon.   The figure itself is very fun.  She has a removable wig and dress, which presumably reveals her previous persona as Maria Antonia Josephina Johanna of Austria.  She has bright colors, a decent sculpt and limited but good articulation.  The big gimmick with this figure is that she has a button on her back that, when pressed, launches her head off.  This is a step beyond their "gliding action" Jesus or "Shushing action" Nancy Pearl.  I guess I'll just have to sum it up by saying that it's funny because it's so wrong.  For a real-life person with no truly tangible societal contributions, Marie Antoinette has become one of the most recognizable historical women in Popular Culture (Where's Amelia Earhart?  Where's Joan of Arc? ... but I digress).  Let's check out Marie's action figure below!

Monday, April 22, 2013


Dan Brereton's Thrillkiller Batgirl - DC Direct: Elseworlds Series 1 - 2005

DC Comics' Elseworlds storylines were always a lot of fun.  The imprint basically allowed artists and writers to experiment with popular DC characters without the restraints of continuity and history.  I think the most successful of these stories placed our beloved characters into unique new settings, usually dictated by a particular time period.  In Thrillkiller, Batgirl and Robin are counterculture heroes in a corrupt Gotham City of 1961.  (plus Bruce Wayne is a penniless Detective under Commissioner Gordon).  The setting is a little Dick Tracy, a little beatnik, a little film noir, and a whole lot of fun.  Dan Brereton's painting style really brings it all to life.  His work on Nocturnals earned him a dedicated fanbase that only amplified the success of Thrillkiller.  DC Direct was amazing at producing action figures of obscure, but very cool, versions of characters.  I only wish the main villain, Bianca Steeplechase (a cool female Joker/Duela Dent character) would have warranted a toy.  She kind of stole the show.  Let's check Batgirl out below!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Caribbean Queen ANNE BONNY!

The Esteemed Lady Pirate, Anne Bonny - Accoutrements 2003

Anne Bonny was born in Ireland in the late 1600s to early 1700s.  Her family came to America when she was very young, but the New World just wasn't the dream life they had expected.  Her mother died, her father disowned her, and her fiery temper (and fiery red hair) became legendary when she burned down her father's plantation in rebellion (and supposedly stabbed a servant with a kitchen knife).  As a teenager, she and her husband left for Nassau in the Bahamas.  This was a notorious pirate sanctuary at the time, and before long Anne had left her husband for an infamous pirate named Calico Jack and joined him on his (stolen) ship, the Revenge.  They were successful pirates for many years in the Caribbean.  She is documented as having fought valiantly alongside the men, not to have disguised her gender (as some suggest), and quickly earning the respect of the crews she sailed with.   She was a well-known wanted pirate for many years until her capture by a Jamaican vessel in 1720. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Marvel Universe ROGUE (1990's Style)!

Uncanny X-men Multi-Pack - Hasbro's Marvel Universe - 2013

Rogue is one of the great X-men of the famed Jim Lee / Chris Claremont era.  In that period, she fully developed into the flirty, rambunctious, powerhouse we all know and love.  A lot of this might have been due to the introduction of Gambit as a love interest.  (There's nothing like a love story to spark some character growth).  Rogue is such an interesting character because she is such a dichotomy.  In some ways, she's the most sensitive character in the roster, in other ways, she's the most powerful.  And I think her prominent role in X-men the Animated Series just cemented her newfound star status.  This figure really does the character justice.  All the fun details are there.  She has bright colors, well-sculpted jacket, hair, and headband, and her poseability is pretty great.  My only criticism is that her arms seem oddly short.  Maybe if one or both of her hands were open this wouldn't be an issue.  Rogue is yet another Marvel Universe lady that only comes in a multipack.  The Uncanny X-men set comes with Wolverine, Longshot, and an X-Babies Cyclops.  Let's check her out below!

Friday, April 19, 2013


Icy, Darcy, & Stormy - Winx Club: Trix Collection - Jakks Pacific 2013

Man it took me forever to find these three ladies.  I first found Darcy at a Toys R Us Express in early February, and I finally picked up Icy and Stormy at Wal-Mart this past weekend.  Considering they're new figures that retail from $4.95-$7.99, I'm amazed that I haven't seen an online price below $30 per figure yet.  The Trix are three Witches who are the main antagonists for the Winx fairies.  The toys actually have them looking pretty angelic, but in the cartoon they're wicked, power hungry, and petulant (ie: fantastic cartoon villains).  When I first started collecting these 3.75" Winx action figures last year, I thought these three characters would be an amazing addition.  I honestly didn't expect them to come out so soon, but I couldn't be happier with the results.  Jakks Pacific has been doing an amazing job with this line.  Including this set, they've put out 23 different figures in less than a year.  Plus I know of at least 2 more coming out this fall.  Hopefully there will be many more to come.  Let's check them out below!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mini Mez-Itz Variant HARLEY QUINN Revealed!

DC Universe Mini Mez-Itz Blindbox Assortment 1 - Mezco Toys 2013

I was very excited to find this fun variant of the Harley Quinn Mini Mez-Itz figure that we saw at Toy Fair 2013.  The Gotham Girls set seen at the show is due in August 2013 and includes the SDCC 12 Catwoman, a new Batgirl, a new Poison Ivy, and a Harley Quinn with a wide grin.  Today on Mezco's site, I saw the solicitation image for the first wave of DC Universe Mini Mez-Itz Blindbox figures due out in September 2013.  Included among the ten figures are two Harleys.  The Gotham girls version is actually the rarer of the two with a 7% inclusion rate.  However, a new winking/smirking version is the more common figure at 14%.  These figures should be priced at approximately $5.50 each.  I wasn't a fan of Mez-Itz at the start, and I still haven't plunged in with the 6" larger figures, but these 2" Mini Mez-Itz are really hard to resist.  I only have the two Catwomen figures so far, but there's no way I'm not going to get my hands on all these new ladies.  Let's check out the pics below!

Marvel Legends RED SHE-HULK!

Marvel Legends: Hit Monkey Series - Hulkettes - Hasbro 2013

This figure is amazing.  Prepare for a softball review because I have no issues with this fine red lady whatsoever.  I honestly can't remember the last time I had no complaints or criticisms about a Hasbro figure.  The sculpt is amazing, the articulation is great, the paint is flawless (and I ordered several to make sure I got a good one - all perfect), and she is just all around a very very cool toy.  For those not familiar with the Red She-Hulk, her human form is Betty Ross-Banner who underwent the same process that created Red Hulk in some bring-her-back-from-the-dead scenario.  I was unimpressed with her appearance and character when she first appeared, but when I saw her in the Fear Itself storyline a couple years later, her look had changed into what we see now and her character had become very interesting to me.  After starring in the The Defenders (2012) she has now become the titular character in Hulk (Re-named Red She-Hulk as of issue #58).  The stories are really fun, the art is beautiful, and I'm always a sucker for a good female anti-hero.  Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

DC Comics Unlimited WONDER WOMAN!

DC Comics: Unlimited - Series 2 - Wonder Woman - Mattel 2013

The New 52 Wonder Woman has been getting a lot of play in the merchandising world.  I honestly don't even make it a point to collect Wonder Woman figures (there are way too many for me!) but despite that, this figure is my fourth version of Diana in her silver redeco.  My reasons for purchasing it were really to see how she compared to the original DCUC Wonder Woman from 2008 and the DC Collectibles Justice League Wonder Woman from 2012.  Honestly, this new Mattel version is my favorite of the three, but I think the upcoming DC Collectibles Trinity Three-Pack is going to contain the best one yet (well, not better than this one, but close).  So many Wonder Women to choose from!  Anyway, this figure is very nice, the paint apps on the face are a little garish (especially her lips), and her articulation is typically awkward for this style of figure, but beyond that, the sculpt and costume design are pretty great.  She has lots of cool details like her armband and the ribbing on her bodice.  Let's check her out below!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Stephanie Brown BATGIRL!

The Most Underrated Batgirl Ever - Batman: Reborn - Series 1 - DC Direct 2010

Stephanie Brown has had a long history of getting kicked out the DC Universe.  She was introduced in 1992 as the daughter of the Batman villain Cluemaster who disapproved of her father's antics and became a vigilante named the Spoiler to thwart ("spoil") his evil deeds.  She earned a fan following pretty quickly, but I was definitely not one of them.  She maintained a low profile in the Bat-universe but was a consistent b-character nonetheless.  At one point, she even became the fourth (and first in-continuity female) Robin.  That was right before she was brutally tortured and killed by the Black Mask.  Or so we thought.  Steph returned as the Spoiler several years later (after much fan controversy surrounding her death.  Then a few years later in 2009, the new mysterious Batgirl in the DC Universe (after Cassandra Cain stepped down) is revealed to be Stephanie Brown.  This is where I joined the Steph bandwagon.  She quickly proved herself to me and much of the fan community (and may actually be my favorite Batgirl ever).  I'm so glad we got a figure of her during her brief time in the mantle.  Let's check her out below!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Marvel Universe MEDUSA!

Your Favorite Lunar Lady - Marvel Universe: Inhumans 3-Pack - Hasbro 2013
I get the feeling that we're never going to get another single-carded female in the Marvel Universe line.  Sure, they say we're getting Elektra and Dagger, but until I see them on the shelves I'll hold on to my doubts.  I actually don't mind buying the team packs and comic sets though, because I have a pretty quick turnaround time unloading my unwanted figures on eBay.  But at the same time, I'm not going to keep buying extra characters forever.  This is fair warning Hasbro:  Stop hiding the good heroines in multi-packs!  Okay rant over.  Medusa is a pretty interesting character.  I feel like every story I've read with her portrays her differently.  Sometimes she's regal, sometimes snotty, sometimes flirty, and more recently, kind of devious.  She's currently a replacement member of the Fantastic Four in FF and I have a gut feeling I'm not going to like her character very much in the coming months.  This figure is a massive improvement over the recently released (and reviewed) Mockingbird.  Medusa is better proportioned and articulated, and that makes a world of difference.  Let's check her out below!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Animated Statues of HARLEY QUINN!

Two Harley Quinn Maquettes from DC Direct 2004 & Warner Bros 1999

This post is a simple one that I've been planning to do for a long time.  A few years ago, the two "animated style" maquettes of Harley Quinn became an obsession for me.  They were at the top of my list for almost two years before I was able to acquire them both.  They are severely overpriced in the secondary market so it was a frustrating journey.  Anyway, in the process of hunting them down, I discovered a shocking lack of information, way too much misinformation, and no comparisons of the two extremely similar products.  For those not familiar with the origins of Harley, she was originally created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm in 1992 for Batman: The Animated Series.  Having her origin in animation, these maquettes (3-D models for animators) are the ultimate Harley Collectible.  They look great, they have historical significance to the character's origins, and they are very well made.  This post is a simple series of comparison photographs, something which I wish existed few years ago.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Birds of Prey - BLACK CANARY!

Dinah Lance from the Birds of Prey Boxset - DC Direct - 2003
The first time I ever liked Black Canary was in 2002's Batman: Hush storyline.  It was a very intriguing first impression, but a very alien one compared to the Dinah I've grown to love since.  I only have fuzzy memories of her scenes in that story (was she dressed like Mockingbird?), but I definitely remember being reminded of Coyote Ugly.  Sooo.. I'm thinking sexy barmaid fistfights?  I was too old in 2002 to not roll my eyes at that.  Who knows what it was, but something made me start reading Birds of Prey and then I was hooked (shhh.. I even have the show on DVD).  Black Canary is one of the very first DC heroines.  She debuted in a 1947 issue of Flash Comics, just five years after Wonder Woman first appeared.  Granted, that Black Canary had been retconned into this version's mother (only to be merged back into the same character again in 2011).  The only real difference is that the original character did not possess the metahuman "Canary Cry" ability, but other than that they possess the same fighting skills, same looks, and same name.  Plus Dinah hardly ever uses her cry anyway.  Let's check out this classic figure below!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Real World Action Figures - Rosie the Riveter - Accoutrements 2003
Rosie the Riveter is a symbolic cultural icon from World War II America.  Social norms in the 1940s were for women to be housewives, teachers, and nurses.  However, the demands of war saw the male labor force diminish greatly.  While all the men were being enlisted for the battlelines, there was a major effort to recruit women to fill in the vacant factory jobs back home.  Rosie the Riveter is the fictional figurehead of this movement.  She was the subject of songs, ads, and posters and was inspired by numerous real working women (and several non-working models).  She was a hit.  Eventually, the name "Rosie" became a nickname for almost any woman holding an industrial job during the war.  This action figure of Rosie the Riveter seems to be based off her two most iconic images.  The first being the classic 1942 "We Can Do It" poster by Pittsburgh Artist J. Howard Miller and Norman Rockwell's 1943 cover of Saturday Evening Post.  The main figure is clearly based on the Miller print, but her "Rosie" lunchbox and Riveter are original to Rockwell.  Let's check out the figure in detail below!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Dragon Flyz NOCTURNA!

The Evil Dreadwing's Femme Fatale, Nocturna - Dragon Flyz - Galoob 1996

Who doesn't love a good mystery?  It's especially exciting when a mystery centers around an "unknown" toy.  I've been searching high and low for some kind of proof that this figure exists, but beyond the fact that I am holding her in my hands, I'm coming up at a complete loss.  Dragon Flyz (and their girly counterpart, the Sky Dancers) were produced by Galoob from 1995-1996.  They had a cool playable gimmick of being able to launch into the sky with the aid of dragon-shaped launchers that hide a ripcord schematic in their tails.  The toys all have raised necks that allow room for a rotating, hinged set of foam wings that extend from centrifugal force and send the figures soaring.  There was a corresponding cartoon that was actually pretty cool.  I kind of wish the toys had ditched the flying gimmick and had more stationary back-mounted wings like in the cartoon.  But alas, the toys were popular and you can still see the gimmick being used in toys today (current Disney Tinkerbell toys come to mind).

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

English Novelist JANE AUSTEN!

Real World Action Figures - Jane Austen - Accoutrements 2002

I've always had a soft spot for Accoutrements and all their wacky novelty action figures.  I believe the first one I ever saw was Edgar Allen Poe.  Then Jesus.  Then Casanova.  Then who knows.  There are a ton.  It wasn't until recently that I decided to start hunting down a select few.  Luckily most of them are readily available on eBay without breaking the bank.  The first I will review is the famed English novelist, Jane Austen.  While I can honestly say I've never read any of her books, I have seen plenty of film adaptations of her work.  Plus she has twice been the subject of the amazing trend of novel mash-ups with Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  There's nothing like a pop-culture gimmick to expose people to the classics.  I know this action figure is meant to be absurd, but it's honestly pretty cool.  It's well made, accurate, and quirky.  What's not to like?   Let's check her out below.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Power Girl & Supergirl as NIGHTWING & FLAMEBIRD!

Karen and Kara as Kandor's Dynamic Duo - DC Direct - DC Armory - 2008

Back before the DC Reboot I was a (somewhat) regular member on the DC Message Boards.  When I think back to the monthly reactions to DC Direct solicitations I'm kind of embarassed for all of us collectors.  DC Direct was able to produce beautiful action figures of obscure characters (and obscure variants of major characters) consistently for roughly 13 years.. and, oh yeah, we were getting new product monthly.  And what was the perpetual reaction to this brand?  "Ughh they're out of scale with their figures from three years ago" and "Ughh more SuperWonderBats."  Well, I've been revisiting my DC Direct collection and falling in love with them all over again.  Nightwing and Flamebird were especially bemoaned, mostly because they were such obscure characters.  But I think we all missed that they're pretty damn cool characters.  The flawless sculpts by John G Matthews are just icing on the cake.  Let's take a second look at these lovely ladies now that we've had a chance to cool down.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Anthropomorphism at its Finest: The VOGUE CATS!

My Little Kitten, Cats N' Fun, & Vogue Cats - Fun Time Products 2007

It's a pretty rare thing when two completely different genres of toy collecting come together in a fresh new product.  The two genres I'm talking about are (1) the hyper-accessoried toy lines like Polly Pocket.  And (2) the ever-impressive animal figurine market with companies like Schleich, Safari, Papo, and Bullyland constantly creating competition for each other and inspiring better and better figures every year.  (not to mention all the added pressure from the newcomers like CollectA and MojoFun).  The Vogue Cats have blended these genres together perfectly.  They are pretty difficult to find today and can fetch a pretty penny in the secondary market.  During the course of their shelf-life, they were packaged under three different names: Vogue Cats, My Little Kitten, and Cats N' Fun.  I've found that single figures are usually found as Vogue Cats, but the larger action playsets come as Cats N' Fun.  Let's check them out below!