Thursday, October 31, 2013

GamePro Presents: MISS SPELL!

http://www.shesfantastic.com/2013/10/gamepro-presents-miss-spell_30.html
The Witchiest Gamer Ever: Miss Spell - JoyRide Studios 2002

Happy Halloween!  I have been saving this figure for a long time.  I ran out of time last year and didn't get to review her in time for Halloween.  GamePro was a video game magazine published from 1989-2011.  Like Wizard, ToyFare, and all the many great hobby magazines, it died in the face of the internet.  Apparently (I'm not a gamer!) the magazine had an assortment of original characters that would act as video game reviewers.  These characters were originally created as nicknames for the various editors, but eventually they took on their own personalities and eventually new reviewers would be writing under the pseudonyms.  In 2002, JoyRide Studios released a very cool (but random) set of action figures based on these characters as well as some actual video game characters.  This figure of Miss Spell is really well made.  JoyRide was folded into its parent company in 2007, but before that they had produced great figures of Halo, James Bond & Battlestar Galactica among others.  Let's check out Miss Spell!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Miniature Women of FILMATION'S GHOSTBUSTERS!

http://www.shesfantastic.com/2013/10/miniature-women-of-filmations.html
3-Inch PVC Figures of Futura, Jessica, and Mysteria - Yolanda 1987

In the 1980s there was a bit of a copyright dispute over the name Ghostbusters.  In 1975, there was a live action children's show called The Ghost Busters about a team of "bumbling detectives who would investigate ghostly occurrences."  It lasted only 15 episodes and was largely forgettable.  When Columbia pictures produced the 1984 box-office hit Ghostbusters, they were unaware of the earlier Filmation property and had to pay 500K in licensing fees to Filmation.  During the process, Filmation wanted to gain the rights to produce an animated series based off the new Columbia film.  These rights were never granted, and instead Filmation went on to produce an updated animated version of their 1975 show.  Whether this was out of spite, or just taking advantage of the name recognition, who knows.  Eventually, an animated version of the Columbia movie was produced by DiC and named The Real Ghostbusters.  The Filmation Ghostbusters animated series was a quite a success.  It kind of had a Scooby-Doo meets the Addams Family vibe. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Beetleborgs HORRIBELLE!

http://www.shesfantastic.com/2013/10/beetleborgs-horribelle.html
The Evil Crustacean Horribelle - Beetleborgs Metallix - Bandai 1998

The evil villain costumes are my absolute favorite thing about all the Saban-produced Japanese properties that were so prevalent in the 1990s.  The Big Bad Beetleborgs was an American television show from 1996 that used footage from Juukou B-Fighter, and later when the series evolved into Beetleborgs Metallix, it used footage from B-Fighter Kabuto (with original American footage for the non-costumed scenes).  The villains in these series are always very detailed and creepy-looking.  Usually in some kind of insectile or demonic armor.  In this case, all the villains are supposed to be crustaceans.  Well, at least they're called "Evil Crustaceans."  Horribelle is pretty clearly a Praying Mantis (they should really be the Evil Arthropods if they wanted to include insects, but we can leave my nerdy semantics out of this).  Horribelle looks fantastic.  A lot of times these 90's Bandai females look way too masculine, but she is definitely an exception.  Let's check her out below!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Identity Crisis ZATANNA!

The Resident Magician of the DCU - Identity Crisis: Series 1 - DC Direct 2006

When prepping this review for inclusion in my Halloween lineup, I had it in my head that Zatanna was a witch.  But then I realized that witches and magicians are very different things, even though the lines between the two are pretty blurred.  Even more interesting was the new tidbit I just learned; that Zatanna isn't necessarily even human, but rather a member of an ancient race called the Homo magi.  Zatanna first appeared in the pages of Hawkman in 1964 and has been a regular (and often understated) character ever since.  She also maintained a lot of her trademark costume details; the fishnets, jacket, and tophat to name a few.  There was however a stretch of time in the early-to-mid eighties when she donned a blue and white getup with a lobster-looking thing perched on her head.  It was a very weird look but I kind of loved it.  The costume was brought back in the 2004 Identity Crisis miniseries which luckily spawned this cool action figure.  Let's check her out below!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lord of the Rings GALADRIEL ENTRANCED!

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring - Series 5 - ToyBiz 2005

One of my favorite scenes in the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy is when even the angelic elf Galadriel shows weakness when exposed to the tempting dark power of the One Ring.  No other scene in the films epitomize the power of the Ring than that short glimpse of its corruptive power.  It was brief, but really made an impact on me.  That's why I was really excited that ToyBiz produced a figure of her in this form.  Full confession:  I saw the trilogy for the first time about 3 years ago, and I only started collecting the toys in 2012.  I've been looking forward to including this figure in a Halloween review all year.  She doesn't necessarily look like Cate Blanchett, but she does look like your everyday spooky witchy spirit lady (the kind that might burst out of your tv at night).  The figure has a cool action feature of light-up eyes, but unfortunately those kind of battery-powered action features are a pretty short-lived novelty when left sitting on a shelf for eight years.  So, yeah, no cool light-up eyes for me...  Anyway, let's check out Galadriel (Entranced) below!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Character Spotlight: BLACK QUEEN (JEAN GREY)!

Your Favorite Brainwashed Dark Mistress of the Hellfire Club

Jean Grey seems to be the guinea pig for character transformations in the X-Men continuum.  She's been alive, dead, possessed, reincarnated, cloned, and everything in-between.  The impressive thing is that each new chapter in her dramatic life tends to create a wholly new character.  In the early 1980s and in the midst of the Dark Phoenix Saga, Jean was possessed by Mastermind and took on the role of the Black Queen in the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club (a clandestine group of evil mutants who liked to dress in inappropriate period costume).  The members were named after chess pieces.  The White Queen obviously being Emma Frost, the Black King being Sebastian Shaw, the White King being Magneto, and Donald Pierce being the White Bishop, just to name a few notable members over the years.  This possession of Jean Grey didn't last very long, but it definitely made an impact on the comic community and we've seen a small amount of merchandise released as a result.  Let's check them out below!

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Women of DC Universe CHIBIS!

Adorable Miniature Collectibles - Wonder Woman & Supergirl - Bulls-i-Toy 2013

I'm a sucker for cute collectibles lately.  Maybe it's due to the rising cost of full-sized action figures.  Maybe it's due to the fact that I will always be able to find display space for figures that are only slightly larger than an almond.  Of course, it probably is mostly because I've been bitten by the blind-bag-bug like everyone else I know.  These DC Universe Chibis were a surprise to me.  I've have the Marvel Avengers Black Widow figure for a while now but I wasn't really a fan of that older Chibis style.  Then recently I discovered two additional Marvel ladies (Storm and Invisible Woman) who are in a style much more to my liking.  Luckily these DC figures are in the newer "dot-eye" style that I prefer.  I think we'll definitely see a series two eventually.  Catwoman is the most glaring female missing from the first wave.  But I'm sure Batgirl, Harley, and Poison Ivy would be in the running too.  Something I really liked about these specific blind bags is that there are three figures in each bag, which really limits the frustration of not getting the character you want.  Let's check out Wonder Woman and Supergirl below!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

DC Universe VOODOO DOLLS!

String Doll Keychains of All Your Favorite DC Ladies - C & D Visionary 2013

I've been seeing these little guys pop up in my eBay searches for a while now and was never interested in the least.  I thought they were homemade, non-licensed fanart and was unimpressed.  Then I saw them in person (in a store) this week and I realized how odd and cute they were.  They were also on sale so I bought three.  Then by the next day I caved and bought three more.  It's really hard to tell what characters are even available.  For instance, Poison Ivy and Supergirl are basically non-existent on the internet, but I have them in hand.  I find it hard to believe there's not a Hawkgirl, and for all I know I just haven't found her yet.  The character selection is fantastic and the execution of the characters is both adorable and creepy.  I'm a big fan already.  Now all I have to do if find a way to display them in my collection (they look much cooler out of the packaging or else I would just keep them caged).  Let's check them out in detail below!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Girls of W.I.T.C.H.!

W.I.T.C.H. Action Figure Keychains - McDonalds 2005

W.I.T.C.H. is an Italian Magical Girl comic book created in 2001.  Like most magical girl properties, i.e. Sailor Moon, Winx Club, Angel's Friends, etc, W.I.T.C.H. was extremely popular and was soon bought by Disney and turned into an equally popular animated series by 2004.  The comics are currently being released in America in digest form and show up regularly at my lcs.  W.I.T.C.H. follows a typical magical girl premise of five girls (Will, Irma, Taranee, Cornelia, and Hay Lin - catch the acronym there?) being granted elemental powers to perform a task.  In this case, they are guarding portals to other magical realms.  Despite the popularity of the comics and cartoon in the US, there has been very little merchandising of the property here.  And frankly I find that a little surprising because the character design is very catchy - matching outfits, cool style, witchy stripes, and fairy wings... how can you beat that?  Well in 2005 McDonalds released a series of 6 figural keychains that I personally think top all the Italian dolls and Kinder figures on the market.  (After the keychain loops got chopped off at least).  Let's check them out!

Monday, October 21, 2013

NECA's CARRIE WHITE (Prom Queen Version)!

Your Favorite Tormented Telekinetic Prom Queen - Carrie - NECA 2013

I'm a huge fan of Stephen King, but not always the biggest fan of the movies based off his work.  Carrie was the first of over 100 film adaptations of his writings and is arguably one of the most acclaimed of the lot.  I was never the hugest fan of that original 1976 movie.  The climax was phenomenal, but I always felt the lead-up to that dramatic conclusion was a bit lackluster (I'll be watching it again later this week and may have a different opinion now however).  The 1999 sequel The Rage: Carrie 2 was interesting but forgettable.  Then there was a 2002 remake that had a lot of positive buzz at the time, but I have never seen it (again, give me a week).   This brings us to the current Carrie film in theatres now.  It's kind of funny that I've been seeing this toy for quite a while now, but had no idea there was a new movie.  My most recent realization is that the titular character is played by ChloĆ« Grace Moretz who I love from Kick-Ass and 30 Rock.  I guess that says a bit about this figure's likeness to the actress.  That said, the Kick-Ass toys don't look like her either so maybe she has one of those difficult-to-capture faces.  Let's check her out!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mutant X - The GOBLIN QUEEN!

Madelyne Pryor's Demonic Alter-Ego - Mutant X: Previews Exclusive - ToyBiz 1998
 
Madelyne Pryor has a very confusing past.  Comic readers originally met her as a non-mutant Jean Grey lookalike who Cyclops met soon after Jean was killed during the Dark Phoenix Saga.  The writers' intentions were for Scott to rebound with Madelyne, retire from the X-Men, and move to Alaska to settle down and have kids.  But then the concept of re-establishing the original X-Men team as X-Factor was brought to the table and all those plans were scrapped.  Madelyne was dumped for the resurrected Jean and got really ticked.  Readers then found out that she was actually a clone of Jean created by Mr. Sinister in order to seduce Scott and produce the powerful Jean & Scott offspring that would have been difficult after Jean's original death (spoiler: they had Nathan Summers aka Cable).  During the Inferno storyline in the late 80s, Madelyne's Jean-like powers were unlocked and made susceptible to demonic forces (just like Jean was effected by the Phoenix force) to become the reality-warping Goblin Queen.  This incarnation has remained popular and still surfaces as an X-Men villain (or ally) every few years.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures - PINKY!

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures - Blind Bag Series 1 - K'Nex 2013

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a computer-animated re-imagining of the world of Pac-Man.  The animated series first aired in June of 2013 on Disney XD.  A basic run-down of the show is this:  Pac-Man is young and is the last of the yellow Pac-Worlders.  There are lots of other colors of Pac-Worlders as seen by his colorful assortment of friends.  Also, the Ghost Gang are now secretly his friends and help Pac-Man fight against the other ghosts.  So Pinky and her brothers (Blinky, Inky, and Clyde) are suddenly good guys -- plus Pinky is now a girl, and Purple Sue is non-existent.  There have been a lot of toys related to this series showing up in the video game aisle of TRU for the past few months, but I actually prefer these mini K'Nex blind bag figures.  They're small, they have more characters, and they're significantly cheaper that the larger Bandai figures.  Each Blind Bag actually contains two figures, too.  (The second figure is one of an assortment of generic bad ghosts).  Let's check her out below!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Blackest Night WONDER WOMAN!

Black Lantern Wonder Woman - Blackest Night: Series 4 - DC Direct 2010

Blackest Night was a force to be reckoned with in 2009.  The Green Lantern-centric storyline dealt with the supervillain Nekron (the embodiment of death) as he reincarnated all the dead heroes in a Black Lantern army to wreak predictable havoc.  It was basically a great way for DC to jump on the zombie craze and it was extremely successful.  There were eight series of action figures, several coinciding Green Lantern waves, and three waves from the follow-up series, Brightest Day.  Wonder Woman briefly became a Black Lantern after she and several other heroes were "killed" by Nekron and instantly turned into lanterns.  Her role as a Black Lantern was very short, and since she wasn't dead for more than a split second, she's not one of the rotting gory lanterns, but rather the same old Diana with a creepy color palette.  This figure is excellent.  The Karen Palinko sculpt is beautiful and this dark version of Wonder Woman is a great addition to your Amazon collection.  Let's check her out below!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Photos From NYCC 2013!

My NYCC Opening Night Runaround Documented for Your Viewing Pleasure

Welcome to the photo documentation of my second annual trip to the New York Comic Con.  This year I waited until early September to get tickets only to discover they were almost all sold out.  I was able to get a single ticket for 3pm-9pm on Thursday the 10th.  I'm typing this introduction a couple days in advance so I can just upload photos easily from my phone.  The pros of me going early are the 1) it's cheaper, 2) it will likely be less crowded, and 3) it will be unlikely that exclusives will have sold out.  The negatives sides are that there's less going on (special-guest-wise, etc) and sometimes the big-brand exhibitors save reveals till the last day (ie Mattel showing the Huntress prototype last year after I had left).  I hope to see lots of cool stuff but I don't have too many expectations.  I'm actually more excited about shopping than seeing new toy reveals.  But I'm sure once I get there I'll be like a kid at an Easter egg hunt.  Everything past this first paragraph break will have been written during or after NYCC.  My fingers are crossed!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Real Ghostbusters JANINE MELNITZ!

Ghostbusters: Fright Features - Janine Melnitz w/ Tickler the Ghost - Kenner 1989

How could I have a Halloween month (however loosely based) without a Ghostbusters figure?  Last year I reviewed Gozer and Zuul, which are definitely the coolest ladies from the property, but Janine is arguably the most loved.  Originally played by Annie Potts in the original movies, the bored-and unfrazzled secretary saw a ton of character growth in the the later animated series The Real Ghostbusters (voiced by Kath Soucie) and Extreme Ghostbusters (voiced by Pat Musick).  In several episodes of these series, Janine would get pulled into the adventure and "suit up" in her own Ghostbuster uniform, often with a proton pack of her own.  Kenner produced a handful of Janine figures between 1986-1991, but this Fright Features figure has always been my favorite.  All the Fright Features figures had really cool dynamic action features (one of my favorite trends of 80's toys) and these gimmicks made them some of the most popular Ghostbusters toys ever.  Let's check out Janine below!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Superman/Batman CORRUPTED SUPERGIRL!

Apokolips Supergirl - Superman/Batman: Series 2 - DC Direct 2006
 
This one is even in Halloween colors!  The girls sculpted in DC Direct's Superman/Batman lines are some of the most criticized collector figures of all time.   The sculpts by Big Chief are really good and truly representative of the late Michael Turner's art.  Michael Turner's art, however, is exaggerated and ultra-sexy.  But those same exaggerations that work so well in two dimensions tend to lose their illusion when rendered in 3-D.  The lanky torsos (in both the male and female characters) look dynamic on the page, but positively deformed from the plastic perspective.  The version of Supergirl came about when Darkseid kidnapped the newly-arrived Kara Zor-El from Themyscira where she was being trained by Wonder Woman.  Kara was brainwashed to lead Darkseid's Female Furies and donned this "corrupted" look.  I wasn't a fan of this story when I originally read it, and I was even less of a fan when these toys originally came out.  When was I finally sold?  Read on below..

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Voltron: The Third Dimension - HAGGAR THE WITCH!

Voltron: The Third Dimension - Haggar the Witch - Trendmasters 1999

Sometimes there's nothing worse than a bad reboot of a property that you love.  Voltron: The Third Dimension was a CGI continuation of the 1985 animated Voltron series done in the style of ReBoot and Transformers: Beastmasters.  Maybe it's just early CGI that I have an issue with, because in researching this review, I discovered that this show received a decent amount of awards during its brief tenure.  I just have trouble watching it.  One positive note though was really cool character designs and some fantastic toys.  Just the Stealth Voltron and Voltrex the dinosaur Voltron were enough to win me over, let alone the human characters.  I loved how all the pilots now had cat-shaped helmets, and that Allura was now wearing blue instead of pink.  But most of all, I loved this toy of Haggar.  Haggar's look in the show seemed to be almost identical to the original design, but I figure at some point in the series she transformed into this "Sorceress of Doom."  I love the look of this figure and her cool face-changing action feature.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Vintage Goodness: Voltron's HAGGAR THE WITCH!

Voltron: Defender of the Universe - Haggar the Witch - Panosh Place 1984

I can still remember my first reaction to Voltron like it was yesterday.  I grew up in the boonies with three staticy television channels.  One year we all spent the Summer with my Dad on an army base.  There we had an apartment with air-conditioning and cable (both were luxuries I didn't know existed).  I remember eating cereal on one of the first mornings there and my Mom turned on the TV in the middle of an episode of Voltron.  I was instantly intrigued.  Multi-Colored heroes who rode gigantic robot cats?!  A princess who is friends with a bunch of alien-looking mice?!  Blue-skinned bad guys in space?!  and.. wait.. what?  The lions are assembling?!  This can't be.  My 7-year-old mind was blown.  I became obsessed and was showered with Voltron toys that Christmas.  I won't even mention my reaction when I discovered Vehicle Voltron either.  Haggar was the typical cackling evil sorceress I had come to expect from my villainy.  Truly a classic 80s baddie.  Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - SHE-DEMON!

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - She-Demon (Stone Strike Tail) - ToyBiz 1996

Welcome to the first of my Halloween reviews for 2013!   I'm not going to stress out about finding a new vampy lady every day like I attempted last year.  But rather, I've been saving my creepier reviews all year for the month of October.  She-Demon was always my favorite monster from Hercules.  She's essentially a hybrid of Lamia and Medusa, but presented as a child of Echidna and Typhon.  Unlike this toy, the TV version of She-Demon looked like a supermodel (played by Nicky Mealings), with a really bad CGI serpentine tail.  I guess the CGI was actually pretty good for a mid-nineties television show, but looking back now it's kind of laughable.  I also loved how this character was seductive instead of outright malicious.  I always love characters like that.  The toy leaves a lot to be desired, but it also it pretty fun.  Anytime an expressive face finds its way onto a toy the results can be hairy.  But the more I photographed She-Demon, the more I appreciated her.  Let's check her out below!