Monday, August 31, 2020

Spin Master - CATWOMAN!

DC Comics: The Caped Crusader - Catwoman - Spin Master Toys 2020

One of my first reactions when I heard news about the demise of DC Collectibles/DC Direct, was an irrational fear that I would never get another Catwoman action figure. As arguably the second most recognizable female in the comics world (after Wonder Woman... and only until the older generations learn about Harley Quinn), it's shocking how few action figures of her hit standard retail. By my count, there hasn't been one in three years, and only a few more in the last decade. But DC Collectibles gave us a steady flow averaging two a year (until the recent slowdown). So this Spin Master 4" Catwoman came at the perfect time. She is this simple but perfect representation of the Selina I love from modern comics. And now I have hopes that she won't be overlooked in the merchandising game. Plus she arrived the same week we got our first glance of ZoĆ« Kravitz as Catwoman in The Batman trailer. I'm certain this role will trigger some toys as well. Let's check out Catwoman below!

Friday, August 28, 2020

Deadpool 2 - DOMINO!

Marvel Legends - Deadpool 2 - Domino (Beatrice Thurman) - Hasbro 2020

The New Mutants and X-Force were the only Marvel books I really liked as a kid so I'm always very obsessive and protective of all these characters. When it was announced that Domino was going to be a character in Deadpool 2, I was giddy. This pairing was perfect to me considering that Domino and Deadpool were first introduced in the same issue of New Mutants #98. But when the trailer came out I legit didn't even recognize her (I thought she was Callisto). In my narrow mind, one of Domino's key traits was unearthly white skin, black hair, black eyepaint (you know, like a domino), and crazy gymnastic skills. But this MCU Domino was all earthtones and uzis. It wasn't the worst cinematic interpretation ever, but I definitely walked into the theatre with low expectations. But all it took was two short hours to win me over. Zazie Beetz's portrayal was great. It was fun, snarky, and cool. Plus it finally explained her powers in an understandable way. And now years later she gets a perfect action figure!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Marvel Legends - GWEN STACY!

Marvel Legends - Spider-Man Vintage Wave - Gwen Stacy - Hasbro 2020

Gwen Stacy has had the best resurrection in the last few years. Literally. As one of original characters to get fridged (look up Women in Refrigerators if you're unaware), Gwen had to be brought back from literary death to appear in modern comics. And this time she wasn't being wasted. Granted, she was brought back in an alternate reality where she was the one bitten by the radioactive spider to become the fan favorite Spider-Gwen. Then she inspired a month of Gwen-Stacy-themed variant covers in the Summer of 2015 which spawned another fan-favorite-alternate-reality character, Gwenpool. I love both of these character, so by default, I now love the classic 1960-70's Gwen. This figure was a long time coming and she is practically perfect. The added bonus of a classic Mary Jane head is just icing on the cake. The Marvel Legends Vintage series is one of my favorite sub-lines. I really dig a good retro vibe with my toys so these are a natural draw for me. Let's check out Gwen Stacy (and Mary Jane!) below!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Fans Hobby - ATHENA!

3rd Party Transformers - MasterBuilder MB-12 Athena - Fans Hobby 2020

Third Party figures are one of my greatest collecting thrills. While the official Hasbro and Takara fembots have had impressive advancements in the last few years (both in design and sheer output numbers), for a long time the only female Transformers available were produced by 3rd Party manufacturers. I only personally only started collecting them a few years ago when my finances finally allowed for it, but I really regret not focusing my hobby cash earlier because I missed out on some great early figures. This Athena is my newest acquisition. She is an homage to the Transformers Masterforce Minerva character and is beautifully made. Although I've never seen the Masterforce or Headmasters cartoons, I'm vaguely aware of the characters and concepts. I've been obsessed with her since I bought a small PVC of her almost 20 years in an import manga shop. I love her color scheme and her medic motif (most female Transformers lack the service motifs that the males have). Let's check out Athena below!

Monday, August 24, 2020


Blackest Night Action Figure Box Set– Star Sapphire Fatality – DC Direct 2011

This is a figure that I have coveted for a long time. When this box set was originally released I was very squeamish about about scantily clad superheros. I still have guilty pangs like I'm supporting some toxic objectification of women by purchasing things like this. But I've grown since then and embraced a more fluid perception of body positivity (although I still think these outfits were likely designed my men with dubious intentions). A few years after the Blackest Night storyline, I picked up the Carol Ferris Star Sapphire and really fell in love with its sculpt and overall presence. Knowing that this Fatality figure shared the same body made me want her even more. But I was faced with the age old problem of high eBay prices and really sloppy paintjobs. It took many years, but I finally found it in a store last week. Getting her inspired me to gather all my Star Sapphire collectibles together for the first time. (They look great and I'm going to display them as a group now!) Let's check out Fatality below!

Friday, August 21, 2020

POP! Masters of the Universe - SORCERESS!

POP! Television #993 - Masters of the Universe - Sorceress - Funko 2020

I've been super selective with my Funko Pop purchases in recent years. My collection room was getting overwhelmed with them and I knew I needed to slow down. I even sold off a bunch of my older Pops that I felt were repetitive (like metallic variants, etc) and made a decent chunk of change in the process. But I will always be a sucker for a few genres: Jim Henson, Retro Super Heroes, and 1980's Cartoons. The Sorceress of Castle Grayskull was my absolute favorite part of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. She was maternal, mysterious, all-knowing, and she transformed into a falcon. Little cartoon-obsessed me couldn't get enough of her. Whenever see a product of her in a store I get the greatest wave of nostalgia. And in the past few years there have actually been a decent amount: Loyal Subjects, Vynl, ReAction, and Pint-Size Heroes (Not to mention the collector's versions from Mattel and Super7). Fingers crossed for an Origins soon! Let's check out the Sorceress Pop below!

Thursday, August 20, 2020


HeroWorld - Series 08 -  DC Batgirl & Jessica Cruz Green Lantern – Funko 2018

Funko has had a lot of experimental toy lines come and go over the years. While the fate of certain lines (like Dorbz and Vynl), isn't exactly clear, there are tons of other the we can assume are dead in the water now: Vinyl Sugar, Vinyl Vixens, Vinyl Idols, Rock Candy, Legacy Collection, Vinyl³, and last but not least, the short-lived HeroWorld. Of all the weird Funko blips, I really felt that HeroWorld showed the greatest potential. They were little inexpensive vinyl figurines with a random assortment of licenses Like DC Comics, Harry Potter, FNAF, Scooby-Doo, and Power Rangers. I was iffy about them at first, but as soon as I saw the Batman Villains pack in person I was hooked. Not only because of the great Catwoman in the set, but because of the crosssell image on the back showing a Batgirl and Jessica Cruz set. Unfortunately, the whole line hit a major slowdown and I wasn't able to get the set until thankfully an Australian eBay seller listed a few sets years later. Let's check out Babs and Jessica below!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The Imaginext Ladies of TEEN TITANS GO!

Teen Titans Go! – Starfire, Raven, Terra, Jinx, and Ravager – Fisher-Price 2015-18

The Teen Titans have become such an unexpected presence in pop culture. I remember trying to explain the team to my friends way back in gradeschool only to have my excitement fall on deaf ears. But then flash-forward many years later sitting in a hotel room with my siblings on a rainy vacation day when the Teen Titans cartoon premiered on the Cartoon Network. It was a very weird re-imagining, and it honestly was not to my liking, but I felt a sort of vindication that this cast of characters I loved would be exposed to the masses. That original series from 2003 lasted five seasons and was rebooted with a more super-deformed redesign as Teen Titan Go! in 2013 (which is still ongoing). While all these shows are a bit too wacky and nonsensical for me personally, I keep getting drawn in to the merchandising. The character designs are fun and colorful. And when Fisher-Price started to release a Teen Titans Go sub-line under their amazing Imaginext brand, I was hooked. Let's check out the lady Titans below!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Funko POP Uma Thurman POISON IVY!

POP! Heroes #343 – Batman & Robin: Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman) – Funko 2020

I've always thought it was such a crime that the 1990s Batman movies were so under-merchandised. Sure, there was a handful of action figures back then, but the effort was weak (and almost unrecognizable in the case of Poison Ivy). With all the revisited properties filling the shelves in the last decade, It's hard to believe we haven't seen a movie Poison Ivy since 1997. So I was extremely excited to see her merchandised after over twenty years. This Funko Pop is part of the Funko Specialty Series exclusive to small vendors like comic and toy shops. Maybe now that the licensing ball is rolling we might finally get a proper action figure of her. (But my hopes aren't too high for McFarlane to pull through). I think the most exciting next step will be an Alicia Silverstone Batgirl Pop, which I predict will be revealed in the next year (fingers crossed!). Uma Thurman rocked quite a few memorable looks in Batman & Robin, but I think this cone-haired one is the most iconic. Let's check out Poison Ivy below!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Mission Fleet - AHSOKA TANO!

Star Wars Mission Fleet: Disney Basic Series 01 - Ahsoka Tano - Hasbro 2020

I feel like Star Wars has had a lot of stalled-out action figure lines lately. Black Series and Vintage are pretty consistent, but every other product line seems to spark interest then promptly die out. Galactic Heroes, Mega Mighties, Galaxy of Adventures, Resistance, and Toy Box... they all showed a lot of potential and gave us some cool figures, only to release little to no future product in the line. That's why I'm a little hesitant to get excited about this new Star Wars Mission Fleet series from Hasbro (I'm a little surprised it's not under the Playskool brand). The figures are nicely made, very toyetic, and really really small. This Ahsoka Tano, the first female in the line, measures just under 2.5 inches tall. That puts her at the same height as a Mini-Mate, but distinctly smaller than other "small" lines like M.A.S.K., Dino-Riders, and Imaginext. They have a definite preschool vibe with their enlarged heads, hands and feet, but at this tiny scale it doesn't look too disproportionate. Let's check out Ahsoka Tano below!

Monday, August 10, 2020

Justice League International - BLACK CANARY!

Justice League International -  Series 01 - Black Canary - DC Direct 2009

A few hours ago I heard the news that Warner Bros has fully shut down DC Collectibles/DC Direct after 22 long years. To me, this is truly one of the saddest things to have happened to the toy industry in all my years of collecting. It's sadder than Mattycollector ending, sadder than all the unfinished ThunderCats lines, and sadder than all the various licenses being revoked before my favorite characters could be made. To me, DC Direct has always seemed like the company with the most love for the genre (of both comics and toys) and the company who had the most fun actually making the figures. And, as an artist myself, I will always have respect for the fact that they gave the individual sculptors and designers credit on the packaging. It's amazing how many companies don't/won't do that. Imagine if every novel you read was authorless. Imagine if every comic was penciled anonymously. Imagine if you never knew the names of actors or athletes. Those pasttimes would be a lot less enjoyable. 

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Ed McGuinness POWER GIRL!

Superman/Batman Series 5: With a Vengeance Pt 2- Power Girl - DC Direct 2008

Power Girl is one of those characters I've always struggled with. Purely based on her anatomical endowments and her creative teams so often being comprised entirely of men. Objectification just skeeves me out on so many levels, even when I'm just generally perceiving it without solid examples. But then in 2009 one of my favorite artists at the time, Amanda Conner, took the reigns with her future husband Jimmy Palmiotti writing the scripts. Having a female on the creative team allowed me to finally read this character without being so defensive. And I quickly grew to love the character. I'm also glad that the acknowledgment of her chest was such an upfront topic. This figure of Power Girl from the Ed McGuiness-styled Superman/Batman line is the only female from that line I didn't pick up (because it came out a year before I liked the character). But I finally found her a few weeks ago in a discount bin (note the tattered card) and I'm happy to finally have her in my collection. Let's check out Power Girl below!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Justice League Animated HAWKGIRL!

Justice League Animated Series #4 - Hawkgirl - DC Collectibles 2020

I was a huge fan of Batman comics in elementary and middle school, and I must admit I was a bit possessive and snobby about these characters. Okay, a lot snobby. Even the Tim Burton films got high scrutiny from little source-material-purist know-it-all me (despite loving them now). So when Batman the Animated Series premiered a few years later I was not having any of it. I thought it was mocking my favorite anti-hero. I honestly didn't revisit the properties and begin to appreciate them until the early 2000s (basically when Harley became mainstream and I was diving deep). I suddenly saw what everyone else did all along. When the DC Collectibles Timm-verse line began I immediately on board, and they remain one of my favorite collections. I'm much less familiar with the Justice League cartoon, but I always appreciated Hawkgirl's prominence and strikingly simple design. When I saw this figure in my comic shop last month I knew I had to have her. Let's check out Hawkgirl below!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

GamerVerse Basic Series - MS. MARVEL!

Marvel Avengers GamerVerse: Basic Series 01 - Ms. Marvel - Hasbro 2020

Basic figures have come a long, long way in the last few years. The character selection used to be dismal.. thirty different color Tony Starks clogging the aisles for years still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But along with the constantly raising bar in super hero films, the basic series action figures riding those box office coattails have also experienced massive improvements. These days, they have decent articulation, sculpt, and actually included female characters. I believe this new Avengers GamerVerse line is the first time Marvel has had basic figures not based on a theatrical film. From what I understand, "GamerVerse" is the fictional universe in which all modern Marvel video games take place. The Ms. Marvel design is specifically from the upcoming Marvel's Avengers game due out this Fall, but the GamerVerse umbrella could include characters from any game. And based on the high quality of this figure, I hope there are many more coming. Let's check out Kamala Khan below!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Marvel Legends - SHIKLAH!

Marvel Legends: Deadpool (Strong Guy BaF Series) - Shiklah - Hasbro 2020

One of the greatest things about the longevity and success of Marvel Legends is the endless pool of obscure characters they can now dive into. The downside is there are going to be plenty of characters who are a complete mystery to me. Case in point is this most recent acquisition of mine, Shiklah. I've never heard of her (and I consider myself a pretty voracious comics reader). I felt a little better when I learned her first appearance was just in 2014. In a nutshell, Shiklah is an undead/demon queen. Her true form is a purple dragon and she has all sorts of witchy powers. She was once married to Deadpool but is currently married to Dracula. She seems pretty cool and I really dig all the comic illustrations of her, but my hobbies are so focused on nostalgia that this relatively new character won't be getting a prime display spot. And despite her being an interesting figure, I suppose I'm a little resentful that Siryn, Feral, or a new Domino weren't given this slot. Let's check out Shiklah below!