Toys are basically a no-brainer as pieces of ancillary merchandise for comic books: ideally, they help fire kids' creativity as they imagine themselves in the roles of their favorite heroes and villains, sculpting scenarios that could develop the minds that will one day shape the future of our favorite characters' fictional lives; more realistically, they look okay standing up on shelves in the basements of thirty-somethings, next to their 1/6 scale statue of Faye Valentine. But not everyone who pops up in a comic stands out as an obvious candidate for the translation to the medium of plastic. Here are ten characters, obscure or otherwise, who will make you scratch your head when you see them on the rack at Target.
Between Mutant Turtles: Choujin Densetsu-hen and its corresponding Supermutants action figure line circa 1996, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have a solid history of radical anime and toy treatment in Japan. Later this month toymaker Dreams Come True will contribute another awesome lawyer to the TMNT's Japanese legacy by mashing up Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael with none other than Sanrio's Hello Kitty. Meowabunga, dudes!
There are a lot of factors that go into loving a toy. Some are tangible, others less so. Being awesome can't hurt, though, and ComicsAlliance saw plenty of that quality manifest across toydom in 2013. One theme that stood out this year especially, though? New spins on old favorites. From the mighty Titan Class Metroplex to the NES-inspired Jason of Friday the 13th fame, toymakers went beyond kicking out mere nostalgia cash-grabs and elevated familiar characters with state-of-the-art toy tech. Hit the jump to browse some of CA's favorite toys from 2013.
A new DC Comics Bombshell statue, a plethora of Justice League: War figures, a Bruce Timm-designed Harley Quinn for Batman Black & White and a couple of Superman pool cues are the standouts for February's offerings from DC Collectibles.
Like the younger April O'Neil on Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles CG animated series, Nickelodeon's new teenage Casey Jones is a little different from the original sporting good themed antihero. I mean, he's not wearing sweatpants, for one. The core of the character seems to be intact, however, as he's a rebellious bruiser with a code of honor who has already said things like "I’m the last guy you see before you wake up in the hospital," while rocking a hockey goaltender mask and swinging around a baseball bat. Playmates has stayed in synch with the new show and revealed their upcoming 2014 action figure take on the character and from the looks of things, it's packed with all the detail and accessories Jones fans have come to expect.
While top talent -- as in, Moebius, Bruce Timm, Stan Sakai, just to name a few -- have elevated Mattel's Masters of the Universe toy, cartoon and movie franchise to something special, so far the closest thing a comic book creator had come to getting their own MOTU figure was sometime He-Man scribe Geoff Johns' childhood creation Sir Laser Lot being produced. But, thanks to the magic of... being Stan Lee? Stan Lee, who has co-created scores of iconic Marvel super heroes in addition to curiosities like Stripperella -- but has never had anything to do with MOTU -- has received a new alter ego in the realm of Eternia by the name of Standor.
I don't think I'm blowing anyone's mind here when I say that Arkham Asylum has more personality than any other building in comics. Heck, it's got more personality than a lot of characters. I can't think of any comics or video games named after, say, The Daily Planet Building or even Avengers Mansion, but something about Arkham keeps drawing people back to obsessing over it. My guess is that it's the interior gargoyles.
What will blow your mind, though, is a LEGO creation built over the course of a year by Thornsten Bosch, alias Xenomurphy, depicting a mass breakout at the Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane. It's one of the most beautifully crafted, painstakingly detailed and flat-out massive LEGO sets I've ever seen, based loosely on Chicago's Tribune Building. Check out some amazing shots below!
Hasbro and Takara's larger Transformers Optimus Prime figures have been sporting Autobot Matrix of Leadership-storing chest chambers for years now, but Action Toys' upcoming UM-1 Ultimetal Optimus Prime digs even deeper by giving toy fans a look at the Generation 1 version of the heroic leader's entire anatomy from the inside out via removable plates. Turns out robots-in-disguise are full of their own mechanical guts and black stuff.
Sanrio's Hello Kitty and Bandai's long-running die-cast Chogokin toy line are both turning 40 next year, so they're commemorating the occasion the only way that makes sense: teaming up for a righteous Hello Kitty mech action figure that, among other things, shoots rocket fists like Mazinger Z.