The fourth of five planned Marvel Collector Corps subscription boxes arrived this week, and this time Funko's diverted attention away from the goodie-two-shoes of the Marvel U for once. The Villains box is the first to arrive with such a broad theme, but even though Marvel's got a steady stream of movies and events constantly happening, Funko was eventually going to have to step outside the existing comfort zone created in the Collector Corps.
While the Ant-Man and Avengers: Age of Ultron boxes were nice, there's a lot more to Marvel than just its movie brands. The last box, which was inspired by the Secret Wars comic and event, was a promising glimpse into the future that Villains maintains, even if it doesn't exceed expectations. The broad vision for the Villains box may just have been its undoing, as there is strong variation in this box, but it's a lack of laser-focus leaves it ending up a mixed bag.
After the long string of successes Hot Toys has had with its various Marvel-themed figures, it actually not all that surprising to learn there will soon be a Stan Lee figure coming from the Hong Kong-based company. This actually isn't the first time the Marvel legend has been captured in figure form, as NECA, Funko, ToyBiz and more have all tried their hand at bringing the living embodiment of comic book history to life before. However, very few have been as true-to-life as Hot Toys' latest piece, which brings Stan to life in all his grandfatherly glory right down to the Members Only jacket.
It's a curious thing that most toy companies have captured Stan well beyond his glory days in the Marvel Bullpen, and instead have focused on his semi-retired persona as the cameo du jour in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This current version is the more recognizable though, I suppose, but it would have been an interesting take to showcase Stan "The Man" in a younger guise back when he was still influencing the biggest guns in the business on a daily basis. It's also a tiny bit sad that Hot Toys' penchant for realism and accuracy depicts the Marvel mainstay in such a fragile form.
Devilishly handsome. Magnificently deviant. Criminally charming. Loki is many things, and now you can count stunning masterpiece among the superlatives bandied about when discussing the Marvel Cinematic Universe's trickster god. Thanks to Sideshow Collectibles, fans of Tom Hiddleston's incarnation of the character will soon be able to swoon over a premium format figure of the blue-eye mischief maker. Teased earlier this year, the large-scale statue is a tremendous piece of work, and one that captures the danger and attraction all at once.
Captured in his guise from the first Avengers film, Loki is presented in his horned helm and traditional deep green garb. The lengthy fabric cape is a brighter shade, and complements the dark, leather-like pants and jacket trimmed in gold. There's a lot of terrific detail in the figure itself, including some outstanding texturing throughout the sleeves and chest. I don't know who does Loki's tailoring, but the facsimile job Sideshow does in on point.
With all they hype and hoopla surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many companies have dived in head-first into the uncharted waters of what lies in the future. Some however are still relishing in the past, and Sideshow Collectibles' upcoming Darth Maul figure only serves to show that not everyone has forgotten about the one good thing to come from The Phantom Menace. It's actually surprising that it took this long for Maul to get the sixth-scale recognition he's deserved, given just how many different figures Sideshow and Hot Toys have created under the Star Wars banner to this point. Still, good things to those who wait and all that jazz.
Though he was killed off near the end of The Phantom Menace, Maul was resurrected, given new legs (twice) and has since appeared in the animated series that still count as canon in the Star Wars Universe. Much has been made about whether or not Darth Maul actually counts as a Sith. Since he was killed before his training under Sidious was complete, a case could be made that he's just a Force-positive player in the world like so many others who never had the proper training to master their skills. Whatever side of that debate you fall on, Sideshow's Maul figure comes from a time when it seemed that he would be an unstoppable force of evil on the side of the Sith for years to come. You know, until Obi-Wan gave him that 50% discount on life. Whoops.
If you know anything at all about DC Comics' and Warner Brothers' licenses, you know that with the rare exception of DC Collectibles, it's almost impossible to find any action figures of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman or the rest of the laundry list of characters without it coming from Mattel. There are some allowances however with large-scale figures, such as those Hot Toys, Sideshow and even NECA have produced in the past. If you're looking for 1/12 scale though (6-7"), your pickings are slim.
There are some instances, by the grace of the toy gods, where a company like NECA can put out its much-requested 1/4 scale figures at a more affordable and space-permitting scale. Previously, NECA teamed with Warner Bros. and Toys 'R Us to offer its Michael Keaton Batman (1989) figure at standard figure size as part of a bundle with the anniversary release of the film on Blu-ray. At the time, many fans begged for that same treatment to be given to the likes of NECA's 1/4 scale Christopher Reeve Superman and Heath Ledger Joker. It seemed like an opportunity like that would never happen again. Until it did. Today.
If you thought the dream of owning your very own Hook and Ladder 8 meant taking out three mortgages on your house, there's soon going to be a (slightly) more affordable option on the way. This January, Lego will finally release the rumored Ghostbusters headquarters set many thought would never come. There have been dozens of plans for the famous firehouse submitted through Lego Ideas over the years, but whether they were gigantic sets or more modular designs, none had made it past Lego's approval process. At least now we know why.
Based on the iconic Hook and Ladder 8 from the original two films, the Lego Ghostbusters Firehouse Headquarters (75827) made its official debut today thanks to Entertainment Weekly. The set will consist of 4634 pieces, and features the two-story building with a garage, lab, living quarters and the Ghostbusters' proprietary containment system. The entire cast of major human players, including Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz, Egon Spengler, Winston Zeddemore, Janine Melnitz, Dana Barrett and Louis Tully will be part of the set, as will Slimer, the Library Ghost, and a pink and blue ghost.
After what seemed like years of teasing, ThreeZero is finally bringing some of the human characters from its The Walking Dead line to market. While we've already seen Michonne's zombie bodyguards released, the collecting world has been waiting for characters like Rick Grimes, Daryl Dixon, Michonne and more to make their debut. It wouldn't have been such an excruciating period had ThreeZero not hinted at the line numerous times over the past few years, but with the formal announcement of the Rick Grimes figure, it would seem the rest of the fan-favorite characters won't be far behind.
Based on his appearance in the fourth season of AMC's The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes is already looking pretty haggard. That's to be expected considering all the things he'd been through to that point in the show, though it could be argued the things that have happened since have pushed Rick even closer to the brink. Still, this version of Rick still has a slight glimmer of hope in his eyes, which is something you don't often see on his face during the tumultuous events of the show. The prison provided respite enough for Rick, and ThreeZero's head sculpt captures his cautious optimism well enough.
Another week has gone by and we're still no closer to seeing any of the actual human characters whose faces aren't hidden behind masks from Hot Toys' upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens figure collection. That's okay though. The only thing people really care about is Stormtroopers and their various incarnations. So, it makes perfect sense that the latest sixth-scale soldiers to join up with the previously announced Stormtroopers and Snowtroopers are the Flametroopers.
The First Order's soldiers have comprised a great deal of the action figure reveals so far across multiple scales and sizes. The Flametrooper is a division we've not seen in films before, though given how specialized the Empire was and how the First Order appears to be, there were likely similar troops in the Imperial Army as it existed all those years ago. The Flametroopers have gained some significance as of late thanks to the prevalence of fire and flaming villages in the trailers for The Force Awakens. We don't know who or what they're burning down, or why for that matter, but we do know that they are rather good at their job given the propensity of flames in the five or so minutes of footage that's been released.
Even though he's the king of the seas, DC's Aquaman gets his fair share of guff from the rest of the superhero community... and the fan community. While Aquaman definitely has some redeeming qualities, he's just never been considered a true champion among the likes of Superman, Wonder Woman or Batman. Sure, he gets invited to the big kids' table, but they always seat him near Plastic Man. I mean, it's Plastic Man, guys. Despite all that, Aquaman's come through from the people and animals of Earth more times then most citizens are willing to give him credit.
Fortunately, Arthur Curry has more than just the denizens of Atlantis on his side. He's also got Sideshow Collectibles honor him. As crafters of fine statues showcasing the best and brightest DC has to offer, Sideshow wouldn't select Aquaman if they believed he was a lame duck. That's a lot of time and effort to be spent carefully rendering each piece of scale mail in his armor shirt. No seriously, there are a lot of individual pieces of plating in there to give the suit it's fish-y look. It's impressive.
The great thing about Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites is the ability for creators to fill a void with a product or project they're incredibly passionate about. More and more, we're seeing niche action figure and collectible creators turn to this method to get their ideas out there. It's a hard road to commercial success at retail, but if you can reach out directly to your audience, there's a chance you'll make some headway towards bigger things and wider availability.
Seeing a hole in the action figure market for not just female characters, but female characters more representative of real women, IAmElemental campaigned to bring such a series to life. After a successful round of crowdfunding in 2014, the company released its first line-up, Courage, this year. We caught up with Julie Kerwin, chief elemental officer at IamElemental, at New York Comic Con to talk about the line, where it's headed, and whether or not it can succeed in a crowded market.
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