This September is home to arguably the most anticipated shopping day of the year for many longtime Star Wars fans. Hasbro, Disney and Lucasfilm have appointed that day as "Force Friday," which will be the very first day merchandise from Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be available for purchase. If you've visited a Toys 'R Us in the past month, you may have spotted the countdown clock, ticking down to 12:01AM on Sept. 4, 2015, which will be when hundreds of stores nationwide open their doors for thousands of fans eager to get their hands on Force Awakens merchandise.
To this point, much of the upcoming slate of releases for the Force Awakens have been shrouded in secrecy. There have been hints and teases as to what to expect, but until very recently, no one outside of the major merchandisers and manufacturers really knew what was in store. That all changed about a week ago when the very first leaks started springing from the good ship Star Wars. While we've only seen a few Hasbro products in blurry pictures to this point, today Amazon (which is always good for a few leaks) accidentally pushed the pre-order pages for all of Funko's planned Force Awakens Pop figures.
This past week, Hasbro and Marvel teamed up for another fan vote to determine one new figure for the Marvel Legends line. The qualifying rounds actually took place at San Diego Comic-Con, with each day of the convention hosting a different round of four. You had to visit the Hasbro booth to place a vote, but the initial round of 16 was quite intriguing. In addition to well-known characters like Symbiote Spider-Man, Quasar, Nebula, Lady Sif and Nova, there were a lot of fringe heroes and villains thrown into the mix like Lyra, Cosmo, Bor, the Executioner and Angela.
Now that I look at these names again, there were a lot of cosmic and Asgard-related characters. Guess that means there's likely to be a Thor line and a cosmic hero line in the next year or two, which makes sense given Marvel's movie schedule (Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 are both due in 2017). Of the sixteen announced, only three (Mysterio, Spider-Man and the Hood) wouldn't fit into those two molds. When all was said and done at SDCC, only four characters remained, and fans would have to choose from Mysterio, Symbiote Spider-Man, Darkhawk and Angela to determine the next Marvel Legend.
It's not often that I set my alarm on a Sunday, but when there is an opportunity to check out some new toys before they arrive on the market, I have been known to be motivated enough to drag myself out of bed. I've been eager to see Disney Playmation in action ever since it was announced, and even though I'm not the target demographic, I happened to know a would-be Avenger that was more than willing to try out the new toys, too. What kid doesn't want the opportunity to be Iron Man for a day?
There hasn't been much news about Playmation since its big reveal in June, but the Disney Store just started hosting public preview events earlier this month. Disney Playmation came about in response to a Disney-funded study that revealed parents wished their kids spent more time being active, but didn't want them to have to give up newfangled technological advances. Created by some of Disney's best and brightest Imagineers and developers to nail the intersection of that big Venn diagram, and with a little help from Hasbro, Playmation was born. Thirty minutes after arriving at "Avengers Labs," I had a much clearer idea of what Playmation was and what to expect. Even though I now have a better notion of how Disney Playmation works, I have concerns about whether or not it can accomplish the lofty goals set for it.
Did you know there's a superhero called Ant-Man, and that he's going to be starring in a major motion picture later this month? Have you also been living with three other people in a bunker run by a mysterious man who thinks he has what it takes to be on The Apprentice (RIP) for the last twenty years? There's a lot of hype surrounding the pint-sized Marvel hero these days, and in an effort to serve the fervor surrounding Ant-Man, Hasbro is releasing a limited box set featuring the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym, in some of his most famous incarnations.
Throughout the years, Hank Pym has been many heroes. Though he's most synonymous with the Ant-Man persona, Pym has also been Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, and the Wasp. He also accidentally created the genocidal artificial intelligence Ultron, but since that's not what happened in the movies, it doesn't count in real life any more. And as luck (and keen marketing) would have it, almost all of those alternate identities are captured here in the San Diego Comic-Con exclusive set.
In 2011, Hasbro started releasing its own building block sets under the Kre-O brand. GI Joe made its debut in the line in 2013, and Hasbro has slowly been rolling out sets based on the classic Real American Hero brand. This year at San Diego Comic-Con, Sgt. Slaughter and the Marauders make their debut in grand fashion. Not only that, but he'll be joined by Destro and his Iron Grenadiers.
Unlike this year's Transformers Kre-O exclusive, this set is more than just a collection of minifigures. The GI Joe set will also include a Tag Team Terminator vehicle to build. Yes, the Sergeant's Triple "T" single-pilot tank is here in all its Kre-O glory. It's quite a little set, and one that brings back incredibly fond memories of sitting around watching GI Joe with my cousin and being jealous he got all the cool vehicles. Who's laughing now, Steve? It's me because now I have the cool things.
This year at San Diego Comic-Con, Hasbro is finally giving Dr. Strange and many of Marvel's other magical characters their due. For as long as Hasbro has been in charge of the Legends line, fans have been clamoring for characters like Magik and Brother Voodoo to show up. While those might sound like rather non-traditional choices for a mass market toy line, the roster for Legends has grown so much over the past few years that it's actually not that surprising to see heroes like Illyana Rasputin finally rendered in action figure form.
In fact, Brother Voodoo, Magik and Dormammu were characters Hasbro teased at SDCC within the last few years, but wave after wave of the Legends were released at retail with little hint of their inclusion. Finally, Hasbro unveiled the Book of Vishanti box set ahead of SDCC '15, which featured the aforementioned trio, as well as a variant of the just-released Dr. Strange and the all-new Hela. Oh, and there's this little thing in there called the Eye of Agamotto in there, too. As box sets go, it's an impressive piece of work, and one that's sure to make a lot of die-hard Marvel magic fans very happy.
Yes, dear friends, July has arrived, and we draw ever closer to the ultimate comic book convention in the US, and quite possibly the world, San Diego Comic-Con. While many will venture the halls in hopes of seeing the first footage from the current crop of highly-anticipated blockbuster features, or to catch a fleeting glimpse of the hottest stars appearing in iconic roles, the real challenge of SDCC is reserved for the collectors. Yes, once a year, nearly every major toy, statue, replica and plush manufacturer releases a limited edition piece that can only be found on the floor of the San Diego Convention Center.
Devoted fans, aficionados and (unfortunately) re-sellers have been eagerly awaiting the chance to be one of the fortunate few who are able to obtain some of the rarest and most-coveted collectibles to release in a calendar year. Now, with just one week to go, we've gotten almost every last company to reveal its biggest secrets. Collected here for you is a comprehensive list of not just what will be available, but where it will be available, and how much it will cost you (should prices have been provided). This is every comic book toy and collectible exclusive for San Diego Comic-Con 2015.
It's a sad truth about this world of ours, but our freedom is constantly under attack by Cobra Commander and his sinister army of snake-themed soldiers. I mean, no, it's not as bad as it was in the mid-80s, when you couldn't even chew gum, get a hamburger or listen to the latest Cold Slither record without finding yourself under assault by Night Creepers and Alley Vipers, but the threat is still out there, chipping away at our safety in the most unexpected ways.
Take, for example, the Commander's latest sinister plot: Taking over America two feet at a time alongside New Balance and BAIT, collaborating with Hasbro for a limited edition set of sneakers decked out with a snakeskin pattern in Cobra's traditional colors.
Though we already knew Hasbro would be offering an early variant box set of its massive Devastator box set at San Diego Comic-Con this year, the company still had one more Transformers exclusive up its sleeve. Announced this week (via IGN), a special box set of the Transformer Universe's most bad-ass female robots in disguise will be up for sale at SDCC as well. The set will feature Arcee, Chromia and Windblade in all new paint apps based on their appearances in the upcoming Combiner Hunters storyline in IDW's Transformers line.
Though all three of these characters have been released in the flagship Generations line at Hasbro, this new set offers another chance for collectors to expand the ever-growing roster of robots in the Transformers line. It's also another great way for Hasbro to continue diversifying the Transformers line, which has always been traditionally male robot heavy.
With San Diego Comic-Con just around the river bend, the uptick in exclusive announcements for this year's show is picking up. Today, Hasbro revealed its Marvel Legends exclusive for the event, and it's a doozy.
Available exclusively at SDCC will be the Doctor Strange Book of Vishanti box set, which features not just Stephen Strange himself, but also Brother Voodoo, Dormammu, Magik, and Hela. As an added bonus, the replica tome will include a role-play Eye of Agamotto, allowing you to live out your dreams as the Sorcerer Supreme of Anywhere, USA, as long as you can get your hands on one.
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