If there’s one thing we’ve learned from our years on the Internet, it’s that there’s no aspect of comics that can’t be broken down and quantified in a single definitive list, preferably in amounts of five or ten. And since there’s no more definitive authority than ComicsAlliance, we’re taking it upon ourselves to compile Top Five lists of everything you could ever want to know about comics.
Everyone loves Spider-Man, and since almost everything that happens in the Marvel Universe happens in New York City, it’s no surprise that Marvel’s most popular web-slinging New Yorker has run into basically every Marvel character at one point or another. But this week, we’re not just looking for some random time Spidey and Daredevil stopped a bank robbery and got hot dogs. We’re talking about the kind of crossovers that are so colossal or crazy that they only come around once in a great while.
With the arrival of Captain America: Civil War comes a new wave of tie-in action figures, and Hasbro is making clear its looking to make right with all the Black Widow fans. While there were a few figures of the Soviet spy released in conjunction with Avengers: Age of Ultron, Black Widow was in high demand and short supply. Though we've yet to see just what Hasbro's full range of plans for Civil War include, the first sampling revealed ahead of Toy Fair offers a glimpse at a world where Black Widow is no longer lingering in the shadows.
More than a dozen new figures were revealed by Hasbro today (via IGN), including the first ever Black Widow Titan Hero figure. The 12" figure line has predominantly been filled with male characters across Hasbro's Avengers, Spider-Man and Star Wars collections. You can technically count Captain Phasma as the first female to make that leap, but given her lack of defining features, the upcoming Rey 12" unveiled at NYCC last fall (and due this spring) is the one opening new opportunities for Marvel's scarlet-haired secret agent. Given that both have been the center of their own social media campaigns advocating for more female figures, that seems appropriate.
Earlier this year, after decades --- literal, actual decades --- of rolling my eyes dismissively whenever anyone brought up the franchise, I agreed to sit down with a complete run of IDW's current Transformers comics and write about the experience of reading them. By the end of it, I wasn't just a fan, but I had to admit that they were, bar none, some of the best comic books I have ever read in my life. Now I'm a dude who got really excited about paying fifty bucks to buy an Ultra Magnus figure that included Minimus Ambus. The system works.
The only way I could've liked it more is if they'd somehow combined what they were doing on those titles with something that I already loved, like, say, Christmas. This week, they did that very thing, so in order to talk about it, I'm reviving The Transformed Man for a very special look at this year's Transformers Holiday Special, in which presents are given, trees are decorated, and Thundercracker tries to kill Santa Claus.
Remember when you were a kid, and you would play with all your different toys at the same time? You’d have the Ninja Turtles team up with the Ghostbusters to take down Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior, and then they’d all get transported to the land of the Thundercats.
Since launching a full-on barrage of Star Wars merchandise on Force Friday, Hasbro's had its hands full. As the first new film-based Star Wars toys and collectibles in a decade, anything with The Force Awakens branding on it has been a hot commodity at retail. It's nearly impossible to find all the figures in stock, and what you do find has been picked clean by eager fans and collectors hoping to be among the first to complete the new collection. Sure, there have been a few pieces that linger (mostly Chewbaccas in any size in my part of the country), but for the most part, if you don't have an inside tip at FedEx or UPS, you're often left scrambling in the hopes of getting anything from the latest shipments.
Fortunately, being a member of the toy collecting press does come with some perks to help take the pressure off. Back when Force Friday kicked off, Hasbro reached out to a number of outlets and asked editors to pick either Light Side or Dark Side. There was little else in the communique to hint at what we might be making this choice for, but it wasn't a very hard decision to make. Though the good guys are the ones you want to root for in the movies, Star Wars' bad guys have always had some really cool designs, and have typically made more interesting toys. I mean really, which would you rather have, an old man in a brown robe or a bad-ass in green armor with a jet pack? Yeah, that's what I thought.
With a new Star Wars on the way, the deluge of new action figures and toys has been constant. It's the first time in a long time that there's been any reason to create whole new lines from scratch, with some animated exceptions of course. However, as popular as the animated versions of the Star Wars universe have been, they just can't hold a candle to the hype surrounding an actual new film in the iconic franchise. Needless to say, since Force Friday, Hasbro's been busy.
In fact, Hasbro's got so many toys planned for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there are even exclusive sets popping up at select retailers. Take this Desert Assault Walker and First Order Stormtrooper Officer set from Entertainment Earth. A repaint of the widely available Assault Walker and First Order Stromtrooper Sergeant, this exclusive set offers another way to build up the First Order forces for the 3.75" line. We got our hands on one of these sets courtesy of Entertainment Earth, and can only hope that these things actually make an appearance in the upcoming sequel.
There have been Star Wars toys on the shelves at retailers consistently since the mid-1990s. With the re-releases of the classic trilogy and the actual releases of the prequel trilogy, Star Wars has managed to not only stay hot for collectors, but thrive at retail in ways many other toy lines that started in the 1970s could only dream of matching.
This year is a big year for Star Wars movies, in case you hadn't heard. That also means it's a big year for Star Wars collectibles. It's such a big deal in fact, that an entire day, Force Friday, was built around the new toy releases themed around the upcoming sequel, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
With figures from the upcoming film in high demand, it's a wonder the team working on Star Wars at Hasbro has any free time at all. Fortunately, we caught up with Hasbro's Star Wars team after getting a look at some of the new Star Wars Black Series collectibles coming later this year.
Since Hasbro took over the Marvel action figure license a few years ago, the Legends line has been home to a fairly diverse cast of characters from the classic Marvel Universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That trend looks to continue heading into the new year, where Hasbro already has its plans in motion for the early part of the year, including the Captain America: Civil War wave, and the first wave of the newly christened 3.75" Marvel Legends.
During New York Comic Con, we were given an early look at some of Hasbro's plans for the Marvel Legends line for the upcoming year. Both the 6" and 3.75" lines will fall under the Legends banner moving forward, with new characters and some familiar faces filling out the rosters on both sides. After seeing everything that was on display, we had a chance to chat with some of Hasbro's Marvel Legends leads, Dwight Stall, senior Marvel product design manager, Mike Breslin, senior director, brand strategy and marketing, and Tony Colella, senior model artist, about Legends and its future.
Back in April, DC Comics and Mattel (as well as other merchandising partners) revealed the DC Super Hero Girls to the world. Back in the spring, there was little information about what the line would be beyond vague promises of figures, dolls, comics, books and clothing themed around a new interpretation of DC's incredible stable of female superheroes. At New York Comic Con, the world got its first in-person glimpse at the stylized line, including dolls based on Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Harley Quinn and more, along with other items like skateboards, t-shirts, notebooks and headphones. It seems DC and its partners are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to the DC Super Hero Girls line. Good.
For too long, the market has been devoid of items targeted specifically at the one demographic that's been desperate for this kind of attention--young girls. DC Super Hero Girls takes a bit of inspiration from lines like Monster High and Ever After High, both of which have seen tremendous success under Mattel's watch. Instead of crafting original figures based on monsters or storybook characters from hundreds of years ago, this line has the advantage of featuring familiar heroes and villains from DC's vast stable. I'll admit to being a little worried about the style based on those previous Mattel figure lines. After seeing the DC Super Hero Girls in person, those worries were assuaged. It's clear that DC and Mattel, and more importantly the fans, are going to have a lot to look forward to when the DC Super Hero Girls launch in 2016.
Though most of the attention at Hasbro's New York Comic Con preview event was focused on the latest Star Wars and Marvel Legends figures, Transformers had arguably as many great surprises. With both Robots in Disguise and the more adult Generations lines on display, just about every conceivable character was on display. That includes the newly announced Titans Return line, which played host to a number of great reveals that longtime fans have eagerly been waiting for.
Likely the two biggest stars of the show, Galvatron and Blaster have been well worth the wait. Galvatron's design is outstanding, and might be one of the best Decepticon figures released in the past few years. Blaster holds a soft spot in my heart, as along with Hot Rod, he was one of the two Transformers figures I remember keeping around until they fell completely apart when I was a kid. This new iteration is bigger for sure, but that size brings with it an attention to detail and design that the classic figures just can't match. I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool Transformers collector, but I might just have to start clearing some shelf space to revisit these updated heroes of my youth.
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