The '90s were an era of amazing comic book crossovers. This was especially true at Dark Horse, where the licenses for Terminator, Predator, Aliens and even Robocop all resided at one time or another, giving the company the ability to mix and match these action film brands for some truly epic encounters. In fact, one such crossover was the impetus for a series of mini-series starring Detroit's number one lawbringer. Written by Frank Miller and drawn by Walt Simonson, Robocop vs. The Terminator played out like a fever dream from fans of the franchises, pitting the man formerly known as Alex Murphy against the entirety of Skynet in the future. The series was such a hit, it even spawned a set of video games for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis.
Last summer, NECA continued its fan-favorite retro video game figure series with a collection based on the classic Robocop vs. The Terminator. The line provided a few different Robocops and a few different T-800 Endoskeletons and battle-damaged Terminators, all of which got paint schemes based on their 16-bit interpretations. However, outside of the proposed Terminator dogs (unreleased to this point), it seemed like NECA was finished with the license. Until this week.
In 1987, 20th Century Fox introduced the world to the Predator in one of the most memorable action films of Arnold Schwarzenegger's career. I wouldn't see the movie until a few years after it's release on cable at a sleepover, but the impression it made was instant. In 1989, Dark Horse brought the alien hunters to the masses through the first of many mini-series, Concrete Jungle. The four-issue series actually focused on the brother of Schwarzenegger's Dutch Schaffer, a New York police detective working the narcotics division. Even all these years later, the cover to the first issue is still a bold and memorable one, which was a hallmark of DHP's Predator books way back when. Since those earliest Predator stories, the franchise has stuck with fans, and the tribal aliens have appeared in a variety of forms over the years.
These comics, which arrived on the scene before Danny Glover and Predator 2, were the first time we learned there could be more than one of these ugly mother f---ers out there. Dark Horse's books continued expanding on the universe of the Yautja over the years, building a deep history for the alien race, and even helping inspire a bit of cross-pollination with the Alien franchise (also at 20th Century Fox and Dark Horse). Still, Concrete Jungle, which acted as a direct sequel of sorts to the original film remains one of the most important. Now, in celebration of the 25th anniversary Dark Horse's first Predator comics, NECA's released a special version of the iconic hunter commemorating that stunning cover.
After the success of Batman, Warner Bros. once again tapped Tim Burton to bring the Dark Knight to the sliver screen in the sequel, Batman Returns. While there was no Internet to rampantly speculate about what villain Batman should face off against after the Joker's demise at the conclusion of the 1989 film, the possibilities were endless. Batman's rogue gallery was massive and full of great foils for Bruce Wayne's alter-ego. Imagine the world's surprise when Burton, being as Burton as he could possibly be, tapped Danny DeVito for the role of the Penguin.
Now, some 20+ years later, NECA is finally giving DeVito's Penguin the action figure due he so deserved. Announced at last year's San Diego Comic-Con, the quarter-scale figure captures everything that made the Penguin such a memorable character, right down to the blue blood, natty hair, and toothy grimace that inspired many a nightmare in terrified kids.
From companies like Cryptozoic, which is venturing into busts for the first time, to longtime figuremakers like NECA and Mezco, almost every company at the show this year had some sort of comic collectible to show off. Toy Fair is wondrous place filled with all kinds of cool stuff, but this was the cream of the comic book crop.
Earlier this month, we traveled up to the secret studio lair where NECA crafts all its amazing figures and collectibles. In the first part of our video series, we discuss the finer points of 'Planet of the Apes' paintings and the future of the 'Aliens vs. Predator' line.
We've been seeing an increasing number of 1/4 scale figures from the likes of Enterbay and Hot Toys, but NECA's newBatman: Arkham Origins figure may be the beefiest take on the Caped Crusader so far -- even moreso than its Batman '89 and Batman '66 offerings. Standing at an intimidating 18" tall, the toy may even be able to serve as a home security option. Surely no superstitious and cowardly home invader could get past a grapnel gun-armed Batman the size of a toddler.
Playmates did a thorough job of building its "World of Springfield" toy line to include scores of regular cast members from The Simpsons from 1999 to 2004, but one potential aspect of the line went unfulfilled for years... until now. Just in time for the show's 25th anniversary, fans will be able to collect action figures of The Simpsons celebrity guest stars in their four-fingered Matt Groening-style glory.
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