Hey Phantomaniacs – I didn’t get to go to San Diego Comic Con and neither did you or you wouldn’t be reading something with “Non-Attendee” in the title! But SDCC is undeniably the most recognizable gathering of nerds and source of nerd news in the world, so I always feel obligated to provide some commentary on the things that happened over the weekend.
For me, the most exciting thing about the weekend is always the toy reveals. The companies with collector-oriented licenses – Mattel, NECA, Hasbro, and several others - always save some big stuff up for this one; bigger stuff even than their Toy Fair reveals. Mattel in particular are under pressure to produce some awesome stuff because this is the time of year where they offer their MattyCollector.com subscriptions for the following year.
This year I actually know a few folks that are out there on the Left Coast, reveling in all of the dorkery. And I am jealous. Sort of. As much as I’d like to attend SDCC, my Con is Dragon Con and if I had to put my efforts into both I’d be in trouble. I have a lot going on this year at Dragon Con thanks to the unbelievably awesome ESO Network and the equally awesome folks of the American Sci-Fi Track. I’m not going to give anything away just yet, but this year shit got real.
I couldn't find a good source of pictures that I could show here, so check out ToyArk.com for a ton of galleries from SDCC.
MattyCollector: Happiness In Slavery? – It’s funny – I read over last year’s SDCC wrap-up and saw that I firmly stated that I would not be renewing my subscriptions from Matty for 2013. And yet here I am, with not only the DC and Masters of the Universe subs, but also the new Filmation sub. Truly, I am the chumpiest of chumps.
This year I am only going to say that I am not subscribing to the DC sub for next year. I might as well go ahead and sign up for Club Eternia right now, because Matty has for-real blown my mind with their 2014 MOTUC lineup, not to mention the remainder of 2013. Check it out:
August – Castaspella, Shokoti (Filmation)
September – Batros (Filmation)
October – Sky High w/ Sky Sled, Lord Dactus, Horde Troopers, Nephthu (Filmation)
November – Geldor, Castle Grayskull, Sea Hawk (Filmation)
December – Plundor, Strong-Or (Filmation)
January – Two-Bad
February – Glimmer
March – Hydron, The Unnamed One w/ map of Horde Empire (Club Exclusive)
1st Quarter – Modulok
Traveling Con Figure – Goat Man
October and November are going to be expensive as a mofo. But I have to say that I am totally stoked about the remainder of 2013’s releases, particularly most of the new reveals. We knew Geldor and Sea Hawk were coming and I have to say I’m pleased with how they turned out. Nephthu and Strong-Or (who is Strong Arm from the old cartoon) look very cool.
The stars of the show were Lord Dactus, the Sky Sled, and the Horde Troopers. I was totally surprised and blown away by each of those. I never thought we’d be getting a Sky Sled, let alone with the pilot (who looks very cool). Lord Dactus looks absolutely amazing. And the Horde Troopers. I’m actually a little shocked that they didn’t save these for next year. But they didn’t and they look fantastic.
Then there’s Plundor. Plundor is a character from the Filmation cartoon, and apparently Paul Dini created him. He is a giant pink bunny (Plundor, no Paul Dini). I think the folks at Matty must be out of their minds to have made this character. Not only that, it looks like he’s part of the regular sub, not the Filmation sub. Now, I don’t mind him because I like the absurd and a gigantic, evil, pink bunny is great. I don’t know that I’ll even put him on my MOTUC shelves because, quite frankly, he looks too stupid o go there, but I’ll be happy to own the guy.
As far as 2014 goes, I have to say that they got me again. Starting off the year with an amazing-looking Two-Bad was a good plan. Although I’d bet money that Two-Bad will get pushed back and we’ll end up with Glimmer in January. Which is okay. Out of all of the Princess of Power figures, Glimmer is one that I do think is a necessity and one I want in my collection. Hydron looks awesome and is an underwater guy, so I totally want him.
The Unnamed One sounds fine as the Club Exclusive. He’s apparently the god that the Snake Men worship and Matty is not going to officially reveal the figure. The first glimpse you get (if you can control yourself and not look at the inevitable leaks) will be when you open the mailer. I’m good with that. Next year’s map is of the Horde Empire.
As for Matty’s DC offerings, I think they didn’t do anything but piss people off. Here’s what’s from Club Infinite Earths:
August – Fire
September – Huntress
October – Ocean Master
November – Ra’s al Ghul
December – Batzarro
January – 90s Aquaman
February – Ice
March – Conner Kent
Sub Exclusive Figure – some kind of Doomsday
I have to say that I’m happy with most of the remaining 2013 releases. Ocean Master was a nice surprise, and while I’d rather have a shirtless Ra’s, at least we’re getting him. I find Batzarro to be a poor choice and feel like Matty threw him in there so that they could pull the utterly lousy move I’m getting ready to talk about.
For 2014, 90s Aquaman actually looks great. He’s not really one I need to own, though. If I saw him in the store for fifteen bucks I’d totally buy him.
Here’s the dick move that Matty pulled – Ice is next year. That’s right – Fire’s hetero lifemate, to the point where they really should have come in a 2-pack together and as far as I know haven’t really ever operated without one another, not only is in a separate sub, but may never get made at all. Matty is doing their tired, old “If we don’t sell enough subs we can’t do this” song and dance again.
Which brings me to their Doomsday figures, which thankfully I do not have to care about because I can’t stand Doomsday and don’t want a figure of him at all. Matty has decided that if the subscriptions reach an undefined “Tier 1” they will make Doomsday in his prisoner outfit. I don’t think anybody wants this.
If they hit an undefined “Tier 2” they will make regular Doomsday that everybody recognizes. This is another dick move and I’m glad I don’t care about Doomsday so I don’t have to play ball. I just hope I can get Monkey to order an Ice for me with his Early Bird abilities.
Oh, and they’re making Conner Kent, too. He doesn’t look all that good.
Here’s the big surprise from Matty – they’re making a 6” scale Ecto-1. I was super-stoked when I heard about that, but as tends to happen with anything Matty does, the feeling gradually changed to disappointment. The first letdown was that the existing figures will not fit into the Ecto-1 because Matty are dum-dums and made them so that their proton packs do not come off. So if you want figures that actually go in the car you are going to have to buy two new retooled versions of Ray and Egon with removable proton packs. To Matty’s credit these are at least slightly different versions of Ray and Egon. The second letdown was the price of the vehicle. It will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $215. Obviously that is insane. I will not be owning an Eco-1.
I will say that I’m not totally bitter about the price. This thing requires a ton of brand new tooling and is a very large item. It is not being made for the mass market, so it’s not like quantity or retailer orders are going to make Mattel their profit. But I simply can’t pay that for the thing.
Hot Toys: Still makes figures for people who only buy their figures (and nothing else – not even food) – I didn’t even look at their stuff this year. I can’t afford it. But I can tell you that Hot Toys premiered a number of highly-detailed, realistic, and very expensive licensed sixth-scale action figures. I assume.
Playmates Toys: Has gone absolutely crazy-go-nuts Ninja Turtles bonkers – Not only do they have a slew of new Turtle-related products coming this fall related to the current cartoon series, the company that spawned the Turtle craze in the first place is going back to where it all began (again). They are re-re-(re?)-releasing the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures. I saw the four Turtles, Shredder, and the Party Wagon in the pics from one of the online presentations.
Marvel Movies: Avengers 2: Age of Ultron – This certainly isn’t what anybody was expecting. How do they even do this? If I didn’t have the faith I do in Joss Whedon I would be terribly upset at the fact that this movie is named after a recent crossover. And that they haven’t even established Ultron’s creator, Ant-Man, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet. I can’t even wrap my head around how this is going to work. There doesn’t seem to be any logical way that Thor 2, Cap 2, or Guardians of the Galaxy could lead into an Ultron story. I am both excited and confused. On top of that, there’s the whole question of whether or not the existing cast will return.
In other news, Ant-Man is slated to release in November of 2015, 6 months after Avengers 2. Wha… what? I’m so confused.
DC Movies: Taking the road well-traveled, except with characters people already care about – This section took on a mind of its own and turned into a whole post. Check back tomorrow.
Doctor Who: The Moffatt lies – Steven Moffatt said that he has been lying for months and we don't even know what's going on with the 50th, certainly not cameo and guest star-wise. This pleases me. Unless he was lying.
Mattel Retail: More DC toys are coming! Again! – Mattel had a couple of huge surprises ready on the retail front.
First, they are launching a new line of 6” scale DC Universe figures that are sculpted by the Four Horsemen but have nothing to do with comics, TV shows, or the existing DC Universe Classics-style lines. This is a totally bizarre move and I feel sure this line will not last more than a year. The figures feature 14 points of articulation and are very cartoony looking. I actually like them a lot. I won’t be collecting them, but depending on the price Lil’ Troublemaker might.
Second, they are launching a new line of 4” scale DC Universe figures that are based on comics, TV shows, and movies. This is a totally bizarre move and I think this line might actually work if Mattel can pack in some accessories and resist the temptation to make them fifteen bucks apiece. The figures shown at SDCC looked okay, but in my opinion didn’t really compare with Hasbro’s offerings in the same scale. The appeal to me was that they are mixing all of the various forms of media. Apparently a Michael Keaton Batman is coming in Wave 2 (if that actually happens). I will buy that. Let’s hope this line takes off so we can get a Batmobile. Meanwhile, I am going to hope that the Keaton likeness means they will do a Movie Masters version as well.
Hasbro Marvel: Showed a bunch of new Legends that you will never, ever see at retail – Iron Man Legends continues with Trevor Slattery (though I am guessing they will call him Mandarin) and a great-looking Rescue. You might actually find these.
The main line continues with a sleeveless Thor with a removable helmet, Moonstone, Songbird, Flash Thompson Venom (which looks great), Batroc(!), and a build-a-figure Jubilee. There were probably some others that were new but I couldn’t tell for sure because they all share the same buck now.
But that’s gonna be it for the erratic and poorly distributed regular Marvel Legends line. After that the 6” scale figures will be released only in relation to movies, the way the Iron Man Legends and Amazing Spider-Man figures were (and the Wolverine figures that I have yet to see). Hasbro debuted Baron Zemo from the forthcoming Captain America line and Ultimate Beetle from Spider-Man. I hate to say it, but this is a sound movie. Retailers will always order stuff related to a movie, despite the fact that the tie-ins seem to be what clog pegs up for months (and sometimes years) on end.
If I sound like I’m over Hasbro’s ML line, it’s because I am. Since maybe the third series that Hasbro released it has been one of the most frustrating lines to collect. I don’t know why Hasbro’s distribution is so bad on these, but finding the figures I want has been difficult. And that’s not even counting Moonstar and Blade, two that I spent a lot of time looking for only to find out that Hasbro never even made them.
Gentle Giant: Is releasing that creepy Kenner Alien from 1979 – Except they are making it 24” tall because apparently Gentle Giant is based in Texas, where everything has to be bigger. This odd habit of making larger versions of old things started a couple of years ago when these lunatics released a 12” version of one of the old Kenner Star Wars figures. Who the heck wants that? Especially for $80? A ton of people, apparently, since Gentle Giant seem to be hell-bent on releasing all of the old Kenner figures at that scale. It’s ridiculous. Thankfully these size-obsessed madmen are showing some restraint with the Alien figure. Rather than sticking with their normal ratio and putting out a 38.4” monstrosity that would cost $256, they are only doubling the size of the original figure. It will be 24” tall. I probably would have paid the $80 or so for a reproduction of the original figure, but I don’t think I’m going to pay over a hundred for this extra-large version. As much as I’d like to own it.
Sideshow Collectibles: Is almost as pricey as Hot Toys – But I had to preorder their Baroness anyway. Because she looks amazing.
And of course they showed Destro as well, who I will also order. I had to fight myself to not go ahead and buy the Major Bludd that is already available. I did schedule payments for Baroness though, so at least she won’t be a massive burden all at once. And the first payment isn’t even until November.
Which is when Castle Grayskull ships. Shit.
NECA: Didn’t show much new, and didn’t need to – Thanks to NECA’s awesome Twitter feed, we already know most of the tricks the frontrunner for the 2013 Best Toy Company of the Year Phantie has in store.
By the end of the year NECA will be releasing ED-209 from RoboCop, the spider Gremlin from Gremlins 2: The New Batch, a 2-pack of a retooled Corporal Hicks and a Xenomorph from Aliens, more Aliens, more Predators, another John Rambo, more Pacific Rim, and more Gremlins.
The things I didn’t know about were pretty awesome though:
Thermal Scan Dutch from Predator – I love the look of this figure. I doubt I’ll get it because I buy so much crap and I already own two Dutch figures anyway. But it sure does look cool.
Cyborg Predator – I’m not sure if this is another one from the Lost Tribe or Dead End or if it might be one of the Kenner ones and I didn’t realize it. But it looks awesome and comes with what is basically a Glaive. But with more blades.
Leatherback – I knew the second series of Pacific Rim figures included Striker Eureka and a battle damaged Gipsy, but I didn’t know which Kaiju was in the assortment. I’m happy to be getting Leatherback, but I really need Otachi.
I just haven't had as much opportunity as I would like to peruse the SDCC news. But these are the big things I saw. Come back tomorrow for a thing about Batman/Superman.
In the meantime, please go and check out ToyArk.com for an unbelievable number of pics from SDCC.