Archive for the 'Toy Stories' Category


Toy Stories: A Nightmare (in Vinyl) Before Christmas

As we move from counting the days until Christmas to counting the hours, I decided it would be nice to check in on an old-fashioned Toy Stories post. I’m a fan of the Disney Vinylmation toy series, but in the past my chanced to collect the figures have been somewhat limited by the fact that they were only sold in the Disney Parks and at their New York store. This year, though, they expanded and have begun selling the toys in the Disney Stores across the US of A, including the one in New Orleans. One of the toy lines you can get at the Disney Store now is their set based on the 1993 film The Nightmare Before Christmas (which I’m just realizing I haven’t watched yet this year, so I’ll add that to the DVD queue).

These figures are unique from other Vinylmation figures in an interesting respect — most figures are blindboxed, so you don’t know exactly what you’re buying. The Nightmare figures, though, come in a window box, where you can clearly see the figure. I imagine this is because Disney recognizes that a lot of people who don’t collect the figures in general will want some of these, either to add to their Christmas decorations or just because they love the movie. It will appeal to the usual toy-buying demographic, but to other buyers as well. At any rate, I got these three figures at various times over the last month: Santa Claus, Jack Skellington, and Jack’s dog, Zero. They’re certainly amongst the most iconic characters from the film, and among the coolest looking figures in the set. You’ve still got a little time to get them, if you’re brave enough to face the crowds.


Time Travel Tuesdays: The Marvel Zombies Mini-Mates Present… Themselves!

It’s a new Time Travel Tuesdays, friends, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the end of October to show this one off. We’re traveling back to Oct. 20, 2007, when I decided to do my first-ever toy review column over at the As I started to present the Mini-Mates figures based on the Marvel Zombies, though… well… things got a little out of hand. Even now, three years later, this is one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever written. I do, however, think my photography skills have gotten at least a tad better since then. I hope you all enjoy it!

The Marvel Zombie Mini-Mates Present… Themeslves!

Hey, friends. I’d promised you all a sort of photo-intensive examination of a new toy line to go along with my frequent and expansive Halloween celebration. The thing with these toys is… well… they sort of have brains of their own… and they want to eat yours, while we’re on the subject. So in the interest of keeping my own cerebellum intact, I agreed to step back behind the camera and let the guys speak for themselves. Oh – and you can click on every picture for a bigger one. Luke Cage made sure I told you that. So, without further ado, allow me to present…


ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: Greetings, meatbags! I am Colonel America, one-time leader of the Avengers, and now leader of this dandy little band of flesh-eaters. Y’see, when our Earth started to get overrun by a zombie plague—

ZOMBIE SPIDER-MAN: Thank you very much, Quicksilver!

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: –Ahem. Yes. Well, when our world got overrun, at first we fought against infection, but when we got bit ourselves… well…

ZOMBIE POWER MAN: It was awesome.

ZOMBIE HULK: Zombie Hulk hungry! Zombie Hulk eat Fuzzy Man With Camera?

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: Not yet, Hulk. So anyway, we decided to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves to you. To show you just what we’re capable of. And most importantly, to make you realize…

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: There is no escape!

ZOMBIE GIANT-MAN: Hi! I’m Zombie Giant-Man.
ZOMBIE DAREDEVIL: And I’m Zombie Daredevil. The first MARVEL ZOMBIES MINI-MATES set included five figures… and we weren’t among them. We came in this exclusive two-pack you could only get at the San Diego Comic Con… or, like Blake, from a guy who owns a comic shop and attended the San Diego Comic Con.  

ZOMBIE DAREDEVIL: You will discover, however, that this does nothing to decrease our general level of Awesometude. If you look closely, you’ll see that the chunks that have been taken out of my flesh are represented by clear plastic. At least that’s what they tell me – even as a zombie, I’m blind. I also come with these two handy fighting staffs that I can hold thusly or stuck in the little pouch on my belt, where they will almost immediately fall out. Oh – and I got trained by a Ninja.

ZOMBIE GIANT-MAN: Hey, gang! I’m Zombie Giant-Man, and with me today is the zombified head of my ex-wife, the Wasp.

ZOMBIE WASP: Hello, snookums!
ZOMBIE GIANT-MAN: Jan here actually came in the box set with the other guys, but since we don’t have too much quality time together these days, we thought we’d do this together. You can tell we’re zombies, of course, by the cold, dead glare in our eyes and the huge, ravenous teeth painted onto our interchangeable plastic Mini-Mate heads. 
ZOMBIE WASP: Zombies or Rosie O’Donnell. RIMSHOT!


ZOMBIE WASP: You’d think being reduced to a starving, undead, disembodied head would strain a relationship, but aside from not being able to change my costume as much as I used to, things are pretty much the same. 

ZOMBIE POWER-MAN: Well, now that the bit players are out of the way, it’s time for the big boys to step up, and we’re starting with me! SWEET HALLOWEEN!

Get it? Because I used to say “Sweet Christmas” when I was alive and it was the 70s and… ah, never mind.

Anyway, I’m Luke Cage, sometimes called Power Man, and I’m still the baddest chunk of plastic in the toy chest. Daredevil thinks he’s tough ‘cause he has a couple of holes? Check me out! My whole left side is missin’, and I’ll still whip anyone tries to get between me… and lunch. Heh heh heh… 

ZOMBIE WOLVERINE: Hey, bub – Wolverine here, the most popular mutant in all comicdom. When I was alive, I had ultra-heightened senses, nifty retractable claws, unbreakable bones, an awesome healing factor and the ability to appear in 74 comic books a week! Now that I’m dead, the healing factor seems to have gone on the fritz, but the rest of the stuff works just dandy. I may not know how me turning into a zombie jives with what Marc Guggenheim is writing about me fightin’ death over in my own comic, but I have learned one other thing these claws of mine are great for… shish-ke-bob!  


ZOMBIE SPIDER-MAN: Um… thanks, Hulk.

ZOMBIE HULK: Stupid Brain-Head Man tells Hulk he can’t eat Fuzzy Man With Camera… Hulk need meat… Hulk misses Doritos…
ZOMBIE SPIDER-MAN: Hello, gang. I’m your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man! Well… I guess I’m not all that friendly anymore. I was one of the first guys to encounter the whole zombie plague. Unfortunately, after I got infected, I didn’t turn right away, but managed to get home first where I… um… well, I ate my wife and my Aunt May.

I know, I’m still kinda torn up about that.

But… but it’s still better than what Joe Quesada is doing to ‘em over in One More Day! Right?

GHOST RIDER: I am the Ghost Rider! Spirit of vengeance! Keeper of the eternal Hellfire and my blazing—

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: For the last time, you are not a zombie! Now get out of our pumpkin patch!

GHOST RIDER: Fine, fine… didn’t want to be in your stupid article anyway…

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: And you better not be Nicolas Cage under there, either!!!

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: And that leaves me, folks, Colonel America. Once the Sentinel of Liberty, now I’m the leader of this motley bunch of brain-eaters. Even having my own brain exposed hasn’t gotten me down, though – I’m undead and lovin’ every minute of it! Some people have asked me why I’m a colonel while most of my counterparts throughout the multiverse have achieved the rank of Captain. Well, what can I say? I’d hate for it to be seen as unprofessional when I… have lunch with the enlisted men! Bwaa-haha!!

The zombie virus also gives us all terrible senses of humor.

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: So that’s us, folks, the Marvel Zombie Mini-Mates! We hope you’ve enjoyed this little look into our lives, and if we show up for dinner some night, we hope you’ll have us!
…cause you know we’d be eager to have you! Hahahaha! Hahahaha! HAHAHA—




CAPTAIN AMERICA: Look out, you disgusting ghouls!

POWER MAN: The real Marvel Mini-Mates are here to show you who’s boss!

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN: Hey, how come you have to take off your hand when you wear your shield?


CAPTAIN AMERICA: Avengers Assemble!

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: Zombie Avengers… um… Get ‘em!

POWER MAN: “Sweet Halloween?” “SWEET HALLOWEEN?” You know how long it took me to get them to stop writing “Sweet Christmas?”
ZOMBIE POWER MAN: Aw, c’mon, don’t treat a brother this way!

POWER MAN: “Brother?” Well look out, “Brother,” I’m gonna use your plastic guts to decorate my Haunted House!

DAREDEVIL: I may be “Battle-Damaged,” but I can still whip YOUR lousy—OW! OW! Can somebody get the Zombie Wasp off my ankle, please?
ZOMBIE WASP: Nom nom nom…



DAREDEVIL: Whammo! Double Boot To Da Head!


ZOMBIE WASP: Hey, sweetie.



ZOMBIE WOLVERINE: Ow! Hey! You cut me in half!

WOLVERINE: That’s right! Now you can make twice as many guest appearances a month! Heh… heh…

KILOWOG: Bring it on, ya Poozer! I’ll rip ya limb from—

ZOMBIE HULK: Hey, wait. You not not-dead version of Zombie Hulk. You Pink Green Lantern!
KILOWOG: Yyyyeah, about that… Blake doesn’t have a Hulk Mini-Mate toy. I volunteered to fill in.

ZOMBIE HULK: Zombie Hulk been reading Sinestro Corps War! Zombie Hulk think you da MAN!

KILOWOG: Really? Aw, shucks, that’s sweet of you to say…

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN: I mean, you ate Mary Jane and Aunt May? How sick are you?
ZOMBIE SPIDER-MAN: I know, I know! :sob: Oh, kick me again! I deserve it! :sob:

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN: And another thing – knock it off with all the variant covers! It was cute at first, but how many times are you gonna reprint the hardcover with different covers before you put out a paperback?

ZOMBIE SPIDER-MAN: Oh, God, it’s all my fault! I’m a terrible – hey, why don’t you have any webs on your costume?


ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: Looks like it’s down to me and you, you pansy.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Ready when you are, you psychopath.

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: Time to show you how we do things in my America.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: America? America isn’t your country, monster, it’s HELL!

ZOMBIE COLONEL AMERICA: Haven’t you given that speech before?

CAPTAIN AMERICA: That was an issue of What If? , it doesn’t count.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: You know why you’re going to lose, monster?

CAPTAIN AMERICA: Because we’re fighting for truth! Because we’re fighting for JUSTICE!


CAPTAIN AMERICA: Because real Americans don’t eat other Americans!*

*Editor’s Note-Captain America considers all known cannibals to be de facto Canadians, including Jeffrey Dahmer, Alferd Packer, and of course, Rosie O’Donnell.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: Okay, let’s get these monsters back into their box.

KILOWOG: Bye, ya Poozer! Y’know, he wasn’t so bad…

CAPTAIN AMERICA: Close it, Logan!

CHARLIE BROWN: Mr… Um… Captain? Sir? Can we have our Pumpkin Patch back now?
SNOOPY: Ah, the Captain! So good to see him again. Why, I remember that time in occupied France when we met those saucy waitresses…

CAPTAIN AMERICA: Why, sure, kids! The zombies are all defeated, and back in the box. It’s perfectly safe here now. Why…

CAPTAIN AMERICA: What else could possibly happen?


Toy Stories: A Red, Black, and Gold Concoction

As I’ve mentioned before when writing about Disney’s Vinylmation figures, it’s possible to buy blank bodies which you can then customize however you want. Well… talented people can customize them. I’ve got no artistic skills whatsoever, so any attempt I made to design my own Vinylmation would be a crime against plastic.

But other people have made a lot of great figures, including several by my sister, which I’ve featured here before. A few months ago, one of the members of the website was offering to do custom “paint spatter” vinyls in the colors of your choice. The effect he created was really cool, and I asked him to do one for me.


Here’s the figure I asked for, a black-bodied Mickey with spatters of red, gold, and a little white. I was very happy with how it came out — the effect is really cool and it makes for a very individual look. That’s the cool thing about the paint spatter technique, you know that even if the painter were commissioned to do another figure in the same colors, it’d be impossible to make two of them exactly the same. This is a one-of-a-kind figure.


Adding to the cool, he even customized the box the figure came in with a few paint spatters. It’s a wonderful job, and I’d highly recommend his work. If you’re interested in commissioning a figure from him, you can find him at the website, where his handle is “disneyfan168”. Thanks again!


Toy Stories: Nola Comic-Con 2010

You didn’t think I was done with posts about Nola Comic-Con, did you? Aside from meeting pros and fellow fans, the best thing about a comic convention is trying to get your hands on some sweet deals. In my case, that meant some miniature plastic buddies that I’d like to share with you guys now…

To boldly go... into three different time periods at once, evidently...

First up, I got my hands on three separate Star Trek Mini-Mates Series 4 packages, each with a couple of figures from three different time periods in the Star Trek universe. From the left you see a Borg Drone and Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Admiral James T. Kirk and “Duty Uniform” Scotty from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and Dr. Leonard McCoy and Nurse Christine Chapel circa Star Trek: The Original Series. These guys will look just dandy next to the Star Trek Mini-Mates I’ve already got.

But were those the only Mini-Mates I got? Don’t be ridiculous…

"So, guys, do you think they're gonna bust us?"

This creepy quartet comes courtesy of the Ghostbusters Mini-Mate line, and I believe the four ghosts you see here were all bad guys from the Real Ghostbusters cartoon show. Here we see Chef DeMassi, Alzetor, the Architect and a Black Slime Monster. These guys are just waiting for the boys to come in and bust ’em up.

"Just smile, boys. Nobody knows who we are now, but wait until May 7..."

These three guys, each sold separately, are part of the line for the upcoming Iron Man 2 film. In the center we have arms dealer Justin Hammer, bane of Tony Stark. To his left is a battle-damaged Hammer Drone, to the right a Tactical Assault Drone. Hammer is big on drones, you see.

"Slashie slashie!" "..."

And finally, for me at least, it’s our old pals Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, courtesy of the “Cinema of Fear” toy line. The line also features Leatherface, from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but as I’ve never really been a fan of that series, I passed on his figure. These two figures, in my beloved 3.75-inch scale, look really good, but they do illustrate something toymakers really need to consider. Accessories are awesome, but they have to be practical. Jason’s hands are unsuitable to hold either his axe or machete, and Freddy’s garbage can lid is just pointless.

Also at the con, I got some reading material. The entire run of the Power of the Atom series for a dollar each, several issues of Marvel’s old humor magazine Not Brand Ecch, Essential volumes of Marvel Two-In-One, Nova and X-Men, and a little goodie for Erin that I’m not prepared to show anybody yet, because her birthday is coming up. I did, however, get one thing for her that I am willing to share:


"Hiya, puddin'!"

Erin loves collecting original sketches from comic artists she likes, so she commissioned me to get a sketch for her from Chew artist Rob Guillory. As I didn’t know what character she wanted, I went with her favorite, Harley Quinn.

So the Nola-Comic Con was great. What’s next?

Why FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, of course! It’s the ninth annual Free Comic Book Day, tomorrow, May 1, and the 2 in 1 Showcase crew will be at BSI Comics in Metairie, Louisiana all day. If you’re in southern Louisiana, drop on by to chat with us, meet the rest of BSI’s awesome panel of guests, and get your hands on some free comics. If you’re not in southern Louisiana, then find a store in your own area that’s participating. Don’t know where any local comic shops are? We’ve got you covered. Go to and use the free comic shop locator service. Just punch in your ZIP code and the locator will give you a list of participating stores in your area.

And one last plea, friends — the comic books are free to the reader, but not to the retailer. So while you’re out there tomorrow getting your goodies, please, find something to buy, too. It’s the least you can do.


Toy Stories: A Little More Vinylmation

How about a few Vinylmation figures to keep you occupied this fine evening?

These five guys are all part of the third “Urban” series of Disney’s Vinylmation figures. The Urban line is based around more or less random designs, without necessarily being linked to the Disney Parks (like the “Parks” series) or any specific theme (like the rest of the series). Although Vinylmation figures don’t have any “official” names, the unofficial names of these five guys are, from left, Diver, Cursive, WDW Puzzle, Steampunk, and Cookie Jar. I am not a completist with the Vinylmation toys, I only try to get those I like, and I like all of these. The designs are cool, and some of them really use the Mickey shape well.

Also recently released was a set of Vinylmation figures based on the classic Jim Henson Muppet characters (which Disney now owns, in case you forgot). This is one set where I WOULD like to get them all, but thus far, only four of them have found their way into my possession. From the left we have Waldorf and Statler (the two old men who harass Fozzie Bear whenever he’s performing — they’re usually called “Statler and Waldorf,” but they always sit in the opposite order, which is how I’ve got them here), Miss Piggy, and the Swedish Chef. The Vinylmation line really works for some characters, not so well for others. You can’t really tell in these pictures, but the Mickey Mouse “nose bump” looks really weird on a few of these guys. Still, I love the Muppets, so I have to try to round up more of these.


Toy Stories: Avengers Two

With the new Iron Man movie brewing up a lot of attention, let’s not forget that two other Avengers are scheduled to get films of their own next year. I recently managed to get my hands on figures of the other members of the Avengers Trinity, Thor and Captain America.

"Let's see what we can throw further. My hammer or your mighty shield."

"Let's see what we can throw farther -- my hammer or your 'mighty shield'."

Both of these figures are part of the Marvel Universe Series 2 line of 3.75-inch action figures, and they’re both pretty good. Thor (on the left, if you weren’t sure) is Marvel’s version of the Norwegian god of thunder. Really, he doesn’t look anything like the classic Thor, but this version (in his current costume, designed by artist Olivier Coipel) is one I really like. The chain armor may not be necessary for Marvel’s closest equivalent to Superman, but it looks pretty sharp. In his hand there we have Mjolnir, the impossible to pronounce Uru hammer with which he summons the storm. Because he’s a god and he can do that sort of thing. Next to him is Steve Rogers, Captain America, in his original uniform that we wore waaaay back in Captain America Comics #1 and designed by Jack Kirby. It’s not really substantially different from the uniform he’s worn for most of the last 70 years or so. The biggest difference is that today, his neck is covered as well. More noticeably, shortly after his first appearance the shield he holds here was replaced by the more familiar disc-shaped shield he still uses today. (Well, his former sidekick, the NEW Captain America, uses it today, but that’s neither here nor there.) While this isn’t as sharp as the classic Cap look, I do like it and appreciate its place in Marvel History.

With both of these guys getting movies next year, I expect we’ll see many more action figures of their assorted looks in the not-too-distant future.


Toy Stories: Infinite Calamity

I have had terrible luck trying to find the new DC Comics 75th Anniversary Infinite Heroes figures in stores near me. I’ve been looking just about everywhere (I say just about because there is, in fact, one place I haven’t had an opportunity to look yet), but no luck. I have, however, had a modicum of luck snagging a few of the leftovers of the previous lines that are still available, including these two six-packs I got my hands on not long ago.

"Get 'em, Clark! GET 'EM!"

"Get 'em, Clark! GET 'EM!"

This first pack, OMAC Attack, is based on the OMAC Project storyline that DC ran a few years ago in the run-up to Infinite Crisis. In that story it was revealed that Maxwell Lord, one time benefactor of the Justice League, had gone bad and was running the anti-metahuman police force called Checkmate, and that he had created an army of OMAC cyborgs to do his bidding. If that wasn’t bad enough, he used his mind-control powers to use Superman as a weapon, an attack that was stopped only when Wonder Woman snapped Lord’s neck like dry spaghetti. It was awesome.

The two OMAC figures included in this set are identical to the single-packed figure I got some time ago. But as they’re “minions,” I’m okay with this. This figure marks the umpteenth Superman in my collection, but again, Mattel managed to get at least a little diversity. If you look close, you can see that his eyes are red, apparently signifying Lord’s mind-control. Either that or he popped over to the Batcave for dinner on the night Alfred made his Spicy Chili Surprise. Wonder Woman is a slightly different paint job than the single packed figure as well.

The two main reasons I wanted this set, though, were Max and Booster Gold. The Max figure is a good representation of the character from that storyline, and Booster is a character I’ve been dying to get in an Infinite Heroes form. Although why they couldn’t have included Booster’s best bud, the Blue Beetle, instead of one of the OMACs, is beyond me.

"Just don't look at them, guys. Just... just don't look."

Next up is the “Mallah’s Revenge” six-pack, featuring six Teen Titans and two of their more bizarre foes. Let’s get the bad guys out of the way first. Monsieur Mallah and the Brain (I’m sure you can figure which is which) are two old enemies of the Doom Patrol who found love with one another during Grant Morrison‘s truly freakadelic run on that title. On the other side, we have Cyborg, Robin, Raven, and Arsenal. One thing I like about this pack is that there are virtually no “stock” bodies. The Brain and Mallah obvious required totally original sculpts, and the Robin figure is a bit smaller than the usual males. It’s about time we had one to go with the 37 different Batman figures, even if Tim Drake is no longer Robin and the current Robin has a different costume.

Cyborg and Arsenal (also in a different costume these days) both look pretty good, with enough bits and pieces to make them stand out among the army of 3.75-inchers. The only disappointment in this set is Raven, an identical figure to the one that came with Starfire and Captain Boomerang in an earlier 3-pack.


Toy Stories: Back in the Armor Again

Been a while since we had a Toy Stories feature here, and now that the toys for this summer’s Iron Man 2 are trickling out, it seemed time to give you a new photoblog. Like last year’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Marvel’s deal with Hasbro includes a line of 3.75-inch toys for this film (my preferred scale). Also like that movie, the toy line features a few subcategories, the “Movie Series” (based on the designs from the film) and the “comic series” (based on — wait for it — designs from the comic books) carry over from the Wolverine line. I like this idea a lot, it’ll put the classic comic book designs (and you’ll see just how classic I mean in a few paragraphs) in front of a lot of people who’ve never been exposed to Iron Man outside of the movie. There’s also, however, a third line… more on that in a minute.

"Wait, I figured out a way to fit this into a SUITCASE? Damn, I'm awesome..."

First up is the Iron Man Mark VI armor, which I imagine will be the main movie design. The armor will no doubt go through a few different looks in the film. I’m pretty sure the last movie only made it to Mark III, so there are at least three more awaiting us. The toy line, in fact, also includes Mark II (the pre-painted, silver armor from the first film) and Mark IV (which, honestly, doesn’t look any different from the first movie armor to me). There are various versions of this armor already available. This is the version that lights up if you push down on his head, but I just couldn’t get a decent photo of that, so you’ll have to take my word for it. Also, all of the Iron Man 2 toys come with a base and three “armor cards.” The armor cards include a cardboard backing and two transparent cards. Each of the three displays a different part of the armor, so when you overlay them, you get the full picture, and they look really cool when placed in their designated slots in the base.

Before Tony Stark discovered ARMOR-ALL...

From the “Comic Series,” comes this bad boy, Tony Stark’s original armor from his first appearance waaaaay back in  Tales of Suspense #39. By his second appearance, in the next issue, he’d painted the armor gold, where he stayed for eight issues before his first major redesign and adopting the classic red-and-gold color scheme. I love the design of this armor in general, it’s very tough-looking. Sure, the current armors are very sleek and high-tech, but this is something you wear to kick ass. And I especially like the paint job, making it look a bit rusted, like it was cobbled together from scrap metal (as it, in fact, was).

"I make this look good."

Like I said, the Iron Man 2 toys include not one, not two, but three separate lines. This third series is the “concept” line, featuring armors that have never actually been used in the comic or the movie, but were basically just designed by someone who thought they’d look cool. Usually, I don’t like this sort of variant. If you look back at the Batman: The Animated Series toys of the 90s, you had about 175 different versions of Batman wearing snowsuits, camo, paisley, neon, a tutu… it got ridiculous. My usual stance is that I want my figures to be “official,” defined as “based on a design used in the comics, movies, or TV shows.” But labeling this as a “concept” line somehow makes me far more accepting of the idea. It doesn’t hurt that this “Hypervelocity Armor” just looks cool. While the red-and-golds belong to Iron Man as much as green and purple belong to the Hulk, I like the muted colors on display here.

I’m very much enjoying this line so far, and I intend to hunt down some of the other figures (War Machine in particular). I just hope the movie is as good as these toys.


Toy Stories: Ring-slingers, Kryptonians, and Public Enemies

Next week, Erin and I will be winging our way to Las Vegas to spend Mardi Gras week away from the lunacy of New Orleans. (She likes it more than I do.) So I thought maybe I should get around to showing you guys the Infinite Heroes action figures she got me at Christmas before we went. I think that’s fair…

"Fear me!" "Love me!" "Fear me!" "Love me!"

It seemed natural to pair up Sinestro and Star Sapphire. With all the different colored Lanterns running around in Blackest Night, these were the two preexisting “other Lanterns” that Geoff Johns included in the mix. I’m a little disappointed that Mattel didn’t put Sinestro in his current, far superior costume, but the classic costume is okay. Both of these are fairly standard figures for the now-finished Crisis wave of Infinite Heroes. Neither is sporting the new body sculpt that the 70th Anniversary figures that we’re getting this year have. But they’re decent enough figures, and I’m always impressed when they can paint a tiny little ring on someone’s finger.

"Wait, how does THIS schmuck get to wear the 'S' while I still have a hole in my costume?"

Power Girl and Superboy-Prime (I know he was calling himself Superman-Prime when he wore this costume, but he’ll never earn that name) are paired off since they’re both Kryptonians, of a sort, from alternate universes. PG is one of my favorite DC characters, and star of one of their best comics right now. The figure does her justice, even if she does need the stand to stay on her feet like every other Infinite Heroes female. Prime is just a repainted Superman figure. Nothing to say about the sculpt, but the paint job looks good, and I’m glad they didn’t subject us to the mullet.

Animated Coolness

These two three-packs actually didn’t come from Erin, but from her mother. Thanks! I looked all over southern Louisiana, but came up short looking for the action figures that accompanied last fall’s Superman/Batman: Public Enemies direct-to-DVD movie. There’s another six-pack out there, which I would like to get as it includes such characters as Major Force and Gorilla Grodd, but the pack also includes duplicates of Superman and Batman. If you’re going to duplicate a character in the same line, is it too much to ask that you at least do a variant? After all, this is the movie in which those two disguised themselves as Captain Marvel and Hawkman. Those would have been great figures. But I digress.

These six figures are all movie versions of characters I already have in the standard DCU edition, so I thought it would be interesting to compare.

"Okay, so I'll stop that metor from hitting Africa and you put on the suit and glasses and show up at the Daily Planet this week..."

Let’s compare the Supermen first. The original Superman figure is on the left, the animated figure (as it will be in all these pictures) is on the right. At first, I didn’t really see much difference, then I realized the Public Enemies figures are sporting the new body types. In the male figures, the big differences are at the hip and shoulders, both of which are now ball joints which allow for greater posabilty. This I like. What I’m not as happy about is that the torso is a bit skinnier now. If you look at the two, you’ll see that the first Superman has more of the classic barrel chest. This goes for all the male figures in this line, except (for obvious reasons) Lex Luthor.

"What's that, Lex? Didn't hear you. Suffering from a little rocket envy there? Heh. That's okay, you can say it..."

The sculpts of the two Lexington Q. Luthor figures is almost identical, except for the center chest-emblem. Oh, and the big honkin’ rockets on the shoulder of the Lex on the left. Other than that, the onyl difference is in the paint job. Visually, I much prefer the Public Enemies figure — much more colorful, vibrant paint job. But I wouldn’t say that in front of the guy on the left.

"Wasn't I already in this article once?"

Fortunately, Erin gave me the “classic” Power Girl just in time to compare her to her Public Enemies counterpart. Unlike the male figures, it doesn’t seem the females got any change in sculpt for the new series. But they’d already made a small change a while back, making the legs thicker and sturdier. Still not enough to stand up without a base, though. Again, just in terms of the vibrancy of the colors, I think I prefer the animated figure. Probably has something to do with trying to imitate the animation.

"Oh, so you were still on Earth at the end of the movie, huh? Well lemme tell you what happened in the COMICS..."

The new Captain Atom really shows how the change to the leg sculpt will help pose these figures. You can spread the legs wider and make them a bit more stable with this sculpt. In terms of color, it’s hard to pick a favorite. The DCU Cap has more of a silver color, but PE Cap has kind of this blue steel thing going on that also looks really good.

"So neither of us is Dick Grayson? Man, this is awkward..."

Batman is the only hero to come out of Public Enemies with a darker figure than his DCU look. Again, he’s sporting the new sculp, and if you look closely, you see that the shape of the utility belt and the bat-symbol on his chest are a little different. The cape sculpt, I believe, is identical between the two figures.

"So do you think we have any 'electricity'? Huh? Heh? Do ya? Heh, heh..."

"So do you think we have any 'electricity' together? Huh? Heh? Do ya?"

Last but certainly not least, we end up with Black Lightning, the role for which Levar Burton must have cashed the smallest paycheck of his career. Seriously, why would you cast such a great actor and only give him one line in the movie? Sheesh. Anyway, PE Lightning has the new sculpt, and a very different costume from his comic book counterpart. And again, I prefer the Public Enemies look. I just think it’s a better costume, and I think Black Lightning looks better with hair. Just sayin’.


Toy Stories: Who You Gonna Call Part 2

I’m always interested to see just which of my little articles here at the ‘Realms manage to find an audience. Some things I expect to take off never do. Some things I throw out without a thought become big hits, at least relative to the rest of my stuff. Back during the Halloween Party, I presented a set of Ghostbusters Mini-Mates I’d taken into my possession. Somehow, that quick review has consistently gotten a lot of online attention. Well, never let it be said I’m above pandering for page hits! Because you demanded it! Because we all love the Ghostbusters! Because I have another Mini-Mate set! I present: Who You Gonna Call Part 2?

"Ray... when someone asks you if you're a god... YOU SAY YES!"

With this set and the previous figures, I’ve officially got at least one figure of each of the Ghostbusters. Here Ray Stantz and Winston Zeddmore face Gozer the Carpathian (as the bubble-covered chick) and a totally not-to-scale Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. The figures themselves are very nicely made, especially the Marshmallow Man. One thing I just don’t understand, though, is why the Mini-Mates people both including the particle streams from the proton packs if they don’t make a way to attach them. Right now, they’re superfluous accessories with no potential for poseability or playability. Jerks.

"They show was named after WHO in the last season?"

This two-pack was a comic shop exclusive. It includes our boy Ray in his darker Ghostbusters II-era jumpsuit, complete with a look of abject terror on his face. With him comes the scene-stealing fan favorite, Slimer. Slimer is a bit different from most Mini-Mates, as far as body type goes, but the cool ectoplasm base he comes with makes up for it. You may wonder why ol’ Slimer here is sort of pale instead of the bright green he was in the movies. It’s simple: this bad boy glows in the dark. I wish I could show you what that looks like, but I just couldn’t get a decent picture of him with my camera. Take my word for it, though, he looks pretty sweet in the dark.

There are a few more Ghostbusters sets out there, and while I’m not going to make it a plastic Holy Grail or anything, I definitely want to try to get them. If there are plans for any future releases, though, I’ve got a suggestion for the toy company: The Real Ghostbusters cartoon designs. C’mon. We want ’em.

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March 2023

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