Posts Tagged ‘Mini-Mates


Classic EBI #242: What’s Santa Bringing For the Geeks?

Every Christmas, I make it a point to seek out as many Christmas comics as I can and present them to the faithful readers of Everything But Imaginary, and this year is no different. I’ve got twenty yuletide comics to share with you today, my friends, so click on the link and get to it!

Everything But Imaginary #428: Christmas Comics 2011

Going back in time, let’s look in at 2007, and what Santa was bringing to the Geeks that year…

Classic EBI #242: What’s Santa Bringing For the Geeks?

It’s T-minus 20 days and counting, friends. Christmas is rapidly approaching, the assorted poultry are growing corpulent, and the geriatric gentleman is asking for alms. And for us, the Assorted Fanboys of the Universe, we’re making out lists of toys and goodies that we’re just hoping Santa will leave under our trees. Unfortunately, for those of us who were stupid enough to buy an issue of One More Day, we’re stuck on the “naughty” list, and we’re left hoping for treats from the special people in our lives. So this week’s special “Everything But Imaginary” column is not for you, fanboys.

No, no. It’s for your loved ones.

This column is going to list some of the coolest stuff you can get for your fanboy this year. Fanboys, make sure your primary gift-giver sees it. Print out a copy and leave it in the bathroom. Casually mention how awesome Everything But Imaginary is until they have no choice but to log on. “Accidentally” CC an e-mail to them saying, “Hey, Joe, did you read this column? I hope Marcia gets me some of this stuff for Christmas.” (Also, you may want to use your own girlfriend/fiancé/wife’s name, because if it’s not “Marcia,” you’re going to have much bigger problems than Christmas presents.)

So what are some of the best gifts out there for comic geeks this year? Let’s start with…


Now not every geek has the same tastes, so it’s important to find something that will appeal to him or her. There are a lot of nice, hefty hardcovers available these days that will almost certainly be to someone’s liking. The Captain America Omnibus might be nice for someone who didn’t start reading the comic book until March. Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus can give the DC fan some nice background on Countdown. Fans of the Disney theme parks will salivate over the collected edition of Slave Labor’s Haunted Mansion comic book. Looking for a cool comic he probably didn’t read? The Hero By Night hardcover just came out. And if your geek is digging the current Spirit series, there are over 20 hardcover archives available collecting the original run.

Books are the ultimate gift for a fanboy. We’re always looking for something else to read, because if we didn’t love reading, we wouldn’t be comic geeks in the first place. Your trick, your task if you will, will be to determine just what your fanboy likes. Hardcore fans of Serenity or The Dark Tower likely already have those issues in their collection, but that doesn’t automatically mean they wouldn’t appreciate the hardcover collections of those comics.


If anything can rival a book in a fanboy’s heart, it’s the DVD, and there were a ton of them released this year. TV shows featuring Superman, Batman, Aquaman, the Super Friends, and a jillion more. Awesome movies like 300, TransFormers and Spi… Spider…. Um, and let’s not forget that this is the year that high-definition players really began to grow in prominence! (Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 are in high-def now, right?) Find out if your geek is interested in “upgrading” his old DVDs to high-def or Blu-Ray. Once you’ve figured out if your geek likes a certain TV show or movie (here’s a test: “Hey, sweetie, what did you think of 300?”), ascertaining whether or not he already has it is the easy part. The Native North American Geek usually has a cabinet or shelf where his DVDs are proudly displayed as though they were college degrees, Olympic medals or Grandma’s ashes, providing Grandma looked as good in spandex as Jessica Alba. All you’ve got to do is look and see if the DVD you’re considering purchasing is already there.


As always, there are a ton of toys and goodies you can get for your geek. If you’ve got the display space, there are plenty of great statues out there. My girlfriend Erin (who is not only cute, smart, funny, and basically awesome, but also a terrible enabler for my habit) got me the Fables Snow White/Bigby Wolf statue for my birthday back in August, and lemme tell ya, this is the coolest thing you could possibly get for a Fables fan. And of course, there are statues available featuring practically any denomination of fan worship – Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, the X-Men, Serenity, Star Wars, Star Trek, Archie Comics, classic Universal monsters, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Carribean – just walk into your local comic shop (you may have to ask your fanboy where it is) and see the stuff they have on the shelves.

A statue a little outside of your price range? No problem. There are plenty of action figures out there that look good enough to practically be statues – the Marvel Legends and DC Direct lines are packed with beautiful sculpts of beloved heroes. Don’t want to get your fanboy a toy? (You elitist.) How about a Betty Boop Zippo lighter? A Superman lunchbox? A Serenity-as-Reaver-Ship Christmas tree ornament? Getting “collectibles” instead of “toys” takes a little of the sting out of it, doesn’t it?


C’mon, you know you still hang your stocking up every Christmas Eve, and you know that you still wake up every Christmas Morning in the hopes of finding it full of loot. Give your fanboy that gift this year. There are plenty of things to choose from – including my favorite toy line of the year, Mini-Mates. Miniature action figures that come in packs of two – not as detailed or as displayable as some of their bigger, pricier cousins, but just as cool. And the best part is, they come in a ton of denominations as well – Marvel superheroes, DC superheroes, Battlestar Galactica, 24, Speed Racer and many more. (Um… just try to avoid the zombie ones. I had some trouble with them back on Halloween.)

So there you have it, friends – plenty of ideas to get you started. And if you come up with any gift suggestions of your own, share them here! We can use all the help we can get.

Favorite of the Week: November 28, 2007

It wasn’t a long run, but Tony Bedard and Dennis Calero’s term on Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes (which ended with last week’s #36) was a really good one. In their few issues, they helped the Legion reestablish itself in the aftermath of the Dominator War and the disappearance of one of their founders, Cosmic Boy. They reintroduced a number of fan-favorite Legionnaires and Legion concepts (the lost-missed Wildfire/ERG-1, for instance). They brought Supergirl’s story to a very satisfying close, and they gave Jim Shooter and Francis Manapul a solid foundation to begin their stint on this title. Well-done, sirs. Well done.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast. E-mail him at and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page.


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: 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: 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.


Halloween Party: Who You Gonna Call?

Have I mentioned lately that I love the Ghostbusters? Because I do. I freakin’ love the Ghostbusters. Ghostbusters rule.

So when new Ghostbusters toys appear on the shelves, especially toys in my beloved Mini-Mate format, you know I’ve got to seek these out. I’ve only got two of the twin packs so far, but I’m on the hunt for the rest. Here are some of the mini Ghostbusters currently available on your store shelves.

First up, we have Dr. Peter Venkman putting the hurt on one of the hellhounds from the first Ghostbusters movie. I’m not sure if this dog was originally Dana Barrett or Louis Tully, but does it really matter?

One of the things I love about the Mini-Mate toy line is that it’s diverse enough to allow a lot of different, obscure characters. Sure, Egon Spengler in his lab coat is a no-brainer, but who ever thought they’d get a toy out of the jogging ghost that only appeared for twelve seconds during the musical montage, when he stumbled right over the trap the boys had left out for him? He doesn’t look too happy either. Hmm. See, folks? All that exercise will kill you.


2 in 1 Showcase Episode 126: Toy Talk

It’s one more Chase-less episode, so Blake, Mike, and Kenny spend this week discussing their favorite toy lines! From classics of our youth to hits of today, the guys chat about TransFormers, DC Direct, Marvel Universe, McFarlane, Voltron, Mini-Mates and everything in between! Blake even weaves the tale of how a review of the Marvel Zombies Mini-Mates got away from him. In the picks this week, Kenny chooses the first two issues of Killer of Demons, Blake chooses Detective Comics #854, Mike goes with Booster Gold #21, and the graphic novel pick is The Pro! Contact us with comments, suggestions, “Ask Chase Anything” questions, or anything else at!

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 126: Toy Talk
Inside This Episode:


Toy Stories: Back in Time

Can you believe that in just six short years we’re going to have flying cars, self-lacing shoes, clothes that tailor and dry themselves, and hoverboards? At least, that’s what we were promised back in 1989, when Marty McFly and Doc Brown journeyed to the year 2015 in Back to the Future Part II. I’ve always loved these movies, I’m really excited that they’re all out on individual DVDs right now (the first of which includes the video of the late, lamented Universal Studios ride), and now on the 20th anniversary of the second film, we’re getting toys. Specifically: the Mini-Mates!

Marty in disguise, Marty on the hoverboard, Future Doc Brown, and Alternate 1985 Biff

Marty in disguise, Marty on the hoverboard, Future Doc Brown, and Alternate 1985 Biff

I got this Back to the Future Part II four-pack from the website, which is easily the best website devoted to this franchise. If you love the films, check it out — there’s lots of news, interviews, behind-the-scenes stuff and merchandise available here. Anyway, let’s look at these figures one at a time. On the far left, we have “Marty in disguise,” with the 80s-era Michael Jackson leather jacket and hat. Ah, for the days when you could discuss Michael Jackson without holding a little tighter to your children. The figure looks good, although I find it odd that the hat and hair are a single piece. The next Marty comes with the famous hoverboard and wears the jacket that can size and dry itself. I say keep the hoverboard, work on the technology that will automatically dry my socks when I step in a puddle. Future Doc has a removable pair of silver shades, and Alternate 1985 Biff has the gold chain and stern expression he made famous.

Going through these four reminded me of another four-pack I got about a year ago. I dug out the photo I snapped of those back then.

1885 Marty, 1985 Marty, Buford Tannen & 1885 Doc

1885 Marty, 1985 Marty, Buford Tannen & 1885 Doc

The Back to the Future III four-pack included the western characters. 1885 Marty comes with his “Mr. Eastwood” hat and poncho — and if you remove the poncho, you see the metal stove-plate. I love little details like that. 1985 Marty is what you’d expect. Buford Tannenand 1885 Doc Brown each come witha firearm, which is cool, but it’s touch to keep track of all the little weapons some of these figures come out with.

There are also several Mini-Mates available based on the original movie, and I intend to get those sooner or later too. We seem to have entered a new age of Back to the Future merchandise, with an 1:5-scale Delorean model, a Flux Capacitor replica, and Marty’s dazzlingly ugly holographic hat from Part II all either available or coming out soon. It’s a nice time for fans of the Back to the Future films.


Convention Season Again?

The New York City Comicon has become the first in a wave of comic book conventions that will last throughout the spring and summer months, with major stops as always in Chicago, Philadelphia, and the big dance in San Diego. There’s also an effort to bring a convention to New Orleans — Nolacon 2009 is scheduled for April 25, so mark your calendars. I’ll be certain to let you know more as we get more information.

But right now, let’s look at New York. Obviously, I couldn’t be at the con myself, but I’ve been keeping a close eye on all the comic book news sites, and I thought I’d chime in on some of the announcements that I’m excited about. In no particular order:

  • To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first movie, there will not only be a new line of action figures featuring the Ghostbusters (both their movie and cartoon versions), but a line of Mini-Mates as well. You should all know by now which ones I’m excited to buy.
  • Hasbro’s Marvel toys will apparently focus on the 3.75-inch scale for the remainder of 2009. Plans include for dual lines for each Marvel Movie property — one line based on movie characters and another for their comic book counterparts. As there’s only one Marvel Movie (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) planned for 2009, that doesn’t really excite me too much, but if that’s still the policy when The First Avenger: Captain America is released, I’m gonna be a happy geek.
  • The new Adventure Comics series will be drawn by the awesome Francis Manapul, and Geoff Johns will be involved on the story side. This will apparently join the “Superman Family” of titles, and will have a “main character,” but apparently will feature lots of characters in Superman’s mythos, including the Legion of Super-Heroes. I’m betting the main character, at least after Blackest Night, will be Conner Kent.
  • The Star Wars: Rebellion comic series is being cancelled. This is kind of odd since, out of the four comics, it’s the only one set in the classic period of the original three movies. It’s being replaced with Star Wars: Invasion, which is set some 25 years after the first movie, during the period of the New Jedi Order series of novels. I only got through the first two of those books before I kind of lost interest, so I’m not sure if I’ll pick up this series, but the concept art released looks good.
  • Speaking of Dark Horse comics, there’s going to be a new Tales of the Slayers one-shot to compliment the ongoing Buffy the Vampire Slayer series. I’ll pick up anything in the Buffyverse. Erin, should I assume you want a copy of this one too?
  • IDW will launch a new Doctor Who series, featuring the current Doctor and lots of new characters. To me, this indicates the book will be set in the current run of 2009 specials, where the Doctor is without a companion and there’s plenty of room to insert new adventures without butting against the current continuity of the TV show.
  • The DC Comics Vertigo imprint announced that all of their new series this year will debut with a $1 cover price issue. This is a fantastic idea, in a market where everyone is terrified the regular price is going to leap again from $2.99 to $3.99 an issue (which, incidentally, is the point where I walk away entirely). Since I’ll be saving money on several Marvel titles that have made the jump that I’m going to refuse to buy (I’ll miss you, Franklin Richards), that frees me up. I can get four Vertigo #1s for the price of any random Marvel Comic.
  • The third volume of Astro City: The Dark Age is apparently finished, and will be released without a danger of lateness. This is the way you do it, people.
  • There will be a Wildstorm series later this year entitled Tranquility: One Foot in the Grave. Is this the continuation of the brilliant, lamented Welcome to Tranquility series? I sure hope so.
  • IDW is also publishing a collected edition of Chris Eliopoulos‘s Desperate Times. Very cool — I liked that strip. Plus, if I pick that up I’ll feel a little better about abandoning Franklin Richards.

Mini-Mates: Spidey and the Cosmic Crew

The Marvel Comics Mini-Mates line recently put out a new set of two-packs, and I picked up three of them this week. I liked this one a lot — a figure I’ve craved, a figure I needed, and a figure I never expected. In order!

Gamora and Nova

Gamora and Nova

First up, let’s agree that Nova is currently one of the best comics Marvel is publishing. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are kicking 18 kinds of butt, and I was quite happy to get their cosmic hero in Mini-form. He comes with his ex-girlfriend, Gamora, which must have been kind of awkward when they were being packaged together. I really like the look of the Nova suit, and Gamora came out nice too.

Classic Spider-Man and Shocker

Classic Spider-Man and Shocker

The next two-pack is “Classic Spider-Man” and the Shocker. By “Classic,” they mean the webbing and eye design on this particular mini-figure is much closer to the original design, as done by Steve Ditko, way back in Amazing Fantasy #15. I’m glad this was in here — can you believe I didn’t have a Mini-Mate of just the basic Spider-Man? I have the “Ultimate” version (no webs), the “Battle Damage” version (no mask) and the “Zombie” version (no soul). Now, in the midst of the alternates, I’ve got the real thing. The Shocker… well, he wouldn’t have been my first choice of villains, but the toy looks fine. And speaking of alternates…

Cosmic Spider-Man and Venom

Cosmic Spider-Man and Venom

“Cosmic” Spider-Man comes from Marvel’s Acts of Vengeance crossover from 1989. In this story, Thor’s brother Loki put together a coalition of super-villains to try to defeat the world’s heroes by “trading” enemies. The U-Foes attacked the West Coast Avengers, the Grey Gargoyle went after the Hulk, Typhoid Mary tormented Power Pack, and so forth. Unfortunately for the likes of Titania, the Brothers Grimm, Goliath, and the Trapster, at this same time Spider-Man got the powers of Captain Universe, an entity that temporarily bestows incredible cosmic power on different hosts in order to save the world. Cosmic Spidey kicked butt. He’s packaged here with one of his own foes, Venom, who didn’t take part in the Acts of Vengeance, to the best of my recollection.

Six cool figures, but in each pair I seem to have one that I like more than the others. Still, I’m not complaining.


Iron Mini-Mates!

There wasn’t much chance to discuss my little Mini-friends during the Halloween Party, but I have picked up a few more over the last month or so that I thought I’d review for you guys. It’s a few months late, but we got a line of Mini-Mates based on the awesome Iron Man movie. (Intriguingly, we also got some toys based on The Incredible Hulk. The toys came out before the Iron Mantoys, but the movie came out later. How’d that happen?)

Anyway, let’s take a look at some of these toys:

Pepper Potts and Iron Man Mark III

Pepper Potts and Iron Man Mark III

First up, we have Gwynneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts and the Iron Man Mark III two-pack. With Mini-Mates, it’s not really an issue to try to make the toy look like the actor it’s based on. Which bodes well for the upcoming Mini-Mates based on The Spirit.

Tony Stark and the Iron Monger

Tony Stark and the Iron Monger

Also available, the two-pack featuring Iron Man’s alter-ego Tony Stark, and his arch-nemesis, the Iron Monger. Now if these things were built to scale, of course, Iron Monger should be much bigger. But what the hey?

One of the cool things about Mini-Mates is how often they come with alternate heads or body parts that allow you to customize the various versions of the character. Here are a few examples from the Iron Man Mini-Mates:

Unmasked Iron Man and Iron Monger

Unmasked Iron Man and Iron Monger

Both of these toys come with “human” heads under the iron ones. Iron Monger is fine, but Iron Man is a tad disappointing. It looksgreat, but in terms of functionality, it’s not that hot. The faceplate of the mask detaches, which is cool, but it comes off WAY too easy. I dropped it while I was setting up this shot and nearly lost it in the couch cushion nether region along with years of forgotten Cheetos and $8.27 in change. He also comes with alternate legs — I guess these are supposed to be prototype legs, but they don’t even fit. The hip sockets are too big. “A” for visuals, “C” for playability.

I also got the four-pack of Iron Man and three of his teammates in the original Avengers!

The Hulk, Ant-Man, the Wasp and Golden Iron Man

The Hulk, Ant-Man, the Wasp and Golden Iron Man

Here are four of the five original Avengers, all of whom I am now noticing are leaning slightly to the right in this photograph. I have no idea how that happened. Let’s just pretend this picture was taken on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise just after it got hit by a photon torpedo. Anyway, the Hulk, Ant-Man, the Wasp and Iron Man in his second suit of armor — the one with the gold paint and the skirt — first came together in Avengers #1, along with the mighty Thor, who no doubt is sitting around pouting somewhere because they only make Mini-Mate sets in four-character units and someone decided to ditch him. Like the Iron Man toys, several of these came in alternate versions.

The Wasp and Giant-Man

The Wasp and Giant-Man

Not long after they joined the Avengers, Ant-Man figured out how to make himself grow instead of just shrink, so he ditched his helmet for a mask and took on the name “Giant Man.” His wife, the Wasp, made a small modification to her costume as well. I’m just noticing here that the Ant-Man and Wasp Mini-Mate figures are actually life-size, while Giant Man is on a much smaller scale.

Tony Stark, Janet Van Dyne & Hank Pym

Tony Stark, Janet Van Dyne & Hank Pym

And finally, three of the figures came equipped with hair to add to create their civilian identities: Tony Stark (who also came with a golden battering ram for no apparent reason), Janet Van Dyne, and Hank Pym. I’ve always had a soft spot for the original Avengers, and I’m thinking of picking up the original Invaders set they’ve put out just to go along with these so I can have an early Captain America too. Now is there a Mini-Thor available anywhere?

NaNoWriMo Update:

The story is coming along swimmingly, friends. I’m only 500 words short of today’s goal, and I’ve got no doubt I can make that in the next hour or so. Don’t forget, yesterday’s post will give you a running count of where I stand on NaNoWriMo for the whole month!

May 2023

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