For me, NY Comic Con is a chance to say hi to the purveyors of some of the fun stuff that I like the best and also a perfect opportunity to discover some new items to add to the “wow” list. This year was no exception.
While free ranging the Javitts Center aisles what to my wondering eyes did appear but a miniature replica of the Naultilus submarine. This representation of Captain Nemo’s sweet ride (Jules Verne’s grandaddy of steam-punk vessels) is based on Harper Goff’s design for Walt Disney Studios 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954.) The little beauty stopped me dead in my tracks and impressed me even more when I learned it was a die cast metal kit with working parts and lights. This one is a true gem for the builder/collector and is aimed at a winter 2014 release.
Want to know more about the genesis of Disney’s submarine design? A treasure trove of information can be found at DisneySub.Com.
Once I pulled my eyes, and camera, away from the Disney Submarine replica, a look around revealed that I was in the display booth of Star Ace Toys Limited, and there were other delights to be seen. Giving me a steely stare from an adjacent display case was another iconic film entity, Steve McQueen, portrayed in his role as Captain Virgil Hilts from The Great Escape (1963). Though I was allowed to photograph it it should be noted that the McQueen likeness is shown here in pre-approval prototype form.
Say My Name…
Star Ace’s current franchise stock in trade is their growing range of Harry Potter film figures. Along with Harry and Ron Weasley, also displayed at the Yes Anime convention booth, Star Ace exhibited prototypes for Ralph Fiennes’ Lord Voldemort and Gary Oldham’s Sirius Black portrayals.
As the photos show these 1/6th scale articulated collectibles are rendered with exquisite attention to detail from their head sculpts and paint to the delicious scope of their accessories.
I’m happy to see that Star Ace is giving some love to the interests of “boomer” collectors like myself, who in actuality are more likely purchase such high scale prizes. If they’re considering mining 50’s-60’s pop culture a Frank, Dino and Sammy Jr. “Rat Pack” would find a home in many “man-caves.”
As New York Comic Con 2014 rolls to the end of its second day, the news blasts are coming fast and furious from our friends at Dark Horse Comics. The latest communique alerts us to a totally loony franchise collision that puts extraterrestrial horror hounds, the Predators, dogging the trail of the Archie Comics crew. Hey, my favorite Universal Monster film is Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, so I’m there.
Slash and (Sun) Burn…
April 2015 brings the first issue of Archie Meets Predator a 4 part Alex de Campi (Grindhouse) and Fernando Ruiz saga set during spring break in Costa Rico. I haven’t seen a preview but I’m thinking Betty and Veronica camouflaged in spa mud. If that’s a spoiler, I’m clairvoyant. If it’s not, I’m a twelve year old.
Author de Campi promises the whole Archie crew in tow. His interview with USAToday is here.
Diamond Select Toys is taking the opportunity to expand the monster line with a unique design of their own. DST’s Van Helsing, is an armed-to-the-teeth vision of the vampire hunter with a wizened and battle scarred countenance. With his axe, rifle, pistol and bandolero of wooden spikes he’s clearly a determined and formidable foe for the feral creatures of the night.
With many of us still cringing from the loopy Hugh Jackman misstep of 2004 Van Helsing was a risky choice. Fortunately DST presents him as an effective cross between the grandfatherly character portrayed by Edward Van Sloan in 1931 and Anthony Hopkins’ frenzied doctor of Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula (1992.)
The Van Helsing “Select” version is the most ornate of the three new Wave 5 boxed packages. The base provides a cemetery scene with dual tombstones and vicious vampire bride Mina Harker pouching from her grave.
I’ve been stalking Diamond Select Toy’s fifth wave of Universal Monsters figures since they first appeared as early prototypes in DST’s Toy Fair Booth back in 2013.
These two newest 7 inch scale action figures present Boris Karloff as The Monster from Son of Frankenstein, and a new version of The Creature From the Black Lagoon. The Jean St. Jean sculpts are created with “super articulation,” giving the models many more poseable points of movement than their previous incarnations.
DST has announced these items in blister-carded Toys “R” Us Exclusive configurations (already on the shelves) as well as “Select” boxes, available shortly in comic book shops, or for pre-order. The “Select” versions add extraordinarily detailed bases and props.
The Monster is portrayed with a slightly more gaunt look than Karloff lensed in the original 1939 film. He is clothed in his signature “Son of” wooly vest, a look that will forever remind me of Sonny Bono’s preferred garb in the 1960’s. In addition to more articulation The Creature update trumps its Wave 1 predecessor with, to my eye, a sculpt more accurate to its film appearance and a glossier aquatic paint finish.
“Armed” and Dangerous…
The “Select” Son of Frankenstein comes with an awesome Kenneth Strickfaden inspired piece of electrical laboratory gear that will remind old school collector’s like myself of the similar rig that was part of Aurora’s classic Bride of Frankenstein tableau. No Son of Frankenstein collectible would be complete without the wooden arm of Lionel Atwill’s Inspector Krogh for the monster to swing around. For me it’s a must have, and I’m glad to report it comes in both packaging configurations, so you won’t be torn (hee, hee.)
While I’m happy to learn that Diamond Select will continue to offer Universal Monster figures in another wave next year, I also applaud the initiative to bring some of their own creative juice to the monster mix.
The Aurora Plastic Model Company did this quite effectively in late 1960’s. Their Forgotten Prisoner of Castle Mare, The Witch, and The Guillotine models were equally cherished by collectors. In fact they are the only intact original Aurora models I still have. The others succumbed to an ill advised tangle with a barrage of firecrackers one fateful Independence day.