Archive for February 2012
If you’ve been following this blog for a while you might remember the Tonner Doll Company article written after the 2011 Toy Fair. It has been one of the most popular postings at SkeletonPete and continues to pull traffic daily. That’s really no surprise because the story and photos highlight the Tonner company’s gorgeous creations; dolls that are acclaimed and cherished all around the globe. They have produced many licensed collectibles of DC & Marvel Comics characters as well as fantasy and classic Hollywood film tie-in’s. So it was a treat when Ken Pierce and I got to meet Robert Tonner himself and have a chat about upcoming designs and figure licensing.
Avatar and Tron Sneak Peek
Mr. Tonner was kind enough to give the OK to photograph and share with readers the prototypes for both the Tron Legacy and Avatar doll series, which at the time were still pending the approval of the licensors. Emily, The Corpse Bride and Ms. Beetlejuice join the Tim Burton inspired line, which also includes his Alice In Wonderland visions. The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is represented by a lovely Penelope Cruz as Angelica, and a simply jaw-dropping likeness of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow.
There are dolls and then there are DOLLS. Robert Tonner’s fashion design background and attention to detail always result in a capital product. He keeps the collector community abreast of new merchandise with a regular YouTube video-blog. A visit to Tonner’s exceptional website will fill you in on the entire product line, including the time honored classics of Effenbee, which celebrated its centennial in 2010 and has been owned by Tonner since 2002.
Flights of Fancy Convention
The 2012 “Flights of Fancy” Tonner Doll Convention, a weekend long gathering of doll collectors, takes place in Lombard, Illinois this coming May. Attendance is limited to 300 and there are special hotel rates available. Check this link for further details.
Click Any Image To Launch the Tonner Doll Gallery.
Monsters of all kinds were certainly in the mix at The Toy Association’s 109th Industry Conference, simply known as Toy Fair. Always of particular interest to collectors are upcoming licensed figures of their favorite horror characters like the Universal Monsters series from Diamond Select I reported on earlier.
This year toy manufacturer Mezco, who are well known for their “Living Dead Dolls”, are adding classic Universal Films Monsters to their line. As one would expect the company will offer the countenances of The Frankenstein Monster and Count Dracula, rendered in the dead dolls cherubic style. Those are slated for September 2013.
In addition Mezco has shown prototypes for a quirky, set of figures sculpted in an expressionist or Caligari-esque mode that we haven’t seen before. Frankenstein, The Mummy and The Creature From The Black Lagoon are presented in skewed proportions that bring out a menace previously unseen in action figures. I really like this concept and particularly love the gangly look of The Creature; think I might have to own this one even with the limited display space I have. Mezco also has a “Big Frankie” style monster, they’re calling the Mega Deluxe Frankenstein, set for November 2012. This 2 foot bruiser has a dead pan demeanor I really like. “Black and White” variants were on display for all the figures.
Click Any Image to Launch Mezco Gallery
Also at Toy Fair 2012 were Titan Merchandise’s newest 3/4 busts, of Hammer horror films characters. Represented are Christopher Lee in his most famous role as Count Dracula, Ingrid Pitt as the sanguinely rejuvenated Elizabeth Bathory (Countess Dracula, 1971) and Peter Cushing as the intrepid Dr. Abraham Van Helsing (Dracula / aka Horror of Dracula, 1958.) These missed their originally listed Fall 2011 release dates, and are now scheduled to hit the shelves in mid April 2012, right around even scarier Income Tax time. They are limited to editions of 1000.
Click Any Image to Launch Titan Merchandise Gallery
What It Is…
It was great to meet up with the Nano Magnetics representatives at Toy Fair again this year. They’re a very personable gang of lab assistants indeed – and why not – they have a great product to demonstrate – Nanodots. These shiny metallic mini-beads are nirvana on Earth for the finger fidgeters and paper clip manglers of the world, like myself. Why? They’re magnetic; described by the company as “kick-ass, take-no-prisoners, juiced-up super magnets… milled from Neodymium, the world’s strongest permanent magnet.” In other words, Nanodots are light years away from those “kissing puppy dogs” you used to get in Crackerjacks boxes.
Even a small handful will have you fiddling for hours, making strings and rings, clicking them together and pulling them apart, flattening and folding. It’s very therapeutic, like scientific rosary beads, but assuming The Doors’ Jim Morrison was right and “you cannot petition the Lord with prayer” you’ll want to move on to craftier possibilities. Try your hand at cajoling the dots into any of a myriad of geometric forms and build from there. That’s where the fun really starts.
Magnetic Expanding Inevitable
You can see from the photo selection that the Nanodot community really gets their game on with simple to spectacular magnetic constructs. This year the company decided to display some user inspired designs at the toy show and even they had some brain twisting to do in order to figure out how a few of the geometrics were achieved. Don’t fret, the Nanodots website has plenty of basic tutorial videos to get you started. Many are by mathematician, and Nanodot guru, Janos Szaki. Even more grandiose constructs can be gleaned from the expanding online Dotpedia Community as you advance.
Nanodots come in an array of finishes from titanium to black, gold, and silver; it’s fun to highlight patterns and components of your constructs with a variety of colors. Basic starter packages include 216 dots and a cloth carrying pouch (don’t leave home without ‘em.) This year the larger “Mega Nanodots” joined the product line. They’re 27X larger than the originals by volume; bigger than a natural pearl but smaller than a Brooklyn grandma’s meatballs and are packed in a reusable storage cylinder.
Also pictured below is Nano Magnetics’ 2011 Guiness World Record winning Golden Globe Award replica. The 600 lb. construction is made up of 550,000 Nanodots.
Click Any Image Below To Launch the Gallery.
One Nation Under Gort…
I simply could not let President’s Day go by without giving you a look at Heroes In Action Toys and Toy Tokyo’s collaboration, “Presidential Monsters”. These cloth garbed dolls recast our commanders in chief as classic film creatures; a hysterically horrific spin on American history. Baracula, Monster from the Watergate Lagoon, The Ronmy, Zom-Bush are highlights of the product line. Clever details like The Watergate Creature’s web-fingered victory signs and LincolnStein’s bolt equipped Top Hat (ready to be juiced by the upcoming Doctor Benjamin FranklinStein) will make you laugh out loud. Interns won’t stand a chance against the JFK “Phantom of the White House” or saxophone toting “Wolf Bill”. Not that they did in reality either.
Better Than Voodoo Economics…
In addition to the 7 currently available action figures, there are plenty of others to come. Prototypes displayed at Toy Fair included Andrew Jackson as Nosferatu (my personal favorite) and Teddy Roosevelt as a white furred Yeti. Also coming is a ghostly George Washington as “The Spirit of ’76”. Apparently Sarah Palin is also in the wings with a Vlad the Impaler spoof.
Ken Pierce and I had a great time chatting with the folks at the Toy Tokyo booth during Toy Fair 2012 and it’s always a treat to visit their store in Manhattan’s East Village. Be sure to check them out for a mind-blowing array of collectible goodies.
Click Any Image to Launch the Gallery
There were lots of exciting new items at Dark Horse Comics’ Toy Fair 2012 booth. Along with their Mass Effect Reaper prototype, they also offered a first look at the upcoming Camilla d’Errico sculptural bust.
The piece is based on the painting “No Ordinary Love”, which can be found in the d’Errico art book Femina and Fauna, also produced by Dark Horse. Camilla’s work reminds me of a blend between Margaret Keene’s iconic 60’s doe-eyed waifs and 70’s TV Anime. As the book title suggests she often juxtaposes ethereal young ladies with some unexpected wildlife eliciting a placid, though equally disquieting, beauty. If I simply described this fantasy portrait you might imagine a tentacle enrobed, raven caressing, bride of Cthulu. Thankfully my photos reflect something quite the opposite and answer the question “Can you fall in love with a girly wearing a calamari as a chapeau?” with a rousing affirmative.
Dark Horse Product Development Manager Chris Gaslin told me that the sculpt was done by Gentle Giant Studios with d’Errico supervising the prototyping. They’ve created a masterful work imbued with the detail and delicacy of the original painting. The 8 inch tall, 5 inch wide, statue will be produced in a limited edition of 950 copies for worldwide distribution. Each will be hand-numbered and collector boxed, with a certificate of authenticity. Expected release date is June 2012. Dark Horse also plans Helmetgirls a second helping of Camilla’s paintings for July publication.
Click Any Image to Launch the Gallery