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Rocket in Your Pocket: Monogram’s Cool Key Rings

monogram international, toy fair 2015, marvel, dc comics, key rings, bust banks

Just a few of Monogram’s Marvel Collectible Keyrings

Monogram International Inc. is noted for their years of creating unique licensed collectibles and novelties, and I’ve been tracking their creations over many Toy Fairs. Their bust banks are particular favorites of mine, and they have created many ComicCon exclusives in this range. Antman and Loki are stand out additions to the line this year.

Key Characters…
Photographing the varied items at their 2015 New York International Toy Fair booth, I quickly became enamored with Monogram’s soon to be released series of 3D Foam Figural Key Rings. Licensing spans the Marvel, Disney, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and DC universes. The 2” characters have a nice chunky feel, soft but not “squishy.” Their super cute wide-eyed designs are fun and inventive and should make them popular with both youngsters and collectors of stylized characters.

monogram international, toy fair 2015, marvel, dc comics, key rings, bust bank

3D Figural Foam Keyring Foil Packs and Display Box.

Chase Scene…
Each keyring series includes 9 standard characters and 2 exclusive figures. Marvel Series 1 includes, Spider-Man, Hulk, Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Iron Man, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Star-Lord. The two “chase” characters illustrated on the bag in silhouette appear to be variants of Iron Man and Rocket. They will be sold as foil pack “blind bags.” Inside each package the characters are wrapped in cardboard to discourage the “touchy feely” collectors from trying to divine their purchase in advance. It keeps things honest and trading brisk.

monogram international, toy fair 2015, marvel, dc comics, key rings, bust bank

My Monogram Rocket Raccoon 3D Keyring just hanging out.

The Monogram folks were so kind as to offer Ken Pierce (PiercingMetal.Com) and I a mystery bag each, and of course we opened them immediately. I was happy to find Galaxy Guardian Rocket Raccoon in mine, especially since he was not included in the Monogram display.

monogram international, toy fair 2015, marvel, dc comics, key rings, bust bank

Monogram’s Avengers Paperweight as a work in progress..

Weight of the Universe…
Monogram also unveiled a very early look at their Marvel Avengers paperweight. Shown in unpainted prototype it’s an out of the ordinary collector’s piece, nice for the desk of that comic obsessed executive you know. Standing atop the Avengers logo, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America, Ultron and the Hulk are all nicely sculpted ranging at what seemed to be 4-5 inches tall. Although not shown at Toy Fair, likely still in the sculpt stage, the company’s product art illustrates The Abomination and Loki as part of the set as well.

monogram international, toy fair 2015, marvel, dc comics, key rings, bust bank

Loki ponders what universe he’s in, as Superman looks on.

SkeletonPete Says…
Though not originally a fan of the mystery box or blind bag collectible model, I’ve come to understand its strengths. Commercially the “thrill of the chase” for your favorite characters certainly drives sales but psychologically adds a layer of fun via anticipation and surprise. That’s not such a bad thing for kids to experience in a world of mostly instant gratification. A personal analogy is how much I enjoyed chasing after 45 RPM’s with Non-LP B-Sides by my favorite musical artists. Now those “bonus” tracks are a click away for download and not truly special at all.

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Bright Knight: Mezco One:12 Batman Unboxing

mezco toyz, batman, one:12 collective, dark knight returns, frank miller

Production line One:12 Batman is ready to join your collection.

To the Mez-Cave…
Mezco Toyz’ 2015 Pre-Toy Fair press event afforded us an unfettered look at their newest licensed and original collectibles. An icy journey to the Mezco sanctum sanctorum paid off as Ken Pierce (www.piercingmetal.com) and I, along with many other enthusiastic reporters, found ourselves surrounded by shelves filled with some astounding toys. Things you all are going to love.

The highlight of the reveal was an opportunity to unbox and inspect the first production line models of the One:12 Collective Batman Dark Knight Returns figures.

mezco toyz, batman, one:12 collective, dark knight returns, frank miller

Mezco Toyz’ one:12 Collective Batman production model.

Play and Display…
We’ve been tantalized by the images the company has teased out over the last few months, and impressed by the prototypes on view at New York Comic Con last fall, but actually handling the beautifully constructed Batman affirmed the exceptional fit and finish that the images suggested. Millenary work on the cloth costume is clean and classy. The weigh, balance, and firm articulation of the six inch figure make it addictive fun to pose.

Collectors will appreciate the impressive display box with it’s multiple slip cases and great graphics and molded compartments. It’s a well thought out design that allows for the toy to be removed for play, and easily returned between adventures. Accessories include a Bat Signal stand and an expansive array of swappable hands and weapons, plus neat unexpected details like the extra boot with ankle holster.

mezco toyz, batman, one:12 collective, dark knight returns, frank miller

There is excellent attention to detail in the One:12 Batman accessory set.

Penny Wise…
At its $65.00 price point One:12 Batman is quite a deal. It has the feel of a much more expensive item. It easily makes this a great gift choice for fans of all age ranges. Most importantly it’s a great TOY that deserves to be played and imagined with, not just perched on a shelf. So think “out of the box.”

mezco toyz, batman, one:12 collective, dark knight returns, frank miller

Newly announced One:12 Collective Mutant Gang Leader prototype.


Leader of the Pack…
Every good superhero needs a cause and a villain to thwart. Frank Miller’s Dark Knight was pitted against the Mutant Gang. Hot off the 3D press and ready to rumble with the caped crusader Mezco showed us the just approved prototype for that gang’s monstrous leader.

mezco toyz, judge dread, one:12 collective, DC universe

One:12 Collective Judge Dredd prototype with new motorcycle


SkeletonPete Says…
With One:12 Batman as the “proof of theory” Mezco has what I believe to be a grand-slam product line reaching well into the future. The already announced Judge Dredd, has added a sweet ride of a cycle, and the One:12 catalog gives us a hint of what is to come. They’ll be more DC Universe heroes, Universal Monsters, Mortal Kombat Klassic, Thundercats, Star Trek. It’s especially exciting is too see the logos for Hanna-Barbera’s Alex Toth designed Space Ghost, Thundarr, The Barbarian and – wait for it – The Herculoids listed.

Mezco showed us much more of their upcoming fare, with Chucky, Living Dead Dolls, Mortal Combat, Sons of Anarchy, a 24” classic 1940’s Bug Bunny, and I’ll be posting more as the days lead up to the 2015 New York International Toy Fair.

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Batman: Dark Knight Returns One:12 Collective


Judge Dredd One:12 Collective Protoype

The Highly Articulate(d) Crusader: Mezco’s One:12 Collective Batman

Peter Keehn's Emulation of Frank Miller Art Highlights the Highly Poseable Nature of Mezco's One:12 Collective Figures

Peter Keehn’s Emulation of Frank Miller Art Highlights the Highly Poseable Nature of Mezco’s One:12 Collective Figures

Going Batz…
It could not be more appropriate during a week that began with a night of dodging real bats in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, during an Atlas Obscura Society H.P. Lovecraft event, to wake up to the news (thanks to Ken Pierce) that it’s Batman Day. Yes – the Arkham connection is not lost on me.

Mr. Mezco Risin’…
Not to let the occasion of the 75th year since the publication of Detective Comics #27 go by unheralded, I’m happy to share with you Mezco Toyz just announced Batman: The Dark Knight Returns action figure. This is the vanguard reveal for Mezco’s newest collector toy line called the One:12 Collective that will offer fans 6” clothed and highly articulated representations of some of their favorite characters. In addition to Batman, the company has plans for other DC Universe heroes, Universal Monsters, and specifically Judge Dredd. They’ve also hinted at a few surprises as the series evolves, with several models planned to hit the shelves during the year, starting in fall of 2014.

Black and Blue Cowled Variants and lots of cool weapons and tools for Mezco's Dark Knight (Photos: Peter Keehn/Courtesy of Mezco Toyz)

Black and Blue Cowled Variants and lots of cool weapons and tools for Mezco’s Dark Knight (Photos: Peter Keehn/Courtesy of Mezco Toyz)

This digitally sculpted, highly detailed, figure has the great brawny look of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight, and an array of weapons to fight crime throughout Gotham. Surprising for it’s 6” scale the product features 32 points of articulation and offers “40,000 possible poses” according to Mezco. This and the precisely tailored garb are at the heart of the One:12 Collective initiative. Company president “Mez” Markowitz explains, “I think we are offering a fantastic product that both satisfies the customers desire for articulation as well as the ability to hide it all in a extremely realistic way. Another great aspect to the line is that we are striving to present high quality product that is in line with 1/6th scale (12” figure) collectables while taking up far less display space and at a much more reasonable price point.”

Photo: Peter Keehn/Courtesy of Mezco Toyz)

Photo: Peter Keehn/Courtesy of Mezco Toyz)

Skeletonpete Says…
If you’re attending San Diego Comic Con this week seek out Mezco’s booth (#3445) for a first hand look at the One:12 Collective DKR and all of their other awesome products and exclusives. Otherwise enjoy photographer Peter Keehn’s evocative images courtesy of Mezco Toyz.

Kai in the Sky: Square Enix/Play Arts’ DC Universe Figures

DC's Green Lantern Gets an Anime Make-Over from Square Enix/Play Arts

DC’s Green Lantern Gets an Anime Make-Over from Square Enix/Play Arts

The Future’s So Dark I Gotta Wear Blades…
The roll out for Square Enix/Play Arts roster of DC Universe figures, as previewed at NY Toy Fair 2013 in February, has begun with The Dark Knight Trilogy Batman and Bane currently available. Catwoman Selina Kyle as portrayed by Anne Hathaway, and Heath Ledger’s Joker will follow in the coming months.

Arkham Gals Won’t You Come Out Tonight…
Rounding out the Batman related characterizations, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy will add a twisted feminine touch to the Batman Arkham City series. Both are scheduled for mid-June 2013 release.

Ani-makeovers…
Also scheduled for release throughout spring and summer are the Anime-esque “Kai” Variants of DC’s revered heroes and heroines. Along with a samurai sword wielding Batman, the series will include sleek and angular spins on Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and down the road Batgirl and Flash. The latter two were displayed in early prototype pre-painted versions that I think highlighted their beautiful geometric look. That said, The Flash should be spectacular in full color.

SkeletonPete Says…
Many of the characters were displayed with a host of swappable parts, including hands, weapons and masks. Please keep in mind that all photos here were taken of prototypes – in some cases still pending licensor approval. Final products may vary. You can see the official product images of these and other Square Enix/Play Arts collectibles at their website.

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