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Great Balls of F.Y.R.E: Marvel’s Operation S.I.N. #1

Operation SIN, Peggy Carter, Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics’ Operation S.I.N. #1, Gabriel Hardman’s Variant Cover.

Boogie-Woogie Battle Call…
Those looking forward to the January 6, 2015 two hour ABC Television premiere of Marvel’s Agent Carter, the Agents of SHIELD mini-series spin off, should also be aware of the concurrently launching Marvel Comics series Operation S.I.N..

Shake, Rattle and Damage Control…
While the television series tells the story of Carter’s immediate post World War II exploits in the S.S.R.(Strategic Scientific Reserve), Operation S.I.N. #1 will feature a 1950’s cold war scenario that pits Peggy Carter and Howard Hughs analog Howard Stark (Iron Man’s Dad for the uninitiated) against burgeoning H.Y.D.R.A. forces. They’re all on a collision course to recover powerful alien tech that is planted far behind the Iron Curtain.

We Were Promised Jet-Packs…
S.H.I.E.L.D. fans will be happy to know that “The Man on the Wall”, alien fighting hero Woodrow McCord Jr. will also feature prominently in the new book. His origins were revealed last October in Marvel’s Original S.I.N. Annual and now we’ll presumably learn how he first became connected with Howard Stark.

Marvel Comics' Operation S.I.N. #1. Interior art by Rich Ellis.

Marvel Comics’ Operation S.I.N. #1. Interior art by Rich Ellis.


Written by Kathryn Immonen, with interior art by Rich Ellis, Marvel’s Operation S.I.N. teaser panels promise some butt kicking action and Bondian espionage. Find it in your local comic shoppe on January 7, 2015.

SkeletonPete Says…
I, for one, am really enjoying how Marvel Entertainment is handling their cross-media plotline on the road to Avengers: The Age of Ultron, with the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show expanding the Kree technology story, while Agent Carter will fill in the historical backstory of the pre-Nick Fury agency.

I’m thinking we’ll need Disney Infinity 2.0 Carter and Stark figures to do some video game stealth work.

Thanks to Ken Pierce of the PiercingMetal website for the heads up on this one.

Marvel's Operation S.I.N. #1. Standard Cover art by Michael Komark.

Marvel’s Operation S.I.N. #1. Standard Cover art by Michael Komark.

‘Nuff Said: Guardians Team-Up #1 Announced

Marvel's "Guardians Team-Up" #1. Bound to have universal appeal.

Marvel’s “Guardians Team-Up” #1. Bound to have universal appeal.

OMG – Oh My Guardians…
OK, I admit it. From the first “ooga chaka” in the teaser trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy I was hooked. It just seemed like the film would deliver a fun romp with the totally left of center – even for Marvel – ragtag group of deep space adventurers. As we now know it delivered and then some, making the unlikely duo of a snarky raccoon and a monosyllable arborial giant big screen stars.

Hot on the heals of that latest franchise film the Marvel comic book gang has announced a new title pulling together the company’s two biggest movie franchises, The Avengers and The Guardians and beyond.

Guardians Team-Up #1 pairs two Eisner Award winners. Brian Michael Bendis (New Avengers, Ultimate Spiderman, Secret Invasion) will write the series with interior and cover illustration handled by Art Adams. In addition to work for DC and Marvel, Adams brought the much loved series Monkey Man and O’Brien to fruition via the Dark Horse Comics creator-owned imprint Legend.

Guardians Team-Up Editor Katie Kubert says, “By taking the most fun toys in the sandbox and pairing them together, be prepared to see something completely different, told by some of the best and brightest writers and artists in the business. And, like the nature of the team-ups themselves, both old and new creative faces to Marvel.”

Guardians Rocket and Groot in their beautiful Disney Infinity 2.0  toy incarnations.

Guardians Rocket and Groot in their beautiful Disney Infinity 2.0 toy incarnations.

SkeletonPete Says…
Issue #1 is due to hit comic shops and newsstands in February 2015. Want to get a jump on the team-up? Grab yourself one of Toy Insider’s 2014 “Hot Top 20 Toys” Disney Infinity’s 2.0 Marvel Superheroes toy-based video game, and put those heroes into action with adventures of your own making using the Toy Box 2.0 software.

Thanks to Ken, Editor of the PiercingMetal website, for passing along the original Marvel press release.

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Toy Insider Kicks Off 2014 Gifting Season

TI_HoP14flt
Pete & Andy’s Play Date…
On a gorgeous late October afternoon co-editor Adriana “Andy” Melendez (@sylverwhisper) and I joined other members of the press and blogger community on the 44th floor of New York City’s Hearst Building for a grand event to kick off the coming gift giving season presented by the folks at The Big Toy Book.Com, in partnership with The Toy Insider and Woman’s Day Magazine. Dubbed “The HoliDAY of PLAY” the gathering was aimed at affording social media and online reporters a jump on building buzz for the best toy options of late 2014.

Top Toy Tips…
Attendees enjoyed a couple of hours of hands-on experience and information gathering directly from manufacturers with a focus on the annual Toy Insider Hot 20 and Top Tech 12 lists. These lists (broken into age appropriate categories) and the entire 2014 Gift Guide can be found in the November issue of Woman’s Day magazine, as well as at Toy Insider online.

Following an introductory period of play and networking Big Toy Book Founder Laurie Schacht (@toyinsidermom) addressed the group. She delineated emerging trends in the toy industry using onsite vendors’ wares as examples punctuated by a video featuring highlights from last summer’s Sweet Suite event and soundtracked by my favorite EchoSmith tune “Cool Kids.”

HoliDAY of PLAY Attendees Got First Hand Info from Toy Vendors, and Spun Up 16 Million Twitter Impressions.

HoliDAY of PLAY Attendees Got First Hand Info from Toy Vendors, and Spun Up 16 Million Twitter Impressions.


Big Toy Book Founder Laurie Schacht Hoists a Bag-O-Swag for a Lucky Winner.

Big Toy Book Founder Laurie Schacht Hoists a Bag-O-Swag for a Lucky Winner.

Laurie called up several brave volunteers to participate in a couple of only mildly embarrassing competitions, one of which had participants emote their best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle “Cowabunga Dude!” Winners walked away with nicely filled swag bags. She also treated attendees to the first announcement of the 2015 Blogger Bash and Sweet Suite, which will be held on July 16 and 17 at Pier Sixty in New York City. In a little over 3 hours attendees managed to spin up 16 million Twitter impressions for the #HotToys14 hashtag and hundreds of Instagram images.

SkeletonPete & Andy Say…
It’s an anything goes marketplace, with tech and retro play products holding equal footing. We saw choices ranging from the robotics of the constantly expanding HEXBUG line to the return of the much loved 1980’s Pound Puppies from Funrise. LeapFrog offers the movement motivating immersive screenplay of their new console system, while creative stalwart Crayola straddles the classic vs. digital worlds with their Virtual Designer Pro kits.

Those only represent a smattering of the multitude of possibilities which is why the helpful guidance of the annual Woman’s Day/Toy Insider supplement and Toy Insider is so valuable.

Below is a list of the vendors who presented their wares at the event, with live links to their respective websites – you’re welcome. 🙂

Andy and I will be giving you a closer look at some of our favorites in the coming weeks.

Featured Manufacturer’s Sites

Battat
Build-A-Bear
ChizzComm
(representing Tech 4 Kids, Aliquantum International, Bravo Sports Corp. and Zuru Toys)
Cloud b
Crayola
Funrise Toys
Hasbro
HEXBUG
Jakks Pacific
Jazwares
Laser Pegs
LeapFrog
Little Scholar
Makey Makey
Rubie’s Costume Company
Spaghetti Headz
Thames and Kosmos
Toca Boca
Tomy
VTech

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If You Build It, They Will Come: Disney Infinity Toy Box 2.0

Design Hybrid Fantasy World Interiors for Your Characters to Live in Via Disney Infinity Toy Box 2.0

Design Hybrid Fantasy World Interiors for Your Characters to Live in Via Disney Infinity Toy Box 2.0

What’s Happening…
The Disney Infinity Toy Box 2.0 Summit will be held on August 16 & 17 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The schedule is listed here, in USA Pacific Time, and you can virtually attend via live streaming.

Questions for the Saturday afternoon panel discussion can be submitted via Twitter using #DisneyInfinity. Use the same hash-tag to vote for your favorite Toy Box 2.0 creations in a competitive showcase/playthrough on Sunday.

What It Is…
As reported earlier the Disney Infinity 2.0 platform will introduce the superheroes of the Marvel Universe into the collector toy/digital game world with some beautiful character sculpts and challenging screen play.

One of Infinity’s strong suits has been the Toy Box environment, a virtual game forge that facilitates the creation of your own worlds to play in. It’s a concept that has been embraced by fans who have submitted “hundreds of thousands of Toy Boxes,” according to John Blackburn VP and General Manager of Avalanche Software. Taking feedback from the “active and vocal” Infinity community, Disney and Avalanche have announced major enhancements to Toy Box’s capabilities.

While free ranging in an environment of your own creation was fun the addition of more structured game play is welcome, as are easier to use creative tools, and the ability to design unique interiors and go inside structures. It’s important to note that all your previous builds will be usable and editable in Toy Box 2.0, as will all game characters, and power discs.

Get Under the Hood and Build Your Own Gamespace in Infinity Toy Box 2.0.

Get Under the Hood and Build Your Own Gamespace in Infinity Toy Box 2.0.


The Details…
Here is the breakdown of Disney Infinity Toy Box 2.0 features:

Toy Box Tools
Procedural generation of content can now be accessed and harnessed through two primary systems:
• Creators – Tools that the player can place into the world in real-time, and a themed arrangement will be procedurally build that world within minutes.
• Builders – Non-player characters (NPCs) that a player can drop into their Toy Box to build out detailed worlds.
 
Templates

Players can use these pre-built Toy Box Games ranging from battle arenas to race tracks and customize them using the items saved in their personal Toy Boxes.

Toy Box Games
The Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes Starter Pack will feature Toy Box Game discs, which players can use to access standalone game modes including Tower Defense and Dungeon Crawler games that any character from across the Disney Infinity universe can play.
 
Interiors
Players can now create their own interior levels where they can build rooms and theme them to their favorite characters.  Unlock hundreds of furniture pieces and decorations based on iconic Disney and Marvel properties.
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New Toys
New toys allow players to make more detailed games with beginnings, endings, winners, losers, result screens and virtually any type of game including races, battles, collection-based games, defense games or exploration adventures.
• Challenge Maker – Allows players to create any type of game, including structured games within the Toy Box.
• Toy Box Game Maker – Allows creators to restrict core actions typically available in the Toy Box, such as the use of the magic wand.
• Text Creator – Allows builders to write their own text bubbles in the Toy Box. All text is filtered through a safe chat server for friendly writing.
• Creativi-Toys – More than 75 new Creativi-Toys allow players to customize their Toy Boxes even further.
 
Improved On-Boarding
The introductory Toy Box will now be filled with Game Play Hosts who are available to assign missions and answer questions, as needed. Players are free to learn and explore on their own, but can ask a host for help and they’ll even be rewarded with extra goodies once missions are completed.
 
Updated Online Services
A Newsfeed screen has been added to the main menu, giving the user an overview of the new online services:
• Increased Storage – Storage for locally saved Toy Boxes in a player’s private cloud has increased from 100 to 300 Toy Boxes. Support for downloadable published Toy Boxes has increased from 100 to 100,000 Toy Boxes.
• Like and Search User-Generated Toy Boxes – Players can “like” their favorite published Toy Boxes and find others that are well received. Quickly search through the published Toy Boxes using categories (developer picks, most liked, most downloaded, newest, trending, all Toy Boxes and Disney 1.0), and further refine the search with filters (genre, character required, ability required and Toy Box Games).
• Sharing with Friends – Share Toy Boxes with friends directly using cloud storage.

SkeletonPete Says…
I’m can’t wait to begin battling as The Mighty Thor against Loki and the Frost Giants on the streets of NYC when the 2.0 Edition launches later this season and I wouldn’t mind trying my hand at building an Asgardian game space with Toy Box 2.0.

To Infinity 2.0 (and Beyond): Disney Adds Marvel Heroes

Disney Infinity 2.0 Iron Man can change on screen costumes via "power discs."

Disney Infinity 2.0 Iron Man can change on screen costumes via “power discs.”


The Disney Infinity Game line amps up the play action this fall with the addition of Marvel Super Heroes to the mix. The Infinity 2.0 game pieces expand the “Toy Box” of the previously Disney-centric character set to include beautiful three dimensional game pieces based on Marvel’s Avengers and Spiderman universes. Iron Man, Captain America, Spiderman, Nova, Black Widow, Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, Venom, Iron Fist, and Nick Fury will all be part of the Wave 1 roll out scheduled for September 23, 2014.

Although the new character set will not work with the previous Infinity base or software, all original characters will be recognized and playable on the 2.0 system and may even include power-up “skill tree” enhancements.

There will also be another group of Disney film characters coming to the shelves before the 2014 holiday season. These include Merida, Tinkerbell, a very Angelina looking Maleficent and Stitch, all pictured below. All characters are playable in all worlds so die hard purists will need to bring their sense of fun and an open mind to game play that could ultimately pair the Incredible Hulk with Tinkerbell. I believe kids will not blink and just go for it.

The Mighty Thaw, Um Thor…
I have always been a fan of The Mighty Thor from my earliest off-the-newsstand comic buying days and was thrilled to learn that The Avengers game story will pit them against Loki and the Frost Giants to save New York City from a frozen doom. Disney says the play maps are 4 times the size of the cityscapes offered in the original game.

Power to the People…
Power Discs will add other dimensions to the screenplay and come in two flavors. Placing a character on top of a Circular Power Disc (or 2) can for instance change a character’s uniform, add an on-screen helper character (like Falcon or Winter Soldier for Captain America) for a short “team-up” period, some will add a vehicle like the Spiderman dune buggy, or a motorcycle.

Hexagonal Discs offer “Play Sets,” these are game experiences with hours of story or task based action when placed on the Infinity base. While each starter kit will come with Power Discs, discs will also be sold mystery box style to encourage collecting and trading between gamers. 80 separate discs have been announced.

Building your own worlds inside the “toy box” area will also be enhanced so gamers can more easily create unique experiences. We were told those end-user built worlds could eventually be shared online via Disney to others around the world.

SkeletonPete Says…
It was great to get an up close and personal sneak peak of these temping collectible game pieces at the Blogger Bash’s SweetSuite 2014 Event in NYC this week. Like Activision’s Skylanders they serve not only as game tokens but excellent display items that deserve shelf space.

Thanks to the kind folks at The Big Toy Book for giving co-editor Andy Melendez and I the opportunity to cover this fun event.

I strongly suggest you visit Marvel’s website for detailed info on the deep set of gaming capabilities offered in Infinity on a wide range of platforms.