We’ve been following the evolution of Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo (“beautiful girl”) statues for several years now. The series applies the playful sexiness and wide-eyed naivety of anime and manga art to popular film, comic book, and video game characters. We’ve seen DC, Marvel, Star Wars, Kill Bill, Tekken and Streetfighter figures all translated into the popular Japanese visual idiom.
The Toy Industry Association’s 2016 New York Fair is just a month away and things are heating up in Toyland. That includes some interesting “pre-veals” that have recently found their way into the SkeletonPete mailbox.
We just received a communique from collectible figure artisans Kotobukiya unveiling their spectacular Dawn of Justice tableau with DC Comics icons Superman and Batman locked in combat. The ARTFX+ creation, scheduled for May 2016 release, is actually two individual 1/10 scale statues that fit together at the base to form the battle scene.
When Super7 and Funko announced their partnership in producing a 3.75 inch Alien figure set last August, they promised the collaboration would yield a lot more surprises. That was probably one of the biggest understatements of all time. At Funko’s 2014 Toy Fair booth the companies revealed an over 60 figure roll out for the ReAction line. The retro feel of the characters harks back to Kenner’s Star Wars figures of the 1970’s.
Many under served franchises like Goonies, Pulp Fiction, Escape From New York, Firefly, and the original Buffy, the Vampire Slayer film are fully represented, although sadly the Rocketeer is missing a companion Betty.
Modern monster fans will get a chance to add to their Nightmare on Elmstreet, Halloween, Friday the Thirteenth collections and also enjoy miniature spins on Sam from Trick ‘r Treat, Hellraiser‘s Pinhead Cenobite and my favorite, a pretty awesome rendition of The Crow. The Terminator and Predator franchises are represented too, with a cool, clear, “active camo” version of a Yautja hunter.
A bit less off the beaten path, classic Universal Horror fans will have there choice of 8 figures, including a rather dapper Invisible Man in smoking jacket, though the Frankenstein Monster is looking a little strange in a grey suit. There’s also a selection of Nightmare Before Christmas characters.
The individually blister-carded miniature series will roll out through the end of 2014 and retail for $9.99 each.
This is a pretty amazing assortment of licensed items released in a short period of time. While I don’t see most collectors buying ’em all, there’s enough diversity to make lots of people covet at least 50% of the offerings. If there’s a Wave 2 down the road, I’d love to see Dusk ‘Til Dawn, Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill, and Sucker Punch represented.
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Hot off the Mez-itz 1966 Batmobile bash at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium, Mezco Toyz held their first “vault sale.” The two day event was split between an August 15th by-invitation only media and sales gathering, while day two was an open to the public event. Archive items, including many pre-production tests lined the walls of the Mezco’s Long Island City facility. The vault clearing unearthed an array of unique and out of production items. These behind-the-scenes curios represented franchises like Hellboy, Friday The Thirteenth, A Nightmare on Elmstree, Halloween, Thundercats, and Universal Monsters.
Parts Is Parts…
Perusing the room on arrival was a sensory overload of all manner of production oddities. Mold “test shots” tend to be created with whatever plastics are currently in the machines, so the outcomes can range from unusual to outright psychedelic, like a headless paisley Leatherface. Cardboard boxes harbored bloody Benecio wolfman samples, bits of Michael Myers, and a headless 18” Abe Sapien with several variations on his noggin sitting at his feet. There were multi-colored collections of limbs, torsos, heads, and weapons from Mezco’s Cinema of Fear series, Heroes, Kick Ass, and of course Mezco’s Living Dead Dolls peered up malevolently from their coffins.
Several “paint masters” were also available. These are used as color and finish control guides during production. The trio of “Scream Grab” paint masters were really exceptional, and I came very close to adding them to my collection. I did however treat myself to a birthday present and scored a beautiful all white Creature from the Black Lagoon test shot. He’s waiting for his close-up and I’ll present him in a future post.
In addition to the more esoteric test shots, another part of the room was stacked with boxes of long out of production collectibles like Scarface, The Notorious B.I.G., and some Hot Topic exclusives.
Spiked, Not Impaled…
During an onsite SPIKE TV interview Mezco’s Director of Special Projects Mike Drake noted that licensing choices where less than an exact science, but staff favorites, such as the line of Breaking Bad products, has often paid off. The exclusive hazmat suited, fly swatter toting, Walter White figurine drew long lines of customers at the recent San Diego Comic Con. Alternately, fan requests can be the catalyst like the just announced Living Dead Doll version of Tiffany, The Bride of Chucky.
In informal conversation I asked Drake if it was hard to watch so many one-of-a-kind artifacts leave the archive. He told me that the Mezco decided it was better to have these rarities in the hands of collectors who truly cherish their uniqueness rather than boxed away and so the vault sale was formulated.
Mezco’s press release noted that, “Test Shots usually end up on public display at such institutions as The Museum Of The Moving Image, Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, or others. This is the only time the vault has ever been opened and multiple test shots made available to the public.” Despite their museum display level of rarity items were priced to sell and lucky collectors scooped up box loads in minutes.
I was really glad PiercingMetal Editor Ken Pierce – a longtime toy collector himself – and I arrived early as it afforded me the opportunity to document these uncommon goodies before they were whisked away.
Enjoy the gallery. Give me some feedback.
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