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How Suite It Is: 2015 Toy Insider Event Grows in Scope

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New York City’s Chelsea Pier complex was the site for the 2015 Sweet Suite event designed to alert traditional press outlets and the exponentially expanding blogger community to the play industry’s newest goodies. This season’s gathering, mounted by the folks at Adventure Publishing Group (APG) (Toy Insider, The Toy Book, The Licensing Book) was the biggest ever, encompassing the wares of almost 100 vendor/sponsors. See the link loaded list of participants on the Sweet Suite Sponsor List.

Sweet Suite 15 was a sensory riot with so many wonderful items vying for deserved attention. To document the afternoon APG president and Toy Insider Mom Laurie Schacht conducted on-site interviews with the industry sponsors and attendees were banging out Tweets, Instagram pictures and videos posts by the hundreds (thousands?) It was especially cool to find The Verve Pipe’s Brian Vander Ark providing the live soundtrack performing songs from the group’s Are We There Yet album.

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Toy Insider’s Laurie Schacht meets a brace of WowWee Rev’s gesture controlled MiPosaurs.


As an information gathering excursion co-editor Adriana “Andy” Melendez and I have found the invitation-only opportunity to be invaluable, often leading to months worth of pre-holiday roll-out features about the newest toys.

It’s also a perfect platform to explore new products and have an easy-going tet a tet with their creators. Heck, I got so “toy-tipsy” I was even cajoled into donning an “Amy Poehler” wig for the gals at the Goldie Blox booth. Do blondes have more fun? I can’t say for sure but it likely beats being a balding 60 year old guy in a baseball cap.

What caught our collective eye? I know Andy was particularly taken with the I Am Elemental action figures and their empowering message for young ladies. I zoned in on Crayola’s “Color Alive” Easy Animation Studio and Hexbugs’ newest Vex Robotics kits (including an operational Zoetrope). Both were still in early development when first spied at the New York International Toy Association Fair last February.

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Just a few of the new items Andy and Pete will be reporting on in depth. I Am Elemental Action Figures (left,) HexBugs’ Zoetrope (top right,) Crayola’s Easy Animation Studio (bottom right.)


I also enjoyed a thorough demo and up close look at the eye-popping next-gen graphics of Activision’s Skylanders SuperChargers multi-platform game. Anki Overdrive’s track hugging robotic race cars promise to be an exciting experience, and Madame Alexander Doll’s mirthful Muppets will be available just in time for ABC’s Muppet TV relaunch.

Also ready to launch in the vanguard of inevitable Stars Wars mania is Build-A-Bear Workshop‘s Darth Vader and Chewbaca bears.

Expect us to be reporting on those items and many other products in depth as they reach their release dates in the coming weeks. In the meantime enjoy this teaser gallery of pictures from the event.

Click Any Image to launch the Gallery

It Ain’t The Addams Family: “Penny Dreadful” Returns

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All in the Family – The cast of Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful” will soon find themselves immortalized as Tonner fashion dolls.

Mysterious and Spooky…
The Showtime series Penny Dreadful returns for a second season this Sunday, May 3. Though I think the show was greeted with some apprehension from genre fans it quickly became a must watch even for jaded “monster kids” like myself.

Though I was hoping for the best, I was honestly expecting an Entourage styled “monster rally” similar to the glib spin on the Pre-Raphaelite artists perpetrated by BBC’s Desperate Romantics (2010). Fortunately creator John Logan treats the characters with reverence and has spun up a plot line that can satisfy both novice and knowledgable viewer. I personally liken it to the mis-en-scene of Coppola’s Dracula (1992) honored with outstanding performances from its cast. If you’ve avoided viewing so far I’d suggest that a binge watch to catch up is worth the effort and time.

Your House is a Museum…
Aside from a couple of Mego styled figures from Entertainment Earth‘s Biff Bang Pow, the series seems to have gotten past merchandisers on it’s first round. That will be remedied by a barrage of offerings this spring. Collectors can expect trading cards from Cryptozoic Entertainment, calendars, posters, tarot cards, refrigerator magnets, and other branded products are all in the works.

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Some of Hot Topic’s “Penny Dreadful” inspired line.

So Get A Witch’s Shawl On…
As announced by Jackie Breyer’s Total Licensing Report, CBC Consumer Products with gothic glam purveyors Hot Topic will be featuring a ton of women’s togs based around the series’ dark flavor. Expect Hot Topic’s shopping mall store windows to be adorned with Penny Dreadful themed displays in late May when the line debuts for sale. The designs appear to be quite wearable beyond their show based novelty. Presale is already available on the Hot Topic website.

Neat, Sweet, Petite…
Much to my glee, the fine folks of the Tonner Doll Company will be creating high end fashion dolls of the lead characters. The easy-on-the-eyes cast should translate well to doll-land, with actress Eva Green in particular seemingly created to be portrayed in this medium. Based on the company’s prior work with licenses like DC Comics, Gone With the Wind, Avatar, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, and The Big Bang Theory, I expect these will be exceptional renditions.