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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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Under The Bridge: New Trolls Emerge from Dark Horse

Dark Horse/Dam Things Trolls Get 21st Century Bling Jobs


Those Dam Things…
On July 25, 2012, Dark Horse Comics under license agreement with Dam Things will begin offering a new line of designer vinyl Good Luck Trolls. All collectibles fans have no doubt encountered the lovable smiles of the classic Good Luck Trolls in some shape or form over the last half century. Their original countenance was created by Danish woodcutter Thomas Dam in 1959. Dam chose to eschew the evil Troll demeanor of the Three Billy Goats Gruff fairy tale characters for an affable grin and “hug me” pose and they quickly became a pop culture phenomenon.

Copyright legalities during the 1960’s saw the product go into the public domain in the United States with a number of companies issuing their own versions. I still have a couple of vintage Uneeda Doll Company “Wish-Niks” in my collection. Russ company outfitted them to represent different holidays and vocations, miniature bristle haired versions came out of gumball machines, they were ubiquitous. Reinstatement of the copyright came after Dam’s passing in 1989 and worldwide licensing is now administered by the Denmark based Dam Things.

Mystery Box Display with Series 1 Combinations (Photo Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics)

Collect ’em, Trade ’em…
The first wave of 2.5” figures will feature an assortment of 15 body and hair color variations, including metallic, glitter, and flocked versions. Glow In The Dark and Black Light bodies are also in the mix. The “mystery box,” with characters both cardboard boxed and foil wrap sealed, offers a random purchase experience and an opportunity to trade with like minded collectors. There are “chase” characters with lower find probabilities and those ratios are printed on each vending display.

ComicCon Exclusive…
Lucky 2012 San Diego Comic Con attendees (July 12-15) will have a crack at purchasing a black light sensitive green Troll with white hair which is limited to 1,500 and exclusive to the Convention.

ComicCon 2012 Exclusive Black Light Troll (Photo Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics)

Feature Film in the (Dream) Works…
With Dreamworks Animation announcing the Good Luck Trolls as their next feature subject (Chloe Moretz and Jason Schwartzman are on tap for voice work) the franchise should see a renaissance and a new fan base for the 21st Century.

Important Photo Note…
I captured these images at the February 2012 Toy Fair in NYC when this product was in pre-license approval prototype. Please check vending display boxes for actual color and surface combinations available in Series 1. Happy Collecting.

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