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Holy Simoleons: Diamond Select Banks on Batman ’66 and Classic Godzilla Busts

Diamond Select Toys' Godzilla Display @ NY Toy Fair 2014

Diamond Select Toys’ Godzilla Display @ NY Toy Fair 2014

I love Diamond Select Toys’ line of Busts and Bust Banks for their great sculpts, just right size and reasonable pricing for collecting and gifting. Previously focused on the Universal Monsters and Star Wars franchises, 2014 will see DST branch out with the addition of character likenesses from the beloved 1966 Batman television series, as well as the undisputed King of the Kaiju, Godzilla.

Mean Green Saving Machines…
Seen at the recent American International Toy Fair, there are several flavors of the Godzilla to choose from. Beginning the roll-out of TOHO titans in May 2014 is the bust bank version of Classic Godzilla 1989. Like others in the series, the sculpt by Gentle Giant Studios is cut off just below the torso and measures approximately 10” inches tall. A coin slot in the back and access door on the bottom make it useful as well as decorative. A nifty way to save for, what else, more bust banks.

If you prefer your Gojiras full sized, DST has got you covered with two choices in vinyl. Measuring an impressive 18” from snout to tail and 12” tall these beauties also serve as banks. The full length Classic Godzilla is again the Biolante battling 1989 version. There is also the ferocious Burning Godzilla as he appeared in Godzilla Vs. Destroyah, nearing a meltdown of his alien infused nuclear heart.

Spectacular King Ghidorah Bust Bank from DST

Spectacular King Ghidorah Bust Bank from DST

High on the awesome scale is the Diamond Select Ghidrah Bust Bank. IMHO it is the most spectacular of the bust banks to date. The space dragon, also known as Monster X and King Ghidorah, has a regal gold finish and massive wingspan surrounding its three snarling heads. Release date is Winter 2014.

Biggie Smallz…
Not a “bank job” but most exciting for me was the reveal of Godzilla related Mini Mates. Series 1 includes Godzilla himself, Mothra in flight, the hook clawed Gigan, and long necked Titanosaurus. They’re all nicely detailed and articulated representations that I can’t wait to get a macro lens pointed at. They will be sold in a 4 pack and are also scheduled to hit shelves in Winter 2014.


Best of the West…
The Classic 1966 TV Batman is well represented with a full line of resin busts as well as vinyl bust banks in the works. Though The Riddler resin was too early in the design process to photograph, I was permitted to get some shots of the Adam West Batman, Burt Ward Robin and still up for approval Cesar Romero Joker. All are by sculpter Jean St. Jean and scheduled for release in 2014. There’s also a mighty cool exclusive bust of the caped crusader doing the Batusi.

"Batusi" Exclusive Batman 1966 Resin Bust.

“Batusi” Exclusive Batman 1966 Resin Bust.

But Wait There’s More…
In this 30th anniversary year of Ghost Busters collector’s get their choice of massive 24 inch Stay Puft in good and evil modes to guard their change. There’s a smaller, nicely singed, version, that’ll have you hankering for s’mores and a Ghost Buster Mini Mates box set.

"Ghost Busters" 24 inch Stay Puft has Evil on his Mind

“Ghost Busters” 24 inch Stay Puft has Evil on his Mind


SkeletonPete Says…
Off limits to photos at Toy Fair, but quite drool worthy even in prototype, was the This Island Earth Metaluna Mutant bust bank. Its exposed brain, bug eyes and crab-like claws make it the quintessential 1950’s sci-fi monster. I predict it will be the must own of the series.

Diamond Select also prevued loads of figures and Mini Mates for Marvel superheroes Captain America and Spiderman, Kill Bill, Sin City, Pulp Fiction, Plants Vs. Zombies and Jay and Silent Bob characters which I’ll be posting photos of in the coming weeks.

Serenity Soars Again in Dark Horse Comics’ “Serenity: Leaves on the Wind”

 

 

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(Editor’s Note: Welcome back Adriana “Andy” Melendez for a look at this just launched Dark Horse Series.)

“You are a leaf driven by the wind.” – Herne the Hunter (Robin of Sherwood)

“I am a leaf on the wind… watch how I soar.” –  Hoban Washburne (Firefly)

It’s fitting for me to link two of my favorite series together via the above quotes. Both are about a misfit band of outlaws on the run. Though not always merry, you can burn the land and boil the sea, but you can’t can’t keep a good ship down.

 

What it Is…

That’s right, Mal and the crew from Joss Whedon’s space western, Firefly (which ran on Fox from 2002-2003) make their welcome return in the form of new adventures from Dark Horse Comics.

For those who are a bit fuzzy on the details, here’s a recap. Firefly/Serenity is set in the 26th century across hundreds of moons which have been terraformed to become New Earths, capable of sustaining life. Human settlements colonized these moons, as it would appear our Earth could no longer sustain life.

In this future, two super-powers emerged, fusing to become one central government – The Alliance. Think more in terms of the Peacekeepers (Farscape) and less like the Federation (Star Trek). Sadly, this brave new world looks a lot like our old one, with huge gaps between the rich and the poor, and many struggling to survive. This new world order, and the fight for independence from tyrannical government control, is where our 26th century Robin Hood comes in.

Firefly follows the exploits of Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds (former soldier turned smuggler, played in the series by Nathan Fillion – One Life to Live, Castle) and his crew — his second in command Zoe (Gina Torres – Xena, Angel, Cleopatra 2525), her husband and Serenity’s pilot, Hoban “Wash” Washburne  (Alan Tudyk – Dollhouse), ship’s engineer Kaylee (Jewel Staite – Stargate Atlantis), hired gun Jayne Cobb (Adam Baldwin – My Bodyguard, Full Metal Jacket), and four passengers — Shepherd Derrial Book (Ron Glass – Barney Miller), Inara Serra (Morena Bacarrin – V, Homeland) – a companion (think high-class escort), and a brother and sister with secrets of their own.

When Mal picks up Dr. Simon Tam (played by Sean Maher – Warehouse 13, Arrow) and his mentally-unstable, younger sister River (Summer Glau – The 4400, Sarah Connor Chronicles), things really start to go wrong. Truth be told, you can say Mal wasn’t exactly born under a lucky star, having been on the losing side of the War for Independence (the Browncoats’ attempt to rebel against Alliance control). The decorated war vet was forced into a life of crime. A small price to pay for his freedom from the Alliance, he reckoned. Until they came after River…

Child prodigy River Tam was the subject of cruel government experiments, which had permanently altered her brain. The unpredictable outcome of these experiments left River fractured, an open, raw nerve, incapable of governing her own emotions and vulnerable to the thoughts and emotions of others.

No one could foresee how powerful River would become in the process. Her gift of intuition evolved into powerful psychic powers (empathy, telepathy, mind reading). River also picked up the ability to acquire (or absorb) additional skills with little or no effort, including hand-to-hand combat and deadly accurate aim with a gun. She’d become the ultimate weapon — making her quite valuable to some and quite dangerous to others.


Where We Left Off…

When we last saw our heroes (on the big screen almost a decade ago), they were running from the Alliance and bounty hunters — all after River. In the process, they uncover the Alliance’s darkest secret — their role in the deaths of countless millions on the planet of Miranda.

An attempt by the government to chemically pacify the population on the colony of Miranda goes horribly wrong. The inhabitants become peaceful to the point of complete indolence, killing almost all of them — all except for a small number. The experimental drugs triggered psychotic behavior in the remaining colonists. No longer human, now savage cannibals known as the Reavers, they’ve gone on to terrorize the outer planets.

If your quarry goes to ground, leave no ground to go to.

The crew of Serenity go to great lengths, at great cost, to reveal this secret, sending a transmission that reaches across the galaxy, but not before losing two of their own. Former crew member, Shepherd Book, is murdered for offering his friends shelter, and after leaving Miranda, Serenity’s pilot, Wash, is impaled by a Reaver harpoon.

I shed quite a few tears that day. I kept hoping for a happier ending…
The Outlaws Return/Dark Horse Rides to the Rescue…

We knew that couldn’t be the end for our heroes. Like I said, you can’t keep a good ship, or its crew, down. Fan outcry at the premature cancellation of the TV series inspired the Serenity (2005) movie. Again, their unwavering love and loyalty inspires Serenity’s continuing adventures.

Leaves on the Wind follows the events of the theatrical release almost a year after the deaths of Wash and Shepherd. We see what’s left of our heroes… battered and bereft, but never broken. Without giving too much away, I will say Mal and the gang are still on the run, with enemies (both old and new) in hot pursuit… with new challenges to face…

Written by Zack Whedon (younger brother of Firefly and Buffy The Vampire Slayer series creator, Joss Whedon), this latest treatment by Dark Horse (there have been others), beautifully illustrated by Dan Dos Santos and Georges Jeanty, definitely looks and feels like the real deal. I could easily see this as an episode of the TV show.

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Andy Says…

I will be honest and say that I wasn’t initially a fan of Firefly. It can take me a while to warm up to a show. I was the same way with the X-Files, Fringe and a few others, but once I find the heart of it, I am forever loyal.

Firefly definitely had, and still has, heart. Unfortunately, like many shows, it takes about a season for a new series to find its feet. Sadly, Firefly was cancelled by the 11th episode of its 14-episode run. Upon second viewing, however, I saw it for the gem it was. Had it been renewed, I believe it would have had a long, successful run.

While the tone of Issue 1 is somewhat somber, lacking some of the wit and verve the Whedon brothers are known for, it is to be expected, given the circumstances. As we may never get to see our beloved crew on screen again, Leaves on the Wind is a must for the die-hard Firefly/Serenity fan. I  look forward to future installments.

Check out Issue Number 1 of Serenity: Leaves on the Wind, at a comic book store near you today.

Firefly the TV series and Serenity the movie are both available on DVD (also for streaming on Netflix.)

 

Resistance Is Futile: Diamond Select’s Star Trek Line-Up 2013

Mr. Spock Administers Some Pre-Natal Care to the Horta

Mr. Spock Administers Some Pre-Natal Care to the Horta

Slipping Into Darkness…
Set your frontal lobes for the final frontier. With the warp engines revving up for the release of Star Trek: Into Darkness it seems the perfect time to show you what Diamond Select Toys has in store for us old school Trek folk in the coming months.

Action Figure Line-Up…
June will see release of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock in 7” action figure representations, both offered in stand alone and Select diorama versions. The dioramas capture peak moments in key episodes with Leonard Nimoy preparing to mind meld with the “Devil In The Dark” Horta and William Shatner engaging in battle with Khan Noonian Singh as in the “Space Seed” episode. Expect those in June. Next Generation Captain Jean Luc Picard will arrive in the fall with a great diorama base that features a battle battered Borg.

Capt. Jean Luc Picard 7" Action Figure Arrives This Fall

Capt. Jean Luc Picard 7″ Action Figure Arrives This Fall


Mini-Mates…
On the Mini-Mates front DST adds the Star Trek Legacy Series 1 Set, pairing Captains and their adversaries. I love mini-mates. It always makes me smile to see how DST makes these simple little forms exude the essence of their real life counterparts.
Star Trek II Movie – Captain Kirk and Kahn Noonien Singh
Star Trek: First Contact – Captain Picard and Borg Queen
Star Trek: Deep Space 9, Season 7 – Captain Sisko and Jem Hadar
Star Trek: Enterprise – Captain Archer and Xindi

Diligent collector’s will keep and eye out for Toys R Us (TRU), Entertainment Earth and Action Figure Express (AFX) exclusives on many of these goodies. TRU will have an exclusive Legacy selection, AFX will sell a “Mirror, Mirror” version of the Mini-Mate Starship Enterprise, while Entertainment Earth offers the vessel in “Trouble With Tribbles” mode.

Courageous Star Trek Captains and Their Foes Get Mini-Mated

Courageous Star Trek Captains and Their Foes Get Mini-Mated

If Seven Turned Out To Be Nine, I Don’t Mind…
The Diamond Select Femme Fatales collection which already includes striking sculpts of some of fandom’s most celebrated ladies will get a Star Trek oriented addition with a deliciously sleek sculpt of Geri Ryan as Seven of Nine from the Star Trek: Voyager series. This figure measures 9” tall and is cast in PVC.

Cyborg Beauty 7 of 9 joins the Ranks of DST's Fatal Fems (Photo Courtesy of Diamond Select Toys)

Cyborg Beauty 7 of 9 joins the Ranks of DST’s Fatal Fems (Photo Courtesy of Diamond Select Toys)

Everything Is Ship Shape…
If spacecraft are your focus DST already offers a full line of electronic USS Enterprise models representing the entire Star Trek timeline. There’s also the beautiful Klingon “Bird of Prey”, which comes in a translucent green “cloaked” variant exclusive to AFX.

SkeletonPete Says…
DST is currently preparing Star Trek characters for the popular Bust Bank series. Be sure to hit the link above and check out Diamond’s site for their extensive line of full sized replicas ( communicators, phasers, tricorders, Klingon disruptor) for your role playing delight. Some trouble with a “sound and motion” tribble may be in your future.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a Michael J. Pollard Mini-Mate to play a game of “bonk-bonk” with. I’m not feeling like a “grup” yet.

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The Dark Knight Rhizomes! Hasbro Potato Personas Abound

Batman gets the Hasbro Potato Head Treatment


Some totally tube(r)ular Mister Potato Head personas have just been released or are on their way. As you can see from these images, Hasbro Toys has plenty of new personalities to adorn your root cellar this coming season. The ability to morph the old spud into a plethora of popular characters has kept the franchise fresh – and tasty.

I Was A Pre-Teen Tator-Tot…
I’m old enough to remember when the kit came minus a potato replica and my parent’s refrigerator was regularly raided for real food to bring the gent to life. Depleting dinner menu items wasn’t really high on most Mom’s lists of great things, but the inclusion of the faux-tato in the early 60’s did limit your ability to make recombinant DNA stlye creations.

Mash-Ups…
The members of rock band KISS are available separately and in a limited edition collectors set that includes 3 parody album covers. Elvis is depicted in both white Las Vegas jumpsuit version and ’68 Comeback Special black leathers. The newly minted Three Stooges were a perfect choice for spud characterizations and come with their own weapons of mass disruption, a wrench, clobbering mallet, and ubiquitous pie. Star Trek’s Mr. Spock and Lt. Uhura join the already available Captain Kirk and are an absolute scream. Hasbro has just announced that Superman and Wonderwoman will hit the stores this August.

Battle Ready Batata…
Toy Fair 2012 also afforded a sneak peak at the Batarang wielding Dark Knight which will appear around the time of the third installment of the Batman trilogy The Dark Knight Rises. Makes me wonder… if Batman is represented in potato form is his alter ego Bruce Wayne being played by Christian Kale?

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