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Dog/Cats & Rugrats: Nickelodeon Holiday Gift Guide 2017

nickelodeon

We know you haven’t had a chance to even think about a Halloween costume yet — ok, maybe not true for some – be honest, you were ready way before the Back to School sales started. No judgments here, but let’s face it, holiday gifting season is right around the corner. Not for me of course, I do my shopping in a blind panic the night before Christmas, like some deranged lunatic football player on the field dodging other equally deranged last-minute shoppers. This is NOT recommended, but I digress… as I often do…

It’s never too early to know what Old Saint Nick could be dropping down your chimney this year and what your family is desperately hoping to see when they tear off the wrapping paper. Forewarned is forearmed. To that end, Pete and I will be reporting on the newest and best-reviewed items we encounter at events like today’s Holiday of Play held by the play mavens at The Toy Insider.

First, let’s begin with a look at a special preview held by Nickelodeon that had us knee deep in new goodies.

teenage mutant ninja turtles, nickelodeon

We predict coal-fired pizza crusts in his Xmas stocking this year.

Networking with Nick…
While the streets were still summer simmering, we got a very cool look at what’s in the works at the Nickelodeon Holiday Gift Guide event. Perched high above Shubert Alley, in the heart of New York City’s legendary Theater District, Nickelodeon gave us quite a show of their own. The range of branded merchandise from dolls and action figures to sneakers and toothbrushes was dazzling, even dizzying. Where to look first…

Raising a battle cry of “Stay 90’s”, we were back to the future with favs Rugrats, Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles, and SpongeBob SquarePants, joining relative newcomers like Shimmer & Shine and Paw Patrol, and so much more.


Genuine Genie Genius…
I kept returning to this display over and over – the bright colors – purples, blues, and hot pinks drew me in. Shimmer & Shine might be out of my age range now but when I was a little girl I think I would have loved the animated series, toys and clothing line. Dancing dolls, dollhouses, slippers, and accessories galore – you name it, your little Genie will love it.


Give Me Those Puppy Dog Eyes!
If your kids have been bugging you to adopt a pet, perhaps consider getting them something from the Paw Patrol line instead. From oversized puppy pillows to the snuggable and huggable Beanie Boos, you can’t go wrong with this adorable line of toys.


Party in Your (Square) Pants…
For your bigger kids (or the kid in you), why not check out this fun line of Spongebob Squarepants inspired clothing? Slippers, t-shirts, shorts, flip flops, and pajamas – I have at least one friend’s birthday and holiday gifts covered.

Andy Says… 
With so many choices coming at you, it’s hard to know where to turn, luckily, we’re here to help, and let’s face it, it’s fun for us too. For more goodies, check out the photo gallery below, and don’t forget to stop by to see our favorite picks for the holiday season in the coming weeks.

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Putting Out The Fire With Gasoline: Meet the Superwomen of DC Comics’ “Gotham City Garage”

Gotham City Garage Statues from DC Collectibles – Wonder Woman as you’ve never seen her before!

DC Collectibles has been adding to their Gotham City Garage statue series over the last few years and showcasing them at Toy Fair and Comic Con. SkeletonPete knew I’d fall in love with them. He knows me too well. I was instantly drawn to these gorgeous sculptures, these beautiful superwomen on motorcycles, in particular, Wonder Woman, my childhood hero.

When I saw these DC heroines reimagined as fierce biker chicks, I could instantly envision a live action or animated series set in this universe. Shortly thereafter, creators Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly announced their plan for a comic book series of the same name. I couldn’t wait to dive in and that’s unusual for me, as I’m not typically a comic book collector. Well played, DC. Mission accomplished. You reeled me in… and at 99 cents per digital download, it was an investment I was more than happy to make.

Gotham City Garage Variant Cover featuring Wonder Woman


“I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.” – Diana of Themyscira
(Wonder Woman – 2017 Film)

 

Starting with Hope…

Set in a post-apocalyptic world where our legendary DC heroes are half-remembered dreams, myths to most, and Lex Luthor reigns supreme, Kara Gordon (yes, she should sound familiar) longs for better days. She imagines her childhood hero – who happens to be the same as mine – fighting for the downtrodden, the oppressed, and the helpless, meting out justice.

However, it seems Wonder Woman can only be found the pages of Kara’s contraband comic books. Diana, Princess of the Amazons, does not exist in her world. There is no Justice League. There is no justice… not in this gray, numb existence in Gotham City… or rather The Garden, as Lex has renamed it – a place where you accept his love or suffer the consequences.

In this bleak world, Lex controls the masses with nanotechnology – brain implants (similar in concept to the caps worn by humans in The Tripods, or think of the evil Federation in Blake’s 7  controlling the populace with drugs – but I digress, as I often do…). A RoboCop looking army called The Gardeners, resembling none other than Batman, patrols the streets, keeping the sleep-walking city residents in check.

Kara, a compassionate tech, not unlike her sister before her, learns her father, Jim Gordon, has been keeping a secret from her. Before he is able to reveal too much, he and his daughter come under attack. He urges her to leave, to run to the sky. Lex sets his army loose on Kara, and heeding her father’s words, she runs for it, leaping across rooftops to reach for the sky. Dodging a hail of bullets and leaping through the protective dome encasing The Garden, she narrowly escapes… and in doing so, discovers her powers… and the world beyond The Garden.

Gotham City Garage Cover featuring Harley Quinn

 

Live Free, Die Hard – Meet our Road Warriors…

In the wasteland outside the dome, Kara encounters a group of Furiosa-like rebels. This is a chance to see your favorite DC heroines (and villains) in a completely different light. Never assume anything in Gotham City Garage. Here, the good guys aren’t always good and the bad guys… well… see for yourself.

The women of Gotham City Garage are freedom loving outlaws, anti-heroes, engaged in an ongoing struggle against tyranny and oppression — fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves. This is an amazingly odd, but fascinating, team up — Big Barda alongside Silver Banshee, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn – presumably with more familiar faces to come, but I take it at face value and go along for the ride.

Andy Says – A Hell of a Thrill Ride… 

Brian Ching does the art for the first issue and is followed by Lynne Yoshii for issue #2 and the series will have rotating artists from the DC Talent Development Workshop.

Each issue of Gotham City Garage is divided into two installments or chapters. Each installment is a fast-paced, action-packed roller coaster ride. Creators Kelly and Lanzig deliver a huge dose of girl power in these quick shots (Did you say female empowerment? Yes please, may I have another?) and I, for one, cannot be happier. This series is a well-written, engaging, shot of adrenaline that leaves you wanting more. And yes, after only three installments, I definitely want to see this in animated form (at least). Make it so, DC!

Gotham City Garage debuted on August 16th, 2017, and the first three installments of this digital series are available for download via the DC Comics App, readdcentertainment.com, iBooks, ComiXology, Google Play, Kindle Store and Nook Store, with new issues released bi-weekly, then weekly, with full issues coming out in print starting in October 2017.

 

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Up and Atom: Thames & Kosmos’ “Happy Atoms” Adds Android App

thames and kosmos, happy atoms

Thames and Kosmos’ “Happy Atoms” combines physical and digital components for molecular exploration.


Combine and Define…
This interesting experimental kit from Thames and Kosmos first came to our attention at The Toy Association’s annual Toy Fair this year. Happy Atoms is a safe and fun method of exploring the chemical foundations of the world around us. The game oriented analog and digital kit allows young scientists to build combinations of atoms and elements from a bag full of magnetic physical representations. Then they can explore the molecular properties of their creations via a downloadable application.  It is perfect in a S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) classroom as well as at home on the kitchen table. Happy Atoms comes in a choice of three kit versions, the Complete Set, Introductory Set and the Educator’s Bundle. The App is a Free download.

Droid Oids…
When first introduced and funded in December 2016 via an Indie Go-Go campaign co-launched with Schell Games, the software was only available for iOS. This week T&K announced the availability of the kit as an Android App, a port that was funded in part by the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation.

Vertical Horizons…
Thames & Kosmos’ expansive line of robotic and experimental and experiential kits include Code Gamer which was the winner of Top Tech Toy Award 2017 from the The Toy Association at the 2017 International Toy Fair held in New York last February.

geckobot, game coder, thames and kosmos, happy atoms

Thames & Kosmos Game Coder. Winner of The toy Association Tech toy of the Year Award for 2017

thames and kosmos, happy atoms, geckobot, game coder

Gearing up to go vertical. Toy Insider STEM 10 Award Winner GeckoBot from Thames and Kosmos.


One of our favorites is the GeckoBot a gravity defying construction kit that achieves its wall climbing wonders by motorized air suction. That quadrupedal green machine was a Toy Insider STEM 10 Award winner in 2016.

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Diamond Select Toys: “Thor Ragnarok” Marvel Gallery Figures

Marvel, Thor, Ragnarok, diamond select toys

Thor is ready to “ROK” in this DST Marvel Gallery Diorama

No Sleep ’till Hell’s Kitchen…
Well I stayed up all night and binge watched The Defenders straight through. That was fun. At a brisk 8 episodes I think it tied up the plot lines of the Disney/Marvel/Netflix “street level” superhero universe quite nicely. Punisher is waiting in the wings.

Looking toward to the next big screen Marvel outing, we’re headed back into cosmic, mythical and magical territory on November 3, 2017 with Thor: Ragnarok. Trailers so far are looking good. Planet Hulk, Hela, the Fenris Wolf and the fire giant Sutr. I’m in.

Marvel, Thor, Ragnarok, diamond select toys

Tessa Tompson’s Valkyrie, DST Marvel Gallery Figure


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Bears for Humanity: A Company With a Conscience

Sherpa Bear

Bears for Humanity’s “Sherpa Bear”

Furry Hugs, First Love…
At Toy Insider‘s recent Sweet Suite event, I was drawn to a line of adorable stuffed toys. The display was colorful, with several members of the animal kingdom represented — bears, lions, monkeys, elephants, eagles, dinosaurs, giraffes, dogs, cats — oh my! I was immediately reminded me of my first teddy bear. I think he had previously belonged to my cousin, which he then passed down to me.
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