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Film & Television Series Toys & Collectibles

Two Inches of Terror: Diamond Select’s “What If…” Zombie Mini-Mates

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Uh-Oh, Cap is looking hangry and you’re on the menu!
(All photos are courtesy of Diamond Select Toys)

Diamond Select Toys celebrates the 20th anniversary of their Mini-Mates action figure line with a box set that pays tribute to the Marvel animated series What If… as seen on the Disney Plus streaming service.

Mini-Mates are two inch tall, articulated figures that have been designed under a multitude of licenses, from Universal Monsters and Nightmare Before Christmas to Kill Bill characters. I’m always astounded at how the simple body form can be transformed to so accurately convey a character.

Along with their slightly larger siblings called Vini-Mates they’ve become some of my favorite collectibles. Even those of us challenged for space by decades of toy hunting and gathering can find room for a few more. This set’s quirky nature puts it on the top of my want list.

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6 Marvel “What If…” figures make up DST’s 20th Anniversary Mini-Mates box-set.

Zomb-Vengers Resembled…

The exclusive anniversary pack-up pays tribute to What If… episode 5 of season 1, which features a corner of the multiverse where several of the heroic Avengers take on zombie afterlives.

The figures are designed by Barry Bradfield (@bradfieldart) and include undead versions of Iron Man, Scarlett Witch, Captain America and Doctor Strange. Doing battle with them are zombie hunter Spiderman and Scott Laing‘s head-in-a-jar, held aloft by Doc Strange’s magical cape.

They’re available starting on October 12, 2022 at comic and toy shops as well as on Diamond’s website.

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People are strange, when you’re a stranger

Photo Finish…

By the way, those of you toy collectors who are also photographically inclined still have a few days to submit entries into the Mini-Mates 20th Anniversary Toy Photography Competition. October 17th, 2022 is the deadline.

Full contest rules and instructions are on the DST website.

Even if you don’t participate do hit DST’s Instagram (@collectdst) to see what your fellow enthusiasts have concocted.

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Scott Laing, giving a whole new meaning to Jar Head.

Skeleton Pete Says… 

The What If… zombie episode offered my first inkling that Disney/Marvel might be willing to go fearlessly into the fright zone. Although rendered in cartoon form, the characterizations were creepy enough to elicit some real scares.

Sadly, the latest Thor outing Love and Thunder went for more chuckles than chills and missed the opportunity to make Christian Bale‘s portrayal of Gorr The God Killer a truly threatening and brutal adversary.

That said, it’s clear from the special presentation of Werewolf by Night that they are ready to roar into a PG-13 or even R rated territory down the road.

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Film & Television Series Toys & Collectibles

Widow Makers: Hasbro Toys Announces Marvel Legends Black Widow Action Figures

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Hasbro Toys’ Black Widow Marvel Legends Action Figures. (Images courtesy Hasbro Toys/Collage: Peter Parrella)

Spies Like Us…

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Toys & Collectibles

Go Figure: Mezco Toyz 2017 “One:12 Collective” Preview

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Strange Days Indeed. This beautiful rendition of Marvel Comic’s Dr. Strange will join Mezco’s One:12 Collective.

The Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) 114th North American International Toy Fair in New York City is less than 24 hours away and as always we are preparing to bring you coverage of the newest products and toy trends for the latter year gifting season. Cameras are packed, lenses are polished, and we’re stocking up on energy bars for the 4 day foray that encompasses the entire Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and parts beyond.

Another Fine Mez…
Thanks to the fine folks at Mezco Toyz we got an amazing head start. Their recent sneak peek event (held at their outer borough Fortress of Solitude) afforded the opportunity to grab lots of unfettered photos of their upcoming offerings. This post will reveal the additions to their One:12 Collective, but you can expect plenty of pix of Living Dead Dolls and other licensed goodies to appear here as well. Keep in mind this is an advance look and many of these prototypes are still pending licensor approval.

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Toys & Collectibles

Kotobukiya 2016 ArtFX+ “Pre-Veals”

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Kotobukiya’s ARTFX+ rendition of “Batman Vs. Superman” much anticipated face off. (Photo courtesy of Kotobukiya)
kotobukiya, batman vs. superman, dawn of justice, dc comicsThe 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.

Punch Brothers…
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.

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Toys & Collectibles

Rocket in Your Pocket: Monogram’s Cool Key Rings

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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