Spies Like Us…
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some Assembly Required…
If you’re considering camping out to see the first screening of Marvels’ Avengers 2: the Age of Ultron, you might also have to factor in a stint in front of your local comic book shop. Coming from Marvel Comics in April, just weeks before the May 1, 2015 premiere of the film, will be the release of the first issues of the Ultron Forever series, encompassing Avengers, New Avengers and Ultimate Avengers titles.
To match the epic scope of the film, Marvel has spun up a collector’s treat with two sets of 4 variant covers that when placed together form a panoramic battle-scape. Based on the cinematic poster art by Ryan Meinerding, Charlie Wen & Andy Park, the images were first revealed at San Diego Comic Con last year. Marvel SVP Sales & Marketing David Gabriel comments, “We’re glad that fans who attended the convention were able to get their hands on them but we’re even more excited to bring them to thousands of fans who may have missed this stunning image.”
The image above represents the juxtaposition of the following books’ covers.
· Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 Variant Cover A
· Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 Variant Cover B
· New Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 Variant Cover A
· New Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 Variant Cover B
· Avengers #44
· Uncanny Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 Variant Cover A
· Uncanny Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 Variant Cover B
· New Avengers #33