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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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Toys & Collectibles

Diamond Select Toys: “Thor Ragnarok” Marvel Gallery Figures

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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.

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Tessa Tompson’s Valkyrie, DST Marvel Gallery Figure

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Toys & Collectibles

UN-ADULT-erated Fun: Toy Insider’s Sweet Suite 2017

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Orders of the day at Sweet Suite 2017, were fun and easy to follow.

If you’ve watched a television news or talk show segment about toy trends in the last couple of year’s it’s almost certain you’ve seen “Toy Insider Mom” Laurie Schacht doing the demonstrations. Laurie and the Toy Insider team have built a reputation as the go-to mavens for broadcast and online information about what’s hot on the horizon of play. Toy Insider’s pre-gifting season lists point to the best of what’s on the market. Their hashtag, #WeKnowPlay, is not a boast – it’s a fact.

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Books & Graphic Novels

Once Upon A Time in Battleworld: Marvel’s “1872” #1

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Artist Skottie Young illustrates his youthful spin on Sheriff Steve Rogers for this Marvel “1872” #1 variant cover.

Younger Than Yesterday…
Fans of artist Skottie Young can mount their hobby horses and wave their 10 gallon hats for the just revealed variant cover of Marvel Comics1872 #1 on sale July 1, 2015. I love Young’s “little kid” spin on the superheroes of Marvel. They rarely fail to make me smile. I hope his designs find their way into an expanded line of collector toys and figures.

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Nik Virella handles the interior art for Marvel’s “1872” #1.
Red, White, and Blue Badge of Courage…
The Secret Wars story, written by Gerry Duggan and drawn by Nik Virella, follows Steve Rogers (Captain America) as the sheriff of a small town called Timely (wink, wink) in the burgeoning American West of the 19th century. It joins the juggernaut of announced Battleworld warzones rattling the Marvel universe to shreds.

Other cover variations by artists Alex Maleev and Evan “Doc” Shaner reveal town casino kingpin Wilson Fisk, a gamma green “snake oil” elixir being brewed by a certain Dr. Bruce Banner, native American Red Wolf, and The Vision!

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Evan “Doc” Shaner variant cover for Marvel’s “1872” #1.

SkeletonPete Says…
Seems like time to put on an Ennio Morricone soundtrack, kick back with a shot of “rot gut”, and dig into a very different view of your favorite superheroes and villains.
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Marvel Comics’ “1872” #1 cover by Alex Maleev.

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Books & Graphic Novels Film & Television Series

Great Balls of F.Y.R.E: Marvel’s Operation S.I.N. #1

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Marvel Comics’ Operation S.I.N. #1, Gabriel Hardman’s Variant Cover.
Boogie-Woogie Battle Call…
Those looking forward to the January 6, 2015 two hour ABC Television premiere of Marvel’s Agent Carter, the Agents of SHIELD mini-series spin off, should also be aware of the concurrently launching Marvel Comics series Operation S.I.N..

Shake, Rattle and Damage Control…
While the television series tells the story of Carter’s immediate post World War II exploits in the S.S.R.(Strategic Scientific Reserve), Operation S.I.N. #1 will feature a 1950’s cold war scenario that pits Peggy Carter and Howard Hughs analog Howard Stark (Iron Man’s Dad for the uninitiated) against burgeoning H.Y.D.R.A. forces. They’re all on a collision course to recover powerful alien tech that is planted far behind the Iron Curtain.

We Were Promised Jet-Packs…
S.H.I.E.L.D. fans will be happy to know that “The Man on the Wall”, alien fighting hero Woodrow McCord Jr. will also feature prominently in the new book. His origins were revealed last October in Marvel’s Original S.I.N. Annual and now we’ll presumably learn how he first became connected with Howard Stark.

Marvel Comics' Operation S.I.N. #1. Interior art by Rich Ellis.
Marvel Comics’ Operation S.I.N. #1. Interior art by Rich Ellis.

Written by Kathryn Immonen, with interior art by Rich Ellis, Marvel’s Operation S.I.N. teaser panels promise some butt kicking action and Bondian espionage. Find it in your local comic shoppe on January 7, 2015.

SkeletonPete Says…
I, for one, am really enjoying how Marvel Entertainment is handling their cross-media plotline on the road to Avengers: The Age of Ultron, with the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show expanding the Kree technology story, while Agent Carter will fill in the historical backstory of the pre-Nick Fury agency.

I’m thinking we’ll need Disney Infinity 2.0 Carter and Stark figures to do some video game stealth work.

Thanks to Ken Pierce of the PiercingMetal website for the heads up on this one.

Marvel's Operation S.I.N. #1. Standard Cover art by Michael Komark.
Marvel’s Operation S.I.N. #1. Standard Cover art by Michael Komark.