Just in time for the release of DC Entertainment’s much anticipated Wonder Woman film, Monogram International Inc. announces its Classic Wonder Woman Collection. As always Monogram will offer a wide selection of collectibles and novelties, enough to please any fan of the Amazon goddess.
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 Disney Infinity Game line amps up the play action this fall with the addition of Marvel Super Heroes to the mix. The Infinity 2.0 game pieces expand the “Toy Box” of the previously Disney-centric character set to include beautiful three dimensional game pieces based on Marvel’s Avengers and Spiderman universes. Iron Man, Captain America, Spiderman, Nova, Black Widow, Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, Venom, Iron Fist, and Nick Fury will all be part of the Wave 1 roll out scheduled for September 23, 2014.
Although the new character set will not work with the previous Infinity base or software, all original characters will be recognized and playable on the 2.0 system and may even include power-up “skill tree” enhancements.
There will also be another group of Disney film characters coming to the shelves before the 2014 holiday season. These include Merida, Tinkerbell, a very Angelina looking Maleficent and Stitch, all pictured below. All characters are playable in all worlds so die hard purists will need to bring their sense of fun and an open mind to game play that could ultimately pair the Incredible Hulk with Tinkerbell. I believe kids will not blink and just go for it.
The Mighty Thaw, Um Thor…
I have always been a fan of The Mighty Thor from my earliest off-the-newsstand comic buying days and was thrilled to learn that The Avengers game story will pit them against Loki and the Frost Giants to save New York City from a frozen doom. Disney says the play maps are 4 times the size of the cityscapes offered in the original game.
Power to the People…
Power Discs will add other dimensions to the screenplay and come in two flavors. Placing a character on top of a Circular Power Disc (or 2) can for instance change a character’s uniform, add an on-screen helper character (like Falcon or Winter Soldier for Captain America) for a short “team-up” period, some will add a vehicle like the Spiderman dune buggy, or a motorcycle.
Hexagonal Discs offer “Play Sets,” these are game experiences with hours of story or task based action when placed on the Infinity base. While each starter kit will come with Power Discs, discs will also be sold mystery box style to encourage collecting and trading between gamers. 80 separate discs have been announced.
Building your own worlds inside the “toy box” area will also be enhanced so gamers can more easily create unique experiences. We were told those end-user built worlds could eventually be shared online via Disney to others around the world.
It was great to get an up close and personal sneak peak of these temping collectible game pieces at the Blogger Bash’s SweetSuite 2014 Event in NYC this week. Like Activision’s Skylanders they serve not only as game tokens but excellent display items that deserve shelf space.
Thanks to the kind folks at The Big Toy Book for giving co-editor Andy Melendez and I the opportunity to cover this fun event.
I strongly suggest you visit Marvel’s website for detailed info on the deep set of gaming capabilities offered in Infinity on a wide range of platforms.
Dark Horse expands it’s Creepy and Eerie franchise with another single artist anthology. This time Steve Ditko’s post Marvel works for Warren are the focus. Ditko’s outre dimensional pastiches, informed by equal parts Salvador Dali, MC Escher and H.P. Lovecraft, perfectly lent themselves to these titles as did his idiosyncratic, angular, take on human form and his faces imbued with hysteria and madness. Fans of Marvel’s Dr. Strange will instantly feel at home in the signature prismatic dreamscapes, and faces subtly conjure Peter Parker, J. Jonah Jameson, Sandman, Dormamu, and other Ditko rendered characters.
Where Dark Horse’s previous anthologies featuring Richard Corben and Bernie Wrightson give readers a view to each artist’s growth, Ditko came to Warren fully formed in the panel art field. In this tome we get an interesting look at the artist weening himself away from strict black and white line work required for color comics to form filling ink washes, crosshatching and zip-a-tone sheeting.
The forward by Mark Evanier (Kirby, King of Comics) draws historic attention to the circumstances that led to Ditko’s freelance Warren strips, his work method, and aforementioned evolution in the solely black and white medium. That said it might have been more enlightening to group these stories in chronological order rather than a Creepy/Eerie title split. Considering at least one of these stories, “Demon Sword” was inspired by Frank Frazetta’s painting, an appendix of the cover art for each issue these appeared in would have been a nice addition.
The bonus is that it’s not just Ditko’s artwork that shines here. The 16 stories authored – all save one – by Archie Goodwin are top notch archetypes of the “beware of what you wish for,” twist ending horror/suspense genre popularized by EC Comics and Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone. They include some of Goodwin’s best scenarios for Warren Publications. Like the stories of Edgar Allan Poe, they have a timeless quality that peeks into human obsession. For instance, while “Fly” could easily be the origin of the Breaking Bad episode of the same name, it is also certainly tinged with the mania of Poe’s seminal “The Tell Tale Heart.”
Not all of this works. To my taste Ditko was not specifically suited to several of the sword and sorcery derived yarns, although it is noted by Evanier that he pitched the genre to Goodwin. For example, his attacking vultures on the splash page of the Thane episode “City of Doom”, and the scorpion monster in “Where Sorcery Lives” are antagonists better suited to a more cartoon oriented setting, like Paul Coker Jr’s designs for Rankin and Bass productions.
This visually enticing compendium was an instant time trip for me. I purchased all these stories one by one as issues of Creepy and Eerie hit the newsstand in their time and absorbed them thoroughly. In retrospect this body of work was pervasive in my discovery of the surrealist and Dada movements.
What particularly struck me when I perused the review copy was how many of these panels had stayed with me. The visuals of black winged demons dragging a victim to a toothsome disembodied maw, the bulging orbs and sweat beaded brows, the Ditko hand gestures with splayed fingers poised in malocchio devil horns, all appear to be indelibly etched on my brain cells.
Along with his extremely idiosyncratic work on the Gorgo and Konga film spin-off books this group of stories are my personal favorites in Ditko’s canon, and I highly recommend adding it to your art book collection. This hardcover edition is available for pre-order at $19.99.