Monday, 24 July 2017

AFB Best in Show: San Diego Comic Con 2017 (SDCC 2017)


Did I do a SDCC Best in Show last year?
I don’t think I did
Shit…
Ok well welcome to AFB’s Best in Show for San Diego Comic Con 2017 where I basically become a child excitedly pointing and shouting “I want that, I want that, I want that” in Toys ‘R’ Us.  The highest profile comic convention of the year, SDCC is used by all sorts of companies as a play to revel upcoming wares (fyi looking forward to The Thinker turning up in the Flash TV show); this post is focussing on merchandise though. The items highlighted have been picked because I there is no question of me buying me them, I will then include a paragraph in italics about related reveals to make this a little more useful to anyone who stumbles on it. For full coverage of the reveals your best bet is to check Toyark, The Fwoosh, ToyNewsi and Pixel Dan’s YouTube channel. Anyway are you sitting comfortably? Then I want that, I want that, I want that

Ghostbusters Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
Playmates, Release TBD
Aaah! Aaaaah! Aaaaaaah! AAAHHH!!!
Ok I’m done, no, one more – AHHHHHH!!!
Ok so last year Playmates made a set of four figures that were mash-ups of the TMNT and WWE wrestlers, they were 6” scale and clearly aimed more at adults than children, we already know they’re doing a second wave of these and I’m still sore they mashed my favourite turtle (that’s Raphael) with perhaps my least favourite wrestler (that’s The Rock). This is the exact same thing but instead Playmates are mashing the Turtles with the film versions of the Ghostbusters – as far as I’m concerned this is two of the best things in the world being fused into one cavalcade of awesome but it actually makes a lot of sense. Both were obviously big 1980s properties with a lot of cross-over appeal thanks to 1980s kids and 80’s nostalgia (which is still a very milkable market) but the two were straight up contemporizes thanks to Ghostbusters 2 and the long-running Real Ghostbusters animated series. In fact TMNT were pretty much the next big thing that took Real Ghostbusters out1, Real Ghostbusters even made an episode spoofing the Turtles because they’re sore losers, of course the Turtles then put out an issue spoofing the Power Rangers because they’re sore losers too2. For me Ghostbusters and TMNT have always been closely connected because I played with the toys at the same time and often with each other, in fact Screaming Heroes Janine was my stand in for Irma for my whole childhood and of course I voted their comic book crossover from IDW into my top 30 TMNT stories because it’s that satisfying a crossover. I am of course going to be a massive nerdy prick and nitpick their choices – I would have thought a Raphael/Venkman would have been as obvious as the Egon/Donatello match up but for reasons that escape me they’d mashed Venkman with Mikey (because they’re both funny? It’s completely different humour form two completely different types of characters), I would have switched it up so you had Mike/Stantz, Raph/Venkman and Leo/Winston but fuck that negativity they’re coming with small transparent pack-in ghosts, just like the old Real Ghostbusters figures!  The nostalgia centre of my brain has exploded, brb.

image from ToyArk
The Dimension X Collection!
NECA, 2018
I didn’t bother with NECA’s original Video Game accurate TMNT sets because a) it was expensive and b) it didn’t really offer much, I did and still do want Shredder and Foot Soldier figures in 6” scale but I couldn’t justify spending the money on those characters at the time. This is different – this is Granitor’s first action figure, the first time we’ve had a close-to-cartoon accurate General Tragg and it includes Slash but more so our first collector’s figure of Slash. So this isn’t a case of ‘if’ but merely ‘when’, if this is going to be an con exclusive like last time I won’t be close to delighted but so be it, that said pleeeease don’t do it to me again NECA, please allow me to buy these normally for a lesser price, I’m a poor limey, please don’t make me pay that much for Granitor.  Incidentally I’m pleased to see the TMNT video game line continuing, I’m hoping for a new set of Turtles painted to replicate the original NES game, Bebop and Rocksteady and some of the exclusive characters like Aska, the Turtle Robot/False Brother and the two bosses they added for the NES version of TMNT: The Arcade Game but I don’t know if they’re owned by Konami or Viacom. Ooh tell ya what Neca, the Killer Pizzas were in one of the arcade games, that’d be nice, for Halloween maybe? Oh yeah a fourth figure will be part of this wave, it’ll probably be Krang won’t it? Fine by me.

Elsewhere NECA will be releasing a wave of Predators and Aliens based on the 1993 Aliens vs Predator arcade game and Robocop vs Terminator figures based on the comic book (the Frank Miller/Walt Simonson one) and they have a Guillermo del Toro Collection coming which’ll be six inch scale, Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone are being represented at least (Pale Man, The Faun and Santi were shown) I’m pretty keen on these but I’ll leave it up to my wallet at the time of their release for if I buy more than the Devil’s Backbone figure, they’re set for early 2018, Santi for January. A Movie Shredder and Foot Soldier was confirmed for their big-ass TMNT movie line but weren’t shown (they were teased) and a Raphael in his trench coat, which pleases me because due to a massive comedy for errors my pre-order for the original Raphael got cancelled, now I can pre-order a better version! On that TMNT front they’re also producing replicas of Casey Jones’ hockey mask and the TGRI canister (that lights up) I want these but they’re potentially pricey, I’m sure the canister will end up mine at some point though, I am so about those canisters.   

Image from The Fwoosh
A Whole Bunch of Marvel Legends!
Hasbro, various
What the hell? Who gave Hasbro the right to do this? Some of the reveals still have the standard superhero issues: too much muscle definition, horrible faces, ugly obvious joints, but there’s a lot of good shit and by ‘good shit’ I mean ‘things that appeal to me personally and are executed in a way I find acceptable’. Hasbro are a bit shit at clearly marking what figure is going to come where and in what wave and so some of this is just tantalizing glimpses into an undetermined future and they really need to knock that shit off. We have quite possibly the best Cable figure ever made, this is fom roughly around the time of X-Cutioner’s Song and I can’t find a single flaw with it, even the gun is disproportionately huge and look at that flaring eye, delightful; we also have Domino in my favourite look for the character, the hip-joints and belt are a little bit shitty but I’m going to overlook that to own a figure of my favourite version of one of my favourite X-Characters, especially with such a pretty headsculpt (something that Hasbro regularly flubs, see their current Jim Lee Rogue and the newly revealed Black Widow for examples). The Lady Loki from the upcoming A-Force wave is perfect (well the display figure has derpy eyes I think but that won’t be a common problem, right Hasbro?); The retro packaging, based on the early days of Toy Biz’s Marvel Superheroes figures is a delight for someone my age, it can’t make that awful Captain America toaster head any nicer but it has convinced me to finally buy that Spider-Man and more importantly this wave (?) is going to include a nice early 1990s Punisher, no trench-coat, just a nice smooth black and white outfit with a nice head sculpt. Finally Songbird and Gwenpool - I’m pretty excited for both, Songbird’s long been my favourite Thunderbolts character (I have favourites for every team OK?) and this figure is really doing her justice, the face isn’t perfect but it’s better than Black Widow’s. Gwenpool however is spot-on and even though I’m a casual fan it’s such a good figure I might not be able to resist it if I come across one but given how impossible it’s been to get Spider-Gwen and Kamala Khan I’m not holding out hope of ever actually seeing the figure in-stores to temp me. 

From what I can gleam from Hasbro’s drip-feeding: Marvel Vintage will be the ones with the Toy Biz style packaging: it’s going to including Punisher, Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine (brown costume), Black Widow and Spider-Man, it’s going to be a new line rather than a wave of Marvel Legends but I dunno if all of those characters are going to be in the same wave.  The Daedpool assortment is going to include Cable, Deadpool, Domino, Deathlock (looks pretty sweet) and X-23 (X-Force outfit). The Spider-Man assortment is going to include Spider-Punk, Gwenpool, Mysterio, The Lizard and oh my god aer you kidding me? Lasher, one of Venom’s ‘children’ from Venom: Lethal Protector, I couldn’t really give a shit about him but this means that Scream (the yellow girl one) is a possibility, please be so. Finally a new Black Panther wave will include Namor, Black Bolt and given her positioning in the display Songbird too. Apocalypse, Medusa, Mr Fantastic and Hydra grunts were also revealed but with no details, Mr Fantastic might be a store exclusive like his wife was. Being released a little sooner is the Thor movie assortment that and the A-Force assortment but we’ve seen those before I think. Mattel’s big WWE reveal (other than Kurt) was a fashion doll line called WWE Superstars [http://www.ringsidecollectibles.com/blog/san-diego-comic-con-2017-mattel-wwe-fashion-dolls-women-superstars-revealed/] that are in the same style DC Super Hero Girls including the small action figures to complement the full size fashion dolls – the likenesses are between so-so and terrible, I’m buying Bayley in both scales though.

Picture from Ringside Collectibles [http://www.ringsidecollectibles.com/blog/san-diego-comic-con-2017-mattel-wwe-display-panel/]
Image from Ringside Collectibles
Mattel Hasbro-Style WWE Figures Wave 2!
Mattel, Release TBD
These are flat out dream figures for me, Hasbro chucked the WWF licence in Vinnie Mac’s face in the aftermath of the mid-1990s steroids and sex scandals so one of the defining toys of my childhood was done before the Attitude Era was even a twinkle in Brian PIllman’s gun. That means that big stars from that era – for the sake of argument let’s say Mankind, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kane and Triple H never got a figure despite the fact that Mankind and Kane were perfect for the Hasbro style figures. Up until this weekend it was an impossible dream, or at least the act of paying for average custom jobs, now it is a reality and my Hasbro WWF collection (which is huge) is going to feel that much more complete and I am genuinely delighted, especially because I wasn’t sure the first wave would have sold enough to continue. That wave’s line-up (Kevin Owens, Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Roman Reigns, Undertaker and Ultimate Warrior) was exceptionally ill-suited to the Smarky target audience, especially as it included Smark hate figures Cena and Reigns3 and two characters who’d had official Hasbro WWF figures that are very easy to find for a lot less than the $10 retail price of the new figures.
My prediction was that the poor choice of figures (which was loudly complained about) would scuttle things before it got to do the what I felt they should be doing with the line: producing wrestlers who came just too early, just too late or were only at WCW or ECW at the time the line was out: the likes of Steve Austin, Mankind, Kane, Triple H, Sting, The Rock, Diesel, The New Age Outlaws, Goldberg, Diamond Dallas Page, Iron Sheik, Junkyard Dog or Rob Van Dam. Also adding women, they need to make a Miss Elizabeth for my three Macho Men from Hasbro. Also Rikishi because he’s actually Hasbro WWF figure shaped in real life. But my prediction was thankfully wrong and this is what they’re doing and starting with my three biggest Attitude Era wants to boot, you’ve made 40 quid Hasbro, look pleased.

KURT ANGLE! The first Mattel Kurt Angel! Otherwise on the six inch front we’re only getting a few characters I’m that bothered about, Alexa Bliss’ new figure is perfect, Becky Lynch finally has a nice headsculpt (instant buy) and were getting Mickie James and an awesome Mean Gene HOWEVER M.U.S.C.L.E. WWE Legends are allegedly coming winter 2017 (but Super7 are involved so don’t hold your breath). Super7 are making it all but Mattel are going to release it, the line-up is Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Million Dollar Man, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Macho Man Randy Savage, Iron Sheik, Junkyward Dog, Andre the Giant, Sgt. Slaughter, Jake the Snake, Rick Flair, Mean Gene Oakerland and The Ultimate Warrior – pretty much all Superstars who were big around the same time M.U.S.C.L.E. was - I want these.

Image from ToyArk
Super 7 Masters of the Universe Classics Wave 2!
Super7, fuck knows
So there won’t be pre-orders for these any time soon because that’s how Super7 rolls (*sigh*) but the next waves of Masters of the Universe Classics and He-Man & The Masters of the Universe figures were shown in very early prototype form and they’re some sweet choices, I’ll try to be buying the H&MOTU line but this is mostly about the Classics wave. Stop it Super7, stop coming up with line-ups that mean I have to buy every one of your waves. Wave 2 is Wrap Trap, Karg, Dylamug and Granita (not shown) – shut up, and take my money. Karg, the last of three new villains to be added for the Masters of the Universe movie (yes, the one with Dolph and Courtney Cox) was thought to be an impossible dream by some fans because Mattel didn’t and almost certainly wouldn’t get the film rights (the owners of the film hate Mattel apparently) but judging by the colours scheme on the prototype it seems that the loop-hole some fans latched onto – that Karg had appeared in some comics – was real and now my Movie trio (with Blade and Saurod) will be complete – I’d say I can’t wait but I’ll have to it’s Super7 who move at the rough speed of very lethargic molasses (I’m kidding lads, you’re doing a great job so far – JUST GO FASTER!). Granita will also round off a trio – this time the core Comet Warriors (with Rokkon and Stonedar), shit I’ll have to get them out the boxes and back on the shelves, they take up so much space though the dicks. Finally I’ve wanted the Horde Mummy since I first found out about him, a mummy archetype for The Horde (who are already horror archetypes)? Yes please! And Dylamug’s ANOTHER Horde member, bulking out my favourite faction? Yes please! 

He-Man & The Mastres of the Unvierse Wave 2 will be Sorceress, Tung Lasher, Merman and Man-E-Faces (not shown), the Sorceress looks gorgeous. Iron Maiden, Robotech, Planet of the Apes and Alfred Hitchcock are coming to the ReAction line (Super7 took that over too after Funko dumped it), I will have to have Hitch’, the others I’ll wait and see how much money I have when they eventually go up for order/pre-order (I could be dead). Super7’s next MOTU vintage style wave is all Filmation versions – Hordak, He-Man, Skeletor and She-Ra, they had a falling out with the bloke who had the real Eldor prototype they were going to mould from so He-Ro and Eldor have been put back while they sculpt them from scratch.

And I’m done, I’m off to book myself in for open wallet surgery.

1 I say ‘pretty much’ because Christmas 1989 the big thing was in fact the Batman movie and it’s merchandise but that was very much a flash in the pan affair for that one holiday season while TMNT was the next big franchise and the one that took over from Real Ghostbusters as THE franchise for boys.
2 it was the Real Ghostbusters episode ‘Mean Green Teen Machine’ and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures: The Year of the Turtle issue 1 fyi.

3 I liked that Roman Reigns figure even though I couldn’t give a fuck about Reigns and as the Hasbro line included any big star at the time as well as such luminaries as Skinner, Virgil, Repo Man and The Mountie I personally think that anyone is applicable for the Mattel line as well and in fact think they should be including the odd utter nobody to make it feel like the Hasbro line – Shockmaster for wave 3?

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