It's Wednesday July 20th which means it is Preview Night for the 2011 San Diego International Comic Convention. No doubt you sit in unbridled anticipation, quivering with undulatory excitement, coated in a briny dew whose manifestation is your mortal flesh's sole compensation for the mental anguish, awaiting the first pictures and bits of news of this, arguably the biggest week in the world of American Toys and Collectibles (Sorry, Toy Fair). Well you're crap out of luck, kids - it'll be hours until any of that stuff floods forth. So, in the meantime, imbibe upon these tasty morsels from last year - exclusive figures I have yet the time or motivation to review!
Applehead - Teddy Scares: Abnormal Cyrus & Rita Mortis
Several years back (2004, I think) Applehead made an SDCC exclusive mini teddy bear in "farmer" clothes with a burlap sack over his head, which I thought was awesomely creepy and promptly bought, having kept an eye on them since. While I generally steer very clear of plush this was a fun exclusive I couldn't pass up. The monocular approach is neat but not a big draw, instead it's the Pugsley Addams shirt and nasty, stained apron that grabbed me. Add to that the SDCC logo (I'll pretty much buy any toy that has the SDCC logo on it) and I was sold. What can I say about plush...? He's well sewn. The tethered eyeball is cute and I dig the wearable button of the green/yellow eye. As an added bonus he includes a little mini-bear (I guess it's a bear). If you squeeze the torso the mouth opens, which is a cute feature but is counter-intuitive to the stitched-mouth look. Still though, I love the indie guys like Applehead, and I really like that they roll out exclusives even for their own niche market - it's stuff like this that is actually special, unlike the stuff from the big guys, because this really oozes of the passion and enjoyment for the fans and the community and is truly something for people who are at the show and into the product.
Bif Bang Pow - Twilight Zone: The Devil
I love the hell out of Twilight Zone so it is with little reservation that I fork over too much money for figures done in the abominable Mego stlye. I really do hate this figural format, but these Twilight Zone figures tend to look the best out of the cacophony of not-Megos out there. Now, these three figures aren't technically SDCC exclusives, they were just launched there, but you know what - who cares? To me they're con exclusives cause I bought the first three series (2 non-exclusive, 1 exclusive) from Entertainment Earth at the con; so can it, hair-splitters. To be perfectly honest, I have not seen or otherwise do not recall this character or episode, so it looks good enough to me.
Bif Bang Pow - Twilight Zone: Gremlin
YES - "Terror at 20,000 Feet"!!! One of the most memorable episodes and by far the best section of the remake-Movie! I'm so jizzlejazzed because this year we're getting a Shatner to go with this guy. Despite the episode being so good, thank you writer Richard Matheson, the bad guy is one the worst designs not only on the show but... ever. It's just a fat guy in a lamb costume with a white 'fro and ghost-face makeup. Horrible. But Bif Bang Pow captures it perfectly here. Since they use the same body for every figure they needed to bulk him up and they way they did it actually makes the ridiculousness of the character even better - they literally made an in-scale pillow and sewed it to the inside of the suit, over the belly. Classic! A great representation of one of the must-have Twilight Zone characters and episodes. This line is released in two-figure series, and I have the other guy from this series (Jason Foster) but could not, for the life of me, find him for photography (but he's in the group shot in my Talking Tina & Willie review in case you don't believe me).
Bif Bang Pow - Twilight Zone: Kanamit
"To Serve Man" is my personal favorite Twilight Zone episode, so I was tickled to hell to be getting Kanamit in the first series. Played by famous character actor Richard Kiel, Kanamit is also one of the more recognizable characters from the show. They did a very good job of capturing the actor's formidable height in this body-reuse line, at least until you pair him with other figures. See, he does have height-extender boots but the trick is that his head is under-scaled to give the impression of tallness. I can't tell if this is awesome or terrible. On one hand with a very simple trick they fully achieved the illusion of extreme height in a great way, but when you put him with other figures in the line, the illusion is destroyed because it is clearly out of scale. Regardless though, he is a must have, and even includes the book he brought to earth, whose title also named the episode. Sign me up and put me on that saucer!
DST - Battle Beasts: Gold Crocodile
Do I love Minimates? Oh, reader, you know I flippin' do! Do I love crocodiles? But they're only my favorite animal! Do I love freebies? Nerd - who you talkin' to!? DST was passing these out last year, if memory serves, "free with purchase" which was pretty cool. They'd put out several paint variations of this sculpt but I was right pleased to get the gold armor/green skin version because it both looks the best and harkens most back to the original Battle Beasts line, a franchise DST is still more than happy to proclaim their ownership of despite their reluctance to do anything with it. In general this figure skirts that fine line of "too uniquely sculpted" for me, but I can excuse it because, hey, its a croco-man! Plus the armor isn't very detailed or textured. I'm right pleased with and happy to have this guy. Hopefully we'll see them do something more with the brand in the future.
Four Horsemen - Outer Spacemen: Alpha Wave Astro Nautilus
I am nothing if not a big fan of The Four Horsemen (and who isn't) so it was their announcement of the Outer Space Men license/line that opened me to not only the property and the history, but also the micro toy producers of the world. I became somewhat obsessed and Glyos became a sort of defining theme at the con for me as I went hunting for more indie figures than I have before. Still though, my consumeristic trends filtered back towards the mainstream and I got little more than a handfull of glyos and these OSM figures. Astro Nautilus is almost my favorite of Series 1, being sea/tentacle themed, but that head is just so silly. Its definitely an excellent case-in-point of where I wish the 4H were allowed more leeway in the designs. Still though, the tentacles are particularly nice and a highlight of the line and a welcome addition to glyos-nuts, no doubt. Articulation is pretty limited despite tons of "break apart" points. For fans of glyos I'm sure its more than great, but for Johnny Casual, like me, it just means a whole lot of hassle trying to keep the calves in line with the thighs, etc. Astro Nautilus comes with a staff, which hooks onto 1-2 tentacles with both more ease and difficulty than expected (it's hard to explain). Presuambly the four tentacles equals no extra arms, as the other figures include. I'm not crazy about the translucent purple, but what are you gonna do?
Four Horsemen - Outer Spacemen: Alpha Wave Inferno
Fire man from space! A logical choice, casting him in translucent red, which should offer some fun mix'n'matching which sadly I have yet to do. He comes with a gun and interchangeable straight and slightly bent arms. Though I would have preferred some kind of elbow articulation, I understand that's not really the way of this format and thus appreciate the alternate options. The helmet is removable and my assumption is that it uses the same base as Metamorpho's, but as I say I've done little interchanging as of yet, despite the full annum in elapse.
Four Horsemen - Outer Spacemen: Alpha Wave Metamorpho
Glow in the dark... yawn. I'm pretty tired of Glow-in-the-Dark figures, especially when they're fully cast in GitD, and even more especially when they are the classic white-to-green. I think the white-to-blue that DST used on their Stay Puft Marshmellow Man Minimate would have been more interested in both glow and slightly blue-ish in-light hew, but alas. I like this design the most out of Series 1 mainly for the cool "retro" space helmet. I would love to see a repaint of this cast or painted in bronze for a lot of cool steampunk customizing. The three faces are neat, but its actually fairly difficult to get to them all by turning the yellow ball at the top. The fit of head-to-helmet is too tight, the plastic too soft and the fit of ball-to-head too loose. Ultimately I had to pop the whole affair off of the body and and changes face by turning the neck-peg, which kind of defeats the goofy big ball.
Four Horsemen - Outer Spacemen: Alpha Wave Xodiac
Continuing the helmet theme of the series is Xodiac with his transparent yellow helmet, staff and gun and translucent orange everything else. The helmet fits well and runs a bit on the loose side, so it falls off with ease while the other two helmets on the other figures are on to stay, snapping tightly into place. Really, the problem with these figures are the colors they are cast in. They're boring. I know all of these look much cooler in the normal, full color paint jobs, but I enjoy the translucent plastic look and the potential for interconnecting with existing glyos figures which are generally cast likewise. However, the overall trend of the wave is just... blah. Everything is on the red end of the spectrum, except for the white guy who does little to help. It's just not an aesthetically pleasing display in and of itself. The colors used for the "Beta Wave" at the New York Comic Con show a much better understanding of figural interplay (the characters are cast in yellow, pink, blue and green, for a nice rainbow-esque array) while these just lack the variety to make them exciting, which is probably why it took me a year to review them. They're just not as exciting in execution as in conception.
Shocker Toys - Mallowmen: Hunter Rose Grendel
One of only two officially licensed Mallow-(don't call them Mellow)-men and the only one to hint at the potential of the format, a hold over from the Mighty Mugg rage of years gone by. Much like Mighty Muggs and all the other imitators, the line is based on a core body reused release after release with only paint to vary them. In general I like the concept and am a big fan/collector of the Muggs and Mez-Itz, and what Shocker has done is incorporate simplistic articulation for added fun, and indeed the articulation works well. Its all series of ball-and-socket joints that are unpluggable and interchangeable. The joints move with some applied force and hold their place well once positioned. Grendel offered a great chance to use the already-in-production blank Black and White parts with simple, but recognizable paint. Unfortunately because of the three piece limbs, the amount of white for the gloves and boots is a little too much to be on-model and kind of dominates the figure. The paint for the mask is crisp and clean but overall I must confess this is a very bland figure, worth having only for the most diehard of Grendel fans. The biggest loss here is the lack of Grendel's spear - all the articulation in the world wouldn't make this any more exciting because of the stylized nature there's not a lot of "cool action poses" you can do. I ended up pulling the spear from my Graphitti Christine Spar figure and having posed him with that and he became immediately 75% cooler. On one hand I applaud Shocker for actually getting fresh product, especially convention exclusive product, out on time, but on the other this is sadly not a very exciting addition.