I didn’t make it out to San Diego for SDCC and I probably never will, but thanks to the magic of the internet and a number of excellent websites that do have a presence there, I can follow along from here and supply you good people with my thoughts.
Before I get any further I want to mention those sites:
Action Figure Attack, who is providing most of the pictures for this post and has TONS more on Instagram and Facebook. For any sections with no pictures, go and check out one of these sites to see what I'm talking about. I don't want to jack anybody's stuff without permission.
Those guys all provide great pictures and without them I wouldn’t have any idea what was going on.
Action Figure Attack was nice enough to let me use some pictures, but I don’t want to abuse the offer. I’ll have some photos here and there, but I highly recommend you head over to the Action Figure Attack Facebook Page to follow along.
For all the claims that San Diego Comic Con is collapsing under its own weight and that movie studios are pulling away from it in favor of proprietary events, 2015 was a massive year full of exciting occurrences. I felt more satisfied by the movie, comic book, and toy presentations than I have in a while; possibly since I started following the goings-on out there.
While a little bit of everything goes on in San Diego, the main reason I’m here today is to talk about the toys. Also, be sure to listen to the next two episodes of the Needless Things Podcast for more coverage from myself and the Needless Things Irregulars. Also also, join the Needless Things Facebook Group to join in on the conversation yourself!
I am absolutely in love with that commercial.
About as much as I’m at odds with the toy line that it’s promoting.
The DC Animated Universe is my favorite representation of DC Comics. Everything and everybody is streamlined and easy to understand and reconcile within the shared universe. I have said several times that if I knew for sure that DC Collectibles was going to forge ahead and create a DCAU version of every character, I’d be more than happy to sell off my Mattel DC Universe Classics collection and start over again. If and only if DCC can get their quality control under, well, control.
I can’t call the line a disaster, but they are having big problems that need to be addressed and stopped immediately. I don’t understand how the company that has gotten its shit together and is producing the excellent Arkhamverse and Designer Series lines is having the problems that the Batman Animated line is experiencing, but I want them to figure it out. I love this line (aside from the fugly hip joints), but one or two more major issues is all it will take for me to call it quits. Man-Bat’s arms falling off was the third-to-last straw (probably).
QC issues aside, the figures are gorgeous and, quite frankly, an excellent value for what you get. DC Collectibles had some awesome new stuff to show at SDCC.
Batman Animated Line
Etrigan & Klarion – Must-haves, and further proof that DCC is interested in expanding beyond New Adventures and Animated Series. Yes, they both appeared on New Adventures, but these are decidedly different characters from what you would expect from a Batman line. I love that we’re straying so far from what might be considered the core cast of a Batman production. Etrigan’s size is fantastic and Klarion comes with Teekl!
Commissioner Gordon – Another must. And I’m thrilled that he has his trademark coat. I can’t wait to have Bullock and Montoya, as well.
Zatanna – Noteworthy because she is the first member of the Justice League other than Batman himself to appear in the line. Yes, she was in one episode of The Animated Series (where she was the first character from outside of the standard Batman cast to appear), but Zatanna’s appearance in the line is significant. The figure looks great. Or at least, it will until you utilize those hip joints.
Ra’s al Ghul – In my opinion Ra’s al Ghul is Batman’s greatest foe and The Animated Series was careful to depict him as such. While Bane has gotten short shrift in every media iteration, Ra’s had always been a respectable threat, especially in the world of the DCAU. This version looks fantastic and I can’t wait to have it on my shelf.
Batman: Arkham Knight
Professor Pyg – This is a spoiler, but the figure has been officially announced, so it’s out of my hands. I was delighted to see Professor Pyg in all of his disgusting, speech impaired glory at the end of the serial killer Most Wanted mission. As with all of DCC’s Arkhamverse figures, this is a perfect representation of Pyg.
Man-Bat – I’m still a little torn on how Arkhamverse Man-Bat looks. He fits within the aesthetics of Rocksteady’s world, but he’s almost too gruesome. This is probably what a real-world Man-Bat would look like, though, so I can’t complain. The joints from the waist down are a little ugly, but they’ll probably look better on the final production figure.
Azrael – I’m not so sure I need another Azrael. His design has been updated, but not so much that I want an upgrade. The big selling point here is what will almost certainly be improved articulation.
Catwoman – A massive improvement over the Arkham City Catwoman. The face sculpt is a million times better and this one has tons of articulation. It’s just a shame we didn’t get to use her more in the game.
Nightwing – Ditto. Actually, the original Arkhamverse Nightwing was the first figure in the line to have anything resembling enhanced articulation and is still quite a nice figure, but the design and articulation on this one blows it away.
Commissioner Gordon – As much as I love tons of articulation, I think when trousers are involved it might be best to limit it. There’s just no way to work the joints into the sculpt and they always look ugly. Like Man-Bat, I have faith that this figure will look better when it’s released, though. And I’m thrilled that we’re getting a Gordon. Not just because he’s an essential Batman character, but because he plays such a large and critical role in Arkahm Knight.
Robin – Also a massive upgrade over the last version. And he includes his neat-o shield!
Darwyn Cooke Designer Series
Batman – I’ll take a Darwyn Cooke-designed Batman anytime.
Harley Quinn – This Harley is fantastic and might have the best face of any Harley Quinn figure yet. It’s a little odd seeing the New 52 look in Cooke’s style, but I think she looks great.
Supergirl – Possibly the sweetest-looking action figure of all time, and I mean that in the traditional sense of the word, not in bro-speak. Her facial expression is pure sunshine and everything about her is just adorable. And she comes with Streaky and Krypto!
Adam Strange – I’m not a big Adam Strange guy, so this one doesn’t do much for me. It seems to look significantly different from what I think of him looking like, as well.
Lee Bermejo Designer Series
Batman – It’s a weird and different take on the Batsuit, but I love Bermejo’s textures and it is very cool to see it in three dimensions. This is a Batman I’ll buy.
Hal Jordan – Purists may not dig this design, but I like it. Granted, it looks more like something John Stewart or even Kyle Rayner might have made for themselves.
Superman – I’m not sure the Supersuit needs to be quite so wrinkly, but otherwise this design looks great.
Lex Luthor – just a solid, straightforward Lex.
These all looked great. I love that DCC is producing these and giving collectors such a wide range of characters. I’d love to get them, especially since the aesthetics and scale could work with the Arkhamverse figures, but I just can’t commit to another line.
Joker, Firestorm, Jon Stewart – These all look just as solid as the rest of the new Icons line, but Joker was definitely the standout for me. As a matter of fact, This Joker is one of the best figures of the show. I think because even though I own many Joker figures, not a single one is just right. They all have some detail that doesn’t work for me. This one is a near perfect Jim Aparo Joker, which makes me very happy. The abdominal joint is pretty heinous, though.
Static Shock – He was added to the display on Sunday afternoon. The figure looks great and had to be a great surprise for fans of the character. This was done in conjunction with the announcement that DC is bringing back Milestone.
DC Multiverse 6”
Zero Year Batman
Weird Bat Robot
Dawn of Justice figures
These were a huge surprise, but I don’t feel the need to comment on them individually. It’s good to see Mattel getting back into the 6” DC figure business, but I have to wonder how this line will fare, particularly with DC Collectibles producing higher-end figures with plenty of accessories. Right now Mattel’s 4” scale DC Multiverse figures are retailing for about fourteen bucks. That is obviously bugfuck insane, but it suggests that Mattel is going to think the 6” figures should retail for around twenty-five. Which is what the far superior DCC figures go for. It’s laughable to think that I am going to choose Mattel’s TV show Green Arrow over Dc Collectibles’. I’m curious to see how this is going to turn out.
I’m also curious to see if the movie and television figures are DCUC scale or Movie Masters scale. If they’re scaled to the Movie Masters, I will be tempted by them.
Most of this is taken directly from Mattycollector.com. As much crap as I give them, they are the most communicative of all of the toy companies.
Mara of Primus™ arrives with her extendable mace ponytail, shield, and staff. (August Club Eternia® figure.)
“Buzz Saw” Hordak® arrives with cross bow and a buzz saw that he can either hold or place in his chest. (Club Eternia® quarterly figure.) – He just looks like Hordak. At first glance, not much was done to make this one special or different. His chest opens up to hold the buzz saw, but other than that he’s not very exciting.
Evil Seed arrives with a staff wrapped in vines. (August Club 200X™ figure.)
Saurod™ arrives with a laser gun. (September Club Eternia® figure.) – I don’t know why, but Saurod isn’t doing much for me. Maybe he’ll be better in person.
King Chooblah™, the Kulatak Elder, arrives with his oversized walking staff. (September Club 200X™ figure.)
The scented Perfuma™ arrives with her flower gun and shield. (October Club Eternia® figure.) – Not a fan. She had to be made, but she sure as heck isn’t going on my shelves.
The 2015 Club Eternia® third quarterly item is Flying Fist He-Man® vs Terror Claw Skeletor®, arriving with a shield and flying fist accessory for He-Man® and oversized claws for Skeletor®. (October) – For whatever reason, I like Flying Fists He-Man. His chest armor is cool and he has an interesting new head sculpt. Terror Claws Skeletor is not great.
Ceratus™ arrives in a leather kilt with bone pickaxe. (October Club 200X™ figure.)
Dragstor™ arrives with a cross box (I think they meant “crossbow”) with a hook attachment. (November Club Eternia® figure.) I’m surprised at how much I like this guy. I’m not crazy about the original, but the Classics version looks pretty good. His wheel doesn’t spin, but as Beau and I discussed, I wasn’t expecting it to.
Queen Grayskull™ arrives with a 200X-inspired staff and a wrap. (November Club 200X™ figure.)
He-Ro® II (Dare) arrives with sword and laser gun. (December Club Eternia® figure.) Dare looks great sculpt-wise, but that’s a lot of blue. I’m not sure how I feel about the blue harness. I think silver and gold would look a lot better. I do like the gem in the middle. And his head sculpt is very good.
Prahvus arrives with a staff and magic lamp. (December Club 200X™ figure.)
I saw no mention of Laser Light Skeletor and Laser Power He-Man, but they were in the case and are part of this year’s sub. Skeletor looks like a dingus and He-Man looks like he might be a dancer at the Manhole. His head sculpt looks great, though. The sword on the display version is all bent up, so it’s probably made of rubber. Great.
A closer inspection reveals that Laser Light Skeletor has chain mail underpants, so at least there’s that.
2016 Collector's Choice
Subscription-Only Despara – Amazing. The rightest of right calls.
Subscription Releases: Characters include: Lord Masque, Vultak, Darius™, Tuskador™ (semi-annual figure), Despara™ (Subscription-only figure), Crita, General Sunder, Horde Wraith, Night Stalker (semi-annual figure). (Names and release dates are subject to change.) – All of these look great and are exciting for one reason or another. For more about them, be sure to check out this Friday’s Needless Things Podcast.
Power Con Exclusives – Green Granamyr, Red Beast, Camo Kobra Khan – These are all very good exclusives. They’re character variations that aren’t essential. I’d like to have all three, but I wouldn’t buy another Granamyr. And I doubt I’ll be able to find these for a reasonable price anyway.
This was a big surprise. Filmation versions of He-Man, Skeletor, Beast Man, were on display and they looked amazing. I previously had no interest in Filmation repaints, and quite frankly could never understand the folks on the Matty boards that wanted them so badly. I thought they would just be dumbed-down versions of the regular figures. And while they kind of are, they look wonderful. And they’re more than just repaints – they feature new heads, new armor, and new accessories. Trap-Jaw was shown during the Mattypalooza panel with entirely different, cartoon-appropriate arm attachments, including his wacky fly swatter thing!
I am surprised, but I think I’m probably all-in for these. I can see them all on their own shelf together.
Shown Without Details
Mega Blocks Castle Grayskull
I didn’t see any specifics about these. Grayskull looked great and was accompanied by minifigures of He-Man and Battle Cat. Anti-He-Man is some German thing. It looks mildly racist.
Lion-O in July, Jackalman in August, non-beefy shriveled Mumm-Ra as Sub Exclusive – A tremendous surprise that I don’t think anybody saw coming. Lion-O and Jackalman were on displauy and they looked fantastic, particularly Jackalman. They are in the scale and style of Masters of the Universe Classics, so I can’t resist.
According to my quick and lazy internet research, this is what the original LJN line consisted of (not including variants, and I’m sure that some of the companions figures will be full-on figures, like Wilykit and Wilykat and the Robear Burbles):
29 Regular figures (not including variations)
8 Companion figures
7 Accessory Packs
That has the potential to be six years’ worth of a line depending on how Mattel does things.
Ultimate T-1000 – I didn’t know this was coming. I much prefer this new “Ultimate” style of figure over having to buy three variations of the same character. The figure includes all kinds of interchangeable parts that represent the T-1000’s various forms.
Ultimate Sarah Connor – She looks amazing. The likeness and physique are incredible – some of NECA’s best work. Oh, and this is Linda Hamilton.
Genisys T-1000 - This is another example of NECA continuing to innovate and anticipate collectors’ wants, as it comes with a whole torso/head piece with damage that can be switched out.
Bat Gremlin w/flexible wings – Beautiful.
Mutavore – The Category IV Kaiju that proved how ineffective the Wall was during its attack on Sydney. Another gorgeous monster from NECA.
Kevin, Harry, and Marv – Confused. I love Home Alone and I showed it to my son for the first time last year at Christmas. But is there a call for action figures? I could see these being appropriate for Funko’s ReAction line, but these high-quality Retro Cloth figures seem like a bit much. They look amazing, though. The best part is that Kevin McCallister undoubtedly shares a body with the SDCC Exclusive young Jason Voorhees.
Amanda Ripley – Ripley’s daughter from the Alien: Isolation video game.
Amanda Ripley in space suit – I was hoping that this was Lambert when I first saw this one. I need the rest of the Nostromo crew, dammit!
Hive Wars Queen – No way am I spending another hundred bucks on a repainted Queen, but she does look awesome. I guess I’m glad I didn’t buy the Hive Wars 2-pack – it gives me less reason to want this.
One:12 Space Ghost
One:12 Frankenstein’s Monster
I wish it were practical for me to collect Mezco’s One:12 figures because they are, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the best action figures ever. The Dark Knight Returns Batman is, hands-down, the best figure I have ever owned. I don’t know that I’d buy Flash or Superman, but Space Ghost and Frankenstein’s Monster would be must-haves.
Diamond Select Toys
Mego-Style Deadpool – This is another one of those “ultimate Mego-style” sets that comes with several costumes and different heads to represent different looks or eras of the character. They’re eighty bucks, which is ridiculous, but I am definitely going to be tempted by this one when it’s offered in Previews.
Alfred, Bullock, Nygma, Liv Moore – It’s so weird that DST is doing figures of DC characters. Licensing, folks.
These figures look great, but they’re not going to be in scale with your Arrow and Flash figures from DC Collectibles. I think Liv from iZombie looks the best and I’ll probably pick her up. She can hang out with DST’s Universal Monsters.
Gozor, Zuul, Janene, Peck, Venkman, Hound – WOW. DST is putting Matty’s Ghostbusters to shame. They’ve already displayed a wider variety of characters and the figures simply look incredible.
Sixth Scale TMNT – The figures will retail for $150 and come with extra heads and accessories. I think the ones they had on display look amazing. If you have six hundred dollars and nothing better to do with it, you should totally plan on buying Mondo’s Ninja Turtles.
Star Wars Black
TIE Fighter – One hundred and seventy dollars for a TIE Fighter – the most disposable ship in the entire Star Wars mythology. The cockpit section is as large as a human head. It’s impressive, but come on – who’s buying this and where are they putting it? And how big and expensive is an X-Wing going to be? This is crazy.
Ahsoka, Kanan, ANH Luke, Jango Fett – The Rebels translations look great, though Kanan’s face is a bit cartoony (from a guy that has Clone Wars figures mixed in with his other 3.75” stuff). I’ll buy Jango because I have to have all of the Mandos.
Aside from some slides of upcoming Rebels figures, there was no 3.75” presence at SDCC, which concerns me greatly. However, there wasn’t really much in the way of Episode VII product, so they may just be holding back.
On the other hand, if Hasbro were to stop producing collector-friendly toys in that scale, I’d be done. I have hundreds of 3.75” figures and vehicles and I’m not switching to a more expensive scale. I don’t want to not collect Star Wars toys, but it sure would save me some money.
Side Note: I don’t think there’s a chance in heck this is going to happen.
Classic Cap, Mockingbird, Taskmaster, Cap Wolf
Spider-Gwen, Jack O’Lantern, Classic Venom, Morbius, Modern Beetle, Clone Spidey (right?), Speed Demon(?), Absorbing Man BAF
Ant-Man, First Appearance Daredevil
I’m pretty sure there were even more Marvel Legends than this, but we’ll talk about them at length on the Podcast this Friday.
That's all I've got for today because once again, I am literally out of time! Check back in with Needless Things throughout the week for more geeky content, and be sure to join the new Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group to get in on the conversation!
And of course, be sure to stop by and visit our pal, Action Figure Attack!