Toy Review – MAFEX No. 71 Gwenpool from Medicom

The Unbelievable Gwenpool by Christopher Hastings and (mostly) Gurihiru is one of my favorite Marvel comics of the last decade. It’s a meta masterpiece that started in the pages of Zdarsky and Quinones’ Howard the Duck, which is fortunate because otherwise I probably wouldn’t have ever given this character a chance. I’m not usually big on the cutesy, manga-style stuff.

To be honest I’m not always big into meta stuff either, but the character of Gwen Poole was written with such sharp humor and even a deep emotional core that I was hooked from the first full issue. As the series went on the concept of this character from the “real world” being in the Marvel Universe was explored in very earnest and compelling ways. It seemed very different from everything else that Marvel was doing.

As seemingly unbelievable as the concept itself, Gwenpool became one of my favorite characters.

I was pretty happy with Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Gwenpool, but as soon as I saw preview pictures of Medicom’s release I knew it was a huge step up. Of course, I also knew that it would cost a lot more, but I tend to be very conservative about buying Figuarts and MAFEX releases, so one of my favorite characters every once in a while isn’t a huge deal.

Was this Gwenpool worth the wait or should I have stuck with my twenty dollar Marvel Legend? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Toy Review – MAFEX No. 71 Gwenpool from Medicom”

Toy Review – Game of Thrones Series 1 from McFarlane Toys

Like many toy collectors of my generation I’ve had a long and tumultuous relationship with McFarlane Toys.

That may seem like a dramatic way to open a toy review, but I have to lay down some groundwork so you know where I’m coming from. I have a deep fondness for McFarlane Toys and the amazing changes they wrought in the toy industry. Because of them horror toys became mainstream and a constant presence in toy aisles. They also leveled up what was possible in a single action figure, from sculpt to paint to accessories.

McFarlane Toys penetrated the likes of Walmart and Target with collector-focused products and paved the way for mass-market availability of every niche of dorkery.

McFarlane Toys has produced some of the most amazing-looking action figures in the history of the business. They have also produced some tragically fragile collectibles that have a tendency to simply fall apart, sometimes straight out of the box.

There’s probably a whole post to be written, but that’s not what I’m here for today. Continue reading “Toy Review – Game of Thrones Series 1 from McFarlane Toys”

Toy Review – Transformers War for Cybertron: Siege from Hasbro

Last week I wrote about my history with Hasbro’s Transformers franchise. That post started off as a review of the newest line of toys from that franchise – War for Cybertron: Siege. I like to open toy reviews with a bit of my personal history with what I’m reviewing, but sometimes if I haven’t written a whole lot about what I’m reviewing it turns into more than an intro.

So now that I’ve gotten that history out of the way, I can explain how I ended up collecting Transformers again after quitting (several times) and I can also review some toys. Continue reading “Toy Review – Transformers War for Cybertron: Siege from Hasbro”

Toy Review – One:12 Collective Evil Dead 2 Ash from Mezco

Ashley J. Williams is my guy, my hero.

Thanks to Bruce Campbell’s irresistible charm and charisma Ash is that rarest of commodities in the horror genre – the good guy that’s the center of the franchise. For three films and thirty television episodes, the mad and gruesome story of the Necronomicon and the Deadites revolved around this unsophisticated yet lovable chump.

I own a lot of Ash figures. Rarely can I resist the temptation to buy a new one, even if it’s part of a line I don’t necessarily collect or a scale that isn’t on my shelves. Heck, I’ve got an Ash bobblehead and I can’t stand bobbleheads. I see a halfway decent Bruce Campbell likeness and I am compelled to open up my wallet.

Which, by the way, is a Necronomicon wallet.

Mezco’s One:12 Collective is by far my favorite line of action figures, but I’ve tried to stick to comic book characters. I didn’t buy Jason or Michael Myers and I don’t plan to get Freddy, even though he’s my favorite horror icon. I bent the rules with Alex from A Clockwork Orange just because he seems like he’d be a great villain in the worlds of Batman or Judge Dredd.

I had to have Ash, though. Initially I was reluctant, but in the end the fact that my favorite action figure line was going to have one of my favorite characters was too much for me. I had to have it. I had to know if this would be the best Ash ever or another “almost got it”.

Was it worth it? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Toy Review – One:12 Collective Evil Dead 2 Ash from Mezco”

Toy Review – One:12 Collective Popeye from Mezco

Grown-up Dave doesn’t think about Popeye the Sailor Man all that much, but kid Dave loved him.

It started with the cartoons, obviously. When I was very young Popeye cartoons were just as heavy in rotation as Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry. I don’t know what happened or why the Sailor Man hasn’t remained as relevant as many other animated icons, but for whatever reason he doesn’t have a very high profile nowadays.

The cartoons were one thing, but in 1980 something very peculiar and quite special happened – Robin Williams starred in a musical Popeye movie directed by five-time Academy Award nominee Robert Altman. The same Robert Altman who directed MASH, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, The Long Goodbye, and Nashville. It was surprising to the world and to this day I think film fans are a bit confused, but of course four-year-old me didn’t know any of that when Mom took me to the theater to see this unique cinematic experience.

While my actual memories of Popeye come from later viewings, I do know that I loved that movie and that it reinforced my fandom for the character. One of my earliest memories is of begging Mom for a can of spinach until she finally broke down and got one. I tried it raw – like Popeye – hated it, and switched to a can of Fritos like they used to have back in the day.

HEALTH ADVISORY – Fritos will not make you strong like Popeye, but they also will not make you throw up like raw spinach out of a can.

My Popeye fandom probably peaked right around the movie coming out and has slowly waned ever since. At no point have I disliked him; he just hasn’t loomed large in my pop culture awareness for quite some time.

I have a collection of comic strips that my mom gave me years ago, but I can’t pretend I’ve read it cover to cover. At most it’s been perused a time or two with only a few pages read in their entirety.

Actually, the last time I gave Popeye any real thought was the last time Mezco put out Popeye toys. Popeye the Sailorpedia lists way more figures than I remember actually being released. I just had Popeye, Bluto, and Wimpy from the first wave. I passed on Olive Oyl because she is the worst.

Clearly someone at Mezco is a much bigger Popeye fan than I am. Between those excellent figures from eighteen years ago(!) and this new One:12 Collective figure, they are carrying the torch for an animated hero who deserves much more recognition than he seems to get. This was one of the earliest announced One:12 figures and it’s been clear from that initial peek that this figure is a serious labor of love.

This is a truly weird concept and design – bringing a character whose most remarkable features are incredibly anatomically improbable into the One:12 semi-realistic format resulted in a look that many found off-putting at first, but that has become more acceptable as the line has gone on. I, for one, hadn’t planned on getting this one due to my strict One:12 collecting rules, but apparently at some point I relented and ordered one because it came in at the Local Comic Shop. By that time I was delighted that Past Me had made the decision because reviews were coming in and Popeye seems to be a hit, making many “Best of 2018” lists.

Is the figure worth the wait and worth possibly going outside of your fandom to obtain? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Toy Review – One:12 Collective Popeye from Mezco”

Toy Review – Halloween (2018) Ultimate Michael Myers from NECA

The newest entry in the legendary Halloween franchise comes home tomorrow, so I thought today would be the perfect time to review NECA’s newest – and long-awaited – Michael Myers figure.

After years of near-constant Freddys and Jasons, and even a few Chuckys, the absence of the OG slasher from action figure aisles was conspicuous. While Mezco’s One:12 Myers (from the original film) just barely beat this one to market, off the top of my head I think the last one we got was in the box set with Doctor Loomis and the porch diorama. That’s the one that’s on my shelf, anyway. Sadly the diorama did not survive a move.

Out of all of NECA’s figures, that one has actually aged rather well. One of the advantages Michael has is that he mostly looks the same and there’s not a whole lot of updating to be done at an action figure scale. Of course, as far as being a renewable license with lots of merchandising opportunities, this is not an advantage. I’m sure NECA will squeeze a 1978 Michael out of this figure and might even be able to convince us a couple more are warranted, but I can’t see them doing one for every movie in the same way that they have with Freddy and Jason.

Note: We already know that NECA is releasing a Laurie Strode to go with this Michael and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if they pack a slightly different version of Myers in, too. I hope they don’t, but they have a history of such tactics.

After loving the new Halloween I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some merchandise. NECA’s figure took a little longer than I expected to arrive, but now that it’s here, was it worth the wait? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Toy Review – Halloween (2018) Ultimate Michael Myers from NECA”

Toy Review – Walgreens Exclusive Marvel Legends Magik Action Figure from Hasbro

Hasbro has been doing some nice things with the Marvel Legends line for the past year, but their Walgreens exclusives have been going above and beyond.

I’ve been a fan of Colossus’ little sister, Illyana Rasputin, since the mid-80s when I first started reading New Mutants comics. I think she clicked more for me because of the relationship to Peter, who was one of my favorite X-Men.

Over time, as her character grew and her place in the mutant side of the Marvel universe expanded, I ended up liking her even more than I did her brother. Her unique story and wild powerset made her a favorite among a huge number of other characters that I also loved. It would take a whole other post to really run it down, but Claremont’s X-Men are my favorite characters ever. Just thinking about that group and what they went through in the years that I followed Uncanny X-Men (and any related crossover titles) is almost enough to get me a little misty. For an outcast kid who never had an easy time making or keeping friends, they were family.

When Hasbro released Illyana as part of an SDCC exclusive box set a few years ago I was pretty annoyed, but by that time they had already established a habit of eventually rereleasing those kinds of characters. I wasn’t thrilled about it, but I could wait.

As X-Men waves came (returned) and went, I waited. Then, much to my surprise, Magik was announced as a Walgreens exclusive. Even more surprising was the short amount of time that passed between the announcement and me having the figure.

Thanks to our Head of Research Ryan Schweck I was able to order Magik from Walgreens website and actually had her in hand before I found the Thing, though only by a couple of days. And when I did find ol’ Ben, there were six Magiks next to him.

That’s just how toy collecting works sometimes.

Was she worth the wait? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Toy Review – Walgreens Exclusive Marvel Legends Magik Action Figure from Hasbro”