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Monday, July 27, 2009

AFB’S SDCC Snippets: #1

I’m snowed under with real life things at the moment, so rather than trying to round out my SDCC Reactions into one giant post, I’m just going to point out one or two random things in a series of smaller posts that I liked, loved or loathed from this year’s SDCC. Makes the task more manageable for me, and keeps the posts flowing so that you get plenty of chances to comment and possibly win the July Comment Contest before the month is out!

Snippet #1: Mattel DC Universe Classics

_MG_9367I liked: DCUC Waves 10 and 11. Mattel paid a bit for being so generous with spoilers, leaks and information leading up to the con with the loss of the “Holy Cow!” factor from the reveals of these two waves, since we essentially knew the line-ups already. That left some feeling underwhelmed by Mattel’s DCUC offerings this year, but the figures from Waves 10 and 11 deserve to be looked at on their own merits, and these are two solid waves, if not the most exciting line-ups to date. Wave 10 being a Wal-Mart exclusive knocks it down a few points of course, but new characters to 6” like Robotman and Forager are a must, and Joker, if it ends up being like the prototype, may just be the best 6” representation of the character to date. Wave 11 is a solid if slightly underwhelming line-up. Great to see Katma Tui 6” for the first time, but the lack of continuation of the JSA or Doom Patrol threads and the remaining absence of the Legion, Freedom Fighters, Metal Men etc. is somewhat of a concern if we are to get complete or even complete-ish teams. Great to see so many New Gods, but hopefully this thread ends soon so that others can be picked up. Still, I look forward to  Wave 11 and have to start thinking now about how I’m going to track down the Wave 10 figures I want from the other _MG_9369side of the pond.

I loved: The DCUC “Animal Instinct” 2-pack. Animal Man? Great! B’wana Beast?? Flipping awesome! This is the kind of stuff that Mattel should be pumping out – the best 2-pack so far by a mile! The great thing about B’wana Beast is that not only do we get such an obscure character in 6”, but it also opens the way for similarly garbed characters like Kamandi, Classic Warlord, etc. Did the Legion ever have a Loincloth Lad? Make him too! It’s all good!

_MG_9381I loathed: DCUC Public Enemies Target Exclusive Line. Public Enemies couldn’t be a more spot-on name for this line. Perhaps we could add a subtitle: “Public Enemies: Collector’s Nemesis Wave One”. I can imagine that Mattel may have been pulled in a couple of directions here, in terms of having to link to the PE DVD release and paying the Target piper for their own exclusive, but the decision to give an animated look to the headsculpts of these figures so that they can’t blend in with existing DCUC is just infuriating, especially when we are seeing Silver Banshee, The Icicle (or something that is called The Icicle but looks more like a bizarre bird man to me) and Major Force for the first time in 6”, not to mention a Brimstone C&C, all in cartoonish form, is infuriating to the collector. I’ve read a great suggestion from a collector that Mattel include a comic-styled extra head for these figures, and that would be a nice bone to throw to us. I can imagine that many collectors, me included, would have worn the cost of another Superman, Batman and Black Lightning for a Brimstone done well. but as it is he’s very disappointing. Seriously, the only thing I want from the pic above is the giant chin in the upper left hand corner. As for the rest, rethink and retool before production Mattel!

Okay, that’s ended up being more than a snippet, but DCUC is a big deal in this collector’s world so lots to say on the topic. Now you see why I couldn’t do my round-up all in one post!

Look for some snappier snippets in the days to come. Many thanks to TNI for today’s pics. Also, don’t forget we’re in the final days of July, which means only a few more chances to comment on July posts for your chance to win the July AFB Comment of the Month Contest!

Until next time!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Worth checking out…..

sdcc2009_mattel_dcuc_81While you await my next scintillating post, have a gander at Michael Crawford’s excellent photo coverage of SDCC. Some galleries are still coming, but the main companies are up and he has excellent figure by figure shots, like Beast Boy here. There’s also a glimpse of Wave 10 Joker in the background, and that Zebra Batman that is just there to taunt us at the moment. I want!

Michael’s work is at http://www.mwctoys.com/sdcc2009/sdcc2009_main.htm

Enjoy!

Enter the Doom Patrol!

_MG_9390I’ll be getting my full SDCC Day 1 / Day 2 reactions together shortly, but I had to just throw this pic (courtesy of TNI) up to say that even though he’s a Walmart Exclusive (grr), I couldn’t be happier to see Cliff Steele, a.k.a. Robotman, finally in plastic in DCUC Wave 10! I sure wish he wasn’t going to be so hard to track down, but gee he looks amazing.

Hopefully this is a gateway to the rest of the Doom Patrol joining the DCUC ranks. The rumoured Beast Boy is also in Wave 10 but in his MA uniform, which I quite like, but hopefully there’s room for a classic Doom Patrol version down the road to make the team complete.

Complete reactions soon (and oh, I reallllly can’t wait to react to this Public Enemies business!!) but for now, here’s Cliff, and here’s a happy AFB!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Oh, drool…..

DSC00001Well, 2/3 drool. Just spotted this over at Figures.com – the next three mini-busts in Series 3 of the Women of the DCU line: Classic Batgirl, Classic-ish Catwoman and Raven!

I wasn’t overwhelmed with the first mini-bust in the Amanda Conner series, Hippolyta, but these look amazing. Raven is brilliant, and while I need to see Classic Batgirl up close, I’m pretty sure she’s doing the Bat-usi – very cute!

DCD certainly didn’t hold back on the reveals on the SDCC Previews Night – wonder if they left anything up their sleeves?

SDCC: First Glimpses, First Reactions

attachment.php (1)SDCC has started with a bang! Thanks to the glory of the Internet, who needs to be there to stand in queues (that’s what we call lines in Australia) with the sweaty hordes when you can get a great view from your lounge room anywhere in the world? (That, of course, if code for “I am sooooo jealous of anyone who can actually be there I need to pretend I don’t care that I can’t!).

There are great sites doing a fabulous job of comprehensively covering the Con, as mentioned in my last post, so all I’ll be doing is giving my own reactions to what we see each day, in typical AFB fashion. Preview Night certainly gave us alot to look at, so here’s my highlights, lowlights and downright scarylights.

100_3829DC Direct seemed to come out with a great deal of new product. The highlight is clearly History of the DCU Series 4: SA Martian Manhunter, Classic Captain Atom, Superman as Nightwing, and Kobra!! The figures look fantastic and it’s encouraging to see DCD seeming to make a real commitment to the line. It would have been nice to see what the female buck is going to look like for this line, but this is pretty impressive character selection, so I’m hardly complaining.

Just to prove that DCD is still DCD, we also saw a glimpse of their first version of the much-requested Reverse Flash figure, and it’s in the JLA Classified McG bodysculpt style. Oy, oy, oy. Even more frightening is what appears to be a 13” Poison Ivy. Happy to see a new character in the line, but she looks more like a Tonner reject than something that belongs in the DCD 13” line. The females in this line look bad enough, but this is a new level. Let’s hope she gets some major retooling before she gets released. Have I mentioned that I really hate the thigh cuts on these figures? I really hate the thigh cuts on these figures!!

125__scaled_600On the Marvel side, I’m sure there were 6” collectors slitting their wrists in the aisles on Preview Night. First off, a whole swag of Marvel Universe figures were premiered, from Secret Wars 2-packs to regular figures to exclusives, and just from a glance, they include a slew of characters that we’ve been desperate to see in Legends, including Enchantress, Ultron, Classic Sunfire, Piledriver and more.

Even more cruel, Hasbro put 19 new Legends sculpts on display, of which we’ll see only six in plastic in 2-packs of the course of 2010. Even worse, we only get to pick three, at the poll which is live now at http://www.hasbro.com/marvel/en_US/discover/poll.cfm – I’m voting for Brother Voodoo, Valkyrie and Madrox, but with X-Force Wolverine, Hulk and (ugh) Paper Bag Spidey in the running, who knows what will happen. What kind of company puts all these gems in front of you (Bi-Beast! Nuke! a much better Black Widow! Classic Ms Marvel!) and then doesn’t make most of them??

084__scaled_600MOTUC fans got to see the new Webstor and Battle-Cat on display. I had a number of He-Man toys as a kid but have tried to avoid being drawn in to the new versions, but they’re just too damn good. I caved in on Man-at-Arms and have now signed up for the 2010 subscription which has gone live at Mattycollector.com.

So, alot of excitement on Previews night with the usual serious toy collector’s anguish mixed in. It was a surprise to see so much out before the Con has officially started – hopefully these companies have more to reveal, and of course we haven’t seen any serious Mattel reveals yet, which means much more excitement to come!

You can join in the discussion at the AFB Forum, and don't forget that by commenting on this or any other July post you can enter the July Comment of the Month Contest!

Until next time!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Following SDCC?

imALYj7QpZuaaabgrsp6D oW2g==So is AFB! There’s some great coverage happening on the ‘Net already, especially at:

Also, our “friend” site CriticalMess has a man on the ground at the ‘Con, and you can follow his travels on the main site or the discussion thread here.

At the AFB Forum we’re collecting pics and info and tracking what interests us. You can check out the DC Products Thread, The Marvel Products Thread, and the “Other” Products Thread  to see what we’re talking about.

Enjoy the con!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wolverine joins the Marvel Select ranks

Picture 006I’m a recent convert to Marvel Select’s offerings. While I’ve often been attracted to the figures, I’ve been put off by the lack of coherence in character selection, the cost of paying for complicated bases that don’t interest me, and the lack of scale consistency with Marvel Legends. The recent run of top tier characters like Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man and Captain Marvel have drawn me in, however, and sent me back looking for some of the other highlights of the line.

Marvel Select Wolverine came out last week and makes a nice addition to this recent trend of A-league characters in the MS line. I skipped the dopey looking First Appearance variant in favour of the standard version. Overall, this is a pleasing figure. Great rendition of the classic costume, and made the way I’d prefer my Marvel heroes, which is not over-articulated.

Picture 011One articulation-related quibble I do have, however, is with his claws and wrist / arm articulation. It’s hard to pose him in a way that make his claws look as menacing as one might like. The claws are perhaps a little bit thick or coming from slightly the wrong angle. Whatever the cause, it makes it look a bit awkward.

The base is pretty useless, in fact most of it is pretty indistinguishable, a part from a Weapon X helmet to the left hand side. This is my gripe with Marvel Select’s recent single-figure efforts: I don’t mind paying nearly double what I’d pay for a DCD figure for someone like Watcher or Thanos, but when it’s a single figure at pretty much the same quality of figure and a base that’s pretty worthless, I’d rather see MS put the money into two-packs like Havok and Polaris, Northstar and Aurora or other combinations that would definitely sell.

Picture 012 Having said that, it’s worth it to have this one in my collection. Overall he’s a great figure. If MS isn’t going to think too far outside the box then I hope we see a more consistent line of characters come out in this format and scale so that the can have some semblance of team or universe building as opposed to the previous slip-shot approach.

You can see additional pictures at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and don’t forget that by commenting on this post you can enter the July AFB Comment of the Month Contest!

Until next time!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dr Fate arrives in Argentina!

June AFB Comment of the Month Contest Winner Freak Studios has let us know that his chosen prize, DCUC 8 Dr Fate, has arrived at his home in Argentina. You can see a little snippet at his blog at http://freakstudios.blogspot.com/2009/07/very-special-thanks.html

Thanks to Freak Studios for the kind words and many thanks to Mike for making it possible! And of course, don’t forget that you can enter the July competition by commenting on this or any other July post!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More JSA Magic from the Golden to the Modern Age

Picture 004 It’s always too long in between chances to show off my new customs from Lars, one of the true masters of the custom world. Over the last couple of years Lars has been helping me round out the ranks of both the Golden Age and Modern Age Justice Society of America, and it’s always exciting to get the latest instalments.

Technically, Stripesy is working more towards a Seven Soldiers of Victory collection than JSA, but he’s still from that Golden Agey JSA world, and looks great next to the custom Star Spangled Kid Lars did for me awhile back. This is just an amazing piece of work, so exciting and captures Pat Dugan as Stripesy perfectly.

Picture 013From one of the oldest heroes to one of the newest, we have Mr America to further fill out the Modern Age JSA collection. While he’s been one of if not the most underutilised new characters in the team, I love his look, and what Lars has done here is amazing. My photo doesn’t do the work on the white section justice – is has a light blue wash and the buttoned-down look to give it depth and strength. The detail on his cape is equally incredible.  He even comes with his own little custom whip! Amazing job Lars!

Picture 015 There’s a glimpse here of how each fits in to the GA and MA JSA displays, and you can see more pics of this at Facebook. You can also discuss this at the AFB Forum, and don’t forget you can enter the July AFB Comment of the Month Contest by commenting on this post.

Many thanks to Lars for another great effort!

Until next time!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

A Small Spark of Light in the Darkness….

Picture 002It really is a sad day when DC Direct making a single new character in their 6” line is newsworthy, especially when that new character is a second-tier Superman villain. Obviously DCD thought it was, because when Superman / Batman Series 7 (that’s right, DCD does know how to count past two after all….) was solicited in previews the ad shouted “First Ever Live Wire figure!”, so I guess we’re supposed to think it’s a big deal. That’s not to take anything away from the figure, it’s just a comment on the sad state of affairs at the old D, C and D at the moment.

Finding myself with a shocking surplus of Men both Super and Bat of every description, I purchased only the “First Ever Live Wire Figure"!” and the “Second Ever Aquaman Noob Figure!” from this wave.

Picture 005 Live Wire is actually a fun figure. I was worried she’d be more of the stocky type build of some of the other females in this line, but she fits in well with other figures on my Superman baddies shelf. The headsculpt is a great rendition of the character, and she actually comes with some accessories – some groovy lightning fire balls that actually fit on her hands. Nice to see DCD throw in something extra in this form. Live Wire also comes with something else extra, an odd sort of chest articulation that cuts right underneath the breastal area which, when I was trying to examine it, Mrs AFB walked past, looked down, and described it as “boob articulation”. Her words, her words! Overall, a fun figure.

From the solicits, I wasn’t sure that Aquaman II/III/whoever differed greatly enough from the fugly First Appearance version to warrant a purchase, and was glad to see that he was. The FA version has always bugged me because of his odd stance and unwieldy accessories. The dude also has a fugly face however he’s made, but the FA version was ultra fugly. While I’m certainly hopeful that this current Aquaman won’t hold the title much longer, this is a much better version and will certainly replace the FA version on my Aquaman shelf.

Picture 016The fun part of the whole escapade came in trying to get Aquaman to hold his trident. At first I thought this was going to be impossible as it seemed that his thumb was sealed to the fist and with the prongs on the end of the trident it would not slip through. I then realised that the thumb could be prized away from the fist, but it actually ended up being a two-person job. Enter Mrs AFB, who inserted the trident while I held the fist open. HELPFUL HINT: If you enlist the assistance of your partner to do this, ensure they know which end of the Trident is “up” before starting, so that you don’t have to do it twice. Like we did. Yes, much laughter in the AFB household……

All in all, a small gift from DCD in the form of Live Wire, and otherwise more of the same. DCD rolls on…….

You can see a wider range of pics at Facebook, discuss this in the AFB Forum, and don’t forget that by commenting on this post you can enter the July AFB Comment of the Month Contest!

Until next time!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I guess every line has to have a stinker…

Picture 002Have to get it out of the way first: whoever it was at Mattel that came up with the idea of a clay-spattered Batman as a counterpart for Clayface in a DCUC Two-Pack needs to be taken out and shot, or at least made to wallow in pig slop for a long, long time. More on Poo-Powers Batman later.

Thanks to the magic of Mike from Mike’s Comics N’ Stuff, I managed to get the two new DCUC Two-Packs pretty quickly. These are a great way for Mattel to produce some new characters and also to get a chance to pick up some figures that passed some of us by in the DC Super Heroes era.

The only new character here is Silver Age Brainiac, but he’s quite an addition to the line and it’s taken way too long for him to appear in plastic. The less than great? He’s green in a Jolly Green Giant kind of green, not the lighter shade of green which is more comic correct. Picture 014He’s also a bit more brawny than one might expect – perhaps a proper use for the Shrimpestro sculpt? His facial expression is a bit blank and could be a little more menacing for my tastes. The great? It’s Silver Age Brainiac for pete’s sake! He’s darn fun!

I was really looking forward to the non-mullet Superman included in the 2-pack to be “the”  Superman in my DCUC line-up, forgetting he had red “Super-Eye-Beams” eyes. Bleargh. More on wasting one half of the two pack when we get to Faeces-Force Batman.

Clayface is just great fun. He really does look like a lump of doggy doo, but it’s a great sculpt and very much reissuing in this form. His wobbly arms are a particularly nice touch, although I wonder how the quality of plastic will wear. Still, he’s great, great, wobbly poo fun.

Picture 015And that, of course, brings us to Crap-Creature Batman and the silly wasting of figures by doing silly things like covering a Black & Grey Batman, which would have been a great addition to the line, with “clay”. Obviously part of the point of the two-packs is reissuing and recycling, but surely it could be done more creatively than this. All I can say is that I’m glad my kids aren’t fussy about a Supes with red eyes or a poo-splattered Bats, because otherwise they’d be in the charity bin. Worth it for Clayface and SA Brainiac? Kinda, but really, Mattel could be throwing us more of a bone with these.

Benefit of the doubt goes to Mattel for what a great line DCUC is over all, but if the next two pack has Mera with a seaweed-covered Aquaman, well….. that won’t be nearly as fun, because you can’t make poo alliterations with that.

There is an extended range of photos at Facebook, you can discuss this further at the AFB Forum, and don’t forget that you can enter the July AFB Comment of the Month Contest by commenting on this post.

Until next time!

Monday, July 06, 2009

An Aqua-fan in Crisis……

blackest-night-event-20090630041107263Oh, bleeding heck.

They would have to go and make a Black Lantern Aquaman, wouldn’t they? As if poor Arthur hasn’t suffered enough indignity being turned into a bizzarroid fish dude before finally being offed, now we have to not only see him as a Black Lantern Zombiefreak, but have him in plastic as well?

Thanks to IGN’s reveal of DCD’s Blackest Night Waves 3 and 4, we know the answer is yes. Blankety blank, blankety blank, rude words, etc….

While I am looking forward to quite a few of the figures in this line, and have to give DCD props for finally making an Arisia figure, this one is a killer….

So, what is a loyal, completist, possibly OCD, and okay, totally anal-retentive Aquaman collector to do? At the moment I am naturally saying there is “no way” I will buy this piece of plastic sacrilege, but time will tell – all I can say is that if we don’t get a resurrected Arthur / Odin out of this, there’s going to be major throwing of stuff around the toyroom here at AFB!

As I await my final decision, help me out by telling me what you’re buying or not buying in the poll to the right.

Until next time!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

AFB Comment of the Month Contest – July 2009

contestjul091First off, thanks to everyone who made an effort to comment on posts from June here on AFB. It’s very heartening to get feedback and have some discussion going on the blog as well as the forum.

Congratulations to Freak Studios for winning the June 2009 Comment of the Month Contest. His comment was randomly selected by a random number selector (of which I have discovered there are many on the internet!) and he now gets the choice of either the classic Dr Fate from DCUC Wave 8 or Livewire from Superman / Batman Wave 7 which FINALLY comes out this week! One he’s made his choice his prize will be delivered courtesy of AFB and Mike from Mike’s Comics N’ Stuff. Well done Freak Studios!

contestjul092For July, the two choices on offer are either the Batman figure from DC Direct’s History of the DC Universe Wave One, or both the Classic and Modern Ms Marvel figures from Marvel Universe Wave 3.

Here’s a reminder of the basic contest rules:

  • every genuine comment on a post from the calendar month will be eligible for receiving the prize. I’m going to stick to my own time zone and call it at 23:59:59 Australian Eastern Standard Time – best to comment often and comment early
  • if my super scientific randomizer comment selector system chooses an Anonymous comment, I’ll skip it and go again – you need to leave a name, a link, your AFB Forum username or email addy so that I can contact you if you are the winner. Blogger comments allows you to do this.
  • you will be given a choice of one of the two figures on offer from the month’s contest – figures will be in their original packaging
  • figures will be sent by first class mail within the US (Mike is sending them, remember) and first class international to any overseas winner. An overseas winner can elect to chip in for Priority Mail or Insurance, but otherwise we can’t take any responsibility for a parcel that doesn’t arrive – after this is coming out of AFB’s  not dreadfully deep pockets!

mikesLOGOOnce again, thanks to Mike for making this all possible for us, and here’s to another happy month of commenting!

Until next time!

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