Monday, January 04, 2010

The AFB 2009 Toys of the Year Awards

Another year of collecting (or at least trying to collect) has come and gone, but we can’t say a complete goodbye to 2009 until we’ve had the 2009 AFB Toys of the Year Awards. The toys listed below come from what I personally have bought / reviewed over the course of 2009, so it’s limited to my personal tastes and collection, but there’s a lot to work with there! Let’s get started!

The 6” (or thereabouts) Male Figure of the Year: DC Universe Classics Wave 9 Green Arrow: The “Hard Travelling Heroes” Ollie from DC Direct captured his iconic look just as well as this version, but the shortchange on articulation in that older figure means the DCUC version surpasses not only all other Green Arrow figures, but all other figures this year in my book. Lots of steep competition from many DCUC figures, and other contenders like MOTUC’s Man-at-Arms, Marvel Select’s Sabretooth and DCD’s Metron (what, no chair???), but in the end Ollie takes the cake, even with that puny little arrow permanently stuck to his bow.

The 6” (or thereabouts) Female Figure of the Year: Masters of the Universe Teela and DC Direct New Gods Wave 2 Big Barda: What, no DCUC?? Sorry, but the frailties of the DCUC female buck (mainly the puny upper arms), as much as I love the line, put great figures like Black Canary and Hawkgirl just that smidge below some other favourites from the year. I’d rather my women didn’t look they’d snap like a twig in a strong gust of wind, and Teela and the wonderfully Kirby-esque Barda really fit that bill, as well as being outstanding pieces in their own right. They both just edge the glorious Hawkgirl out for me.

The Build-A-Figure of the Year: DC Universe Wave 9 Chemo: Atom Smasher was exciting just for his first appearance in this scale, and Giganta is so great that she nearly takes the cake, but Chemo wins mainly because of his unexpected awesomeness. This was one you really had to see in person to appreciate in size and quality. I had no idea how much I was going to like this. Lucky me got the “extra bubbles” version!

6” Wave of the Year: DC Universe Wave 8…. no, Wave 9…… no, 8…… no…..: It’s a tricky one. In terms of unexpected character selection, the JSA-heavy Wave 8 was a real joy to collect: Gentleman Ghost! Commander Steel! Giganta!!! Then, there’s the iconic representation of so many great characters in Wave 9: Green Arrow! Black Canary! Black Adam! Wildcat!!. I won’t choose, I tell you, I won’t!

But I think it might be 9….. no, 8! No……...

The 12” (or thereabouts) Figure of the Year: Not awarded. The field was slim pickings this year in terms of what I collected. The flaws of the DCD 13” female buck rule out the otherwise good Zatanna and Supergirl, (I’ll get to Wonder Woman later..) and I passed on all the movie tie-in figures that clogged the DCD 13” line. I do have to give DCD some credit for finally giving the JSA, and the Golden Age, some love in this line. They did a fine job with Jay Garrick, but it’s a shame the line is tanking with repetitive character choices and dodgy, inconsistent quality. No winners here – I need to expand my collection circle in this area in 2010!

The Statue (Series) of the Year: DC Direct’s Cover Girls of the DC Universe Series was the breakthrough statue series of the year for me. Wonder Woman was a great start, Black Canary was brilliant and Zatanna and Catwoman were downright incredible. The only downside is that these opened up the world of full-sized statues to me, and I’m now sliding down that slippery slope……

The Bust / Mini-Bust of the Year: DC Direct Heroes of the DC Universe Green Arrow: The pickings were slimmer than they should have been this year due to some delays in Bowen’s Marvel product, I loved having Mera and Vixen in the Women of the DCU Series, but neither of those quite hit the mark (ha ha) as much as the mini-bust version of Green Arrow, who just edges out Aquaman for me because of Arthur’s squinty eyes.

The Under 6” Line of the Year: Mattel’s Batman: Brave & The Bold: This line is firmly targeted at kids, but I am having great fun enjoying it – especially with fun additions like Green Arrow, Plastic Man and Sportsmaster! Marvel Universe comes a close second, but the plethora of Iron Man, Spiderman and Wolverine versions in every wave are a bit of a buzzkill.

The Custom of the Year: Dr Terrific’s Bronze Age Legionnaires: I love keeping great customisers in work, and I had fun doing so again this year! Lars’ GA Stripesey and MA Mr America and Jackknight’s 12” SA Colossal Boy were both highlights for me, but Dr Terrific helped start a dream come true with some wonderful custom Bronze Age Legionnaires that are the start of a much bigger project. More to come!

The Georg Brewer Memorial WTF! Award for 2009: It’s a tie, and lo and behold they both come from the hallowed halls of DC Direct! The DCD 13” Wonder Woman was simply a disaster, while DCD missed the boat once again by saddling it’s History of the DC Universe line with an utterly horrid buck. Fail, fail and fail.

And just so we don’t end on a sour note…..

The Collecting Community Class Act of 2009: The gang at Critical Mess really deserve a rap, and for once not on the knuckles.  They put in an excellent effort to confound the scalpers by helping every member of the board who wanted them to get the Wal-Mart Exclusive DCUC Products – both the 5-pack and Wave 10. A wonderful example of community spirit in such self-centred times deserves a mention – well done guys!

So that’s my 2009 wrap-up, but this is just one guy’s opinion. Hop on to the AFB Forum’s 2009 Toy of the Year Thread and have your say. Also, don’t forget you can comment on this post to enter the January AFB Comment of the Month Contest!

Thanks for being on board for 2009, and here’s to a great 2010!

Until next time!


Saranga said...

Good round up. AS you know I don't buy many figures but I do admire a lot.
I really want a Big Barda but there's somethign about your one that isn't grabbing me. I can't put my finger on it, I'm just not that keen.
I'd love a Gentleman Ghost.
I still maintain that Zee should have fishnets, Dinah OTOH, looks amazing. As does Selina.
I love your Dawnstar.
Last mention goes to Chemo - he looks great, and what a brilliant idea for a build a figure piece!

bigraj said...

Pretty good choices there. So good, that even though we differ in some categories, I can't argue with your picks. :)

Kyle said...

I've got to agree with you on the New Gods Big Barda, its' such a great figure. I liked it alot more than the tiny stick figure Barda DCUC gave us. Barda needs heft!

fishmilkshake said...

Great choices Andy! I also agree the DC Covergirls statues are just perfect. My 12"-13" inch figure of the year has to be the Comedian figure from Watchmen

chopa said...

Someday Mattel will make a good female buck.
Chemo was my favorite BAF I don't own, or at least was until I saw Kilowog.

Anonymous said...

Awesome choices Andy, gotta hand it to ya!



chrismandesign said...

i guess is d 1st time i post a comment here... i’m not a big fan of DC/Marvel characters (i prefer anime/manga characters) but i hav a few pieces that i’ll publish this year... all these figures r amazing, i dunno if d Green Arrow belongs to d same set of d Red Arrow, isn’t it ??? DC Direct figures hav a great quality & excellent paint job, so i hav no complains bout ur selection... i like the most that Chemo, it’s awesome... care to visit my blog, specifically my 2009 top 10??? i dunno if my figures r of ur taste, but u can give’em an opportunity LOL here is d link

Tom Freak said...

Great list! I already did mine in the forum. We even agree in some choices!

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