Hell of a year for toys, right? We’ve seen some crazy stuff. Marvel Legends and Star Wars Black continue to boom. The end of DC Multiverse has come for Mattel; McFarlane gets the DC license for next year to add to their prodigious portfolio (including Harry Potter), while Imaginext and DC Super Hero Girls continue at Mattel. International companies and Funko are more popular than ever, and companies like NECA and Mezco continue to drive out high-end licensed goods. And that’s just the surface, really.
I want to take some time today to address what I see as the Best and Bummers about collecting this year. Ready to go?
BEST: HASBRO PULSE
Hasbro’s site upgrade does a tremendous service to fans. It has pre-orders, exclusives, and the chance to sign on for Haslab projects. There’s free shipping for members, and the prices generally equal in-store pricing, if not lower. The design is also clean and easy to use. And I’ve never experienced lag, even when the Baby Yoda stuff went up yesterday. It’s very well-done.
BEST: ARMY BUILDER IN ONE
It’s not a totally new idea, as Marvel Legends has packed in alternate heads that “make” a new figure in the past (notably, Madcap with Deadpool or Hammerhead with Chameleon). But they leveled up with Dani Moonstar (more in a minute) by including two extra heads and two sets of hands to allow one body to become three characters (Dani, Karma, and Wolfsbane). This idea is extending with the Stepford Cuckoos, and it’s really clever in execution. If it were possible to have them be a little easier to find, I can think of a few other Marvel instances where this could be appropriate, from male New Mutants to alien Nova Corps members to a wider span of masked/unmasked options.
In the past, the Marvel Legends Walgreens exclusives have been generally easy to obtain. That changed with Emma Frost. From phantom and disappearing orders on the website to a general lack of the figures ever showing up in some stores, it was a real pain in the ass to find Emma. It got even worse with Dani Moonstar. Here’s hoping that Walgreens manages the process better in the new year with the Stepford Cuckoos. Giving them a separate item number in the database would be a great start.
BEST: DC MULTIVERSE GOES OUT BIG
Even though it was the last year for the line, Mattel managed to knock out some of the best figures of their entire run this year. The Rebirth Titans (Beast Boy, Nightwing, Wally West, Starfire) were all very good, as were the surprising KGBeast and the wonderfully multi-headed Alfred. I’m very interested to see what McFarlane does, because they have some big shoes to fill for DC in the mass market.
BUMMER: DEAD DC
It appears that previously previewed DC Multiverse figures like the Mammoth collect-and-connect and Green Lantern Simon Baz will never come out. And that’s too bad.
BEST: FUNKO CHARACTER SELECTION
Good on Funko for staying on top of making virtual anything. Marvel? DC? Star Wars? PBS Hosts? Horror icons? Musicians? All in incredible varieties? There’s barely a property you can think of that DOESN’T have a line of Funkos to go with it.
How about you, readers? What are your Best and Bummers for 2019? What are you looking forward to the most in 2020? Thanks for reading.