Thursday, July 19, 2012

SDCC 2012 – The Non-Attendee Wrap-Up


            This past weekend presented a nice change for me in terms of San Diego Comic Con. I didn’t get to go or anything – I just happened to be off for it, so I was able to follow the events like a normal human being rather than trying to sneak quick looks at my phone while hiding in a bathroom stall at work like some kind of reprobate.
Naturally, this meant that there was far less exciting news out of the Con than is normally the case. Honestly, the only thing I felt compelled to talk to anybody about was Mattel’s Mattypalooza panel, and even that was not nearly as climactic as years past.
            I actually forgot I had even done one of these armchair wrap-up things back in 2010 until I was browsing through my old files on Monday. It seems like a fun thing to write, so here I am doing another one. I’ll start with Mattel since their panel not only provided the most news, but also because I had a keen interest in what went on.
Click the links for pictures.
MattyCollector: Did not convince me to renew my subscriptions for 2013 – Don’t take that headline the wrong way. I actually feel like Matty had a pretty good showing all things considered. The rest of Club Eternia for 2012 is solid with reveals like Procrustus, Filmation Randor, Mosquitor, and (old guy). A character called Castle Grayskullman (above) won the create-a-character contest. He’s not bad at all, though I will be painting his blond hair black like Evil suggested. Their 2013 lineup is interesting so far, with Jitsu, Rattlor and Ram Man on the way. Also coming are Netossa – who I have previously identified as having the most painfully stupid name of any Masters of the Universe/She-Ra character – and the Fighting Foe Men – who are a bunch of made-up weirdos I don’t care about. The big news is the price increase. Regular individual figures are going up to $25 for sub holders, $27 for non-sub holders. Also, the Club Exclusive figure is King He-Man, who looks pretty cool but isn’t nearly enough incentive for me.
This sucks ass. I already knew I wasn’t going to subscribe for 2013. The MOTUC line is great, but it is just too much of a strain on the budget. I’ve spent two years getting a ton of figures I love and a bunch of figures I couldn’t care less about. I just can’t keep it up, especially with Lil’ Troublemaker starting preschool. But I had still hoped to pick up a figure here and there. Now, with each figure costing approximately $35.70 thanks to Matty’s expensive and inefficient shipping I just can’t do it. I’m out. I’m not happy about it, but I am.
This has never happened to me that I can remember. I’ve never been forced out of a line before. I don’t think I’ve ever stopped collecting an active line while I still enjoyed it. It’s really going to suck watching all of those figures get released and not buying them, but that’s how it is. And honestly, it’s not even so much my finances as my genuine feeling that the prices are unreasonable. I’ve felt for a very long time that Mattel’s products are too expensive. This price hike is just beyond what I can justify, especially with the new TMNT line and how relatively inexpensive its pieces are.
And then there’s Club Infinite Earths. To say I have been massively disappointed so far wouldn’t be an overstatement. Atrocitus and Metron are very weak figures for the price. However, what Matty showed for the remainder of 2012 looks pretty darn great – Poison Ivy, Black Mask, Lead, Platinum & Tin, Constantine, and Elastigirl all look pretty great. They even fixed Mirror Master’s hands. I’m happy enough to have gotten the sub for this year if these all look as good in hand as they do in pictures.
The first part of next year is very solid, with Elongated Man, Larfleeze, Saint Walker, Phantom Stranger, and Wally West. The Club Exclusive is actually quite excellent – Monsieur Mallah and Brain.
But, just like Club Eternia, the prices are going up for 2013. Sub holders will be paying $18 plus shipping for regular figures and non-sub holders will shell out $20-plus. Again, I’m out.
Oh, and if you’re a fan of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen (the comic books, not the movie or the prequel comics or the toaster or the Officially Licensed Watchmen Nite Owl’s “Nite Stick” Marital Aid), you may or may not be pleased to know that MattyCollector’s new sub for 2013 is Club Black Freighter – a line of Watchmen figures. They’re $25 apiece. Plus shipping (totaling the aforementioned $33.70 minimum). For DCUC-style figures. I’m not particularly a fan of Watchmen or of 6” action figures that cost more than my monthly gas bill.
Hot Toys: Made me wish I was a millionaire – It was announced a couple of weeks ago that the various morons that hold the rights to the old Batman TV show starring Adam West finally realized that they could have been making shit tons of money for the last forty-odd years if they hadn’t had their heads up their asses. They started licensing the rights to various vendors. The DVDs are still up in the air, but toys, clothing, toasters, and Bat Anti-Shark Spray are all in the pike. Hot Toys has the Batman ’66 license. The first product they are offering is a sixth scale Batmobile. This knowledge tears my soul apart, as I will never be able to justify spending $700 (or more – who knows?) on a toy. Very expensive figures are sure to follow.
Marvel: Insist their reboot is not actually a reboot and has nothing to do with DC’s reboot – This Fall, Marvel is launching a new initiative called “Marvel Now”. This involves rebooting reworking a bunch of their titles to freshen things up. Considering the fact that I have spent the past year steadily dropping DC books while regularly adding Marvel books, I find this absolutely mind-boggling. After DC “New Coked” their entire lineup last year, I can’t imagine anybody thinking such a move would be a good idea. Granted, Joe Quesada swears up and down this is a different sort of thing. And it doesn’t seem like Marvel is resetting continuity or anything, but they are moving around creative teams and doing the one thing I have been dreading for years – putting Brian Michael “everybody talks like Spider-Man” Bendis on X-books. This I am not happy about. Giving Rick Remender a book called Uncanny Avengers does sound like a kickass idea, though.
DC Comics: Is still trying – Good Lord, I can’t think of a single thing from DC. I guess the most surprising news is that they haven’t given up on the whole New 52 thing yet. Ooh, wait a minute – Joker’s coming back. After DC got all 90’s X-Treem and let whoever was writing Detective Comics for the reboot cut his face off; enough time has passed to bring the Clown Prince of Crime back. This might even be some kind of big Bat-crossover, as DC Big Cheese Dan DiDio stated that Joker was going to force all of the Bat Family to find their true faces – whatever the hell that means. While “Night of the Owls” wasn’t quite as fulfilling as I’d been hoping for, Scott Snyder still has oodles of good will with me. I trust he’ll craft a compelling Joker story for us.
Side Note: This is purely me speculating, but I do not think “Night of the Owls” under-delivering was Snyder’s fault. My theory is that it was simply supposed to be a story arc and DC editorial decided it needed to be a crossover to go along with the ones happening at the same time in other titles. So it got built up more than it should have, some sloppy tie-ins were thrown together, and we got a bunch of throw-away stories in the other books that undermined the main story in Batman. But that’s totally me guessing. I have no inside knowledge of the thing.
Marvel Movies: Bent on world dominationCaptain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark Kingdom, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ant-Man are all happening. Iron Man 3 is currently filming in Wilmington, NC and the newest suit of armor was on display.
Side Note: I will be in Wilmington at the end of the month. I do not know if Iron Man 3 will still be filming at that time, but I will certainly be looking into it.
DC Movies: Apparently don’t even have shit to get together – DC’s film division hilariously announced that after the new Superman they will not be releasing any more movies until 2015; and that one will be a Justice League movie. Between now and then DC will be focusing on the Justice League in comics and other releases in order to build up to the movie. As opposed to, you know, making good movies about Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, or any of their other eminently marketable and well-known characters. Lord knows that’s never worked for anybody else.
The Hobbit: Is going to make 84 gazillion dollars on its opening weekend – No, really:
 SDCC 2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Panel
John Barrowman: Is a fantastic host. And might be just a tad gay – The man who made Captain Jack Harkness one of the most popular companions in the history of Doctor Who – and one of only three to receive their own televised spinoff series – co-hosted G4’s San Diego Comic Con Special with Candace Bailey. Barrowman did a great job, despite a Jerry Lawler-sized level of self-promotion. He was a good interviewer, he danced, he had a great chemistry with everybody, and he made no bones about scoping the show floor for half-naked dudes. This was one of the best Comic Con Specials G4 has put on and I attribute that almost entirely to Barrowman’s fun, gleeful demeanor. It certainly didn’t have anything to do with that little Middle Eastern jerk who was trying too hard to be like that gay guy who loves Madonna on Conan. He was awful.
 
Doctor Who: In the new season… – The Ponds departure is going to be sad. Very, very sad. Like, paint your room black and listen to Joy Division while writing poetry on black paper with a black pen sad. Karen Gillen was crying on set sad.
Also, there’s Daleks.
You know what gets me really psyched up to watch a television show? People talking about how fucking depressing it’s going to be. Yessiree – nothing as exciting as a good bummer!
Mattel Retail: More DC toys are coming! Someday! – A bunch of  of Mattel’s new DC Unlimited (there’s no limit to how expensive our toys can get!) figures were revealed – New 52 Batman, New 52 Superman, New 52 Batgirl, Super Powers Penguin, (other). BBTS has them listed for $18.99 each which is, of course, ridiculous. There are apparently a couple of series and I am not clear on what they are.
Also, a Batman ’66 line is coming to retail in Fall of 2013. I might pay a bit more to own these, but they had better be all-new sculpts. Retooled DCUC bucks are absolutely not going to be acceptable. I want Movie Master style.
Hasbro Marvel: Series 3 of the new Marvel Legends is coming in October – And the variants are going to piss you off just as much as the ones in Series Two did. The series consists of Deadpool, Sentry, Archangel, Blade, Dani Moonstar, Mystique, a big, bulky Iron Man, and Doctor Doom. Okay - it turns out I don't have any better an idea of Marvel's assortments than I do Mattel's DC. There were three or more waves of Marvel Legends shown and I don't know what was what. Also, there's a Hit-Monkey coming.
It’s worth noting that the MSRP on all of these was $14.99. I still feel that’s too expensive, but I have finally accepted that that’s just how much most 6” scale toys cost now. We're also getting a line of Marvel Legends scale Amazing Spider-Man figures. I'll buy Spidey, but not that goofy-ass talking Lizard.
Alien: Is getting new toys. That aren’t from NECA – A company called Super7 made a deal with the devil to get the molds for Kenner’s never-released line of Alien action figures. They are releasing them and I bet they will be SuperExpensive. But they look SuperNeat.
Sideshow Collectibles: Thankfully costs slightly less than Hot Toys – Baroness and Major Bludd are coming soon for the GI Joe line. Both look outstanding. Actually, ever since Zartan these Sideshow releases have been looking closer and closer to the original figures. They still look like more realistic interpretations, but are just a bit more fantastic than some of the early releases. As nice as the Duke figure was, he was boring.
Sideshow’s big reveal was probably the first group of offerings in its new DC Comics line of sixth scale figures. Superman, Batman, Catwoman, and Joker were all on display and looking superb. But here’s the thing – as long as DC-branded products continue to bear the traditional likenesses of the characters I will never take the New 52 reboot seriously. Yes, there are busts and figures from DC of the New 52 looks, but anything done by DC’s licensing partners features the classic looks of the characters. I am totally okay with that, but it does betray a certain lack of trust in the new status quo.
NECA: Had a bunch of rad new toys – I want Prometheus toys really bad. Coming soon from NECA are a Fassbinder , the Prometheus xenomorph, and the crazy disintegrating guy from the beginning. This is in addition to the two Engineers we have already seen.
The Terminator line is continuing with a frosty T-1000 and Kyle Reese.
NECA is kicking off a line of humans from Aliens with an amazing sniveling Hudson. I really hope they can get Paul Reiser’s likeness so they can do Burke. And considering the Kyle Reese figure above I assume we’ll be getting a Corporal Hicks sooner than later. I know McFarlane already did one, but NECA’s stuff is so, so much better.
There are three new Mogwai coming soon and the electric Gremlin from the second movie is already in stores.
John J. Rambo from Rambo is on the way.
A Robocop with a spring-loaded holster will be out this year.
Two new Jason Voorhees variants are coming.
But for me the crown jewels of NECA’s display were the Predator figures. There’s some awesome red Predator that I didn’t recognize, but it doesn’t matter because it was probably the coolest Predator I have ever seen. Two variants of Dutch are on the way with amazing Schwarzenegger likenesses. One of them is the mud-covered version. Also shown were the Elder Predators from Predator 2 (I’m not sure that’s what they are – they’re the ones that are in the spaceship at the end).
That’s about all I have to talk about. There seemed to be surprisingly little movie news, but with so many major franchises concluded or winding down – Twilight, Harry Potter, Nolan’s Batman – Hollywood might be a little gun shy. I did see an interview with Charlie Day and Guillermo del Toro about Pacific Rim, but so little was actually said about the movie it was more annoying than informative.

-Phantom
    

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