Saturday, February 24, 2024

Missing in Action: Toylines That Didn't Make the Cut in 2023

 


   Since 2015 I've supplemented my Top 10 Toylines of the Year awards with a list called Missing in Action (no relation to the Chuck Norris film). This is a reflective list where I look back at the Top 10 Toylines list from the year before and determine why some of the lines from that year failed to return for the current year's list.  2023's top 10 list only had five lines returning from 2022's list (2022's top 10 list  had seven returning toylines while 2021 only had four returning toylines from the 2020 list). I find it interesting to look at the lines that failed to show up again in order to diagnose why they went missing. It's also fun to whine and complain a bit, which might be part of the reason I enjoy this list so much. There are a few reasons why a toyline might make this list:

Missing in Action: This is a toyline that gets cancelled, ends, or just didn't have any releases during the year. It happens a lot, unfortunately, and often to some of my favorites it seems, though not as much as in the past.

Demoted: Sometimes a toyline just gets outdone by others. This isn't specifically related to the quality of the demoted line and more reflective of the quality of the lines that supplanted it or of my interest shifting to other things.

Sunk: This is when a toyline has a severe drop in quality or perhaps an exorbitant price hike that causes it to fall from grace. While most toylines get better as they go, some do indeed get worse and worse due to cost cutting, mismanagement, and quality control issues. Sometimes the price just outpaces the value, making a once impressive toyline now seem like a shell of its former self.

Let's jump in and check out who went missing in action in 2023 after the break...





Friday, February 23, 2024

Action Figure Review: Shadow Tracker from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro

 

   In January the newest series of Walmart exclusive G.I. Joe: Classified Series figures shipped out and, once again, they features the Night Force theme for the Joe team members. Tunnel Rat and Wolf Spider were the Joe team members in Night Force gear (Tunnel Rat's a repaint while Wolf Spider is a completely new character that reuses some parts from other figures) but Shadow Tracker, a member of Cobra, might be the star of the show. Shadow Tracker was created during the Pursuit of Cobra era, an era which was perhaps the best post-vintage era ever for 1/18th scale G.I. Joe figures. The Pursuit of Cobra figures seemed to draw from a variety of pop culture sources and featured "Jungle Assault" versions of Duke, Spirit, and Recondo that felt suspiciously like tributes to Dutch, Billy, and Blain from the 1987 film Predator, one of the few truly perfect motion pictures to ever exist. And who did those guys square off against? Shadow Tracker, a mask wearing, blade wielding jungle hunter who sported dreadlocks and various trophies made from bone. This guy absolutely rocked the Joe fandom back in 2011 and he's still a pretty unique villain in the Classified Series today. Ready for an incredible new menace for your Joes to face off against? Then join me after the break...


Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Action Figure Review: Peter Venkman & Gruesome Twosome Ghost from Ghostbusters Kenner Classics by Hasbro

 

   I was surprised in early January when I walked into Target and stumbled upon the retro styled Fright Features versions of The Real Ghostbusters figures from Hasbro. These were right on the shelf alongside the Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire toys and they're currently exclusive to Target until later this spring. I've now found all four of the Ghostbusters from this series (Hasbro hasn't announced a release of Janine Melnitz yet, but she's one of the few original vintage figures I still own) but Peter and Ray were the first two I found from the set. These are pretty much straight up remakes of the vintage figures released in very late 1987/ early 1988, which I definitely had and remember fondly. They would have came out when I was four and when I was really into Ghostbusters. The Fright Features series isn't my favorite variant set of the Ghostbusters (that would be either the Super Fright Features or the Backpack Heroes) but these are definitely one of the most recognizable sets of vintage Ghostbusters toys. Apparently they had the widest distribution of any of the sets, which explains why you'll find these in nearly any loose toy bin at comic and collectible shops. Ready to start off checking these remakes out with a look at Peter Venkman & Gruesome Twosome Ghost? Then join me after the break...



Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Action Figure Review: Mutt & Junkyard from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro

 


  Mutt and Junkyard are my first G.I. Joe: Classified Series reviews for 2024 figures! I do believe that some of the deluxe set of Mutt, the dog handler, and Junkyard, the dog, made it out at the end of 2023, but this guy didn't release from Hasbro Pulse or most other online stores until the first week of January, so I'm counting the set as a 2024 release. While there are still plenty to be made, Hasbro has been offering a nice assortment of figures with animal companions in the Classified Series. I loved the figures that came with animals as a kid and I'm always looking forward to any sets that come with a dog. We've had Snake Eyes and Timber and now we have Mutt and Junkyard. Oddly enough, Junkyard is the friendlier of the pair, as Mutt is known for being prone to snapping and having a pretty bad attitude. He's the one wearing the muzzle, after all. Mutt and Junkyard were first released as part of the 1984 G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series, and it's that vintage figure that these two are largely based on. Ready to check out this two-pack? Then join me after the break...


Wednesday, February 14, 2024

The Best of the Rest: My 10 Favorite Individual Toys of 2023


 

   While the list of my 10 favorite toylines from the past year is always the main event for my annual awards, I've always tried to recognize that not every great toy is part of a larger toyline or a toyline that I fully collect. I find that I'm usually driven to lines where I can build a huge roster of diverse characters that have a steady stream of releases, so those tend to be my favorites. It seems kind of unfair, then, to never acknowledge figures from smaller toylines or one off releases. Sometimes I just grab a single figure or toy from a larger line because it really appeals to me in some way. That's where the list of my Top 10 Favorite Individual Toys for the year comes in. So who is eligible? Most any toy or collectible released in 2023 could have made this list. Who isn't eligible? Any toy from a line I picked in my 10 Favorite Toylines of 2023 list. Remember that these are just listed semi randomly, not in order of merit. Many of the figures I picked this year were from properties with limited characters released, import figures I ordered to supplement other lines, or my favorite figures from lines that just didn't make the cut in 2023. Ready to pick out some of my favorite one-offs of 2023? Then join me after the break...


Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Minifigure Review: Clayface from DC Comics- Batman Tiny Mights by CultureFly

 

   Let's take a short look at another sculpt from CultureFly's C Comics- Batman Tiny Mights: Clayface! I presume this is the Basil Karlo version of Clayface, as he's sculpted to look like a big mess of mud, though other villains with the Clayface name have sported this same appearance. For the full story on CultureFly's Tiny Mights check out my review of Catwoman, but for just the details on this miniature Clayface that really reminds me of a mix between the classic M.U.S.C.L.E. line and Monster in my Pocket, keep reading after the break...

Monday, February 12, 2024

Action Figure Review: Robin (DC vs. Vampires) from DC Multiverse by McFarlane Toys

 

   I've really enjoyed DC Vs. Vampires. It's an excellent "Elseworlds" story that's been quite fun with some wonderfully gruesome redesigns. It's sad that we'll likely never get a full roster from the book, though with how many comics DC releases, that's just not even really possible, is it? Last year I reviewed the Walmart exclusive Gold Label Batman from DC Vs. Vampires and this year I'm reviewing the Walmart exclusive Gold Label Robin from the same title. Walmart has been getting all of the DC Vs. Vampires exclusives as they've also had the Joker, Green Lantern, and Superman. I grabbed the Joker but skipped the other two. I'm a Gotham City guy, though, and Damian Wayne actually plays a significant role in the DC Vs. Vampires series, so he was a sure buy. Ready to check out this vampirized variant of Batman's son? Then join me after the break...