2020 is in the rearview mirror now and today I start my look back at the best parts of what has been universally been regarded as a "dog turd placed in a brown paper bag and lit on fire on your front porch with caltrops hidden inside so that when you step on it your feet bleed" of a year. In some respects, however, particularly when it came to action figures, 2020 wasn't too bad. In fact, it was pretty good, really. Creating my "Top 10" lists is always one of my favorite things to do at Action Figure Barbecue and I always spend a great deal of time going over my notes from the previous year of what toylines were the coolest and most fun to collect. This is now the ninth year in a row I've created a list (the earliest ones were posted at The Epic Review) and it's always interesting too see how my lists fluctuate from year to year, reflecting my changing interests. This year the list wasn't as hard to narrow down to ten candidates as in past years but it still did take a little thought. I've made some changes to my collecting habits over the past couple of years with most of my collecting focusing on Masters of the Universe and Star Wars: The Black Series but there are some other fun lines like the Fortnite: Legendary Series and the G.I. Joe Classified Series that also captured my attention. With Masters of the Universe being my main collecting focus, I definitely a great deal of my collectible funds there, sometimes buying pricier items and vintage pieces, so I tend to jump into fewer random lines than I have in years past. I passed up a lot of lines that interested me this year as well, including McFarlane's DC Multiverse, Marvel Legends, lots of ReAction stuff, NECA's Back to the Future, and Super7's TMNT Ultimates, simply because of space, money, and enjoying my more focused collection.
A few years back I divided my Top 10 list into two separate categories: My Top 10 Toylines and My Top 10 Individual Releases. Today I'm starting with my top 10 Toylines as it's my standard best of list. These are the 10 toylines (action figures, statues, minifigures, etc.) of the past year that I most enjoyed collecting. They may not always be the best or the most expansive lines, but they're my favorites for one reason or another. As I reiterate every year, the two key word for this list are "my" and "favorite." My list isn't really based on a toyline's true merits and I don't typically go outside of what interests me. This is really a snapshot of the ten toylines I had the most fun collecting last year. As always, these are listed alphabetically rather than by merit. And now, for My Top 10 Toylines of 2020...
|Alien Super Set
It's no secret that Kenner's vintage Aliens/ Predator toyline is one of my favorites of all time and I actually finished my collection early this year. That made it even cooler that Lanard Toys, know for their budget The Corps line, released some very fun Aliens toys that were cheap, colorful, and fit in fairly well with Kenner's offerings from the early to mid-90s. The soldiers are kind of lame but the Xenomorphs themselves are very, very cool and most of the accessories go great with Kenner's Space Marines figures.
|Fortnite Legendary Series also made the list in 2019!
This is the second year that Jazwares' Fortnite: Legendary Series has made the list and it had a pretty good sophomore year. It's still strange how the line just drops figure seemingly out of nowhere but, for the most part, figures are easy to get and get restocked frequently. They also continue to have fantastic designs, excellent articulation, and lots of cool accessories. 2021 seems to be off to a good start for this line as well though there are still far too few female figures in the line. C'mon, Jazwares! It's 2021! Bring some more female fighters into the melee.
|Wayne "Beach Head" Sneeden
I think it's pretty safe to say that Hasbro's G.I. Joe Classified Series was the surprise hit of 2020. Fans weren't prepared for it. Hasbro didn't seem to be prepared for it. Target certainly wasn't prepared for it. If you were a collector of this line in 2020 you spent your time talking about how amazing and fun these figures were and how difficult they were to find. Hasbro could have a long running hit on their hands based on a property as even without a movie these figures flew off shelves. If Hasbro keeps up the quality, keeps repaints to a minimum, and meets demand, G.I. Joe could return as a major hit.
|Masters of the Universe also made the list in 2019!
While Mondo's Masters of the Universe line only had three releases in 2020 (Scarglow, Man-At-Arms, and Mer-Man), all of them were excellent and exciting takes on the heroes and villains of Eternia. Being a higher end line (though these figures are durable and made for messing around with) Mondo only releases a few a year but I think they could easily get around to a quarterly schedule to keep the momentum going. I don't collect much of anything in the 1/6th scale but these have my full attention!
|MOTUC also made the list from 2012-2015 and 2018.
While Super7 doesn't have the MOTU license anymore they did make sure their last year of releases was pretty incredible including the 1987 movie based figures and Snake Mountain. Not as much product as was released in some years but some major pieces added to my favorite toyline of all time. While I hope the upcoming Mastersverse line from Mattel is compatible wit MOTUC and continues to it, if this is the end it was a grand finale of a line that lasted a little over 12 years.