So I know I haven’t posted in such a long time. I guess I should probably change this. As some of you might already know I am a massive toy collector, especially Marvel Legends which I have been collecting since it’s introduction. As some of you may remember after Hasbro took over the line from Toy Biz I expressed my dismay with how they handled the line.

Well now a decade after acquiring the license Hasbro has hit their stride and not only has lived up to much of the Toy Biz product but in some cases has exceeded it. They have also released many figures that have either been major wants for years for like the recent Brown Suit Wolverine or Darkhawk or figures that no one ever expected to see like Disco era Dazzler or Nico from the Runaways. Hasbro has shown now that nearly anything is on the table. So here in no particular order is my own personal wants in the line.

White Suited Dr. Octopus

This has been my “white whale” for decades now. Doc Ock has always been my favorite Spider-Man villain and when I first started to get into comics this was the look he was sporting. The double breasted white suit was made most famous by Erik Larsen in the Revenge of the Sinister Six storyline. To me at least it changed poor Otto from a bumbling almost cartoonish villain to a more serious and credible threat and very visually striking. The figure of this would be a boon to Hasbro as well since they could use a second suited body, shorter and more stout. Sadly with how Hasbro functions this will likely end up as a Build a Figure which could be a blessing if we could get some fantastic and longer arms out of the deal.

Come on, he even got women during this time!

 

McFarlane Hulk

So Todd is most famous for his Spider-Man which was captured in plastic in the very first Spider-Man classics wave. What is just as good to me is his unique take on the Grey Hulk. Shorter and much wider than the traditional Hulk looks of the past with a pug nose and large pronounced brow it has always been a fan favorite look of the normally Green Goliath. Toy Biz made a half attempt at this version with the variant Marvel Icons Hulk. The head while trying to echo this look failed and the body did not match at all. This would likely have to be a BAF and I would like to see how they would attempt the character due to the tattered clothing. This would also be a great character for Diamond to try with their Marvel Select line.

The green tongue is such a great touch here.

 

Patch Wolverine

Since we finally got a proper Brown Suited Wolverine this is next on the list. The Patch alter ego of Wolverine has been another fan favorite look, most notably in various Madripoor stories in Marvel Comics Presents. Patch sitting in Princess Bar drinking is one of my favorite looks of the character. This would likely be a win/win for both collectors and Hasbro due to a suited body being useful for other characters and/or customs and Hasbro not having to worry about a Wolverine having to peg warm after being double packed like Old Man Logan is currently or a more extreme example the GOTG Iron Man which I am still seeing on shelves years later.

You could always add Mr. Fixit Hulk as well.

 

Safari Jacket Wonderman and Perez-era Avengers Beast

While both are needed you really can’t have one without the other. Like a good buddy cop movie these two just work great together. While we have seen Wonderman twice in his more recent duds, the safari jacket is most fans of the character’s favorite look. As for Beast, most fans today don’t realize that Beast was a Avenger for many, many years as he has been a X-Man for most of the last 3 decades. While I wouldn’t mind having a new, updated Jim Lee era Beast, having a George Perez style Beast. I have wondered if the recent Jackal figure was made in part to create this figure, if not it would be a great starting place.

Come on, how can you not want them together?

 

Magneto

It has been nearly 20 years and we have gotten several versions of Magneto yet none of them has hit the mark. The most recent attempt was in a Toys R Us exclusive X-Men wave which was very limited, impossible to find and still looked awful. Give us a proper Magneto with multiple heads to give different looks and do the character justice.

I can almost hear the X-men Arcade game now…

Kingpin

Now this is a figure I can’t figure out how we haven’t gotten another of yet. I would have put money down on having a Kingpin BAF in either one of the Spider-Man waves or the new Netflix wave arriving soon. Somehow Wilson Fisk has not been remade into plastic yet. We have gotten one Kingpin figure in the limited Toy Biz Two Packs at the tail end of their life. While it was a good figure for the time it has aged pretty badly and was never easy to find in the first place. A updated figure to take advantage of the character’s popularity due to the Daredevil Netflix series should be a no brainer. Hopefully we see it this year.

You know I miss characters smoking in comics…

 

Classic Thor

This is another one of those “How has this not happened?” figures. We have gotten two different classic Thor figures, one way back in Toy Biz’s third wave and the other in their ill received Giant Man Wal-Mart exclusive wave. That wave brings back bad memories for many collectors as it was a wave of many highly requested characters many of which were either poorly done and/or had very bad quality. In addition that the entire wave being near impossible to find left a sour taste in many people’s mouths. The Thor looked great for the time was incredibly fragile. Fast forward many years later, Thor is a huge property with several movies to his name. I was completely expecting this figure in the new Thor wave but it did not happen. One would think that it is just a matter of time but…

Walt Simonson did the best Thor!

 

So there we go, with SDCC right around the corner I would be utterly amazed if some of these don’t get announced. If they do Marvel and Hasbro can email me my No Prize.

Posted by Djarum, filed under Comics, Toys. Date: July 6, 2017, 4:41 pm | No Comments »

The wonderful Tom Brevoort Executive Editor at Marvel just asked some interesting questions on Twitter just now.

What could Marvel be doing better? Where are we dropping the ball?

Along those same lines, I feel a real ebb in the overall enthusiasm of the readers, not just Marvel’s. So what’s got you down on comics?

I will totally be that guy right now and give a non-140 character response. Yes, I am a dork. You shall deal with it imaginary people in my head!

Overall I want to preface my ramblings with this; I am extremely happy with 99% of Marvel’s output currently. I think they have been putting out some of the most entertaining and compelling comics around right now. Also, they have the best writers in the entire industry making their characters and books interesting and revitalized in a way they have not been in decades.

That being said one of the few problems is that as Johnathan Hickman, writer of the absolutely fantastic S.H.E.I.L.D, Secret Warriors and Fantastic Four, has said there are so many big names in the room that they kind of suck some of the air out. While he was talking more about the big talent writers on staff, it is also true about the books being published. We have four Avengers books, two Hulk books, soon to be two Captain America books, etc all being made right now. Hell, we have FOUR fucking Deadpool books right now.

The problem I feel is that while the sales for these books maybe higher than lets say a Iron Fist or Ghost Rider, I think that having multiple books out for popular characters is actually doing more to hurt books like those. I know as a reader I have limited funds to buy books a month, as do most folks. It is not a hard choice to make between a higher profile book like a Avengers title and a Atlas book, especially when the Avengers book is tied directly into the overall focus/event in the Universe at the time.

Perhaps a solution is to bring back a digest series ala Marvel Comics Presents again. Except instead of filling it with lackluster creators and bland to bad stories make it a enticing title to both creators and buyers. Have it as the title where every creative team can take whatever character they want to do a story with but a series can’t be supported can go. Fill it up with your top talent, and it is a perfect place to put people who do fantastic work, have great sales but are extremely slow as you can wait to put their work in until it is finished. Make it Giant-Sized (40+ Pages) and at five bucks it would be a bargain. You can use it as a way to entice people to want to work at Marvel. You have a idea for a Paste Pot Pete and D-Man story? This is where you can do it.

As for comics in general I think most of my concerns are towards the future. Namely, online and future readership.

Marvel has by far the best online presence of all the major publishers. That being said there are room for improvement there; namely price and availability. I think that not releasing things day and date online is costing sales. And as more people have devices to read comics digitally you are going to be costing yourselves more and more sales. I think moving to a day and date release for all books would be in your best interest in the near future. Those who are collectors are going to be going to the shops on Wednesday anyway. You are not going to lose any ground there. What you will see is more people being involved in comics if they are not weeks or months behind online. Which in term is good for the entire industry.

On that same token I think that lowering prices digitally of books would also increase sales. New stuff at two bucks and older stuff at fifty cents sounds like a winner to me. The current prices are not as compelling as either a snap buy or a serious reader. When you can go to your local shop and pick up 99% of the stuff for under a buck, $1.99 doesn’t sound like a good deal. You can buy Angry Birds for .99 cents or a song on iTunes for less and gives you more for the money. Also consider pricing stuff in bundles online ala albums. “Infinity Gauntlet Saga” (All the Infinity Gauntlet books and tie ins) for ten bucks is a hell of a deal. Perhaps doing some creator commentaries for books as well as a added bonus would be nice.

Now with the future readers. It is not really talked about but the bulk of US comic readership is in their late 20s-early 40s, basically the kids that grew up in the last heyday, of the 80s and early 90s. We grew up and now have the money to afford $3.00+ books for 22 pages on Wednesday. Sadly the kids these days are no interested in it. Why? Well a couple of reasons. First is the 900 pound gorilla called Manga. I have a niece that we take to the comic shop every so often to pick something out. While her father and I try to get her to buy something like Spider-Man or X-Men she ultimately buys some sort of manga. Why? It is easy, for the same price as a issue of Avengers she can get a issue of Shonen Jump which has a ton of stories in it and is the size of a Sears catalog when we were kids.

As a kid it is not hard to make the choice of more for your money. Kids don’t care about glossy paper and state of the art coloring. They just want some fun stories and a good value. So, instead of doing the same thing of making “kid friendly” books that haven’t worked for the last two decades how about you use the manga publishers ideas to your advantage? Print old stories with perhaps one new series, in black and white, on cheap paper and sell it for five bucks? Imagine a kid seeing a book with Spider-Man, the Avengers, Iron Man, Fantastic Four and X-Men all in it for five bucks? As a added bonus you are giving the kid a history lesson in the Marvel universe at the same time. You already have the material, it is another way to make money on the work and you are bringing new readers in.

That is ultimately what we all want. For the characters we love to continue to be loved far beyond when we are dead.

Posted by Djarum, filed under Comics. Date: September 7, 2010, 7:34 pm | No Comments »

For those whom don’t know I am a huge comic book and action figure fan and collector. This time of the year is kind of like Christmas for a geek like myself, the San Diego Comic Con. This is when pretty much every major geeky thing is shown off in one way or another.  But I am getting away from myself here…

A several years ago Toy Biz started a line of action figures entitled Marvel Legends, which was sort of a revolution in the arena. In the time before the Marvel Legends figures you had one of two choices; small 5 inch figures of limited sculpting, paint and articulation or a nicely sculpted larger figure with almost no articulation aka a statue. The Marvel Legends figures were large 6 inch figures with fantastic sculpting, amazingly detailed paint and most importantly nearly limitless articulation at a very reasonable price point. As a little added bonus you got a little diorama and a comic book that the figure’s design was based of in the package.

This quantum leap not only sold very well but also brought many people whom had given up toy collecting back, like myself. As the line continued Toy Biz continued to improve the line with increasingly improved articulation and the addition of the “Build-A-Figure” concept in which you got a piece of a larger figure with each figure you bought to create a character that is too large or expensive to make on it’s own.

Fast forward to a few years ago in which Marvel announced that they had given the rights to make toys to Hasbro, whom is known for making Star Wars, G.I. Joe and Transformers among other brands. It was pretty much known that Hasbro would try to create a 3 3/4-inch scale line for the Marvel characters. Hasbro continued the Legends line in which they made many down right bizarre changes including raising the price, removing the comic book, reducing most of the paint applications from most figures, bad character selection and most disturbingly made several really disturbing sculpting changes to already shown figures. All of these changes were made to look even worse when compared to Mattel’s much better looking DC Universe Classics figures which use the same basic Marvel Legends concept and sold for cheaper.

After several lackluster waves and terrible reviews of the figures Hasbro came out with their obsession, the 3 3/4th inch scale Marvel Universe figures all while holding out completely on Marvel Legends news. The Marvel Universe figures have not garnered a very good response from the collector community for a multitude of reasons, most notably very, very poor sculpts and very high prices compared to similar lines such as GI Joe and Star Wars.

Now this week, Hasbro showed off some really fantastic looking Marvel Legends prototypes. Some of them long wanted characters, some obscure. There was a lack of many of the long time wants from the line namely characters such as a Jim Lee era Jean Grey, a Extremis Armor Iron Man or a Bucky Captain America, which the Universe figures have all three of, but it was nice to see something. But, Hasbro says that we will only see six of the nearly 20 figures shown.   Also, before the show longtime wanted Iron Man villains Crimson Dynamo and Titanium Man were seen and received a good response but Hasbro announced that they will never be released.

A basic rule is that it is very hard to get a positive buzz about your product whatever it is a movie, video game, soda or toy. But, it is very, very easy to lose that positive buzz. Hasbro has done this repeatably with the Marvel license. If Hasbro wants to make the 3 3/4th inch figures then please by all means make them. If they are not interested in making 6 inch Marvel Legends type of figures anymore why don’t you let someone else make them?

I feel like the Marvel Select folks could do a excellent job at creating these figures. Their 7 inch figures are limited in many ways; a unpopular scale, limited articulation. Perhaps a move to 6 inch scale and perhaps setup a system like Mattel has in place with the Masters of the Universe Classics line in which we have a new figure every month would be exactly what would satisfy everyone. I would image they would be able to turn a profit with the limited amount of marketing, nearly no distribution and the amount of sculpting made on each figure. A Legends line would hopefully have more sculpting costs than the normal MOTU figure but I would imagine more people would be interested in good quality figures of not only highly wanted stuff like the Jean Grey but timely releases of new/revamped characters.

I honestly feel like that is the biggest sore spot for a comic book fan with the Marvel Legends line, Marvel should be using Hasbro/whomever as a way to market themselves and vice versa. When Marvel made Bucky Captain America, Hasbro should have had a Bucky Captain America figure out that same month or around that time. There should have been a entire Secret Invasion wave, imagine a X-Men or Illuminati Super Skrull, Skrull Queen, Mockingbird, Nick Fury and a Extremis Iron Man. Or a Dark Reign wave that has Iron Patriot, Marvel Boy, Daken, Female Loki and a Hank Pym Wasp. I mean these are just pulled out of my ass here but it would seem to me like it would be easier to sell a comic book based toy line that is dealing with current comics. Maybe include with each event wave a teaser comic like what we got when Dark Reign started to show people who might not be exposed to the comics, you know like kids these days, but also adults who may see a Bucky Captain America and wonder why he looks so weird and inside is a comic explaining it all and there is a new Captain America reader! It might also give Marvel the perfect way to get back into mass market comics and get comics back into places like a Wal-Mart or Supermarkets again.

But it is all woulda, shoulda, coulda and for whatever reason I am not in charge of anything at all.

Posted by Djarum, filed under Comics, Toys. Date: July 25, 2009, 3:55 am | No Comments »

Utterly fantastic and featuring the voice talent of Jesse Falcon as M.O.D.O.K.

It puts my stop motion stuff to shame in the mouth movement department. Someone better tell me how it was done before I go mad!

Check it out in Higher Res and get more info here.

Posted by Djarum, filed under Comics, Toys. Date: February 13, 2009, 5:56 pm | 1 Comment »

Eat a dick, Hasbro.

Hasbro has officially said “Fuck You” to the collector community. After taking the Marvel license from Toy Biz several years ago and releasing lackluster product after product we were unhappy but making excuses and still glad we had product being released.

Fast forward to the last few months and little to no word out of Hasbro on the future to Marvel Legends. All we have received it more and more information about the 4 inch line that has been universally disliked by the collector community.

Then a ray of light last week, Jesse Falcon the head honcho for Marvel Toys at Toy Biz and now consultant for Hasbro posts this on the Fwoosh:

Hey Guys it’s Jesse

Long time no chat right! I’ve been reading a lot of gloom and doom about the 6″ Legends line. Well, I wanted to come on the Fwoosh and let you guys know that next weekend your going to see something I think is amazingly cool that will be happening with the 6″ Marvel Legends line. And I really wanted to come here and let you know that the 6″ line is alive and Hasbro has a very dedicated team that plans on making some very cool 6″ product over the next couple of years.

I also wanted to let you know that the 3.75″ line look’s amazing! If when you get them in hand you agree an I think you will you should thank the entire Hasbro crew because they all worked very hard on this line to make it what it is.

So when you get a second if you come to NYCC swing by the Marvel booth, and say hi!

I think your really going to like what you see!

Best,

Jesse

Everyone was excited, hope was given. Of course that had to change later in the week.

Hey Guys!

So I just found out that the 6″ news that I mentioned earlier will
actually be on display at SDCC, and Not NYCC!!!! (I got the SD and the
NY confused whoops!)

But please swing by the Marvel Booth this weekend at the NYCC and check
out
the new Marvel Universe 3.75″ figures Hasbro will have at the booth.
There’s going to be a lot of stuff there you are going to love!

Best!

Jesse

Not only did the guy lie, but also threw a plug for the stupid 4 inch line on top of it.

Then Straight from the NYCC this morning.

* Walmart exclusive 3 3/4″ Marvel Universe 2-packs called Gigantic Battles. This 2-pack will consist of a figure will be around 12-13″ and another regular 3 3/4″ in size and estimate cost of $25.00. These 2-packs will be hitting Walmart in Fall of 2009.

* Exclusively to Toys R’ Us will be 3-packs. One set will be Spider-Man and his amazing friends with Spider-Man, Firestar and Iceman.

* The Marvel Legends 2-packs with Iron Man that was shown at SDCC originaly are now Toys R’ Us and Diamond Previews exclusives.

* Hasbro is going to be running a poll on their website starting very soon where people vote for their top 5 characters they want made.

* Nick Fury is a mail-away exclusive figure.

* Marvel Legends Skrull/Kree 2-pack is a Diamond Previews exclusive.

* Marvel Legends is not dead.  There will still be new product coming for that line, but nothing new for 2009.  What we know about already is what is coming.  There will be more stuff next year but….

* Their focus is on the 3.75″ line.  Hasbro feels like their strenght is in 3.75″ and they want to play to their strengths.

* There are no vehicles or play sets planned for the first year but it’s till on the table as they also feel like that is one of their strengths. But the focus of the line at first is increasing the depth of character in the line as soon as possible.  Jason asked how difficult is would be to reuse/retool some GI JOE vehicles for the Marvel Line.  They said it would be difficult, because of the different teams and tooling in different places, but potentially not impossible.

* The entire Marvel Universe is open to them.

* There will be singles, 2-packs, 3-packs and boxed sets.  There will also be exclusives in the line.  Wal-Mart will have some exclusives.

* Movie lines will be in the 3.75″ scale.  For most movies there will be both a movie and a comic version line running side by side.

I really can’t wait until all of these lines fail for Hasbro in a most specatular way. At least I don’t have to worry about spending any money on Marvel toys this year.

But I just found what I am going to

Ghostbusters

Check them out here.

Posted by Djarum, filed under Comics, News, Toys. Date: February 6, 2009, 6:04 pm | No Comments »

DC Comics Logo

I am a huge comics fan. Like retarded huge. Yes, I am that guy that can recite all sorts of arcane knowledge about nearly every character out there. I am that guy who sits around and plots years or continuity in his head for a character when he gets bored. I can write a entire disrotation on the differences between Pre and Post Crisis Superman or who is the smartest person in the Marvel Universe. I am the guy who wishes curses upon Jeph Loeb.

I read pretty much every comic that is released every week. After getting back into comics again near the begining of the decade I developed quite a bad comic habit again. Thankfully comics in general have improved in many ways since the hay day in the early 90s. Books like Ed Brubaker’s Captain America, Daredevil, Iron Fist, Greg Pak’s Incredible Hulk and Herc, Brian Michael Bendis’s Avengers among many others are not just comics but great literature and stand up as well if not better than most other media. For all my opinions of some of Joe Quesada’s choices *cough*Brand New Day*cough* he has done a fantastic job making every Marvel book published worth reading.

The same can not be said for Marvel’s Distingwished Compatition. While for a time DC was putting out books just as good as Marvel. Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Nightwing and Teen Titans were all fantastic books just a few years ago. What happened in my opinion is DC lost sight of what was making those books so great and making change for changes sake.

In 2004 DC started a event comic entitled Identity Crisis. This was the first big meaningful universe wide event in quite some time, as the last several events had either been Batman or Superman focused. While the story was entertaining, it started what I refer to as the “DC Event Formula” not to be confused with the “Jeph Loeb Formula”.

The “DC Event Formula” consists of a major character dying for really no real good reason other than to kill a major character. This starts a chain of events on trying to figure out who responsible and why. Along the way you get major retcons of established history with no real reasoning other than to make this story work, some pretty on the page but otherwise unimportant fight scenes and at the end you get a ending that would make M. Night Shyamalan happy.

Now while Identity Crisis was a fresh idea at the time and sold well, DC decided to do it again with… Infinite Crisis (original name no?) which did the same basic idea all over again, but added a ton of extra retconing to the table and brought the multiverse back. Now while the multiverse was good idea in theory DC has a track record of not being able to keep their shit straight with it and since DC had taken their continuity through the mud a few too many times it was the not of the original Crisis on Infinity Earths way back in 1985 to remove the multiverse and try to get the DC Universe simple and working again. It for the most part worked although Zero Hour was required in 1994 to shore up the various timeline problems DC had aquired in the years since Crisis.

Now I am not going to bore or spoil the events of any of these events because even though I am complaining about them right now they aren’t bad reads on their own. Also, frankly they are slightly confusing to those that haven’t been reading DC books for years or even if you have in many cases.

But, the events in of themselves aren’t really the problem. What I feel is really the root cause of most of the problems with most if not all of the DC books being published today is this… After Infinite Crisis DC decided to in effect reboot every single book they published by pushing them all forward a year. Now EVERYTHING IS NEW AND DIFFERENT! Formerly good reads like Nightwing, Flash, Outsiders and Teen Titans had been transformed into books that in many cases had nothing in common with what was formerly going on. In many cases the books became worse. And to make matters worse DC decided to publish a weekly series called “52” to chronicle what happened in the year that was lost to readers. Now while that book started well, it seems like no one involved seemed to realize how difficult it is to keep a weekly book going storyline-wise. After around 30 issues it sort of ran out of steam and stopped making much sense.

This was about the time I started to stop reading most DC books. I just couldn’t stomach reading what they were doing with the characters anymore. They stopped making books fun to read or give me enough time to care about the characters or at the very least become interested in what they were doing.

After a hiatus I decided to give DC a shot with their big summer event entitled… Final Crisis! I had not read Marvel’s own Secret Invasion book yet so there was no real comparison yet. I spent the next 15 minutes reading and after finishing it not only was I pissed off, I HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS GOING ON! One of the main selling points for a event comic is to make it easy for newcomers to be able to jump on and enjoy it just as much as the guy who has a 700 dollar a month comic habit and a basement full of back issues. This is something Marvel has been fantastic at for the last several years. I recently gave a friend of mine who had been out of comics for the last year or so the current Secret Invasion comics and he immediately was able understand what was going on and enjoy the series without having to have spent the last several years reading everything leading up to what was happening like I had. We had the same level of enjoyment. You don’t have to read every tie-in book to continue the storyline for the next issue.

That being said someone needs to clean some house at DC. They need to stop doing major events for a couple of years. Let the status quo take effect and let some actual storytelling happen in the world or worlds they have made. Get back to what always made DC comics great; fun, well written story lines with characters that you comfort with in tragedy and be able to celebrate with them in triumph.

If not at least take back Jeph Loeb so we can stop ruining comics for Marvel for awhile.

Posted by Djarum, filed under Comics. Date: November 14, 2008, 2:06 am | No Comments »