Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cancelled Action Figure Cavalcade: Avengers United They Stand

The Avengers: United They Stand was an animated series that aired on Fox Kids from 1999 to 2000. It wasn't as successful as prior cartoons based on Marvel comic characters. Unlike those earlier series the designs for The Avengers were stylized in a vein similar to other animated series for that era. This also meant the accompanying toyline from Toy Biz did not quite match what had come before. As a fan of animated styled toys, The Avengers line does appeal to me but I never owned any. I did watch the cartoon but my memories of it were vague until I caught some of the recent airings on Disney XD. It wasn't bad but it is very much a product of the late Nineties. Neither the cartoon or the toyline lasted very long.

One of the interesting things about this incarnation of The Avengers was that the major heroes, Captain America, Iron Man and Thor were relegated to guest star status. Maybe the show would have been more successful had they played larger roles. Although at that time period they didn't have a lot of mainstream popularity themselves. Despite this Cap got an action figure in the line's first series. Thor and Iron Man were due to receive figures in the third series, but the line ended before they could be released. The Thor figure would have come with what appears to be a "Whack-A-Loki".

The leader of the Avengers was Hank Pym, who on the show would alternate between his Ant-Man and Giant-Man identities. Hawkeye served as the team's token edgy anti-hero. With the highest profiles of any hero on the series Ant-Man and Hawkeye were the obvious choices get variant figures, but it ended up not happening.

Rounding out the canceled third series of figures were villains Remnant and Ultron. Remnant was one of several creatures that were cobbled from leftover pieces of Ultron's technology. I don't know if he (it?) was created just for the show but his episode is one I caught on Disney XD. The Ultron figure is his second in the line. This one is more like a vehicle with Ultron taking the shape of a tank. Both androids really show off the talent of Toy Biz's sculptors. They would have been fun figures.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Back to the Bluture

Universal has announced the Back to the Future trilogy will be released on Blu-ray in a 25th Anniversary boxset. That's news so good it warrants a blog post with an incredibly lame title.

Back to the Future was one of the choices in a recent Facebook poll Universal held to select an upcoming Blu-ray release, however it lost to the The Breakfast Club Considering both Back to the Future and another nominee Psycho have been solicited before John Hughes' teenage angst masterpiece, it's clear the poll was just a marketing gimmick. It's likely all or at least most of those movies will be released eventually.

The Blu-ray set will include a ton of extras. Some of which are the video from Back to the Future: The Ride and a six part documentary. There will be rare footage of Eric Stolz as Marty McFly before the role was recast, as well as a storyboard version of the original proposed ending at a nuclear test site. The best part? The set will be released on October 26th. That's brilliant. We're gonna see some serious shit on that day.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

When A Problem Comes Along

I'm going to post some Iron Man 2 spoilers so if you've yet to see the movie I don't recommend reading ahead.

Leading up to the release of Iron Man 2 people were (or at least I was) speculating if Whiplash would receive an upgrade to his armament. Part of this stemmed from some dissatisfaction with his "frayed jumpsuit" look that was seen in the trailers and promotional materials. Well the good news was that Whiplash does indeed don a full suit of armor and it looks awesome. Ultimately the film's Whiplash has more in common with the Crimson Dynamo than he does his namesake from the comic books. He's Crimson Dynamo with electric whips.

So it was nice to be surprised by a big summer movie. Granted most of the time I have no one to blame but myself for being exposed to spoilers. The downside of keeping Whiplash's armor a secret is that it's completely absent from the merchandise. I really love the design and I hope an action figure based on it is coming down the pike. Hopefully Hasbro will announce one at Comic-Con.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mickey's Wiimote of Choice

PDP will be releasing specialized game controllers themed to the upcoming games Epic Mickey and Tron Evolution. The Epic Mickey Wii nunchuck is modeled on the paintbrush Mickey uses in the game itself. The companion Wiimote's charging station is even cooler. It's a diorama of Mickey facing the game's villainous Blot. The Tron cotrollers are a little more conventional but they do look appropriately Tron-ified.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

May (and some June) Hauls

Here's some recent hauling. Sorry there's no pun this time.

I now have the complete team of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (well except the White Ranger). I'm pretty happy about that. I never had all the Rangers from the original line. Coincidently the first two Rangers I owned back in the day were the last two I got now.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Doctor Who and Tron Exclusives

Hey look, more Doctor Who toy news. Pictures of this year's exclusives for San Diego Comic Con have leaked online. There's a two-pack with the Eleventh Doctor sans coat and the orange Scientist Dalek. And for the classic fans there's a two-pack with the Fifth Doctor and the Master from the serial "Planet of Fire". There's also a figure of a freshly regenerated Fifth Doctor in the Fourth Doctor's clothing, but it's still unknown how it's going to be released.

Spin Master's will have an exclusive Tron "vintage" figure at Comic Con. It has a light up base and its package resembles an arcade cabinet. It's limited at 1500 pieces and will cost $40. Spin Master will also have exclusive die cast Light Cycles from Tron Legacy for $5.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Whole Mess of Who

Character Options has a pretty impressive Doctor Who action figure boxset in the works. It contains all eleven canon incarnations of The Doctor. Check out the facial expression on the Fourth Doctor. Each Doctor comes with an accessory; the First has his cane, the Second his flute, the Seventh his umbrella and the rest have Sonic Screwdrivers. One of the most anticipated figures is the Eighth Doctor, who has never had an action figure before this boxset. I wish the modern series would bring back the crazy colorful outfits of the Doctors of the '70s and '80s.

Shifting gears we have a look at the second series of Batman Arkham Asylum figures. Series one was revealed last month. Series two brings us Posion Ivy, Mr. Zzasz, Bane and a second shinier looking Batman. I'm pretty impressed with Bane. I was never big on his Arkham Asylum design but it seems to work as an action figure.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Poetic Licensing

Licensing Expo 2010 wrapped up a few days ago. Just like last year we got looks at teaser images of several upcoming films. These are probably the final logos for Thor and Captain America. The ones seen at last year's Expo were essentially the same as the classic comic logos. The new Thor logo looks generic but the Captain America one is nice. Both incorporate the Marvel Studios name.

Warner Bros. revealed this image for Green Lantern. The tagline refers to potential licensing partners. Not anyone can be chosen to wield a Green Lantern ring. You need to have a massive amount of willpower, assuming the movie sticks to the mythology.

I find Licensing Expo interesting because we get to see studios try to market movies still early in development. The third Transformers movie doesn't have a title, so the poster just says TF3 and shows nothing but Optimus standina around. Supposedly they've made design changes to Prime's CG mode but he looks like the same old Optimus to me.

Sony showed off logos for movies they'll be releasing in 2012, Spider-Man in 3D and Men III Black in 3D. Those aren't the final titles. At least I would hope not. Sorry for the small resolution of the Spider-Man logo. It was the only one I could find. Sony showed off a brief teaser of Men in Black III in 3D at Licensing Expo. You can watch it online but it won't be in 3D. It's just blurry.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Superhero Fashion

This week early concept for Thor and Captain America's costumes in their respective movies leaked online. Here's some thoughts. Keep in mind none of these are final but it does give us a reasonable idea of what their outfits will be like.

Captain America's movie look resembles the Ultimate version more than his classic costume. I'm disappointed by this. I think Cap's classic costume with its chainmail pattern would have looked great in live action. Plus while Captain America was a soldier, he was also a figurehead and a tool of propaganda. Trying to tone down the costume is sort of missing the point. Cap looks weird to me without the wings on his helmet. I don't know why they dropped them if they're going to keep the "A" on his forehead or the stars on his shoulders. The wings aren't significantly more farfetched by comparison. The suspenders acting as the red stripes for the flag design on Cap's abdomen is a consummate example of a movie adaptation trying to emulate the source material as close as possible without simply being accurate to it. That said if there's one change I could make I would lose the black trim on his upper body. I feel the black is there just because of the unwritten rule that superheroes in movies wear black. Which of course leads me to...

Thor's movie look is heavily influenced by his current appearance in the comics as created by Oliver Copiel. I'm just referring to the costume as they obviously can't make Chris Hemsworth as tall and stocky as Copiel draws Thor. I like Copiel's design but the movie costume has a quality to it that doesn't match the artwork. I think it's all the black used. It looks like so many other movie superhero costumes. Fortunately it's already been stated this mock-up isn't a completely accurate depiction of his on-screen look. I sort of suspected this as the photograph that was released earlier looks better than these images. I'm really hoping Thor has a helmet in the movie. He doesn't have one in these renderings or the teaser photo. That in of itself isn't an indicator of whether or not Thor wears a helmet in the movie, but it is triggering warning signs. And the helmet better have wings on it. You already know how I feel about winged helmets.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

ThunderCats are Loose

Today Warner Bros. Animation annouced a new ThunderCats series will premiere on Cartoon Network in 2011. The animation will be produced by Japanese anime studio Studio4°C. So far only the logo and concept art for Lion-O have been revealed. You can read the news here. There's also a story synopsis that mentions "Stones of Power". I think that's a new aspect created for the new series.

I've been waiting for this announcement forever. A new ThunderCats series has been in some form of development for years. I recall one version had the ThunderCats reimagined as teenagers. And members of a rock band. Living on Earth. With Snarf was their manager. So as promising as this new series currently sounds, I'm still a little apprehensive. If they were even considering that teenage rock band version, than I can't put too much faith in the studio.

Between now through 2011 we'll be seeing new series debuts for Transformers, G.I. Joe, Voltron, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers. Retro is alive and kicking. Unlike the rest of those properties however, ThunderCats is unique in that the original series hasn't already been rebooted at some point. It's been a relic of the '80s until now. I just hope the characters' jazzy aerobic leotards survive the transition.

Updated 06/03/10: Now another, arguably more crucial, piece of info has been revealed. Bandai has the toy license for the new ThunderCats series. This comes as no surprise as Bandai has been the rumored license holder for several months now. What is a surprise is that Bandai claims they'll be producing items based on the classic ThunderCats as well. This is shaping up to be really exciting.