Designer Con 2015 is this weekend (Nov 21 -22) in Pasadena. The theme of this year’s Designer Con pop art fair is “Back to the 80s” and will feature an exhibition of the private Back to the Future art collection of founder Ben Goretsky.
As you would expect, there will be a slew of designer toy exclusives at DCON.
Pop Culture Shock and ARH Studios were right next to each other on the convention floor – both make high-end statues that I’d love to have, if I had the space and the budget to collect them. Pop Culture Shock has licenses for Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Masters of the Universe, Robocop, and even DC – although I didn’t get a good shot of their Batman statue.
ARH makes statues for its own Arhian character and other fantasy properties, like Queen of the Vampires and Frazetta. Their Frazetta “Barbarian” might as well be Conan. They also had a 1/6 scale figure of Arhian built using a Phicen action figure.
Diamond Select Toys had a limited number of figures out on display for its Ghostbusters Select line. I’m not sure if that’s because display space was limited or if they would be adding more over the course of the show – but notably absent were the Peter Venkman, Walter Peck, Gozer, and Terror Dog figures that were shown at San Diego Comic-Con. New to the mix were a second version of Ray Stantz, in his post-Ghostbusting relaxed suit, and Egon Spengler, who is the last of the four Ghostbusters to be revealed. Janine Melnitz, Dana Barrett (as possesed by Zuul), and Slimer were shown with Ray and Egon.
The figures were marked as “coming soon,” so it’s unclear who will be part of the second wave of Ghostbusters Select. The first wave of Ray, Louis Tully (as Vinz Clortho), and Winston Zeddmore were shown in a diorama.
In Harry Potter, Star Ace Toys already has an impressive amount of 1/6 scale figures, with a deep roster of supporting characters and variants of the kids to sustain them. By adding Hunger Games and Underworld, they get two current franchises with multiple looks for its main characters – but I would suspect the supporting casts for those films are not as beloved as Potter’s.
Jennifer Lawrence became a bonafide star with Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen, but there’s only one movie left to go. Kate Beckinsale helped revive the Underworld franchise by returning in the 4th movie (the third was a prequel), and will star again in the 5th due next year. She’s also been mentioned for a sixth movie – unlike Harry Potter and Hunger Games, Underworld doesn’t have an underlying book series to determine an “end” for the movie franchise.
I think I’m finally starting to understand the marketing of McFarlane’s Walking Dead building sets. By including the brick construction dimension in the product, McFarlane hopes to appeal to a broader set of customers. At the same time, they haven’t tried to subvert the Walking Dead by making them cute with bright colors and typical minifigures. So while I can’t imagine a kid expanding his LEGO collection with these, or a diorama builder extending these sets with LEGO bricks, the line seems to be working – more sets are on the way.
The enduring appeal will be to model kit diorama builders who will cannibalize the individual products to build massive set pieces, like the prison diorama McFarlane had on display.