Toy Fair 2014: G.I. JOE Continues the Fight Against Cobra as a Toys R Us Exclusive

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After a resurgence with their 25th Anniversary line, Hasbo’s G.I. JOE brand has taken a beating the past five years. This is thanks in a big way to lackluster performance of both G.I. JOE movies. Rise of Cobra in 2009 was considered enough of a dud (despite clearing over $300MM worldwide box office) to delay Retaliation to 2013, wreaking havoc in a line that was already heavily ordered at retail. Without the backing of the sequel at retail, the line sputtered and died – and even though Retaliation surpassed its predecessor, the damage was done.

This year, Hasbro has managed to extend the life of the brand by going the retailer exclusive route with Toys R Us. I’m glad to see the line continue, but it’s a tough road ahead. Retaliation did well enough to warrant another sequel from Paramount. And while a director and writer have been attached, no release date has been set – how long the JOE brand can maintain itself in absence of TV or movie support has yet to be seen.

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Toy Fair 2014: LEGO Reveals Guardians of the Galaxy and Ghostbusters Sets

LEGO Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy 1

One of my biggest disappointments being snowed out of Toy Fair this year is missing the LEGO showroom. I’ve been a lifelong fan of the building sets, and fell pretty hard for their foray into licensed products many years ago with Star Wars LEGO sets. With this year’s Toy Fair showing, LEGO has extended their Marvel license to include Guardians of the Galaxy, and added a fan favorite with a new Ghostbusters set.

While we can expect three sets of GotG as part of the growing LEGO Marvel license, Ghostbusters will likely be limited to the ECTO-1 set, as it’s a product of LEGO’s CUUSOO program (where users submit ideas to be potentially turned into LEGO sets), like last year’s Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine.

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Toy Fair 2014: Big Things Coming for Star Wars Black Series 6-Inchers

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In the past, I’d referred to Hasbro’s Star Wars Black Series (the 6-inchers) as “Star Wars Legends” insofar as the brand’s first foray into the 6-inch scale has taken strong cues from the Marvel line in terms of its sculpt and articulation. But despite an assumed softness in the age-old 3.75-inch scale that I think prompted the new line, we shouldn’t forget that the brand is more like the Empire, able to take grab shelf space and subvert it to its will.

So while Marvel Legends relies on programs like Build-a-Figure to sweeten the deal for consumers and retailers, Star Wars needs no such enticements. The “big” reveal for this Toy Fair is the introduction of the Black Series Deluxe line extension, offering a vehicle for Hasbro to bring higher price point items into the retail mix. If this were Marvel, we’d have a Build-a-Jabba; the Star Wars brand allows for a shelf-grab for more of your collector dollars.

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Toy Fair 2014: Hasbro Marvel Legends Report

Guardians of the Galaxy (Photo - CoolToyReview.com)

This year I find myself in the rather odd position of reporting on Toy Fair without actually being there. A casualty of the winter storms Pax and Quintus, I’m warm on the west coast but missing the fun of seeing the figures up close and personal. It’s the first time being on the sidelines since I started covering Toy Fair back in the heyday of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends run in 2005.

In many ways we’re seeing Hasbro’s (second) run of Marvel Legends entering similar territory. Back then, Toy Biz was making waves with the Marvel Legends Sentinel wave. And yet, macroeconomic factors were causing big changes in the industry, and the next year turned out to be Toy Biz’s swan song, with the announcement that they had licensed the Marvel toy lines to Hasbro. Those same factors – rising costs of raw materials and labor, consolidation of retailers  - are still in play today for Hasbro. Rather than shutter the Legends line again, Hasbro’s Marvel team announced a shift in branding strategy at SDCC last year, and with their Toy Fair showing, we’re seeing how that plays out in the Marvel Legends line.

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Toy Fair 2014: Batman: The Animated Series Headlines New Reveals for DC Collectibles

The big show hasn’t officially started, but the toy companies are already ahead of the game. With a reveal in USA Today and an item in the full line-up of their Toy Fair press release, DC Collectibles announced they would be turning to one of the most beloved properties in the DC animated universe for a set of new toy lines. Bruce Timm’s Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures will be the design source for 6-inch figures. While these will be in an animated style, it looks like DCC will be incorporating more than the 5 points of articulation you might expect.

Limited runs of animated figures are not unprecedented (DCC produced figures for 2007′s Superman / Doomsday animated movie), but with 6 seasons of shows and numerous animated movies, the Timm-verse could provide as deep a character set as DCC’s foray into Blackest Night, for example.

The rest of the Toy Fair line-up stays closer to DC Collectibles’ wheelhouse. There’s more New 52 and Designer Series (this time Greg Capullo) on the way, as well as lines tied to popular DC comic book events, like Infinite Crisis and Son of Batman.

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Toy Fair 2014: Hasbro Reveals Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends Movie Figures

Hasbro Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Infinite Legends teaser poster

Our good pal Paul wrote in with the heads up that Hasbro has revealed the Marvel Infinite Legends movie figures for Guardians of the Galaxy through Yahoo.  Hasbro will be giving out a teaser poster for the line at Toy Fair starting this weekend – it features Gamora, Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Drax, and Groot, in a homage to the first teaser image released for the movie.

The figures will be available single-carded, and Hasbro will stick with the Build-a-Figure concept. This time, it’s Build-a-Groot. Look for these on shelves in July for $19.99 each.

Interested in the poster? Yahoo is giving away three of them. Details below.

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Toy Fair 2014: Hasbro Reveals Full Captain America: The Winter Soldier Line-Up

Captain America Marvel Legends Infinite Series 2

Their Toy Fair event is just a couple days away (and sadly, weather may prevent me from making it this year), but Hasbro is still sharing high res photographs and product info on the Captain America: The Winter Soldier product line. Winter Soldier is the first ofthree Marvel tentpole movie releases this year, opening April 4.

We’ve now got nice clear pics of wave 2 of the Captain America Marvel Infinite Series 6-Inch Legends line (I’ll call it Cap Legends to save some stress on my keyboard) and the rest of the line, including the 3.75-inchers and role play. While most of the kid-oriented toys are of limited interest to me, I’m glad Hasbro has figured out how to leverage the Marvel movies to get us more 6-inch Legends. So far, so good!

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DesignerCon 2013 Weekend Alert

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DesignerCon is being held this weekend in Pasadena, CA, at the Pasadena Convention Center. DCon is an annual art and design convention that is basically a mash up of collectible toys and designer apparel, along with with urban, underground and pop art… including skate decks, original art and custom toys.

Example of cool collectible?

Fuller Designs – see his Spider-Man Minicel, Mysterio Minicel, and Ghost Rider Minicel – each OOAK and available for $125. That said, you might have wished to get Fuller Designs’ OTHER collectible – his Trick R Treat villains – Joker, Red Skull, Dr Doom and Loki. These were super cool bad guys hand-made resin pieces, using Fuller Designs’ own Lil’ Jammie design, hand-painted with acrylic and airbrush paints, and came with their own little pumpkin full of goodies… I said “came” cuz they’re all SOLD OUT, but are really worth a look.

NYCC 2013: Mezco – Breaking Bad, Axe Cop, DC Universe Mez-Itz and More

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I started my binge-watching of Breaking Bad shortly before New York Comic Con started, so I was looking forward to picking up a Walter White exclusive. And I was as disappointed as Walt Jr. to find his dad had sold out. I returned on Sunday and decided to pick up a Heisenberg figure. This time, I was in luck – Mezco had saved one, not for me, but because the bubble had ripped off and they weren’t sure anyone would want it. But Walt had his sunglasses, hat, ziploc full of blue meth, and his duffel bag of cash. I won.

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NYCC 2013: Kotobukiya Statues

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The show’s over, but I’ll have more NYCC galleries over the next couple days.

Kotobukiya is not my typical fare – no budget or space for them – but they produce some of the most beautiful statues from across pop culture domains. They’ve got licenses for movies, video games, comics, and more.

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