As we jump into the new year, I wanted to give praise and admiration for those in the toy industry who are actually pushing to utilize current technology, bring real art to action figures and make some geek dreams come true.
Best DC Comics Toy: Mattel's Justice League of America presents Starro the Conqueror - Infinite Heroes scale figures battling a giant Starro in a package that tells the whole story in the voice of Kevin Conroy (animated Batman)!!
Best Marvel Comics Toy: Marvel Universe Masterworks Galactus - He's scaled for Marvel Universe 4 inch figures but he's even bigger than the Marvel Legends Build a Figure, so we give him his due! In the plus category, he comes with a MU Silver Surfer and light up features. In the minus, some of his articulation sucks and the voice used is really awful, but he is still the best of the best. My last complaint would be that in my support of this figure, I paid the full 50 at retail, only to have him become available before Christmas for 20 dollars. Can't help feeling a little ripped!
Best Overall Toy Line: threeA's Robots and Figures - Antiqued battle bots and the heroes, villains and zombies fighting in their world make 3A a company to watch, and go broke watching. Every release sells out and if the initial prices of their amazing figures make you quiver in fear, the secondary market prices will act like a firm kick to your neathers! Once you do your research, you'll agree that some toys are just worth it. No over-hype here! Great articulation, excellent paint jobs, killer accessories and an array of sizes to build an army so diverse anyone would take notice of your shelves makes threeA products an instant win.
Best Retro Toy Line: Mattel's Masters of the Universe Classics - Each release is a little slice of your childhood with updated quality, fun posability, accurate accessories and a feel that tells you the toy will last long enough for your children to enjoy them as well. The downside of such a popular line is that when these MattyCollector.com exclusives go live, you'll have to battle their rickety server to get your share. Such is the price of love.
Best Continuing Toy Line: Hasbro Star Wars - Every year, Hasbro improves their game with better likenesses, increased articulation and as many accessories as they can pack in. On top of the truck load of action figures released every year, you'll see over a dozen vehicles and one SUPER ULTRA MEGA vehicle so fantastic, you might go mad staring into the packaging. This year is was a giant AT-AT. Last year it was a 2 foot long Millennium Falcon. How the hell do you top those things??!! We'll find out this February.
Most Frustrating Toy Line: This award would have gone to Mattel's DC Universe Classics..but LEGO's Mini Figures beat them on all levels. They've got short packed characters, fluctuating prices from store to store, minimal (if any) stock at retail stores and blind packaging that causes the LEGO fanatics to decipher their coding with every series as if they were a crack CSI crew. Insanity...over LEGO figures!!! But they've got a Dracula..and a Spartan...and a Sumo Wrestler..and a Disco Stu...and ..and...you need them all. ~sigh~
Most Improved Toy Line: Hasbro's Marvel Legends - Granted, they released very few figures this year, but those of you who braved the new, painful price point know that the new two packs are of a quality far superior to what Hasbro released when they first re-booted the line. Joints are tight, paints are plentiful and not shiny and details will make a Marvel Comics fan smile from ear to ear. 2012 and the relaunch of this line can't come soon enough....so..maybe release them sooner??!! Seriously..I'll be your best friend.
Best Action Feature: Jazzware's Robot Chicken Humping Robot - Never did I think anyone would actually be able to make this action feature a reality, but they've gone n done it. Standing at the ready, perched alongside the object of his affection, the Humping Robot awaits your eager fingers to wind him up and send him thrusting in ecstasy. Amazing.
Best Cartoon Adaptation: Say what you will of the MEGO style action figure, but Bif Bang Pow created a Venture Brothers action figure line that was true to the core sentiment of the cartoon they are based on. For a show that lampoons Marvel Comics and Hanna-Barbera cartoons, what could be more perfect than a MEGO figure line? To give them further credit, they created the ultimate SDCC exclusive and made it available to EVERYONE who wants it for their collection.
Best Original Line of 2010: You may dismiss Mattel's Monster High line as dolls created to exploit the Hot Topic crowd, but these characters look fantastic! It's been a long time since I've seen a toy line that appealed to such a large age demographic. My one complaint would be they aren't doing enough to promote the concept!! They've got videos on YouTube and the public at large isn't even aware they are there. In 2011, I'd love to see Mattel give their full support of this winning idea and create enough product and media to make old fans go crazy and new fans jump on board daily.
Best Surprise of 2010: Funko's Star Wars Monster Mash-Ups - Blend Star Wars characters with the creepy world of horror and you've got Monster-Mash-Ups! How could you not instantly love a rabid looking Yoda or an Undead Stormtrooper??!! Funko knew you could not resist, and Lucas willing, we'll see more of these in 2011.
Our Favorite Toy Company of 2010: Even though we can't afford them, Hot Toys nailed EVERY toy they set about making this year. To this day, whenever we post new images, people on Facebook who don't even collect action figures are in awe of HT's likenesses. On top of that, add their desire to create the characters from modern films we are buzzing about and figures from older films we've been wishing for all our lives. Who is making an 80's Batman movie Jack Nicholson Joker figure this year? HOT TOYS!! Even with all the fan frenzy over every release, Hot Toys still goes out of their way to make sure there are plenty of ways to own them. Never let it be said a fan was left behind.
Got some nominations of your own? Leave them in the comments below so we can continue the conversation and let the companies know what we want to see in 2011!