PREVIEW: Funko Stranger Things Action Figures

Stranger ThingsFunko had already made my action-figure-collecting year by finally putting Adam West-era Batman in the 3 3/4″ “Star Wars scale”, and they gave me a good chuckle by putting, of all things, Twin Peaks in the same format. Even though I knew they’d already snagged the license for Netflix’s ’80s-themed sci-fi-horror series Stranger Things, months of nothing but Funko’s Vinyl Pops had lulled me into thinking that action figures were highly unlikely.

I am delighted to report that I was dead wrong. As wrong as anyone who thought Will Byers was dead forever. Continue reading

PREVIEW: Funko Batman ’66 Figures

BatmanRecent years have seen a glut of new nostalgia-themed action figures in the now-traditional “Star Wars scale” of 3 3/4″ tall for the average adult human male character. Funko (frequently with cohorts Super7 in tow) and Big Bang Pow! have been the vanguards of this 3 3/4″ revival, with mixed results – I’ve loved seeing that scale come back after years and years of overpriced 6″ figures becoming the norm. On the other hand, there have been some baffling choices of licenses chosen (Taxi Driver? Pulp Fiction? Boondock Saints? Really?) that were good for a laugh at the time, but ended up warming the store pegs for a good long time with no takers. In the waning days of Hastings – one of the only local brick-and-mortal sources for these figures that I had prior to the chain’s closure – Funko 3 3/4″ ReAction figures could be had for two or three dollars each, and they still weren’t moving. Funko and Super7 have now parted ways, with Super7 retaining the ReAction banner (and its Kenner-style logo), and Funko now forging ahead with figures in the same scale, but with more detail and articulation. And possibly the most exciting license that Funko has lined up for its second stab at the 3 3/4″ figure market is the classic Batman TV series. Continue reading

Doctor Who: The Third Doctors

The Third DoctorThat’s not The Three Doctors, but rather the third Doctors. After displaying prototypes at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con, Character Options followed up that year’s Comic Con exclusive first and second Doctors with the Doctor’s third incarnation, as played by Jon Pertwee from 1970 through 1974. Setting a pattern that continues through the most recent limited-edition classic Doctor Who figures, U.K. distribution was exclusively handled by Forbidden Planet, with FP’s U.S. arm, Underground Toys, taking care of North American distribution. Continue reading

Doctor Who: Resurrection Of The Daleks

Resurrection Of The DaleksAnother one of 2011’s surprise classic Doctor Who figure sets, this set hails from the early ’80s era of the fifth Doctor, and brings the classic version of a seemingly un-killable foe into plastic form. From Peter Davison’s only run-in with the Daleks, Resurrection Of The Daleks also reunited the Doctor with Davros – a reunion that both probably would’ve been happy to pass on. Continue reading

Doctor Who: The Sontaran Experiment

Sontaran Experiment SetHaving produced about as many different variations of Jon Pertwee in plastic as possible, Character Options spent much of 2011 producing numerous classic Doctor Who sets with variations on Tom Baker instead, with an unusual focus on the actor’s first season as the fourth Doctor.

Having already produced a collect-and-build figure of the enormous K-1 robot from Robot, Character skipped over Ark In Space and picked up the season 12 story with The Sontaran Experiment, issuing an unusual two figure set with a fairly large vehicle – the first non-TARDIS vehicle in the Character Doctor Who range since the Satan Pit lift (which wasn’t exactly a best-seller). Continue reading

Doctor Who: Vengeance On Varos Set

Vengeance On Varos SetThe latest in a series of two-figure sets from classic Doctor Who episodes, the Vengeance On Varos set really kicks the door open for future additions to the classic Doctor Who action figure range.

Even more surprisingly, this set immortalizes the two most enduring elements of the sixth Doctor’s all-too-brief era on TV: TARDIS traveling companion Peri and the slug-like Sil, a profit-mongering creature who has no qualms about sacrificing entire civilizations to pour more money into his coffers. Continue reading

Doctor Who: The Eleven Doctors

Eleven Doctors SetI’d be reluctant to try to estimate how many kids have bought this magnificent boxed set of nearly a dozen figures, because chances are that they’ve all been snatched up by people like me – thirty-and-forty-somethings who have been waiting since they were kids to hold this set, or something like it, in their hands. Despite being at a very silly age to suddenly pick up a huge set of action figures, the Eleven Doctors set is a gift from Doctor Who toy license holder Character Options to those of us who will no longer be denied. Continue reading

Doctor Who: 1980s Cybermen

CybermenCharacter Options supplemented its selection of new series Cybermen in early 2009 with a wave of Cybermen spanning the history of their appearances in Doctor Who, from The Tenth Planet through their then-recent return in The Next Doctor, the 2009 Christmas episode. But there were two distinct Cyberman designs missing. Continue reading

Doctor Who: The New Dalek Paradigm

New Dalek ParadigmIn 2010’s Victory Of The Daleks the Daleks appeared in their most radically updated form yet, reflecting Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat’s desire to make them bigger, more dangerous and more colorful (hearkening back to his memories of the Daleks in the two 1960s Peter Cushing Doctor Who movies). What no one seemed to anticipate was the public backlash against the new design: the Daleks, with a maniacal drive for homogeny written into their very genes, seemed somewhat unlikely to outfit themselves with bright, candy-colored casings. (It’s a little unfathomable why, outside of the necessities of TV, any Dalek would look different from any other Dalek: why put a bullseye on your seasoned leader’s back by making him the only Dalek in a shiny white casing?) A frequent comment after the debut of the new Daleks was the the change happened solely to make a new range of action figures possible. Whether or not that’s true, Character Options wasted little time in unleasing the new Dalek army on the toy-buying public. Continue reading

Doctor Who: The Master

The MastersThough introduced seven years into the lengthy run of the original Doctor Who, few characters had as much of an impact on the show as The Master. The Doctor had proven to have a different morality than that held dear by the human race by urging UNIT to ask questions first and shoot later, but here was an enemy with whom there was no reckoning. The Master constantly used Earth as a playing piece in a larger game. By maneuvering it and its occupants into danger, he could throw his lifelong mortal enemy, the Doctor, off his stride. At least initially, the Master had no hatred of Earth whatsoever; inviting a steady stream of alien menaces to invade the planet was a ploy to distract the Doctor – preferably enough that the Master could finally have his revenge on his rival Time Lord. Continue reading