Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 2011 Recap



Below is a recap of all the post we've covered in November 2011. If you missed any, or simply want to see them again, click on each "title" to be taken directly to that post. As always, thanks for reading.

Batman The Movie
Austin Powers
Family Guy

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Family Guy (Mezco)



When Family Guy first aired in January 1999, Fox had no idea it would grow into the phenomenon it is today - So much so that they cancelled the show in 2002. The show, while great, was too far ahead of its time.

It wasn't until 2004 with the release of season one and two on DVD, and re-runs airing regularly on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim that Fox realized the gem that they had buried, and quickly revived the show with all new episodes for their fall 2005 line up which still run today.

Shortly after Fox began production on the shows reintroduction into prime time television (in 2004), Mezco was granted the rights to produce and distribute a toy line.


ABOUT MEZCO TOYS

A toy company unlike any other, Mezco (established in 2000) combines humor and horror with action and adventure to produce the most sought after collectibles and toys on this (or any other) planet. Michael Markowitz (Mez), the President of Mezco, is the driving force behind all aspects of design and development.

Working with the best talents in the toy industry, Mez conceives and directs each line from start to finish. Mezco is a driving force in the industry, developing both licensed properties and in-house twisted concepts for years to come.

THE TOYS

Mezco ran a pretty solid line of Family Guy figures from 2004 to 2007. The first series contained the entire family line up with the exception of Meg. Each figure came packaged in a carded bubble pack with a whole bunch of amazing accessories. The attention to detail in the accessories alone make these figures a must have for us. But, if that's not enough for you, the sculpts of the actual characters are spot on to their animated counterparts.


Brian*Chris*Lois
Peter*Stewie*Stewie (Bedtime)


With series two, Mezco started to introduce chase variants into the mix. The first was the Death figure which had a hooded and skull version. Believe it or not, the skull version is more common than the hooded version.


Death*Death (Variant)
Meg*Peter (in the Buff)



Mutant Stewie*Rufuss Griffin
Quagmire


Series three included a variant Jasper figure which can be found with both a pink and a blue shirt.


Christobel*Jasper
Jasper (Variant)*Joe Swanson



Mayor West*Tube Top Peter
Pope


Series four included a whopping nine figures thank in part to the three variant chase figures that were produced. The first was Lethal Lois who was available with both a black and a red belt. The second was Mort Goldman that has nervous eyes with pupils pointed straight to the front, and a version that had squinted nervous eyes with the pupils looking to the side. The final variant chase figure was Mr. Weed who can be found with both a pink and a blue shirt.


Cleveland*Lethal Lois*Lethal Lois (Variant)
Mort Goldman*Mort Goldman (Variant)



Mr. Weed*Mr. Weed (Variant)
Tom and Jake Tucker*XXXL Stewie


Not to be outdone by series four was series five which included another three variant chase figures. However, this time two were of the same figure. The Salesman can be found with three different suits. The first is the standard blue suit, the second a checkered pattern, and the third is a leather tattoo parlor suit. Tricia Takanawa was the other figure with a variant chase edition. She comes in both a blue and a purple dress suit.


God*Greased-Up Guy
McGriffin*Peter as Gary the No Trash Cougar



The Salesman*The Salesman (Variant 1)*The Salesman (Variant 2)
Tricia Takanawa*Tricia Takanawa (Variant)


Series six had only one variant figure. Seamus, pronounced "shay-muss," can be found with both an opened and closed mouth.


Banana Brian*Bertram
Clevemire



Seamus*Seamus (Variant)
Sexy Party Stewie*Stewie 2.0


Series seven included one variant figure, which was personally our favorite. We don't necessarily care for Neil Goldman as a character or a figure, but we love the attention to detail on the variant edition white shirt.


Bionic Peter*Groovy Death
Bad Girl Lois



Neil Goldman*Neil Goldman (Variant)
Performance Artist*Commando Stewie


The final series of figures, series eight included a variant Quagmire in Robe figure - The original blue color, and the more decorative orange one.


Diane Simmons*Exercise Chris*Secret Agent Astronaut Millionaire Peter
Quagmire in Robe*Quagmire in Robe (Variant)


A couple box sets were released, but only one is highly sought after by collectors - The Giant Chicken Vs. Peter. The other set is simply a repack of figures from series one and two.


The Giant Chicken Vs. Peter
Family Boxed Set


No set is complete without exclusives these days, and nothing makes a set harder to complete than exclusives. Family Guy had its share of them.


Nighttime Lois and Peter (Black)*Nighttime Lois and Peter (Red)



Chris (in Mezco Shirt)*Herbert*Chillin and Grillin Peter


While the Family Guy series sold well for Mezco, the toys seemed to have ceased in production, leaving no trace of a ninth series. If one were to look at the lineup of figures, it could be easily argued that there simply aren't any more figures to make. Mezco pretty much covered all their bases, and unless you were to really dig deep, or start making different outfits for characters, there really aren't any more figures that come to mind in this great series.

So, will Mezco produce a ninth series? Your guess is as good as mine. But, regardless the figures that are available are amazing, and well worth any fan of the series to add into their collection.

***UPDATE***

As of December, 2011, the rights to produce toys based off of the Family Guy series have passed from Mezco to Playmates. Playmates will be releasing an all new series, starting from series 1. The line will be an "interactive" series, which will contain sounds and voices from the show with each toy. The first series is available now.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Austin Powers (McFarlane Toys)



Yeah baby! Yeeaaah!

Mike Meyers dropped a comic gem on the world in 1997 when New Line Cinema released his comic opus Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. The film quickly spawned two sequels in 1999 and 2002, with a fourth planned for 2013.

In 1999 McFarlane Toys released two series of figures (a total of 12 figures - 6 in each series). Staying true to McFarlane Toys standards of quality, the figures were amazing.

Each sculpt accurately depicted the characters, and included some fun accessories. Each figure also came with their own stand.



Because the toys were sold in retail stores across the world, Fat Bastard received a name change to Fat Man.



Also staying true to McFarlane Toys were the boat loads of variants that came about - Though the majority of them were merely changes to the sticker in the top left corner of the bubble pack. The figures from series one, and their variants included;

Austin Danger Powers "Would you fancy a shag?"
Austin Powers "Crickey, I've lost my mojo!"
Austin Powers "Would you fancy a shag?"
Austin Powers "Yeah Baby, yeah!"
Dr. Evil "One Million Dollars"
Fat Man "Sorry I Farted"
Felicity Shagwell "Care for a Ride"
Felicity Shagwell "You're a groovy boy"
Mini Me "Eeeeeeee"

Series two was released within months of series one, and included another six figures. The packaging was changed slightly in color to show that they were new.



The seris included more variants based on blurbs in the top left corner of the bubble pack, but there was also one distinct figure variation. Scott Evil can be found with both a "blurred" shirt, and a Kurt Coban one.



The figures and variants for the six series two figures are;

Carnaby Street Austin "What do you think of my shag pad, darling?"
Fembot "Hello, Mr. Powers, care to have a little fun?"
Moon Mission Dr. Evil "I will not Tolerate Failure"
Moon Mission Dr. Evil "Welcome to my Moon Base"
Moon Mission Mini Me "Breathtaking, I shall call him...Mini Me"
Moon Mission Mini Me "Send in the Clone"
Scott Evil "A trillion is more than a billion, numbnuts"
Scott Evil "Get away from me you lazy eyed physcho"
Vanessa Kensington "You can address me as Agent Kensington"

Series two also saw the release of a two pack/vehicle in the form of Dr. Evil and Mini Me with Mini Mobile.



In 2000 ToyFare Magazine offered an exclusive two pack of Dr. Evil and Mini Me. Though they were just slightly altered repacks of the vehicle two pack above.


We're a big fan of the Austin Power films, and these figures are a wonderful compliment to them.

Each figure can be found for around eight to ten dollars, with the exception of the Scott Evil with Kurt Coban shirt which can fetch as much as $40.00.

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Austin Powers - Goldmember (Mezco)



Austin Powers - Goldmember
Mezco
2002

Mezco gets an honorable mention for their 2002 release of five figures based off the third Austin Powers film, Goldmember. The sculpts were decent, but not as high quality of the McFarlane Toys ones.



Fat Bastard got his name back for this series, though the letters of his name were depicted with symbols.



The figures include;

Austin Powers (70's Attire)
Austin Powers (Carnaby Street)
Dr. Evil & Mini Me (Prison)
Fat Bastard
Goldmember

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Batman The Movie (1989) (Toy Biz)



In 1989 Warner Brothers released the highly successful Batman film. The movie not only showed the general public that a film based off comic book heroes can be a blockbuster success, while at the same time launched both Tim Burton and Michael Keaton into orbit as high status celebrities in Hollywood. Jack Nicholson was of course already there.

Toy Biz quickly followed the success of the film with a set of toys.


The series of figures were as small as they come. Only three figures were produced, along with several resculpts. Batman himself had three different versions; a Michael Keaton version, a square face version, and a rounded face version. The Joker had two different versions, one with a painted on curl of hair on his forehead, and the other with no curl. The final figure, Bob the Goon was released to complete the series.

Batman's figure included a long retractable string that allowed you to use it as a grapple hook. The Joker had a tube and small plastic water bottle that could be attached to the back of the figure. A squeeze of the bottle shot water out of the Joker's lapel flower. Bob the Goon offered no interactive play.





We never saw an Alfred the Butler, Vicki Vale, or Knox figures. Nor is it even known if Toy Biz had any plans to produce them. However, it is a shame that more figures were never produced.

The Batmobile and Batwing are probably some of the best toys based on these iconic Batman vehicles to date. They were meticulously sculpted to match their counterparts as seen in the film. One version of the Batmobile (there were two) even came with a plastic overlay shell to mimic the vehicle being in "shield" mode.

Though never seen in the film, the Batcycle was a wonderfully detailed toy. While not as interactive as the Batmobile and Batwing, it was still a great addition to the set.



To up the stakes, Toy Biz produced a large Batcave playset. At $100.00 (or more depending on where you shopped), it was an item on many a child's Christmas list that Santa never brought. They toy offered many levels of interaction, and overall was just cool.




To not leave Joker fans out, Toy Biz produced a van and motorcycle for the Clown Prince of Crime. Despite not being in the film, the vehicles were still unique enough to hold their own on any shelf of the toy isle, and many Batman fans were eager to add them to their collections.

This was certainly a rare toy line indeed. It was one where the vehicles actually sold more units than the figures. While the series didn't last long, it remains a highly treasured part of many a collector's collection to this day with secondary market prices remaining fairly steady, yet low enough for your average fan to seek out.

Of course, before then, and since then, the Batman trademark has been secured by many a toy company, and several series have come and gone since Bob Kane first created the character for DC Comics in 1939. I'm certain this iconic figure will see many more toy lines in my life time.

Click "Here" for a continuation of this line in Toy Biz's DC Comic Super Heroes.

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