What can be said about Tron? Besides the monumental ground braking film experience that wow audiences in 1982 (at least it wowed me) it was the first film to incorporate computer graphics. And Tron did it in an all-in style which has influenced that way film is made to this day.
Apparently we have to thank another ground breaking achievement, the creation of Pong. According to Lisberger:
The inspiration for Tron occurred in 1976 when Steven Lisberger, then an animator of drawings with his own studio, looked at a sample reel from a computer firm called MAGI and saw Pong for the first time. He was immediately fascinated by video games and wanted to do a film incorporating them. According to Lisberger, "I realized that there were these techniques that would be very suitable for bringing video games and computer visuals to the screen. And that was the moment that the whole concept flashed across my mind".
So I can hear you, I asked the same thing time and time again. Why haven't we gotten a line of Tron action figures? While it is beyond me why this classic example of film making hasn't been treated better by the toy industry I am able to say that Diamond has finally given it its 7" due.
For the first time ever, the classic sci-fi movie Tron gets movie-accurate action figures! Each 7-inch scale action figure is based on the look of a character from the 1982 film – Tron, Sark and Infiltrator Flynn in his red infiltration disguise. Each features approximately 16 points of articulation and interchangeable disc accessories and effects, and comes packaged on a full-color blister card. Designed by Yuri Tming, sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios.
This assorted set contains two of each figure.
Everyone loves Tron, but real fans love it on VHS!
That’s why this exclusive variant figure is sporting colors based on the old VHS packaging, and comes packaged in a real VHS-style box! The 7-inch figure includes multiple identity discs with energy effects, and will react to a black light. Designed by Eamon O’Donoghue, sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios. Limited to only 3,000 pieces. A Diamond Select Toys release!
The special edition VHS SDCC release is available through your local comic shop as well as through online retailers.
Sorry, just had to slip that in.
If there is one thing that you can say about the classic Batman (1966) television series was that it was groovy. (That's groovy in a good way, not, groovy in the sense your parents thought that they were fashionable in day glow bell bottoms. But I digress.) DST continues to show that they are at the top of their game with these beautiful premier resin collectibles. I remember sitting on the floor, towel as impromptu Batcape and being memorized as Batman and the Boy Wonder zipped across the TV screen from one daring adventure to the next.
Had you shown me these statues then I would have been awe struck. Wait, I still am. Don't believe me? Just take a look for yourself.
Prices range from $60 to $150 depending on the character and appeal.
These classic style busts from DST are circa 6 inches tall. While not the largest busts you can find they offer more than enough room for fine detail work, especially on the Mr. Freeze sculpt.
They have also produced a line of full sculptures. These statues show the character in an iconic pose from the series and provide fans with another means to revisit the campy adventures of The Caped Crusader.
Adam West ... Burt Ward ... Who are these guys grandpa?
Rich has been talking a lot about Figures Toy Company lately so, being curious as I am, it was time to take a look for myself.
Unlike some of the other collectors here on TKL I really don't have a connection to the whole Mego look since I wasn't exposed to them as a child. While the I am able to see the appeal it just never struck me as particularly engaging. That being said I was uncertain what I would find when I visited their site. Needless to say Rich was right. They do an excellent job in recreating the design of older dolls quite well and this makes up the bulk of their product line which spans multiple series and franchises. FTC also sells wrestling figures which I did not explore, though I have the feeling Rich (who has been a fan since childhood) did.
My only real complaint about the series is that they excluded Hermione Granger from the line. For real fans of the Harry Potter series there is a base set, the trio, to be complete. If you can't collect Harry, Ron, and Hermoine you can't have a set. Drako is a nice touch, but only as far as being an extra and as they opted for only three figures they would have been better served with various incarnations of Harry. With that said, I feel that overall the figures in either the 8 or 12 inch incarnation could compete on the level of other merchandise for the franchise quite well. Had these figures been released ten years ago–that is, prior to the last film–they would have made waves and impressed fans. I know I would have been. Now, you really only have a small dedicated group that is interested in other aspects of the franchise that moves away from collector dolls, though I am aware of a number of premium offerings in that department as well.
All in all the series of Harry Potter dolls from Figures Toy Company are a nice inclusion for the fandom and I am certain there are a lot of happy collectors out there that are glad that they got theirs while they could.
Hot on the heels of the Sub-Zero bust comes Scorpion. This is another classic MKII era design that that captures the look and feel of the damned ninja warrior perfectly. Part of DST's Legends in 3D line this Scorpion bust is 1/2 scale which gives it plenty of room for detail.
This killer bust of Scorpion is the next release in the Legends in 3D line of half-scale busts! Measuring approximately 10 inches tall, and inspired by his earliest video game appearances, the bust features detailed sculpting and paint applications, and is limited to only 1000 pieces. Packaged with a certificate of authenticity in a hand-numbered, full-color box. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Salvador Gomes.
Is this another flawless victory for DST? Take a look at the bust and decide for yourself.
Slated for a fall release the bust is priced at $175.00 which is acceptable for the size and detail it has to offer. You can learn more on the DST page as well as browse their other Mortal Kombat statues.
If you are familiar with the original games, namely Mortal Kombat II you will recognize the design. This resin bust, sculpted by Salvador Gomes, brings the ice cold ninja to life with amazing detail. Something that fans of the series will appreciate. As most of you know MK got a bad rap, not just for the copious amounts of blood and violence that it threw at the gamers of the time, but due to the lifelike nature of the graphics led parent's and law makers to take notice. Since all of the characters were digitized actors (excluding Goro & Kintaro which were claymation), high tech for the time but primitive for today's standards, fatalities brought the discussion of digital murder to the forefront.
DST is known for the qality of their fan memorabilia and this bust, part of their Legends in 3D, brings all of the detail of the classic Mortal Kombat era to vibrant life.
This killer bust of Sub-Zero is the next release in the Legends in 3D line of half-scale busts! Measuring approximately 10 inches tall, the bust features detailed sculpting and paint applications, and is limited to only 1000 pieces. Packaged with a certificate of authenticity in a hand-numbered, full-color box. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Salvador Gomes.
Today's piece is going to diverge a little bit away from the action figures and focus on something that is more encompassing. Fandom.
Fandom was once something confined to the shadows. You went to cons, subscribed to zines, and really only had to the chance to connect with people at those levels. While, the same, to lesser extent holds true today, the number of people you can connect with is growing. Most people who have gone to the theater in the last decade have all but certainly wondered into a Marvel film at least once. How could they not? The super hero genre has taken over theaters and it has established itself as a piece of our cultural identity.
While it is true, many people see this on a more superficial level, they are at least aware of it; more importantly they are willing to try and connect on that level as well. As an aside, Marvel has become synonymous with with super hero films, that is why when you meet a layfan you will hear things like: "I went to see 'Wonder Woman' because it was a Marvel film." DC executives are more than certainly shuddering, but at least they are aware of the character. The $412,563,408 domestic earnings for the film make up 50.2% of the total $821,847,012 which leads us to realize that the trend is not just an American one.
If the box office is an indicator of acceptance we have a pretty clear indication that fandom and franchise films are the biggest successes.
As a whole, fandom is still in the process growing, and it is very big business as mega successes like "Avengers: Endgame" (earning in its double release) and even smaller success stories like "Joker" and "Venom" have gone on to prove.
But what does that mean for us as a society?
For one, it means that the acceptance level of the fantastic is at an all time high.
From the shadows to the lime light, super hero films and those related to other fandoms have become a big source of revenue for the economy. Movie studios are not the only companies profiting from the change in trend. Today you will hear people proudly proclaim their loyalty to geekdom–where a similar statement even a decade ago would have been look down upon–can today be at least seen as a source of conversation and at best allow you to easily connect with like minded individuals.
There influence appears in every aspects of our society, for the commonly accepted domains to the once strongly traditionalist ones like weddings. Everybody accepts that a child will enjoy the attention that these popular franchise are receiving but adults have also embraced them, making them a feature in their lives. It was once unthinkable, but today you can find weddings themed with superheroes, birth announcements, christening, save the date, and any other type important event. While there are a varying number of options you can find an acceptable option for most occasions, and they cover everything from fantasy to science fiction.
Fandoms are nothing new, and fan appreciation is also not something created in the last two decades. Mr. Skygack was a character created by A.D. Condo for a comic strip staring the fictional Skygack as a Martian ehtnographer. In 1908 a couple from Cincinnati, Ohio were effectively the first people to cosplay, attending a masquerade dressed as Mr. Skygack and Dillpickles. Two years later the character appeared again when an woman won a masquerade ball in Tacoma dressed as Skygack.
At that time they were viewed as a novelty and a bit of a fad. It took them nearly a hundred years before we as a society were willing to see their value and appreciate the creativity and imagination that has gone into these characters and their stories. Today we do not view them as a novelty, rather as part of our cultural identity, they give us role models, they establish community, and they entertain us. Marvel, DC and company are no longer something only enjoyed by children and "man-children," rather they are appreciated by a diverse spectrum of our society and their acceptance is only growing.
Fandoms are now something to be proud of rather than shunned.