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Fandom: From the Shadows to the Lime Light

Hi everyone,

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.

Pacific Rim: Uprising Action Figures (DST)

It's time for us to dive back into the Pacific Rim and explore some of the other offerings the franchise has produced. Namely, action figures!

Battle Damaged Gipsy Avenger

The Battle Damaged Gipsy Avenger stands roughly the same height as the Gipsy Avenger diorama we recently posted about if you take the diorama's base into consideration. That said the action figure holds up remarkably well in the detail and articulation department. With a limited run of only 250 pieces the Gipsy Avenger is willing to show its scars, but only to a select few.

With the scars of a Kaiju battle all over, she stands nearly 8 inches tall and features multiple points of articulation. Packaged on a blister card. Sculpted by BigShot ToyWorks. Limited to only 250 pieces.

Series 1

Diamond Select Toys actually made a respectable offering of figures for the film, broken up into three series, you can get an appreciation to the time and effort that BigShot ToyWorks put into creating the line.

DST is preparing for the apocalypse with a line of action figures depicting the film's all-new Jaeger robots! Gipsy Avenger, Saber Athena and Bracer Phoenix make up Series 1, each with a full range of articulation and each packaged in the famous Select packaging, with side-panel artwork for shelf reference. These specialty-exclusive versions include weapons and accessories not available at any other retailer! Don't let the kaiju onslaught take you by surprise! Sculpted by BigShot ToyWorks!

Series 2

While it might not have been enough to "cancel the apocalypse", (PRU only brought in $290,930,148 compared to $411,002,906 of the original) the figures from DST and BS TW try their best.

Three new Jaegers are joining the fight against the kaiju menace, and each giant robot is cooler than the last! The mysterious Obsidian Fury with his twin blades, Guardian Bravo with his mace, and Titan Redeemer with his whip each measure between 7 and 8 inches tall, and each features approximately 16 points of articulation, plus interchangeable parts that are exclusively available to the specialty market! Packaged in display-ready Select action figure packaging, with side-panel artwork for shelf reference. Sculpted by BigShotToyWorks!

Series 3

If you are a fan of the the franchise and you have yet to join the uprising you can still find these figures for sale. I have been a fan of mech vs. monster since the glory days of Godzilla so when PR introduced us to the world of kaiju I was onboard and ready to set sail. Hopefully, they will revisit the property some day and our adventure can continue.

Three new Jaegers are joining the fight against the kaiju menace, and each giant robot is cooler than the last! Joining the six Jaegers in Series 1 and 2, November Ajax, Valor Omega and the Kaiju-infected Jaeger Drone each measure between 7 and 8 inches tall. Each figure comes with interchangeable alternate hands, and each features approximately 16 points of articulation! Packaged in display-ready Select action figure packaging, with side-panel artwork for shelf reference. Sculpted by BigShot ToyWorks!

You can view all of DST PRU related memrobillia on their site.

Pacific Rim: Uprising Busts and Sculptures

Pacific Rim: Uprising while weaker than the first entry in the franchise was still a worthwhile contribution to the lore that is a cornerstone of any lasting property. The John Boyega lead film deviated very little, offering the same thrilling ride that made the PR a hit to begin with. The major difference was that it wasn't anything new (rogue Jaegers aside), failing like many movies to reinvigorate the action and offer audiences something different while retaining the core elements that made it popular in the first place.

Film makers don't have it easy job but fans do. For anyone who like Uprising like I did you will be pleased for this Jaeger alert from DST!

Fans of PRU will be pleased by the massive (14" tall) Gipsy Danger bust which is part of DSTs Legends in 3D series. They have continued to impress me with the solid work that they have been able to produce for the series.

The Legends in 3D line goes on the attack with this bust of Gipsy Danger from the first Pacific Rim movie. Measuring approximately 14 inches tall, this massive bust features incredible sculpted and painted detail, and is the ultimate cinematic collectible from the Pacific Rim movies. Limited to only 1,000 pieces, the bust comes packaged in a hand-numbered, full-color box with a hand-numbered certificate of authenticity. Sculpted by Bigshot Toyworks!

I'm a bust sort of guy, many fans want more though, while dioramas can go either way this piece from BigShot ToyWorks hits all the right beats. One thing about that I noticed was that the diorama was smaller than I had hoped. The Gipsy Danger bust is 14" tall while the diorama peaks at 10", had they added an ich or two it would have made a more impressive Jaeger statue. Of course priced at only $45.00 (compared to $200 for the bust) it really is a minor detractor.

The world of Pacific Rim Uprising just got even bigger, with the first ever Gallery PVC Diorama from the hit sequel! Gipsy Avenger stands on guard against Kaiju (and rogue Jaegers) above a diorama of decimated buildings in this 10-inch sculpture, cast in high-grade plastic and featuring detailed paint applications. Packaged in a full-color window box, it was designed and sculpted by BigShot ToyWorks.

What If ... Conan Retired? Action Figures from FTC

Recently I have begun to explore the world of FTC and what a fantastic world that is indead! While browsing their site I happened upon a find of a lifetime. Conan. Not just Conan the Barbarian mind you, an indreible 8" version that made my Mego dreams come true. Well, almost true. You see–Conan has gone into retirement. And as much as it pains me there was no way I was going to miss out on the opportunity to share not just Conan the Barbarian but Solomon Kane and Kull The Conqueror figures as well (I need to share my pain).

And before you tell me that there are plenty of action figures for Conan ... I know. They even spun off the series and turned it into a short lived children's cartoon released in 1992. Which is to question the sense of exposing children to the not kid friendly work of Robert E. Howard. The series came complete with its own line of figures. Though they were not half as impressive as ... These!

Conan the Barbarian

Includes an authentic cloth outfit, molded axe, boots, belt & wrist guards. Comes in resealable plastic clamshell packaging that can be opened and closed without damaging the figure.

Solomon Kane

Includes an authentic cloth outfit with a molded sword, pistol, gloves & boots. Also includes a cloth hat. Comes in resealable plastic clamshell packaging that can be opened and closed without damaging the figure.

Kull the Conqueror

Includes an authentic cloth outfit, molded axe, boots, belt, wrist guards & crown. Comes in resealable plastic clamshell packaging that can be opened and closed without damaging the figure.

Retro 8" Batman Black Costume Figures (FTC)

Are you looking for something original to add to your collection? For batman fans look no further than these retro 8-inchers produced by Figures Toy Company. These figures featuring Batman in his classic black costume are an Excelsior Toys exclusive so you can't order them directly through FTC.

When I saw the character I immediately thought of the Tim Burton classic film from '89. I can recall back to the day that my dad and I went to see it, sitting there together in the dark theater it was a treat for both of us, as he was the one that introduced me to the comics. I re-watched the film earlier this year, having not seen it for more than a decade, and I can only say that I wish they had had this figure back then.

Without Removable Cowl

There are actually three versions to choose from. The original Batman figure is sculpted with a rounder softer face and cowl. This was later reworked to be more inline with the DC Comics look of the character in his black costume. The new sculpt sports an edgier face and chin which deviates slightly from the Mego look, but only slightly, which shouldn't be a deal breaker for most fans.

Original Sculpt

New Head Sculpt

With Removable Cowl

The Many Faces of Wolverine from Hot Toys

Few companies have been able to capture a performer's likeness as well as the artists at Hot Toys. It is no wonder they have been able to make such an impact on the collectible toy market, raising the bar to an almost unforgivable height.

Today we are going to explore one of film and comics iconic characters, one that was played by the same man, Hugh Jackman, for nearly twenty years.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

TM © 2009 Marvel. © 2009 Fox.

This X-Men: Origins figure captures the visceral nature of the Wolverine character in a way the Benioff penned film could not.

Sculpted by Kojun, part of Hot Toys dream team, this figure captures all of the detail that you would expect from the company that has produced so many incredible 1/6th scale figures. Combine the talented hand of Kojun with the expert eye of JC.Hong and you have one of the best best likeness released at the time of the film's release.

One aspect of the figure that is especially noteworthy is that they used a new material for the head, which produced better skin texture and was used in in the production of later figures as well. The body was based on the newly developed hirsute muscular figure body which had over 30 points of articulation and stood approximately 30 cm tall.

Close-ups

No figure from HT is complete without a mix of features and accessories.

  • Movie accurate costume of brown jacket, undershirt, shirt, jeans and boots
  • Movie accurate Origins adamantium claws
  • Accessories: dog tags and a leather-like belt with detailed buckle
  • Two pairs of interchangeable hands

Full Body

The Wolverine

© 2013 Hot Toys Limited. All Rights Reserved.

Following on the heels of X-Men: Origins - Wolverine the artists at HT refined their take on the character, bringing the even event higher level of detail into the mix. This time the tailored clothing play an even bigger role in making the action figure come to life.

With the release of "The Wolverine" figure JC. Hong maintained his role as painter, this time working over the very competent work of Lee So Young, with Kojun providing art direction for the whole project.

Close-ups

The figure comes with five pairs of interchangeable palms including:

  • One pair of fists with metal claws
  • One pair of fists with bone claws
  • One pair of fists
  • One pair of relaxed hands
  • One pair of palms for holding sword

Full Body

X-Men: The Last Stand

X3 Motion Picture and Images from Motion Picture © 2012 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.

© 2012 Hot Toys Limited.

A The Last Stand what can we say about it that fans haven't already said a million times? Regardless of where you stand you can't help but be amazed at the work HT put into this 1/6th scale collectible. Besides being released the year before the above entry it captures a harder more comic book likeness of Hugh that isn't present in the other artists' work. This time Im Jung Hyuk was tasked with sculpting the head, though Kojun and JC. Hong maintained their positions of art director and painter respectively.

I find it remarkable that, though each head is specially hand-painted, they seem to maintain a strong consistency and quality rarely found in the collectible toy market. When you see the prototype you know that that is most likely what the end product will look like. With that said the paint work was a monumental achievement with this figure. Check out these close-ups to see for yourself.

Close-ups

  • Three (3) pairs of interchangeable gloved palms including:
  • One pair of fists with blades
  • One pair of fists
  • One pair of relaxed hands

Full Body

X-Men: Days of Future Past

We have written extensively about the Wolverine figure from X-Men: Days of Future Past. If you want to know the complete story of that figure you should check it out. For the sake of completion I wanted to include some shots of that incredible piece of art. If you could label an action figure a masterpiece then this definitely goes into that category.