Super Hero Squad Rumorbuster

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Collector's Guide to Iron Man

We've just finished the first (of likely many) Visual Collector's Guides. The concept? Side-by-side comparisons of various repaints and resculpts of major characters in the Super Hero Squad line. First up is the Collector's Guide to Iron Man, thanks to the repaint-heavy Genius of Tony Stark and Crimson Dynamo Attacks 4-packs.

Obviously, thumbnails link to larger shots, but please, don't steal the photos. They took time to shoot, time to resize (and someday, when we have more webspace to use, we'll use the higher-quality larger shots) and time to prepare for uploading. They're not watermarked, but that could change with the next round. And besides, my camera skills are no better than (and possibly worse than) the next person's, so you might have better luck simply taking your own photos. If you do want to use the pictures, asking is a good start. Giving a link to indicate where you took the photos from is a great follow-up. Besides, not only can you probably take better photos, but your figures might have fewer paint-application mishaps than these.

What're you still reading this for? Why aren't you checking out Iron Man (who looks better when not automatically resized by blogger)?

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Custom Ideas 5 - Red Raven

Continuing our series of poor-man's customs, and also our interest in the Marvel Universe's more obscure characters, we present, Red Raven. Like always, the photoshopping is offensively bad, but it's enough to get the idea across.

For those not in the know, Red Raven is one of Marvel's oft-forgotten Golden Age characters, and that means... yup... a convoluted origin that gets worse every time a writer decides they like the design and want to make use of the character. Let's see if we can sum it up: Inhumans with wings broke off from Attilan and eventually encountered a young human, the man that would become the Red Raven, and raised him. Seeing the despair and problems of World War II he joined the Liberty Legion. Eventually, some of his people wanted to conquer the world while it was still reeling from World War II, Red Raven stopped them, but soon enough, a robot double placed everyone into suspended animation. The robot Red Raven encountered the "modern" Marvel U, only to die in battle with Namor. Of course, soon enough Red Raven's artificially created daughter and the Avian (the bird-race that found Red Raven) creation Bi-Beast had their own interactions with the Marvel Universe. Eventually, it's discovered that the Avian race didn't die from the suspended animation, they're awakened, and everyone goes to live in the floating city Aerie where they only periodically waged war against mankind and were conquered by the Defenders who used the Aerie as their base when acting as the Order. Corrections and additions are welcome. With his 70th anniversary coming in 2010, maybe Marvel can try a Red Raven: Rebirth story to simplify and pretty-up his backstory.




Concept: Angel, plus red paint, and possibly some minor sculpting depending on which look you prefer. Classic hairnet style requires giving Warren a haircut and using sculpting material to round off the head and add the ear-bulges. If you're going to go with the full-face version, you would be better off grabbing a head from a Punisher or the Spider-Man figure where Peter is showing his face and be-head Warren altogether. Once finished, you're that much closer to a Golden Age Super Hero Squad.

And just as a reminder, this isn't a real custom, but rather a custom suggestion... I barely have enough SHS to satisfy my addictions, let alone extras to ruin with my shoddy painting. If you take on a custom suggestion like this one, or any of the others, be sure to show it off and let us know so we can appreciate some real skills.

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Hulk Gamma Lab

Hasbro Toy Shop has put the Gamma Lab up for sale officially on their site. After the SPRREQ8 coupon code, the price is $38.82.

Hasbro, while the playsets aren't everyone's cup of tea, at least give us new ones! You know what were the coolest things about the classic Masters of Universe? Playsets. Castle Grayskull, Snake Mountain, Eternia, The Slime Pit. You know what made them great? They made sense. The features were modest (the occasional trap door, a prison cell) but there was a reason for it.

Now, try it again, but give us Tony Stark's labs, with little containers for his "spare" armors (re: the extra Iron Men we have) and a launch zone for him to take off and battle evil. And an X-Mansion, with a danger room of claws/spikes/booby traps. I bet with the right design and ooh factor you could even sell kids on a Sanctum Sanctorum with skylight entrance, mystical dimension trapdoor, and an exclusive Shuma Gorath to fight off.

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New Guy! Let's Have Fun!

Hi, everyone! My name's Cris. I'm here to help Clever Name (and Seantified) post on the blog to bring you all sorts of fun and interesting information on the comics-related things we love. Anyway, seeing as this is my first post as the new guy, I figured I'd start off with something new (well, relatively anyway, haha) and exciting.

So, I went to Comic-Con this year and made sure that I went to the Hasbro panel so that I could share all the cool things there with all of you loyal readers of SHS Rumorbuster. Don't get me wrong, I didn't go to the Hasbro panel simply to cover it for SHS Rumorbuster (I would've gone no matter what), but I did make sure to take pictures and video of the panel to share with you guys; that way even if you weren't able to make it to Comic-Con this year, you can still experience the Hasbro panel! (Aren't you all lucky?)

Well, Clever Name has already posted the pictures I took, so all that's left for me to post is some information...and of course the video I took. Haha, but Comic-Con being the amazing spectacle that it is, unfortunately my camera's battery died before the panel was completely over. Oh well, you learn from your mistakes every day, right?

So, before I get to the video, allow me to set it up a second. Ok, so upon entering the hall the panel was being held in I was given some awesome SHIELD swag promoting the FuryFiles.com website. After a few not altogether interesting introductions and announcements, the fine Hasbro people (each dressed in awesome SHIELD Agent shirts that admittedly made me daydream about how I could snatch a shirt from one of them, dash out the door, down the escalator, and be home free...yeah, they were that cool, but I digress) opened it up for questions. The very first question asked was about the rumored 3.75" line, and this is when I started rolling. So, without further ado...I bring you the SDCC 08 Hasbro panel (more or less)!

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Original Video - More videos at TinyPic


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Original Video - More videos at TinyPic

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Original Video - More videos at TinyPic

So, as the promotional stuff for the 3.75" line shows, they have the sculpts for 32 or 33 figures (depending on whether or not there will be Nick Fury and army builder SHIELD agents or just one or the other...not gonna lie, I'm hoping for both Nick and army builders). Here's the complete list:
Iron Man
Spider-Man
Silver Surfer
Punisher
Black Panther
Bullseye
Daredevil
Johnny Storm
Human Torch
Stealth Armor Iron Man
X-Force Wolverine
Ultimate Captain America
Green Goblin
Hulk
Grey Hulk
Iron Fist
Ronin
Black-suit Spider-Man
Hand Ninja
Classic Iron Man (with/out horns)
Ms. Marvel
Classic Ms. Marvel
Punisher (all black)
Thing
Nick Fury/SHIELD Agent
Blade
Hobgoblin
Moonknight
Red Hulk
Union Jack
Colossus
Thor

Who else can hardly wait until "Spring 2009"?
Well, it seems that we technically don't have to. If you've checked out FuryFiles.com recently, then you'll no doubt have noticed the countdown clock that is counting down to roughly March 1st. Haha, the irony of me starting a rumor (by speculating about what that countdown's actually for, since it doesn't really say on the site) here on SHS Rumorbuster just hit me. Anyway, if I am right in speculating that the countdown is for the launch of the 3.75" line, then that would mean that technically the line will be here just a little before "Spring 2009" since Spring technically starts somewhere around March 21st.

No matter when the 3.75" line actually ends up dropping, I can hardly wait to throw my money at Hasbro to get my hands on these marvelous action figures (shameless pun).

P.S.
Does anyone else think that it's slightly wrong to put out a Danny Rand (Iron Fist) figure without a Luke Cage? I mean, come on...how are we gonna get some Heroes for Hire action without Luke?

P.P.S.
Seeing that Hasbro is willing to do some more off-beat costumes as variants for the figures...I can only hope that if they end up doing a Gambit they do a variant costume that isn't his first appearance fuchsia costume. I'm hoping beyond hope that they'll do something a little sleeker...like, say, his X-Treme X-Men costume? Admittedly, I won't be holding my breath since even in the comics it seems like the only person willing to shed the fuchsia is creator Chris Claremont. Who knows? They might not even make a Gambit figure.

City in Crisis/Winter Soldier... one more time

Hasbro Toy Shop has sent out another delay notification for City in Crisis/Winter Soldier, and again requires people who have placed their order (months ago) to (once again) tell them that they still want it. The updated shipping date is 9/2, but we'll see if they send another delay e-mail on 9/3.

ITEM(S) NOT YET SHIPPED
Item number: 78452
Item name: Marvel Super Hero Squad – City in Crisis: Spider-Man, Mary Jane Watson, Green Goblin and Sandman
Quantity: 1
Estimated ship date: 9/2/2008

Item number: 78453
Item name: Marvel Super Hero Squad – Winter Soldier Saga: Captain America, Falcon, Winter Soldier and Crossbone
Quantity: 1
Estimated ship date: 9/2/2008

We apologize for any inconvenience. If you have any questions regarding your order or would like to change your order, please call our Customer Service Center at 1-800-408-0052. IF YOU ARE WILLING TO WAIT UNTIL THE DATE(S) INDICATED ABOVE TO RECEIVE YOUR ORDER, YOU MUST CONTACT US TO CONFIRM THAT YOU STILL WANT THE ITEM(S). IF WE DO NOT HEAR FROM YOU, THE ITEM(S) WILL NOT BE SHIPPED, AND YOU WILL NOT BE CHARGED FOR THEM.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Gamma Lab coming soon to Hasbro Toy Shop?

Hasbro Toy Shop has posted this little ditty for the Gamma Lab

Price: $29.99, Availability: Coming Soon, Ages: 3 & Up, Item #: 78565

Take this store-and-go portable playset along for all of your Super Hero Squad adventures. “Blast” open the Gamma Lab door and catch super villains on the spinning ledge trap! Spider-Man can speed to the scene of a crime on his spider-swinging webline or in his crime-busting spider car! With lots of other movable features, you can create a whole new action scene every time you play. Pack everything up inside and you’re ready for a rescue anytime, anywhere.

Playset comes with vehicle and Spider-Man and Hulk figures.


No idea if this is something similar to how Spider-Man's Sand Pit Standoff sets were showing up in Walmarts with the Toys R Us exclusive sticker on them before eventually being offered in Toys R Us and then eventually on Hasbro Toy Shop or what other crazy situation could be going on, but I bet it makes you feel good that you didn't pay $76.70 for one of the first ones to sneak out. Remember, it IS just the Bank Heist Playset with new colors and yet another Spider-Man and Hulk repaint.

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News Clips 8/26/08

For those not able to keep up with the couple dozen or so Marvel titles put out monthly, Marvel has put up a Marvel Universe Saga for a free read on their website. With one paragraph catch-up descriptions of most major events and characters, it brings you from Secret War through Secret Invasion.

And FOUR new 12 episode half hour anime series based on new versions of classic Marvel Comics characters? Good idea? Bad idea? Launching in Spring 2010, the press release talks of "a uniquely localized and cross-cultural adaptation of the Marvel Universe", "creating in essence a whole new character base for Marvel" and "a completely new character base, which will eventually cross-over into the current Marvel Universe" (Note: snippets out of order.) Although the press release talks about how original this concept is, Marvel has dipped its toes into the concept before with Spider-Man J, Spider-Man India, the agreement for Marvel and Del Rey to produce manga series together, the Marvel Mangaverse titles, the 1970's Hulk manga, and Spider-Man Manga, Marvel UK's Captain Britain... all attempts by Marvel to create localized and cross cultural versions of Marvel Comics characters (with the exception of Marvel's Mangaverse, which was made for and marketed to an American audience).

Maybe Marvel will take a cue from DC have have a Countdown Arena type series where the Ryoichi Ikegami Spider-Man, the Yamanaka Akira Spider-Man, the Sharad Devarajan and Jeevan J. Kang Spider-Man, Animated Spider-Men from the 60's, 80's, 90's, BOTH animated Spider-Men from the 2000's (MTV and the current Spectacular), the 70's live action Tokusatsu-style robot-fighting Spider-Man, the 70's "American" live action Spider-Man, the Mangaverse Spider-Man, and... what the heck, maybe even Ultimate Spider-Man can all fight to the death.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Hulk Wave 3, FINALLY for order on HTS

Hulk Wave 3 is offiicially up for order on Hasbro Toy Shop.

Not sure if there are many other coupon codes out there, but SPRREQ8 still gets you 10% off (meaning if you purchase all 4 sets, 5.99 a set, $6.97 for shipping, your total after the coupon is only $30.79.)

So go, show the Hulk your love!

Also worth noting is that the figures are (according to their site) in stock for quick shipping. I wonder if HTS has done much market research into what's a better strategy:

1) allowing pre-orders for accurate order information but running the risk that when figures are found earlier, the pre-orders are canceled, or that in the event of a delay people (like us) are bugging them for answers or

2) Waiting until figures are in stock and ready to go before allowing orders, while running the risk that buyers are going to go elsewhere (Big Bad Toy Store, Entertainment Earth) to make sure they get the figures.

And in an unrelated note, anyone have any solutions for the army of Hulks many of us have collected?

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hulk Wave 3 pictures

Seantified has sent over some pictures of a couple of the new Hulk sets. He included comparisons of two of the Hulks (the Hulk that comes with Zzzax is a darker shade of green than the original version packed with Spider-Woman). For articulation he says Zzzax moves at his waist and head only while Skaar moves at his right shoulder, head, waist, and left wrist (for the knife).

Speaking of Skaar though, it looks like he's going to be appearing in the upcoming Hulk Family one-shot, featuring Hulk, She-Hulk, Scorpion (the female version of the character who may or may not be the biological daughter of Bruce Banner), Skaar (aptly named the Son of Hulk), and the genetic result of Thundra's theft of Hulk's cell samples during Hulk: Raging Thunder. So that's one known child, one genetic offspring, and one child of questionable paternity... he's going to be giving Cyclops and Wolverine a lesson in absentee parenting.







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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Checklists are updated

After way too long the Super Hero Squad checklists have been updated. We've been meaning to update them for a while, but because of the recent wackiness with Hasbro (Red Hulk being listed, Green Hulk being shipped. Nick Fury being shown on the slides at SDCC 2008, while blond SHIELD Agent is listed in Big Bad Toy Store's pre-orders, so on) we considered waiting. The problem with that, is that there's always going to be something new so we'd always find a new reason to postpone it.

For those that are unfamiliar with our checklists, we maintain two separate lists: One is for the "set collectors" which breaks down the offerings by wave, and includes things like playsets and vehicles. The other is for collectors who don't care much for repaints, repacks and resculpts, and just lists which characters are released (counting mainstream comic book, Ultimate, and Movie versions separately).

With characters going up to the slides shown at San Diego, we have 137 characters present and accounted for, which is pretty good for a line soon to be celebrating its second major Christmas. Can the line keep up this pace of almost 70 characters a year? Assuming Hasbro keeps the line going through to December 31, 2011 (the expiration date of the Hasbro/Marvel contract, assuming the extension option for Spider-Man 4 isn't exercised) 70 characters a year would mean 210 additional characters, almost 350 different characters total. Granted, that depends on a lot of maybes (maybe the line continues selling, maybe Hasbro continues developing both fan-favorite back-catalog characters and current properties) but half a toy-line's fun is its potential, right?

Speaking of milestones, we're almost at 200 posts here at Rumorbuster in a few days short of 5 full months. While we didn't start using analytics until after the site started, 2313 people have visited more than 9 times, and almost 500 people have visited over 101 times. I know that's nothing compared to a big site, but we're still happy to know at least a few people find some use from this project. Big thank yous to all you regular visitors, and especially everyone that's sent in comments, questions or suggestions.

Edit: And we just updated the index too, but since it was only a small update, no sense posting separately to talk about it, right?

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Hulk Wave 3 in the wild

Seantified just let us know that Hulk Wave 3 is hitting retail, specifically the Toys R Us at Walnut hill and 75 in Dallas Texas. Along with Wave 3, they've re-stocked on the Sand Pit Stand Off set. He also noted that of 6 Zzzax's, they were all transparent. Has anyone seen an opaque Zzzax like the one shown in pictures at SDCC, or was that just an early production model, like the way Thor and Ares had different paint jobs when they were first shown?

And finally, he was able to confirm that Skaar and Leader were shortpacked (2 per case, confirming Entertainment Earth's pre-order listing). If Entertainment Earth is right about the first case revision for Wave 3, Leader's going to get even harder to find when he moves to 1 per case, but on the plus side, they're going to be shipping Wave 2 figures in that case revision so there's still a chance for those that haven't got She-Hulk yet.

As you guys know, we don't have anything real to give in exchange for news, photos and interesting chat, but we have plenty of Non-Marvel Unofficial No-Prizes to hand out, and Seantified gets one!

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Wave 10 Pre-Order

Since we were using the Wave numbering from Wikipedia as our numbering system, and since someone decided to change it to make Wave 5 and 6 one big wave, which, retroactively, everyone decided they were, we're going to continue following Wikipedia, and as such, the Mystique wave is now going to be the Wave 10 wave, and we'll refer to Sentry's Wave as 9.

With that preamble out of the way, Big Bad Toy Store's pre-order for Wave 10, shipping in November, now has photos of the figures up. While their listing still says SHIELD Agent, their picture is clearly Nick Fury. Chase? Variant? Accurate, yet not totally, product listing wherein Nick Fury, who is a SHIELD agent, is listed as SHIELD Agent, instead of Nick Fury, possibly to avoid confusion with the previously released Ultimate Nick Fury, who happens to be the Nick Fury they've shown in promotional artwork for the upcoming animated series? Incorrect picture where they were sent a file of hi-res promo shots and picked Nick Fury out to be the SHIELD agent?

Who knows, but we're still going to love that wave!

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Genius and Crimson Dynamo sets shipping

While Hasbro may not be on top of their game with shipping City in Crisis and the Winter Soldier sets, at least they're shipping the Genius of Tony Stark and Crimson Dynamo Attacks sets on time.

Item number: 78767
Item name: Marvel Super Hero Squad – Crimson Dynamo Attacks!
Quantity: 1

Item number: 78768
Item name: Marvel Super Hero Squad – The Genius of Tony Stark
Quantity: 1

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hulk Wave 3 on HTS, again

Following up on our discussion earlier today of Hulk Wave 3, it looks as if Hasbro Toy Shop is almost ready to put the figures on the site. Searching for "Hulk" brings up the four new 2-packs, but the listings are still "coming soon", and some of the listings still contain the price typos noticed earlier, and Doc Samson is showing as the boxed pic for Hulk/Skaar. Hasbro, we love you but you can be such a mess!

Grey Hulk/Leader - Price: $16.99*, Availability: Coming Soon, Ages: 3 & Up, Item #: 78460.
Mini but mighty, this two-pack of figures includes the Gray Hulk figure with fists ready to fly and Leader Villain figure, ready to spring into action!


Hulk/Doc Samson - Price: $5.99, Availability: Coming Soon, Ages: 3 & Up Item #: 78462
Mini but mighty, this two-pack of figures includes the Hulk figure with his gritted-tooth grin and Doc Samson figure, showing off his flexed muscles!


Hulk/Son of Hulk (AKA Skaar) - Price: $5.99, Availability: Coming Soon, Ages: 3 & Up, Item #: 78463

Mini but mighty, this two-pack of figures includes the Hulk figure with “torn” t-shirt and the sword-wielding Son of Hulk figure!


Hulk/Zzzax - Price: $14.99*, Availability: Coming Soon, Ages: 3 & Up, Item #: 78461
Mini but mighty, this two-pack of figures includes the Hulk figure ready for smashin’ good fun and Zzzax figure, the “living” lightning bolt!


*Note the clearly erroneous prices.

With the Iron Man repaint packs, Wave 3 of Hulk, and the City in Crisis and Winter Soldier Saga 4-packs all slowly trickling out at about the same time it seems like we're going to have another mini-Super Hero Squad flood.

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Hulk Wave 3 on eBay

Our policy is not to link to ongoing eBay auctions, yadda yadda yadda, but astute shoppers will notice that Hulk Wave 3 is starting to make its way onto eBay, with sellers from Texas to NY shipping them.

One thing we'd like to point out though, if only to save you money from (what we feel) is an questionable practice we noticed.

Cmdstore.com's web-store: Hulk Wave 3, $34.95, plus $8.95 shipping. Total $43.90.

Cmdstore.com's Ddmark's eBay listing: Hulk Wave 3, $34.95 (or 39.95 if you Buy It Now), plus $9.95 shipping and handling. Total (if you buy it now), $49.90.

Since they're shipping from the same source via the same post office in Champlain NY (a small little town on Canada's borders and gateway to Quebec, for those that have never visited) you might as well save yourself $6.00 and buy directly from the store. And what's worse is they still haven't fixed their listing to show that they've been shipping Green Hulk, not Red Hulk (which so far, nobody has seen and was likely a product swap-out)

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Winter Soldier and City in Crisis Delayed, Action Required

After sending out e-mails saying that the Winter Soldier Saga and City in Crisis/Spider-Man Saves the Day sets would be shipping out on August 20 (and after we congratulated them on the far more reasonable policy of keeping the order on file in the event of a delay, instead of the puzzling policy of canceling delayed orders AFTER the products have been shipped) Hasbro has sent out the following e-mail...

ITEM(S) NOT YET SHIPPED
Item number: 78452
Item name: Marvel Super Hero Squad – City in Crisis: Spider-Man, Mary Jane Watson, Green Goblin and Sandman
Quantity: 1
Estimated ship date: 8/26/2008

Item number: 78453
Item name: Marvel Super Hero Squad – Winter Soldier Saga: Captain America, Falcon, Winter Soldier and Crossbone
Quantity: 1
Estimated ship date: 8/26/2008

We apologize for any inconvenience. If you have any questions regarding your order or would like to change your order, please call our Customer Service Center at 1-800-408-0052. IF YOU ARE WILLING TO WAIT UNTIL THE DATE(S) INDICATED ABOVE TO RECEIVE YOUR ORDER, YOU MUST CONTACT US TO CONFIRM THAT YOU STILL WANT THE ITEM(S). IF WE DO NOT HEAR FROM YOU, THE ITEM(S) WILL NOT BE SHIPPED, AND YOU WILL NOT BE CHARGED FOR THEM.


Which means that yes, once again, if you don't want your order canceled, forcing you to re-place the order and ending up at the end of the queue, you must contact them and waste your time dealing with customer service.

While we were on the phone, we asked them if they had any insight into the logic of making customers waste time in phone queues (I'm assuming e-mail will work as well) confirming that they want what they want, when it's Hasbro's fault they couldn't provide the figures on time. The answer got? "That's just the way the system is." Truer words, my friend. Truer words.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

SDCC Hasbro Panel pictures

While I'm sure Chris must hate me for not getting them up earlier, the first set of his SDCC panel pictures are finally up. The ML waves, SDCC exclusives, Transformer Crossovers... all up. Thanks again go to Chris!

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Infinite Profiles

Profiles are up of the various Infinite Heroes released so far, with the exception of Black Hand and Atom (dang eBay prices) at the Infinite Heroes checklist, with pictures hopefully coming soon (as soon as we're happy with them, and not a moment too soon!) I know some of you may have already seen the profiles for the single-carded figures, but we've also got profiles for characters in the 3-packs up now.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

News Clips 8/19/08

It's been a while since we've done a News Clips, so here we go.

While we discussed family friendly books earlier in the November Solicitations, Marvel's Free Mondays put up a Marvel Adventure Hulk issue for free reading this week.

Comics Continuum continues coverage of Marvel's animation, discussing how Steve Blum is voicing Wolverine in both the new X-Men cartoon and the upcoming Hulk Vs. direct to DVD title, how Spectacular Spider-Man is still likely homeless, etc, etc.

Marvel Animation Age has a news piece on how Wolverine and the X-Men will be premiering on Canada's YTV in September.

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Custom IH Guy Gardner

We were just talking about custom Infinite Heroes a few days ago and Spy Magician of Action Figure Insider went one lateral with a custom kit-bash of Guy Gardner, using a Jakks wrestler body to give Guy some articulation.

He goes on to mention a few complaints we share about the recent Fwoosh interview where Mattel said that 2009 was going to see improvements to the line in terms of articulation and sculpt. There's some healthy discussion going on in the comments, with POV's ranging from perfect-as-is to comparisons with Happy Meals and accusations that the line was poorly handled. While "Happy Meal figures" is a bit extreme and some of the criticisms are valid (yes, the GCPD set only comes with two guns and two nightsticks for three characters. Who says Commissioner Gordon can't use one of the guns while one of the SWAT team uses a nightstick instead of a gun, or vice versa? And yes, lanterns for the Green Lanterns are kind of common sense, but in honesty, the lanterns are rarely seen in action or in the battlefield so it's forgivable that Guy doesn't have one) the line does show promise and a few posters did bring up other popular lines with minimal articulation (DC Animated) and rocky starts (Marvel Legends, the early Toy Biz figures.

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Marvel's November Solicitations

As long-term readers know, we've been diligently looking at Marvel's fall solicitations for a possible Super Hero Squad comic book. It started in May when MSNreported on the upcoming video game and we noticed some problems in the reporting. Don't get us wrong, we think a Super Hero Squad comic sounds great, but Marvel's Marvel Adventures Line seems to be the closest we've got for now.

So while there is no Super Hero Squad comic listed in November's solicitations so far, there are a few interesting items.

First up, for family friendly fair, Franklin Richards new one-shot is Sons of Geniuses, the new Power Pack series will feature Wolverine, Amazing Spider-Girl continues with issue 26, MA: Spider-Man 45 features Doc Ock, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane 4 comes out, MA: Avengers 30 guest star's Tigra and promises a new team member, MA: Fantastic Four 42 features an election in Latveria, and MA Super Heroes 5 features Doctor Strange and Spider-Man fighting mystical creatures. Marvel Adventures Hulk and Iron Man both appear to be missing. Hulk's solicitations last months didn't indicate it was over, but the last time MA: Iron Man was solicited was for September, and then it was as Iron Man Golden Avenger 1.

Other than that, there's additional one-shots for Thor and Wolverine and the usual assortment of Secret Invasion books.

With the launch of a second Wolverine-related First Class that, like Wolverine Origins before it promises to be an exploration of Wolverine's history before joining the X-Men, The solicitation for Power Pack and Wolverine best sums up all the Wolverine issues this month.

"All right, bub. Gimme my appearance schedule for October..."
"Sure, Mr. Logan! There's your regular solo title, of course. Plus, the usual line-up of team books."
"So that's just UNCANNY, ASTONISHING, NEW AVENGERS and X-FORCE. No prob."
"There's also your side projects. ORIGINS, FIRST CLASS, MANIFEST DESTINY, another FIRST CLASS..."
"Uh huh. Anythin' else?"
"Don't forget cameos! Possibly AVENGERS/INVADERS... maybe a SECRET INVASION appearance..."
"Hmph. Sounds like a light month to me. Think I got room for one more book. You got anythin' FUN?"
"Actually..."


Of course, that ignores his Ultimate appearances in Ultimatum (with 1 and 2 shipping that month), a probably appearance in Ultimate X-Men, appearance in Marvel's Director's Cut of the Free Comic Book Day 2008 X-Men title, his Marvel Adventures Avengers appearance, Secret Invasion: X-Men 4, and of course his appearance in X-Men Legacy, which is tying up the crossover from Wolverine Origins and one of October's one-shots, which brings the total up to about 20 appearances, if all those cameos come through of course. Maybe he'll start making cameos in the Marvel Illustrated titles (Three Musketeers or Odyssey would both be good choices).

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Winter Soldier and City in Crisis shipping 8/20/08

Hasbro has started sending out e-mails revising the availability of the Winter Soldier and City in Crisis sets and giving them an estimated ship date of 8/20/08, which is this Wednesday. And best part of it? While probably unrelated to our little rant some months ago about the bizarre logic of canceling delayed orders weeks after the orders have already started shipping, they include this little bit saying

"We apologize for any inconvenience. If you have any questions regarding your order or would like to change your order, please call our Customer Service Center at 1-800-408-0052. If we do not hear from you, we will assume that you have agreed to the revised ship date indicated above."

Which means we hopefully won't have any canceled orders and panic setting in and OMGBBQFTW teh lien is dooommed sentimentality, we'll just have great new figures.

One interesting thing is that Hasbro Toy Shop tends to get figures a little slower than others, so the lack of City in Crisis and Winter Soldiers on eBay indicates they're not showing up at retail yet.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

What's Missing

One of the beauties of a new toy-line is in all the possibilities that lay ahead. While we still love Super Hero Squad and look forward to the Marvel Universe figures, Infinite Heroes (despite their current poor articulation) has this sense of possibility. With the animated Justice League/DCU line still putting out new characters and plumbing the depths of the animated DC Universe (see: the upcoming Temple Fugate/Clock King figure as an example) and with IH's first offerings including characters like Guy Gardner and Black Hand when conventional wisdom indicates John Stewart and Sinestro would have been more likely choices, it's easy to believe Mattel's hype.

Rather than front-loading the release schedule with big names, it seems obvious that many A-list characters are being held back to anchor future waves, and that many B-list (and below) characters have a serious chance with this line.

This is an unabashed wishlist, supported by excitement and reason, and one that you should feel free to add to. Although it's hard to tell what the future holds, even if DC and Mattel are unable to keep up with the planned 45 characters over the course of the next 4 months that are currently planned for the remainder of 2008, imagine a line with even 75 new characters over the course of a year?

With that in mind, we've picked ten groups of characters and come up with some characters for each. Some are obvious choices (Wonder Woman, Joker, Sinestro, Robin) and some are certainly B-List and below characters. There's a rough character count after each group but because DC loves legacies, do we really need to count each Hawk, Dove, Cosmic Boy and Robin individually? And as a side-note, with the exception of Kingdom Come's Superman, Elseworlds and alternate reality characters are left out because otherwise we'd be posting a list of the best Supermen, Batmen and Wonder Women we want. Because of the weird rights issues, characters from Milestone, Wildstorm, Impact, and Vertigo titles are omitted (except for a handful with strong DCU connections)

1) Wonder Woman characters. Diana herself is almost a certainty, but she comes with a large supporting cast. Donna Troy (double dutying as a Titan character), Artemis, Ares, Hippolyta, Cheetah, Circe, and Nemesis (a fairly recent addition to the WW cast) are easy choices. Roughly 8 characters.

2) Aquaman and co. Like Wonder Woman, he seems like a lock, and there's many incarnations to make. Hook-hand, water hand, classic Super Friends style. Since Mattel says in interviews that they attempt to coordinate DCUC, DC Direct and Infinite Heroes, it's likely that Aquaman's appearances in both DCUC series 2 and planned return in series 7 kept him out of the running for an early figure. Still, original Arthur/Orin could be joined with a modern Joseph, Aqualad/Tempest, Dolphin, Atlan, Ocean Master, Lorena/Aquagirl, King Shark would make a handsome underwater crew. Roughly 8 characters.

3) Green Lanterns. While the first set of announced figures is definitely Lantern friendly (Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Manhunters, Black Hand, Star Sapphire and of course, Hal Jordan), this line was built for the Green Lanterns. Kyle Rayner and Alan Scott, Kilowog, Jade, Boodikka, G'nort, Ganthet, Sinestro, Tomar-Re (or Tomar-Tu... it's really a toss-up), Jack T. Chance, Evil Star, Goldface, Major Force, Mongul and any of the Sinestro Corps are just waiting for figures. Roughly 14 characters.

4) Justice League. Notice anything about the first three entries? They're all heavily affiliated with the Justice League. Then again, who isn't. While many major leagers have already been made or shown, a few modern classics like Red Arrow, Hawkgirl, Vixen, Firestorm and Red Tornado are always ready. Going back a little, Zatanna, Martian Manhunter, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Doctor Light (the nice one, the lady), Elongated Man, Zauriel would make great figures. Villains like Queen Bee, Despero, Dr. Light (the first one, the guy), Felix Faust, Prometheus, and Neron would make quite the assortment. Roughly 18 characters.

5) Justice Society. Another group well represented by the early figures, the sheer number of members mean this team requires its own shelf to be done justice. Modern members like Mister Terrific, Sand, Doctor Mid-Nite, Lightning, Lance, Kingdom Come Superman, Stargirl, Starman (Thom Kallor), Damage, Liberty Belle/Jesse Quick, Hourman, Cyclone and Atom Smasher are great choices, with Starman (Ted or Jack Knight), and an Al Pratt Atom representing some classics. Roughly 15 characters.

6) 4th World. The total and absolute lack of any Kirby/4th World characters suggests the following: While wonderfully nostalgic, the New Gods never seem to play nice with the rest of DC's characters, or, and this is most likely, the events in Death of the New Gods and Final Crisis are going to result in a serious re-invention of the New Gods and everyone from Beautiful Dreamer to Darkseid. Whether Mattel is holding out for brave new versions of Kirby's classics or for a high-intensity re-launch coming out of Final Crisis's finale, Parademons keep with IH's avowed love for army building, Darkseid, Orion, Metron, Lightray, Mister Miracle and Big Barda are virtual guarantees, while great lower-level characters include Big Bear and Beautiful Dreamer, Infinity Man, Black Racer, Moonrider, Serifan, Vykin, Highfather, Takion, Desaad, Granny Goodness, Kalibak, Steppenwolf and Mantis. Roughly 21 characters.

7) The Legion. Like the 4th World, the Legion seems to be in a period of flux. Regular readers of Lying in the Gutters will know that Johnston has been long covering the possible comings and goings of creative staff on the book, and Final Crisis's Legion of Three Worlds is theoretically going to bring some sense of balance to the three concurrent alternate Legion of Super Heroes realities. While Legion salesmen will try to convince you that knowledge of Legion continuity is unnecessary, back-issue hunting (does anyone still do that?) will be torture if you don't at least recognize that until the late 1980's, the story was one long adventure that skips ahead 5 years and drastically changes most everyone, while more classic versions (time-dislodged versions of many characters, discovered by their latter day counterparts) appeared in a spin-off title. Until the mid-90's when the books were rebooted, pre-continuity was shucked off and for about 10 years the book continued until the third and latest re-boot prior to the Infinite Crisis storyline.

Having said that, 2008 is the Legion's 50th anniversary, and no army of heroes is complete without the original army of heroes. Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Phantom Girl, Chameleon, Colossal Boy, Ultra Boy, Invisible Kid, Starboy, Brainiac 5, Sun Boy, Shrinking Violet, Matter Eater Lad, Ferro Lad, Karate Kid, Dawnstar, Wildfire, XS, Andromeda, Timber Wolf (pick and choose which versions of the various characters) make a handsome roster, while Lightning Lord, Nemesis Kid, Tyr, Mano, Emerald Empress, Validus, Time Trapper and Mordru would be formidable enemies. Roughly 29 characters.

8) Secret Society of Super Villains. Another team that already has representatives in the current offerings, but is missing some noteworthy members. The original Captain Boomerang, Captain Cold, Copperhead, Shadow Thief, Floronic Man and Poison Ivy flesh out the classic roster, while Talia al Ghul, Deathstroke, Grodd, Vandal Savage, Chemo, Doctor Polaris, Killer Frost, and Solomon Grundy represent the more familiar modern members. Catman, Chronos and Libra have had varying roles with the Society so throw them figures too. Roughly 17 characters.

9) Titans. They're initially well represented with Wonder Girl, Flash, Raven, Starfire and Supergirl either here or on the way, but to really represent we'll be waiting for Nightwing, Beast Boy, Cyborg, Robin, Miss Martian, Red Devil, Ravager, Blue Beetle, some pairing of Hawk and Dove, Flamebird and Terra. We'd throw in Kon-El if we had some idea what the heck DC can or can not do with him. Roughly 13 characters.

10) The Rest. In their recent interview, the Four Horsemen said that Swamp Thing was among the available DCUC characters, despite the long-standing prohibition against Vertigo and related characters being licensed to anyone but DC Direct, but Swamp Thing, Constantine and Sandman (Morpheus or Daniel) have all interacted with the DCU proper both pre-Vertigo and post (Swamp Thing and Constantine attended Hal Jordan's funeral, Daniel shared an adventure with the Justice League) are good choices, and so aren't bat-villains Joker, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Bane, Lady Shiva, Clayface, Harley Quinn, Man-Bat, Riddler, Scarecrow, Two-Face and bat-friends like Huntress, Spoiler, Sasha Bordeaux, and of course characters like Steel, Animal Man, Eradicator, Lady Styx, Mary Marvel, Blue Devil, Speedy, Fire, Ice, Lobo, Doomsday, Eclipso, Phantom Stranger, Manhunter (the Kate Spencer version), Jonah Hex, Bat Lash, El Diablo, Sgt. Rock, the Blackhawks, Etrigan, Captain Atom (or Monarch), Deadman, Geo-Force, Metamorpho, or Warlord. Roughly 42 characters.

And if they're really stretching for lower teir characters, might we recomend Gemm (Son of Saturn), the Shaggy Man, Anthro, Amethyst, Claw, Tomorrow Woman, Fate (not the doctor), OMAC (the ever-handy modern robots or the 70's post-apocalyptic gentleman, and almost any member of LEGION, Power Company, the Omega Men, Darkstars, Xenobrood, Challengers of the Unknown, Freedom Fighters or Suicide Squad. Roughly too many characters.

Maybe someday we'll do a What's Missing for the Super Hero Squad too just to show we're not partial to one universe or another.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hulk Wave 3, part deux

It looks like Hasbro is still tinkering with putting up Hulk Wave 3. Case in point? This listing for the Leader. This time they have pictures, at least of the Leader's pack, which is better than their previous attempt to put the figures up. On the down side, "fists ready to fly and Leader Villain figure"... come on! Oh, and there's a price tag of almost $17.

The Incredible Hulk teams up with the mightiest Marvel Super Heroes to battle the villains and save the day. Build your team and join in the battle with the Marvel Super Hero Squad!

Mini but mighty, this two-pack of figures includes the Gray Hulk figure with fists ready to fly and Leader Villain figure, ready to spring into action!
Item #: 78460
Approx. Retail: $ 16.99
Ages: 3 & Up"

So here's hoping the official listings will get put up soon. We're looking forward to this chance to bring on the bad guys.

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Infinite Heroes 2009

The Fwoosh has a great interview with Scott Neitlich where they discuss some of the upcoming Infinite Heroes changes for 2009 and it seems like people dissatisfied with the current offerings will be happy with what comes next.

Highlights of the interview:

- From 8 points of articulation to 11+, including ball joints to the elbows and knees, wrist and ankle joints, and possibly ball joints in the hips? (Note: The flat feet and t-hips were our big complaint. They can be posed, but only in standing and, if you have a seat nearby, sitting.)

- They're looking into "vehicles, play sets, the whole thing." If they're looking for advice from us, and they're not, let us be the first to say: Be sure to scratch-guard the Invisible Jet.

- The Crisis theme runs from 2008 through 2009, with 2010 starting a new direction.

- Once again, hold onto the Anti-Monitor points for SDCC 2009, which they say will be the peak of the line.

- 2010 is already in planning, 2009 is already in tooling and sculpting.

- The line is being coordinated with DC Direct and DC in general so that characters with upcoming "moments" get figures, while DC Direct and DCUC aren't over-lapping characters.

- The first 40 characters were sculpted by a single team, but "if the fans really pay attention to the sculpting in 2008 and '09, they might be able to find out just who designed the characters"

So go read the interview! There's good points (upcoming articulation, even better sculpts, vehicles, close coordination with the comics (something the comics themselves can't even do! Death of the New Gods/Infinite Crisis we're looking at you!) and bad points, but it gives you lots to look forward to in 2009.

Side issue, and just as a note to anyone making anything: suggesting that the first 40 or so pieces produced, at about $5 a piece, are just a warm-up that they need to stick it out with is a dangerous marketing strategy. Is that a threat? That if we don't buy the initial offerings, with whatever problems they bring, we won't get the good figures? Or that we can pass on these figures and wait for better ones? While some big names like Superman and Batman are likely to get re-sculpts with the "better" articulation and such, do we get the "privilege" of re-buying mid-to-low level characters in better formats later on?

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Infinite Heroes Checklist

The Infinite Heroes checklist has been updated to reflect the Entertainment Earth pre-orders for various waves and revisions. There's also notations to indicate differences between Entertainment Earth pre-orders and Action Figure Insider's shots of the placards shown at SDCC indicating which figures are coming when and in what wave. Atom and Black Hand have been spotted quite frequently on eBay, while carded Hush has been spotted a few times, also on eBay. Apparently depending on where you live (isn't that always the case) Atom and Black Hand are easier to find.

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Custom Infinite Heroes

Well it was only a matter of time before custom Infinite Heroes started hitting. While we don't generally link to ongoing eBay auctions featuring official products because of the fine line between scalping and your every day auctioning, customs are a one of a kind product that depends a great deal on the customizer's talents and abilities, moreso than their luck at finding a half-dozen un-opened cases at their local Walmart.

Heatwave
Captain Cold
Abra Kadabra
Pied Piper
Trickster

This mini-rogue's gallery, combined with the official Mirror Master, Weather Wizard and Zoom sure give the Flash plenty of enemies. Anyone spot other Infinite Heroes customs out there in the wild?

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Marvel's Mighty Muggs

While they may not appeal to me, Hasbro's Mighty Mugg line has lots of fans, and Marvel is hosting a gallery of most of the line.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Marvel's new super-deformed 2 inch line?

Arriving in stores tomorrow should be Toyfare 134 with the Four Horseman's new Skeletor sculpt debuting. Also featuring?

a peek into the sketchbook of Japanese artist Yu-Pon, who's designing spirally-eyed, super-cute interpretations of Marvel superheroes and Indiana Jones characters for Kotobukiya! We'll see her original artwork, plus character designs no one else has seen, as well as having an in-depth interview!


Super Hero Times had a rundown of some of the things Kotobukiya was putting out with their Marvel license. Here's what they had to say about the "super-deformed" mini-figures:

The first wave of one-coin mini figures, based on the designs of Japanese artist, Yupon, is set to debut this fall, and fans were given the first wave’s 6 “known” characters: Dr. Doom, AIM Agent, Phoenix, Thing, Spider-man, and Nick Fury. 2 mystery characters will also be included with each wave. The figures will be blind-boxed, but the countertop display assortments will include all 8 figures and an additional army builder Unit (AIM Agent, in the first wave’s case) per display, ensuring that all characters have relatively equal availability to fans.


Action-Figure.com was the site that said they would be roughly 2-inches way back in February.

Chile Juguetes features a flyer promoting the upcoming toys and suggesting that the one-coin figures will cover both Marvel Universe proper and it's "movieverse" in "SD/Super Deformed" style.

Poking around tis thread on SG Collect shos you some of the ridiculously high quality sculpts on the statues that Kotobukiya is putting out, but alas, still no pictures of the 2-inch super deformed line, so Toyfare may actually be the earliest shots.

For more examples of Yupon's One Coin mini-figures however, you can check out Kid Nemo with their listing of Lamento: Beyond the Void One Coin Figures.

And off-topic, surfing around Kid Nemo is where I also found this wacky, and certainly stylized Green Goblin and Spider-Man PVC set made by Plex.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Poll Results, New Poll - X-Characters

So the results of the last poll (which character currently starring in a team book would you like as a Super Hero Squad figure) are in. 100 votes, which was roughly 40% more than the previous poll for solo book characters and the results were pretty interesting. Some points I find interesting: Adam Warlock and Taskmaster were neck and neck and they both outperformed Night Thrasher and Songbird. Does that have anything to do with Warlock's upcoming Marvel Legends action figure and Taskmaster already having one. Night Thrasher's highest profile gig lately was dying in Civil War, so it's understandable why even his current role in New Warriors (the ex-X-Men disguised as somewhat similar and interchangeable tech-based heroes version) didn't get him a lot of love.

Songbird is just a little depressing. While the other three characters have suffered from long periods in comic-book limbo (anyone else remember that time Adam Warlock and Gamora realized they were in love and left to raise psuedo-adopted daughter Atleza in another dimension for like 6 years? Yeah, neither do the writers of Guardians of the Galaxy...) she's been a constant member of the Thunderbolts with only minor dips into comic-book limbo between the Thunderbolts Fight Club style make-over and the Avengers/Thunderbolts mini-series, for a little over a decade. Her last place showing may be a combination of being a B-character and also of being a fairly recent development (while Screaming Mimi, her earlier disguise, dates back to the late 70's, Songbird and the Thunderbolts didn't show up until the late 90s, by which time Night Thrasher had already starred in his own mini-series, a short-lived series, although on second thought by today's standard 21 issues is a pretty good showing, and several important issue of the first two volumes of the New Warriors).

Now, for the new poll, the rules are the same: Characters with known Super Hero Squad figures released or rumored don't count, nor do characters that we've already covered in The Case For sections. So far we've done polls for Solo Title Character and Team Book Character, so this month we go with X-Universe character. Although nothing is set in stone, the next poll will likely be either Characters Not Currently Featured in a Book or maybe Characters Created in the 2000's. Who knows?

So previous poll results:

- Adam Warlock 33 (33%)

- Night Thrasher 22 (22%)

- Songbird 15 (15%)

- Taskmaster 30 (30%)

Total Votes: 100

And new poll choices:

Madrox - Always at the periphery of the X-Universe, Madrox has been a member of X-Factor (both the government sanctioned strike-force of the 90s and the modern private investigations firm), Banshee's X-Corp and Xavier's X-Corporation. One of his duplicates even attempted to register X-Factor in his capacity as an agent of SHIELD.

Although he has never been an official X-Man, he has served as one of Moira MacTaggart's Muir Island X-Men with former X-Factor teammate Polaris and current teammate Siryn. In the past, he also worked with Siryn and another current teammate Rictor in X-Corporation's Paris branch. Actually, he worked with Siryn in Fallen Angels as well. With a Kevin Bacon level of mutant connectivity, his teammates have represented every major x-team, he plays well with most characters, and is a friend of a friend of almost everyone. Also, give him decent articulation and watch the army-building commence.

Warpath - Originally a Hellion who blamed the X-Men for his brother Thunderbird's death, he joined X-Force and blamed Emma Frost for a massacre at his reservation. Recently, he joined the newly reformed X-Force, blaming the Purifiers for the death of his friend and teammate Caliban. Although his motives for joining X-Teams tend to be a little repetitive, after over 20 years in the X-Universe, he finally hit the big time by joining the X-Men in the Rise and Fall of the Shi'Ar Empire.

Dazzler - Although her time with the X-Men was brief (from Uncanny X-Men 213, more or less, to Uncanny X-Men 250, once again more or less) her 42 issue series, her appearances in the X-Men Arcade Game and the two X-Men computer games of the late 80's and early 90's, the graphic novel (back when Marvel made original graphic novels, albeit much shorter than what we'd expect nowdays), Beauty and the Beast mini-series (starring Beast, obviously) and notable role in the perenially favorite Phoenix Saga storyline ensure her place in the X-Men pantheon.

Recently returning to the spotlight in New Excalibur, X-Men: Die By the Sword and rumored to be returning to the main X-Men teams, a figure of Dazzler would help round out the X-Men of the 80's line, featuring Magneto, Rogue, Psylocke, the upcoming Marvel Girl and Shadowcat figures and characters like Longshot and Forge who are certainly a longshot (if you'll forgive the pun).

Cannonball - Just as Dazzler is critical to the X-Men of the 80's, Cannonball is important to the X-Men of the 90's. While fellow New Mutants like Magma, Karma, Sunspot and Moonstar never really get the action-figure attention they desrve, Cannonball's membership in the X-Men earns him the occasional figure. Most recently he has served with Rogue's Marauding X-Men and now appears in Young X-Men as a member of what may (or may not) be a new version of the Brotherhood of Mutants.

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Customizing Ideas 4 - Golden Age Vision

Since it's been a slow newsday, what the hey, lets throw up another customizing idea. This time the victim is a golden age hero who, like the Flash and Green Lantern before him had his name and look stolen while having his origin thrown out... the golden age Vision.

As an alien cop, he fought crime and Nazis on Earth, and during recent retcons he's become an ally of the Invaders. Powers are a hodgepodge of mind-control, strength, flight, and transportation through smoke. Most recently, he appeared in Avengers/Invaders 4 as Doctor Strange and Echo/Ronin sought possible clues to the Invaders' appearance in modern-day New York City. And while his origin keeps getting more and more complicated, this resident of the Dimension of Smoke also gets redesigned every time he appears. Examples of his various color schemes are seen here, here, and here. This suggestion is based on his Avengers/Invaders look though.

The recipe: Vision (From the Avengers 4-pack, naturally), plus paint. Having seen his previous versions, you can make do with everything from yellow, black, blue, white, green, red. Just pick and choose which scheme you like. And a little bit of some sculpting material to finish off the gauntlets, which usually come to a point. Once finished, you're just a Spitfire, Union Jack, Whizzer, Miss America, Toro, Bucky, Jack Frost, Sun Girl (and about a dozen other golden age heroes) short of being able act out scenes from Roy Thomas's classic Invaders series.

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Customizing Ideas 3 - Lady Octopus


After stealing MikeEvil's Red Hulk, we went with the much more obscure Lady Octopus. Originally calling herself Doctor Octopus, this assistant to the original Doctor Octopus aided in his resurrection by the Hand (who get along and have also resurrected Elektra, Wolverine, and Northstar among others) and for the most part disappeared into Marvel obscurity, reappearing briefly during Nick Fury's Secret War where she helped take on Captain America.

The concept: Wasp + Doctor Octopus's Arms + green paint, yellow paint = Carolyn Trainer, the Lady Octopus. The same warnings apply, the photoshopping is laughably poor, someone with real skill could certainly make a much better version, etc., etc.



And to really make your Lady Octopus stand-out, you can trim the claws to more point-like ends, or use thinner claws, like the Movie Doctor Octopus claws for instance. Using the movie claws will probably require slightly more work to make the figure stand however. Also, instead of merely painting on her gauntlets and legs, a little sculpting material can be used to actually sculpt on costume accessories.

And as a final point, the Wasp figure relies on her wings for balance, so if you simply cut the arms off directly from Doc Ock's back where they're glued on, the final figure will NOT need the legs to be angled as they are in the picture.

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Index is back, and it's updated

Well something was obviously up when traffic from the index skyrocketed suddenly, and that means one thing: The index is back up. Google is fixing their problem, and we have happily updated the index. We're still thinking about a new format for the index, more Fact:Cite than Question:Answer since even in pure-toy posts, we still end up pointing out everything from interesting all-ages comics to intellectual property issues.

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Friday, August 8, 2008

News Clips 8/8/08

First off, happy Olympics for those that enjoy them.

Second off, Iron Man on DVD and Blu-Ray September 30? No word yet on when Incredible Hulk might be coming, although people on IMDB are speculating about cut scenes, scenes from the script and novelization that weren't included in the movie, and the possibilities of adding 70 minutes (70? The entire film was only 114!) back to the film, including the possible Captain America cameo.

And speaking of DVDs, TV Shows on DVD has volume 1 from Spectacular Spider-Man coming on September 9. Over on the Marvel Animation Forum there's been discussion about a revelation at Gathering of the Gargoyles that the individual releases are apparently cut differently (scenes that were cut from broadcast put back in, episodes spliced to form a "movie"), and apparently at some conventions details about a spring-break related movie were discussed

Marvel Animation Age talks about the upcoming slate of direct-to-DVD animation releases. Nothing new is announced, but the fact that there were 4 movies in 2 years, followed by 1 in 2008 (Next Avengers in September), 1 in early 2009 (Hulk Vs), and then another 2 all the way in 2010 (Planet Hulk and Thor: Tales of Asgard) is kind of a let down. Imagine if, instead of extended breaks between some movies, Lions Gate could have produced another movie or two? 10 movies over 5 years, instead of 8. A new Marvel title every six months. Possibilities.

And speaking of movies: The Iron Fist Fan Film. Featuring Elektra. Well, it's no Marvel Zombies, but it'll have to do.

Finally, the all-ages story everyone wants to read: Wolverine Babysitter. Shadowcat, Illyana, Siryn and new character Amp have a slumber party filled with secrets and robot-Magnetos.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Wave 11 at Entertainment Earth too!

Entertainment Earth has Wave 11 up for pre-order too! Shipping in December is the first set of cases, featuring:

1x Black Spider-Man & Doc Ock
1x Daredevil & Spider-Man
1x Wolverine & Psylocke
1x Ben Reilly Spider-Man & Carnage
2x Spider-Man & Ultron
2x Skrull Soldier & S.H.I.E.L.D Agent
2x Spider-Man (Black Costume) & Ronin
2x Weapon X & Mystique

Then Revision 1 changes to:

1x Black Spider-Man & Doc Ock
1x Ghost Rider & Motorcycle
1x Wolverine & the Hand
1x Blade & Punisher
2x Spider-Man & Ultron
2x Skrull Soldier & S.H.I.E.L.D Agent
2x Spider-Man (Black Costume) & Ronin
2x Weapon X & Mystique

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Wave 11 up for pre-order

Big Bad Toy Store has Wave 11 of the Super Hero Squad (Ronin, Ultron, Mystique, Skrull Soldier, SHIELD Agent) up for pre-order ($30 for the set, another $8 and change for shipping and suggests that the figures are shipping in November.

And interesting to note, this is the first wave since way back when 5 and 6 shipped together to feature a 2-pack where both characters are new. Who knows when the next pack will come out, since the Black Widow wave and upcoming Hulk Wave 3 are all 1 previously released character and 1 new character. The Skrull Soldier, while making perfect sense in terms of Secret Invasion, still came totally out of left field when the SKUs were released back in February. While popular guesses for the set included Winter Soldier, Hydra Soldier and AIM soldier, nobody guessed Skrull Soldier until he was shown at SDCC.

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Cool Toy Review posts CP2, IM3 pictures

Cool Toy Review has also posted the promo pictures of the upcoming Super Hero Squad Collector's Pack and upcoming Iron Man Wave 3 figures.

Side-note, when filling in backgrounds of the promo-pics, if you don't remember to fill in the blocked spaces (ie, Wolverine's arm, Iceman's legs) you do not achieve the result you wish.

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Index is down

For some reason, the index is down. It most likely stems from whatever problem caused these users (although there are a many other posts on the subject in Google's help area) to have the exact same problem at the exact same time so we're just waiting for Google to fix the problem (or for us to get the gumption to pick another place to place the cross-index since the Google Sites framework has been obnoxious.)

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Customizing Ideas 2

Since we had some positive response to Miss Sinister we figured what they hey, lets throw another one up. And you'll note that just like Miss Sinister, the photoshopping is poor, the changes are mostly in color, the results amateurish, but for those with talent or at least a little creativity, it's a fun exercise.

This figure came about as a result of the disappointment that Red Hulk is apparently not going to be in the new Hulk wave (at least not from the pictures that have turned up online. Although Red Hulk's comic book reception has been lukewarm, he's every bit as notable a continuity development as Grey Hulk/Mr. Fixit or any of the many, many mutates.

The suggested recipe: One of the many Wave 1 Hulks that are out there (from the packs which are still on some store shelves, to the Toys R Us Avengers 5-packs that were clearanced to $3 a few months back, to the Easter Packs, but really, you can probably make due with most other Hulk figures) + some dark red paint, some black paint = Red Hulk



Now, as we have said previously, the really bad photoshopping is for illustrative purposes. To improve on your results, try using some sculpting material to give him hair spikes or some bulging veins. Or you can wait for a possible 4th wave. Your mileage varies.

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The Case For... Havok

It's time for 5th installment of the mostly monthly Case For.

With the exception of a couple notable big names (Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Scarlet Witch, Moon Knight, Bullseye) Hasbro has done an applause-worthy job of putting out the Marvel Universe's heavy-hitters. In only 2 years, we have (and yes, this is counting figures like Sentry which have yet to ship) most of the current core-title Avengers line-ups and a large section of Spider-Man’s rogues gallery. X-Men fans, however, usually have a long list of characters they want to see.

One can argue that X-Men just don’t get the same love those other groups get, but being honest, the one new X-figure (more or less) per wave keeps up with other major groups like the Avengers, Spider-Man, Marvel Universe, Bad Guys, and seriously out-performs other groups like Cosmic Characters and New Classics (Young Avengers, Runaways, Agents of Atlas, The Initiative, New Warriors and other groups that are not as iconic as many other figures), but the number of different X-groups and X-characters means more characters are beloved to more people.

All that is a long-winded way of saying important X-characters like Havok are still missing in action. One of the first additions to the original X-Men, Havok left after the all-new, all-different X-Men came on the scene, but returned for the Australian years. During the 20+ issues during which the X-Men were effectively disbanded (250-273), Havok was a Genoshan Magistrate before joining the newly government sanctioned X-Factor.

Over the next 80 issues, Havok was featured either as leader of X-Factor, or as one of X-Factor’s then arch-enemy the Brotherhood. Follow that up with his 30+ issue stint as the main character in Mutant X and a return to the X-Men featuring high points (The Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire) and low points (a botched engagement to Polaris, a cross-over with the Exiles where he faced the “evil” Havok personality), the character has almost 40 years of history behind him.

With the upcoming storyline War of Kings promising to resolve ongoing storylines for both Havok and the Starjammers, Black Bolt and the Inhumans, and even Nova and many players from the Annihilation stories, Havok will be once again in the spotlight.

Unlike some of the Case For characters, Havok has actually had a few action figures before (certainly better than Polaris who was lucky to get a bad repaint of an early Rogue sculpt for her action figure debut) so the odds of him being made eventually look pretty good.

Now, the case against Havok can be strong as well. Most importantly is the fact that none of Havok’s re-inventions has been successful. He has been the bitter younger brother living in Cyclops’s shadow, the confident team-leader, the space-rebel, a mutant trying to live a normal life, an outsider trying to do good in a world of evil… and none of these lasts very long. When a majority of the character’s stories involve said character possessed by Eric the Red, mind-wiped by the Siege Perilous, brainwashed by the Dark Beast, psychically induced to love his nurse by a comatose mutant, and possessed by an evil version of his own psyche, one may wonder if he has any purpose on the team other than being the one to get mentally messed around with by one villain or another.

His pre-disposition for possession and manipulation rubs off on those he's near, as Polaris has also been possessed and distressed a number of times (possessed by Erik the Red, Malice, and the Shadow King, brainwashed by Apocalypse into becoming one of his many Horsemen, haunted by visions of Daap, driven insane by Havok's death and more insane by his return), Wolfsbane spent years programmed to love him before Haven cured her, and we've already talked about his nurse.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

More customs

Figure Realm is currently the host of 9,027 different customs, including G.I.Joe style Captain Americas and a Taskmaster that look like they'd fit well with Marvel's upcoming Marvel Universe line, a couple dozen customized Super Hero Squad figures (and as a sign of how quick the line moves, 11 of the 26 figures have since had official versions produced), and tons and tons of Marvel Legends style figures (over 3000 total.) Interesting to note that a couple great designs (Tiger Shark, Captain Marvel/Photon/Pulsar, and Jocasta) keep popping up despite being on the b-character lists, while a couple of popular mainstays (Wolverine, Punisher, Hulk) can be seen in almost every permutation. In fact, Deadpool, one of the more popular customs, even has his own Potato Head version to sit next to your Spider-Man, Optimus Prime and Darth Vader.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Customizing Ideas

In the past we've suggested customizing ideas even though we lack the time (as can be seen by the half-converted Captain America to Red Guardian that has been sitting in the closet since he was covered in primer) to actually produce the customs, but inspired by Toycutter, specifically this post we thought it would be interesting to post customizing ideas for Super Hero Squad figures (and whatever else may strike our fancy). We will also be poorly photoshopping our suggestions. Attempt at your own risk!

First up: Miss Sinister! The (likely) clone of Mr. Sinister recently uncovered in X-Men Legacy, she does not appear to know much of her past, and neither does the reader, but Sebastian Shaw has plans for her. After rejecting an offer to be the new Black Queen of the Hellfire Club (how come nobody gives Selene any respect?) she dubs herself Miss Sinister, and follows the long, proud trend of female versions of male characters (from Spider-Woman and She-Hulk, to today's Lady Bullseye, Scorpion, Tarantula and White Tiger).

Emma Frost
+ black paint, white paint, red paint, clipped cape
= Miss Sinister!

And to make the figure that much more convincing, Miss Frost needs a bit of a haircut, a little Apoxy to make the hair fall over her shoulder, and of course, the fine details like Miss Sinister's earrings.

We've got other similar ideas, and plenty of bad photoshopping, so if you try this, be sure to let us see your results.

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Sand Pit Standoff on Hasbro Toy Shop

This formerly Toys R Us exclusive that apparently first hit Wal-Mart before actually arriving at Toys R Us is now available on Hasbro Toy Shop! It's good to know that the Spider-Man line still pops up every so often, and that exclusives aren't always so exclusive!

Sand Pit Stand-Off

And the text describes it best:

"The sensational Spider-Man is locked in battle with his most dangerous enemies ever! He leaps from construction crane to bulldozer, slinging webs like never before. Meanwhile, New Goblin zooms through the sky on his sky stick, hurling pumpkin bombs, even as Venom and Sandman fight tooth and claw to be the first to land a punch on the web slinger!

Spring into adventure with the world’s greatest collection of Super Heroes. The mighty Spider-Man battles his foes and saves the day with his amazing abilities and super powers. Join the battle with the Spider-Man Super Hero Squad! Collectible, fun five-pack of stylized Spider-Man characters includes Spider-Man, Sandman, Venom, New Goblin and exclusive black chrome Spider-Man figures!"

It's listed to ship within 7 to 9 days and is item number 69277.

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Marvel Financials for Q2

Since a fair number of people are posting about Marvel's earnings we figured what the hay, we'll post a link to them. We might do a more comprehensive break down of the release later, but for now, interesting tidbits include:

- "Licensing Segment net sales increased to $94.9 million in Q2 2008 from $65.6 million in Q2 2007. The increase was driven primarily by the recognition of revenue previously deferred due to earliest-in-store restrictions related to the Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk feature films."

Marvel's Licensing Segment is where they have chosen to record income from the Hasbro deal, and while this is a recent decision, the numbers from previous quarters have been altered to reflect this change in treatment (it's like having a fruit company where you report the money you have tied up in apples and oranges on different lines. If next year you combine apples and oranges in one line, it produces anomalies, like your apple and orange assets sinking to 0, while "fruit" assets skyrocket. You can better represent this to shareholders by explaining in notes that last year's "fruit" was so much, and that it's really a combination of the two previous years categories apples and oranges).

That allows us to see, in part, the increase in overall licensed product sales from 2008 (Iron Man, Hulk) and 2007 (Spider-Man, Fantastic Four), but it's not conclusive.

Another interesting bit?

- "Revenue from Marvel’s film production segment commenced in the second quarter with the release of Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. We’re very pleased with the success of these films which have generated $817 million in global box office receipts -- $571 million from Iron Man and $246 million from The Incredible Hulk -- with Iron Man still to open in Japan"

Now, of that, they only acknowledge 29 million give or take on the balance sheet, but that's because their distributors have different revenue recognition (aka, money counting) timelines, so that 29 or so million is just foreign pre-sales. That also means that Q3's figures will likely have revenues from those films and we'll finally be able to see how much of that $817 million (and counting) makes it back to Marvel.

The other interesting thing to note is that World War Hulk was wrong, and Iron Man can beat the Hulk. It would be interesting to know how much of that disparity in box office receipts has to do with (1) the previous Hulk movie and resultant bad press, (2) the tremendous critical acclaim Iron Man received (93% at Rotten Tomatoes, 92% for the top critics) compared to Hulk (68% at Rotten Tomatoes, 58% for the top critics), and (3) the word-of-mouth/viral campaign surrounding Iron Man and the Nick Fury connection. But we'll likely never get that type of information. Oh well.

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Hulk Wave 3 coming to Hasbro

No telling when they'll be up, but Hasbro (the main site, not Hasbro Toy Shop) has started listing the current Hulk Wave 3 Super Hero Squad figures, or at least the Hulk/Leader pack and the Zzzax pack.

Grey Hulk and Leader

Hulk and Zzzax

Hulk and Doc Samson

Hulk and Skaar, Son of Hulk.

And in other corners of the internet, Lying in the Gutters is having a little fun with how Hasbro US has blacklisted Pat Lee (stemming from problems related to the failure of Dreamwave, a company that used to produce Transformers comic books), while Hasbro Hong Kong Limited has his name all over some August 1, 2008 Commemorative Box Set certificates.

And finally, there are new Hulks (the big ones seen at movie theatres in preparation of the Incredible Hulk movie) up for auction. Marvel has a complete list of the auctions still ongoing.

Edit: Just finished putting up the links to Samson and Skaar packs.

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Monday, August 4, 2008

News Clips 8/4/08

Just a few quick news pieces for today:

1) Iron Man Wave 2 (the repaint-heavy wave) has been hitting stores recently but doesn't appear to have hit eBay yet.

2) Marvel's Free Monday is bringing classics like Defenders 1, and modern favorites like Marvel Adventures Avengers 17 to your computer screen for your reading pleasure (although to be honest, the interface/reader does need a little work)

3) Mutant X is going to be arriving in a complete series set according to TV Shows on DVD. For those that don't know/don't remember, Marvel's first X-Factor comic series ended with a cliffhanger explosion that seemingly killed Havok. Naturally, this being comics, he was shunted to an alternate reality where particular events turned out differently resulting in big changes for major heroes. Storm remained a vampire after Dracula's attack, Beast's self-experimentation continued and resulted in a more reptilian body, Elektra became a nanny. You know, little things.

A few years pass and readers are told the title is canceled (last issue: June 2001) but that a new television series entirely unrelated to the comics would be arriving (first episode: October 2001). Mutant X, the TV series, ended up the subject of many years of litigation over how similar the concept was to Marvel's X-Men movie franchise.

One can't help but wonder if the lawsuits over rights issues involved with the X-Men movie, related issues with the ownership of Spider-Man, and the current tangle of rights for characters like Doctor Doom, Venom, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Silver Surfer hasn't made Marvel rethink the agreements they enter into in the future.

Eventually Havok returned to the 616 dimension to be stuck in the infamous Chuck Austen era of X-Men (he returned to the X-Men and quickly agreed to marry Polaris who subsequently went insane at the wedding. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler's father was a mutant devil from another dimension and Angel, armed with a stolen Soulsword, became the first of many winged healers...), Marvel published a few Mutant X comics featuring the television series characters, and the series itself went the way of The Night Man series.

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Index is Updated!

We have updated the index with the latest news, rumors and conjecture from the last 2 or so weeks worth of posts. Now it's one stop shopping for all our posts on SDCC 2008, Marvel's animated offerings, and all the new figures coming out.