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How a comic book shop views Toy Fair

Another Toy Fair has come and gone.

And while I didn’t attend, I’m happy to play arm-chair observer and write about the reveals, what I’m excited about and what was missing.

NECA

NECA always seems to have something new up their sleeve that will make collectors happy.

The long-time license holder for Aliens, Predator, Godzilla, and most horror franchises presented a lot of the usual suspects. But there were several surprises that I’m looking forward to:

Back to the Future Ultimate and Animated Figures

  • Marty McFly Ultimate 7 Inch Figure
  • Marty McFly (Tales from Space) Ultimate 7 Inch Figure
  • Animated Series Biff Tannen
  • Animated Series Marty McFly
  • Animated Series Doc Brown and Einstein
  • Animated Series DeLorean

Jaws

Jaws is one of my all-time favorite movies.

So I was thrilled to see that NECA is producing 8 inch figures…and supposedly, Bruce the Shark.

The two figures shown at Toy Fair were:

  • Chief Martin Brody 8 Inch Clothed Figure
  • Sam Quint 8 Inch Clothed Figure

I’m a big fan of prop replicas, but we haven’t seen too many in recent years.

That looks to change, thanks to these upcoming DC Comics prop replicas from NECA:

  • Batman the Animated Series - Mr. Freeze Ray and Goggles
  • Batman the Animated Series - Grapnel Launcher
  • Batman the Animated Series - Harley’s Gun
  • Batman 1989 - Grapnel Gun
  • Batman 1989 - Batarang
  • Batman 1989 - Line Launcher
  • Superman 1978 - Kryptonite
  • Batman: Arkham City - Nightwing Escrima Sticks
  • Batman Beyond - Batarang

Also on the prop replica front, Factory Entertainment is producing some from Masters of the Universe, including both He-Man and Skeletor’s Power Swords!

One of the lines that I personally collect is Super7s Reaction Figures.

So I was happy to see a ton of new figures on display at Toy Fair.

As much as I would like to have all of them, display space and money mean that I’m going to pick and choose.

The other reason that I will or won’t pick up Super7s Reaction Figures is whether or not they work well in the 3.75" scale. 

Let me explain.

My action figure obsession began with Kenner’s 3.75” figures from the original trilogy.

And most of the figures that I had as a kid were 3/75” figures.

But then came Masters of the Universe, Thundercats, Transformers and TMNT.

None of those were traditional 3.75” figures.

So they don’t appeal to me in this format from Super7.

However, things like the Universal Monsters, Planet of the Apes, Rocky, and others do.

Does that make sense?

I’m also a fan of the card art on these.

So when a card features a photo or art of that specific character, it appeals to me.

But when all the cards from the line have the same card art, (Back to the Future, for example), I’m going to pass.

I know that I’ll pick up Michael Knight, maybe The Munsters, and more of the Universal Monsters.

Mezco is also getting into the 3.75” figure game with their Five Points line.

The standouts for me are their DC figures:

The Superman Deluxe Set, based on the Max Fleischer cartoons, and the Batman Deluxe set, based on the 1960’s Adam West TV show. Although I may cave and pick up the Scooby Doo figures, too.

Speaking of Mezco, their One:12 Collective line has impressed me from day one.

Unfortunately, we don’t sell many of them here at Alter Ego Comics.

To me, they’re an alternative to Hot Toys when it comes to quality and accessories.

And the price point lines up, with most Hot Toys figures running $200-$250, and most One: 12 figures running $80-$100.

So it’s really a question of are you a 6 inch figure collector or a 12 inch figure collector?

And most of my customers fall into the second category.

Regardless, here are the Mezco One 12 Collective figures that caught my attention:

  • Batman 1989
  • Morbius
  • Ghost Rider
  • Planet of the Apes
  • John Wick

Their Alien and Preator figures look very cool.

But hasn’t NECA covered this ground sufficiently?

Chronicle Collectibles is up next, and is one of the big question marks for me.

Here’s why.

I saw Chronicle’s 1/6 scale Jurassic Park and Conan The Barbarian figures on display at the San Diego Comic Con in 2016…and none of them have shipped yet!

Now they’re showing off 1/12 scale figures, too?

What does this mean?

Are they still releasing the 1/6 scale figures?

Only time will tell, but based on my intel, they didn’t have any of them on display at Toy Fair.

They did have a completely out of left field display of Star Trek cats, though.

These are sculpted cats wearing the classic original series uniforms of Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and Scotty. The Captain Kirk cat even comes in the bridge command chair.

As a lifelong Star Trek fan, will I be getting them?

Let’s just say they’re already on order for Alter Ego.

DC Collectibles announced just prior to Toy Fair that they would be reverting back to being called DC Direct, a wise move in my opinion.

They built the DC Direct brand over many years and DC Collectibles never sounded right.

According to my guy at DC, though, the reason for the name change was because of SEO and Google search reasons.

There are plenty of companies making action figures and statues based on DC Comics characters, but DC Direct has always produced some of the nicest, and most cost-effective pieces.

The items shown at Toy Fair that caught my eye include:

  • DC Designer Series: Catwoman by Stanley Lau statue
  • DC Cover Girls Supergir Statue
  • DC Cover Girls Harley Quinn by Frank Cho Statue
  • DC Cover Girls Poison Ivy Frank Cho Statue
  • DC Bombshells Harley Quinn Deluxe Statue Version 2
  • DC Bombshells Black Canary and Green Arrow

Diamond Select Toys is one of the oldest toy companies that caters to comic book collectors.

But they often rank low on the quality list, especially when it comes to their statues.

That appears to have changes recently with their acquisition of Gentle Giant Studios, as well as forming partnerships with some excellent sculptors.

They struck gold a few years ago with their Gallery Statues.

These are PVC statues with above average sculpting and an average SRP of $50.

They also have several licenses, including DC, Marvel, Godzilla, John Wick and many others.

We love these here at Alter Ego, and there were several shown at Toy Fair that I’m looking forward to bringing into the shop:

  • DC Gallery Robin Statue
  • DC Gallery Lobo Statue
  • DC Gallery Catwoman Statue
  • DC Gallery Two-Face Statue
  • Marvel Gallery Nova Statue
  • Marvel Gallery Spider-Man Statue

I’m going to stop here because there are so many Marvel Gallery statues coming down the pipe that look cool that this list will get ridiculously long.

The bottom line is that if you have a favorite Marvel Comics character, Diamond Select Toys has a Gallery Statue for you.

One final note on DST, they’re doing Lord of the Rings Select figures…and they look amazing!

These 7 inch figures will likely run $30 each, and since there haven’t been any LOTR figures in this scale for at least a decade, fans of the films should want to collect them.

As a specialty store, I tend to avoid stocking action figures that are “mass market.”

That means no Hasbro or Mattel figures.

Why?

Two reasons: First, price point.

Because most mass market stores (Target, Wal-Mart) buy in bulk, their purchase price is usually much lower than mine. That allows them to sell these figures to collectors at close to my cost.

On top of that, the profit margin on action figures is pretty small. And after factoring in the cost of shipping, I’m often making less than $5 on a mass market action figure. This makes zero business sense.

Second, because most mass market stores are ordering direct from Hasbro or Mattel, (due to their larger orders), they almost always get new items before we do. In some cases, months ahead of most specialty shops.

So while there were lots of cool action figures shown off by Hasbro and Mattel at Toy Fair, I’ve chosen to focus on items that Alter Ego Comics will actually be selling in this blog post.

The items that I’ve spotlighted here will be rolling out over the next 12 months or so.

And if you’re going to add any of them to your collection, then I hope that you’ll keep Alter Ego Comics in mind.

Thanks for reading. 

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