Monday, March 30, 2020

Marvel Legends Retro Series Silver Samurai

I'm going to jump into some Marvel Legends for the next several posts, because I already had a hefty backlog of them before I picked up this Retro Series Silver Samurai. I'd had my eye on this since he was announced, and with the market flooded with Marvel Legends, I saw his price continue to drop. I eventually got him for under eight bucks shipped, after a hefty discount and some Amazon points redeemed. 

I had a 3 3/4"  Silver Samurai/Wolverine Greatest Battles 2-Pack before selling off most all of my Marvel Universe collection- check out my 2011 post on it! I'm glad to have a quality 6" replacement of this character, though the Marvel Universe Samurai had some nicer silvers and some nice washes that brought out the detail in the armor.  His neck has very limited articulation, effectively a right/left swivel, but there's little else to complain about here. I'm very happy to have finally picked him up, especially at such a great price. Fantastic!

There was a Retro Series Wolverine released in the same wave as Silver Samurai, in all-black deco w/red belt from the '88/Vol. 2 run, but I have SO MANY Wolverines. Hasbro has delivered some good ones recently, of which I have no less than SIX, so...  Below, Silver Samurai with my first Retro Series Wolverine in his original brown and yellow outfit...

I may like pairing Silver Samurai with my X-Factor Wolverine even more...

Silver Samurai would also make a great sparring partner with Marvel Legends 
Shang-Chi from the recent Spider-Man Demogoblin Wave...

And finally, Silver Samurai with the DC Multiverse Batman Ninja...

More Later- Make It FUN!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Comics From My Youth: Marvel Super-Heroes #76, 1978

A recent run through the dollar bins unearthed this well-worn issue of Marvel Super-Heroes, featuring the Incredible Hulk, that I instantly recognized from my youth! This title contained mostly reprints of issues featuring popular characters from '69 to '82- in this case Hulk #124 (1970). I would have been six years old, and Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno were co-starring on the popular TV show, then in it's 2nd season on CBS, proudly advertised on the cover. This issue probably cemented my love for artist Herb Trimpe, whom I got a lot of exposure to as a Bronze-Age baby, and was as formative of my early love for comics as the Spectacular Spider-Man #22 issue I wrote about back in 2013. Historically speaking, Editor Jim Shooter had started to turn things around in this era, by growing the direct market. producing some classic stories, and getting books out on time. This was a relatively good time for comics, and the Hulk, along with Spider-Man, were really popular.

This was undoubtedly my first exposure to General Thunderbolt Ross, who comes to terms with his disapproval with Banner to make his daughter happy, and marry her off to him in her childhood home. It's as surely the first time I saw the Marvel villains Rhino and the Leader, the latter whom reads about the pending nuptials, and hatches a plan to undo a helpless Banner during the affair!

The Leader dispatches Super-Humanoid to retrieve Rhino, unconscious in a hospital from his recent defeat by the Hulk, and revive him using his advanced technology. Additionally, the Leader recreated the Rhino's suit, now amplifying his strength far beyond it's previous levels.

Rhino is hot to exact revenge on the Hulk, but the Leader has his own design- a shot of gamma to the unsuspecting Banner to awaken the Hulk, endangering everyone and everything in his path. Poor Betty's special day comes apart before her very eyes, the Hulk's wrath unleashed, her father injured in the melee and her childhood home destroyed in short order...

The brouhhaha escalates further when Rhino attacks, but the Leader fires 
on his impatient accomplice while trying to get another shot at the Hulk. ..

Angry, Rhino charges on the Leader, who attempts to leave in his escape module. It's jets are damaged by Rhino's attack, seemingly destroying them both in the resulting explosion ...!

We are promised a tangle with the Absorbing Man in the next issue, which I never read, but may now have to hunt down! This is probably one of the first comics I read, and all the action and emotions left a deep imprint on me, instantly recalled upon finding this treasure. Marvel must have printed a ton of these to capitalize on the TV show- did you have this issue? Below, a couple ads for toys/memorabilia within the pages, another thing I love about old comics!

More Later- Make It FUN!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Mego 14" Joker

It's been months now since Mego failed to deliver on the four new 14" figures they promised in the fourth quarter of 2019, and I've not heard one word on what happened on the solicited Shazam/Capt. Marvel, Black Adam, Dracula, and Frankenstein's Monster. I picked up this Joker from the third wave in 2018 in part due to pent up desire for more of these, but also to complement the two 14" Batman figures I already have. I loved the 8" Mego Joker I had as a child, and this update pays homage to the spirit of that figure in it's own way, particularly through it's fantastic, Bronze-Age head sculpt/portrait. 

While it lacked the outer jacket that the second release of this figure came with, I loved the silky orange vest and green shirt, and knew that Dr. Mego was selling tailed coats to fit this figure, which I received one week after ordering from his website. I am really happy with the coat, which is of good quality and retains the Mego style. The flower pinned lapel and collar are somewhat unruly, but the silky fabric interior and wired tails make it special, and it really completes the look of my Joker.

I have another, all-black Batman that I absolutely covet, but I also love the Bronze-Age blue and gray Batman that I bought first. I was surprised at Mego's sudden return in 2018, but their 14" figures were even more unexpected. While their appeal was somewhat of a slow burn for me, I hope Mego continues this over-sized scale. I didn't buy them all, but would buy more- they really captured the spirit of the vintage 12" Megos, with a little something extra!

I had a 9" Hasbro Joker for years, but my favorite Joker in the collection has been my 18" Figures Toy Company Joker, an over-sized replica of the original 1974 Mego Joker. These two complement one another nicely, and the 14" Mego is a good replacement for the 9" Hasbro Joker...

More Later- Make It FUN!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

DC Multiverse Croc, Batman Ninja, & Damian Wayne Robin

This is the first year Mattel hasn't produced DC action figures in 18 years, signing with Warner Bros. in 2002 as master licensee for Batman, Superman, and Justice League properties, and going on to produce the celebrated DC Universe Classics line in 2007. While that series ended at retail in 2012, it lived on through online and convention exclusives, and as re-branded waves like these DC Multiverse figures. Croc and Ninja Batman were both "Collect 'n Connect" figures, assembled by purchasing waves of  Multiverse figures. I'm nostalgic about the DCUC line, some of the first 6" action figures I posted about on this blog ten years ago, and I still have a modest collection of them.

Croc was from Mattel's last wave of Multiverse before McFarlane Toys won the license, and would fit in perfectly with the DCUC lineup- he has that construction and style. His sculpt is fantastic and he has an articulated jaw! Below, Croc with my DCUC Joker, Penguin, and Catwoman ....

Like Croc, I bought Batman Ninja complete from an eBay seller recently, more interested in the CnC than the wave he came in- while this can be an expensive endeavor, it was less costly than buying the entire wave in both cases. I enjoyed the DC animated Batman Ninja well enough, but have coveted this action figure for awhile now. Figma and S.H. Figuarts both make deluxe figures of this character, but I enjoy the simplicity of Mattel's style for what it is, and am sometimes overwhelmed by the glut of accessories to keep track of with the deluxe figure lines. I would love, however, to get my hands on one of the forthcoming Star Ace 1:6 scale Batman Ninja!

There's no belt or peg to stow Batman Ninja's sheath, but does have decent articulation and can hold his sword with both hands, a pair of fists also included. I'm pretty happy with this figure- he fits well stylistically within the DC Universe Classics pantheon, and has deluxe paint apps. Below, Batman Ninja with DC Multiverse Rebirth Batman and Zero Year Batman...

Batman Ninja made a natural opponent for Croc in my mind, the association with Croc's reptilian nature and the dragons of Asian mythology, though Croc isn't a featured villain in the animated film. Regardless, they are fantastic figures I'm glad to have acquired...

I picked up this DC Multiverse Damian Wayne Robin on a whim, and at a great price, to go along with Croc and Batman Ninja as sparring partners- he pairs well with Batman Ninja, packed with his own katana. I thought these figures would photograph nicely in my custom urban alley diorama, which I also used form my post on the DC Multiverse Batwing and Duke Thomas Robin.

Below, Damian Wayne with DCUC Wave 16 Robin, and DC Direct Batman Inc. Robin...

If you don't prefer Damian's angry face, roundly dislike by collectors, he comes with a Court of Owls mask to cover it- this is actually a cool option I will display for the time being. Damian's knee pads have an annoying tendency to pop off when handling him, but once he's in place, you're good. His biceps are a little overdeveloped for his teenage buck, but the boots, hooded cape and tunic are unique.

I had a lot of fun with this little Mattel DC haul, and great fun the past few months going back to pick up DC figures I missed in the past, both Mattel and DC Direct, and still have more of these acquisitions to show you. Along with that I still have some treasured DC figures that have been in my collection for many years I'd like to feature this year. Stay tuned: Follow the Super-DuperToyBox Instagram!

More Later- Make It FUN!