I’ve been to car shows, gun shows (and not just me without a shirt), and of course comic conventions, but I have never seen anything the likes of Toy Fair. For a geek first class like myself, this was a mecca of nerdcore and since I had never attended I had zero expectations. I can honestly it was nothing like anything I could have imagined: primary colors, everywhere, blinking lights, plushies running around, so it was kind of like a casino except with better toys plus we chatted with EVERY-body.The people we at Geek were most psyched about talking to were the baddest of the bad, purveyors of statues, action figures, models and playsets; you know, the little guys. And yes, we did hang with some old major league favs, such as Hasbro, Mattel, and LEGO who showed us new toys we drooled over but I have to say I enjoy how we give equal time to the indie players. Because we’re AWESEOME.
Now I could go through all the highlights (and one lowlight) of our time at Toy Fair, so I will. Behold my list:
• Mezco’s Breaking Bad line. Ridiculously cool statues of Walt, Hazmat or Heisenberg, plus plushes of him and Jesse. They were giving away Better Call Saul matchbooks. Giving! I would have paid money. I took a handful.
• Hasbro had me fawning over their Marvel Legends line but I will forever be indebted to them for creating a G.I.Joe. Kwinn figure. Those who know, know. Badassery!
• LEGO showed off their very interactive Lone Ranger playsets but the fun was us noticing Anakin Skywalker’s green lightsaber on the mini figure and on the packaging. Did he ever use that color? Let us know! Lego sweated a bit.
• Mattel unveiled their sick new Castle Grayskull, as well as their new 1960’s Classic Batman. Burt Ward as Robin, Frank Gorshin’s Riddler, Adam West wearing yellow jams and holding a surfboard? Not sure this can be beat.
• Oh, hey I talked with Todd McFarlane about comics, toys, and Rabbids, like, for forever. No big whoop” if I were into sports, we’d still be talking.
• Crazy Aaron has transparent putty. Liquid Glass it’s called. IT LOOKS LIKE GLASS. Acts like putty.
• Speaking of licensing, did you know if a statue comes in three pieces it’s technically a model? That’s how they get away with it folks.
• Amazing shout out to NECA for the sick Pacific Rim line. Thought I couldn’t get more excited for the film. Nope, I’m now even more stoked.
• A polite, COME ON, to Warner Brothers who wouldn’t let anybody show Man of Steel toys (except DC Collectibles obviously). Actually, the toys were there, we just couldn’t film them but I will say they are amazing, and will show their true potential under a yellow sun.
There is a lot of big market stuff happening at Toy Fair, hey it’s a trade show–but for every silly toy there’s an educational one so it’s a good balance. What really blew my mind were the giant walls set up making each big time toy company into their own exclusive outlet store. But the flipside is this makes the super geeky indie, toy companies all the more appealing. Shrewd grown-up toy fans making what they want to see made, finding the loopholes to get the licenses of their favorite characters and setting the standard of cool. Now if you’ll excuse me, the 1960’s Batman line will only be available at Toys R Us and this dude will be first in line.
Steven Smith’s favorite Van Halen album is Fair Warning (natch), the guest on his podcast Going Off Track this week is former Taking Back Sunday bassist Matt Rubano, and he has every issue of Infinity, Inc. Those who know, know.