ComingSoon.net/SuperHeroHype spent most of the day at the annual Toy Fair at the Javits Convention Center in New York City and while it's often hard finding movie-related items among the literally thousands of toy manufacturers who attend every year, we did find some cool movie-related stuff to share with you. ComingSoon.net photographer Thomas Tinneny has taken over 700 more photos of stuff found around the exhibit floor, which you can see in our Updated Toy Fair Gallery, and here are a few thoughts on some of the cooler things we saw.
This year's Toy Fair was very much about three major summer movies, Marvel's The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man, which we mostly saw during our Hasbro Collectors Day, and Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises. Since these are expected to be huge movies, everyone seems to be jumping on the licensing of toys and games and anything imaginable based on the characters.
That said, one company not necessarily focused on any of those is New Jersey's NECA, but maybe that's because they scored the license for the anticipated adaptation of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, adding that to their major coups with toys for the "Harry Potter" and "Twilight" movies. Besides producing life-like action figures based on the three main characters from the movie, NECA has created an amazing line of products based around the movie, everything from bags and replicas of Katniss Everdeen's bow and outfit to jewelry and even themed lightbulbs. They're also producing a District 12 strategy game.
For the most part, NECA always finds cool movies to create figures around and the latest movie they've latched onto is Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial with the first wave of figures coming out in April. A couple of years back, NECA bought WhizKids, the company who created the HeroClix collectible gaming figures and they've been continuing to bring a similar level of quality to them as they do their action figures with this year's releases including HeroClix based around The Avengers movie as well as new super-sized HeroClix of Galactus and the Sentinel Master Mold.
After that, Jim Fletcher from DC Direct gave us a tour of their showroom, which had some really beautiful work on display including photo-realistic 12" statues of Batman, Anne Hathaway's Catwoman and Tom Hardy's Bane from Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, as well as 6'" figures and busts of same. They also have a lot of cool action figures based around characters from the "Arkham City" video game with some of the cooler ones coming out in June with a deluxe Killer Croc and Mr. Freeze, as well as an absolutely enormous Titan Joker in November. With DC planning the "Before Watchmen" prequel comics some time later this year, DC Direct will be releasing the first full statues based on the Watchmen comic characters, starting with Rorschasch and The Comedian. One of the statues on display we really liked was part of the anime-influenced Ame-Comi Heroine Series, which was a female take on Brainiac, which as far as we know has never appeared in comic and cartoon form, but it was such a cool idea and distinctive image. We actually left DC Direct with a cool Toy Fair exclusive of Rorschach.
The other big company involved with tie-in toys for Nolan's movie is Mattel, which has the overall license for the DC Universe including toys based on The Dark Knight Rises. Scott Neitlich talked us through their upcoming action figures at a special collectors night where they had three of the first wave of six action figures on display. They'll have a "collect and connect" aspect with each figure including a piece that can be collected and assembled into a working Bat Signal. Off in another showroom, they had the more traditional Mattel toys based on the upcoming movie, and though we weren't allowed to take pictures of them, we did get our first glimpse at Batman's cool new flying vehicle "The Bat" in its toy form.
Kotobukiya, which already does very distinctive statues based on Marvel Universe characters, are doing very cool Batman statues to tie-in with The Dark Knight Rises, as well as a couple based on the "Arkham City" characters, but we were more excited to see them returning to Godzilla with a number of great action figures based on Toho Studios' classic movie monsters.
If that's not enough "Dark Knight" for you, Insight Editions, a publisher of assortment of different types of books including a number of behind-the-scenes "Harry Potter" books have two Batman-related books in the works for later this year, "The Dark Knight Manual" and a book covering the history of The Batmobile. They also do art books for DreamWorks Animation with plans for one featuring the art of Rise of the Guardians, coming out later this year.
Another area where we haven't really spent much time exploring is that of board games, which could be found all over Toy Fair, but we were excited to see that Cryptozoic Entertainment, which produced "The Walking Dead" board game, is developing board and card games based around Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: There and Back Again and the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. They weren't ready to reveal too much information about the game or its gameplay to the press but besides the two board games, they'll also be doing deck-building and trading card games based on J.R.R. Tolkien's stories. Not really movie-related but they're also developing a DC Comics Deck-building game based around their characters.
Movie fans may also want to know more about Trend Setters Ltd's Film Cells, limited edition framed collectibles made from actual film cells of the most popular blockbusters. They have been doing these for years with the "Harry Potter" movies as well as "The Lord of the Rings," but later this year, they'll have framed film cells from Marvel's The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and Peter Jackson's The Hobbit movies, and they also produce movie images printed on curved glass like the Avengers one at left.
During our walk around the exhibit floors, we came across two fairly new start-up companies that have been able to get licenses from Marvel for their toys. One little known company using the Marvel images is Grab Zags who came up with this great idea of something relatively cheap and fun for kids. For $2 you get a tiny mystery prize that can be anything from a small toy to mini-skateboards to a disc launcher with the toys featuring images of the entire Avengers line-up as well as Ultimate Spider-Man and other Marvel characters like Wolverine. Lastly, we found something called Croms from Macro Toy, a Chile-based toy company who got the license to put Avengers images on their line of "Warrior Spheres," which are plastic balls with the faces of various Marvel characters that can be bounced off the floor to crack open the plastic spheres, all of which come with collectible cards to enhance gameplay.
That's it for now. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get an appointment with Diamond Comics Distributors to get into their showroom until tomorrow, but they do have some more great toys and statues based around The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man so look for those pictures soon.