The PopCult Toybox
The International Toy Fair in New York is just about a month away, and unfortunately your PopCulteer cannot go this year due to a conflict with some medical tests for Myasthenia Gravis. However, I will do my best to remotely cover all the cool announcements about upcoming toys for 2017, and the news has already started leaking early from some companies. We’ll be bringing you the cool toy news as it comes in over the next several weeks, starting with today’s look at what’s new from one of our favorite companies.
The pre-Toy Fair catalog from our friends at NJ Croce is loaded with tons of cool stuff and new products. NJ Croce is the company that makes cool bendable figures, including Gumby and Pokey and DC Comics bendies that you see everywhere. Keep in mind that the images accompanying this article are prototypes and mock-ups and may look quite different when they hit stores later in the year. You should start seeing the new toys we tell you about in stores over the next few weeks, but you can find their existing products all over the place now, and at Amazon.
In 2017 they are expanding their offerings with a fantastic new line of 8-inch bendies of DC’s “New 52” Justice League, as well as new product lines based on the upcoming Wonder Woman movie, Where’s Waldo, Suicide Squad and Red Sonja and the big surprise, with no product images available yet, NJ Croce will be producing bendies based on Star Trek.
The stunning 8″ New 52 Batman that we saw last year has spawned a whole new line of 8-inch bendable Justice League figures. Some of these will be available individually, but a few can only be found in the striking boxed set that you see above.
NJ Croce’s partnership with DC Comics expands this year with new bendable figures based on this summer’s Wonder Woman movie, Suicide Squad, The 1989 Batman movie, The “New 52” Justice League and all sorts of cool additions to their existing lines based on the late Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier (with new packaging), Batman The Animated Series, The Classic 1966 Batman TV show and more.
NJ Croce’s first DC bendable figures came out a few years ago and they were based on Darwyn Cooke’s acclaimed mini-series, New Frontier.
However, at the time the packaging for these figures of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern did not reflect this. Now this oversight has been corrected.
In addition there will be a new boxed set of mini three-inch figures that includes The Flash and also sports the New Frontier logo.
The Batman ’66 line will expand to include a second boxed set that replaces The Joker, Catwoman and Penguin with The Riddler, Batgirl and a figure exclusive to this set, Egghead. These bendable figures will sport the likenesses of Frank Gorshin, Yvonne Craig and Vincent Price along with Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as The Boy Wonder.
NJ Croce will also offer a line of figures and boxed sets based on this summer’s Wonder Woman movie, starring Gal Gadot. Last year we saw an incredible likeness of Gadot as Wonder Woman in NJ Croce’s Batman vs. Superman set, and this assortment looks to be even more impressive.
Also on tap will be bendable figures of Harley Quinn and The Joker from last year’s smash hit Suicide Squad movie.They’ll be available individually, or on this boxed set with the exclusive Panda.
Another big addition to the DC Comics ranks is the Michael Keaton Batman from the 1989 Tim Burton movie. There will be a bendable figure as well as a 10″ Batmobile from that movie with a mini-figure. This will make a great collector companion to the 1966 Batmobile and the Batman: The Animated Series Batmobile that NJ Croce has already released.
A really fun new concept sees NJ Croce teaming up with British company ZimpliKids for Gelli Baff and Slime Baff, fun additives that turn bathwater in a gelatanous goo or slime, which is non-toxic and non-staining. When these turn up in stores, they’ll be packaged with bendable figures of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman or The Joker, for kids to have fun in the tub while getting clean.
NJ Croce is also introducing Looney Tunes and Hanna Barbera offerings, with new boxed sets based on Looney Tunes and The Flintstones and tons of individual carded figures of Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, Daffy Duck, Marvin Martian, Elmer Fudd and more.
An exciting new figure aimed at adult collectos that’s being introduced this year is Red Sonja, Robert E. Howard’s “She Devil with a Sword” who was introduced to many readers via Marvel Comic’s Conan comic back in the 1970s. This figure, which will be released mid-year, sports package art by Frank Thorne, who drew her solo comic book that Marvel released in the 1970s. The figure is designed to look like the comic book incarnation, complete with the chain-mail bikini. This will be a huge hit with fans of the fiery redhed.
Where’s Waldo also debuts this year. You can finally buy one of these figures and when someone asks “Where’s Waldo?” you just whip this out, jam it in their face and yell “Here’s Waldo! I got your Waldo! He’s RIGHT HERE!” Or you could just play with him, or hide him in odd places for people to find.
The biggest news is that NJ Croce has obtained the rights to produce Star Trek figures, and it looks like they’re starting with The Original Series. This deal evidently went through so recently that they don’t have any packaging mock-ups or prototypes and just had this cool illustration for the back cover of the catalog.
Of course, NJ Croce will also continue offering tons of cool items that they have in the past, like bendable figures of Gumby and Pokey, Popeye, Betty Boop, Felix The Cat, The Simpsons, Mr. Bill and all sorts of other pop culture icons. They also have a line of T shirts, and motion wall clocks, keychains and mugs. I hate that we won’t get the chance to see Nick and the gang this year, but I will try to finally edit and post the interview that we did with Nick Croce last year at Toy Fair. These folks love what they’re doing and it shows in their products.
Look for more PopCult Toybox entries every couple of days for the foreseeable future.