Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Toy Fair 2019 Preview

The PopCulteer
February 8, 2019

Next weekend the toys hit the fan in New York City as the International Toy Fair kicks off, giving us a look at what toymakers hope will be the next big thing in 2019.

Several companies have already leaked images of some of their offerings, and others have let the news leak out ahead of time, so we’re going to take a quick look at what we already know.

MEGO

Marty Abram’s Presents MEGO will show product at Toy Fair for the first time in over 35 years, and I’ve already told you about their next wave of figures. There is also news, perhaps a little underwhelming, of two new developments.

MEGO has announced a deal with POW Entertainment to produce figures based on never-before-seen concepts “created” by the late Stan Lee. Lee was the editor and later publisher of Marvel Comics, and is considered by some to be the co-creator of their leading characters, like Spider-man, The Fantastic Four and The Avengers. I wrote about Lee’s true legacy HERE.

It’s a risky proposition, producing figures of superheroes that nobody’s heard of before, and hoping they sell based on Stan Lee’s name alone. Lee has been creating characters for POW since 2001, and none of them have been very successful. I hope MEGO doesn’t invest too heavily in this line. It has potential, but Stan Lee’s track record of creating characters without Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko is pretty unremarkable. At least we know they’ll look great.

A better bet is that MEGO will start producing Star Trek figures in their new 14″ size, which has previously been used only for their DC Comics figures. This is less risky. It’s still asking collectors to move to a new scale, but it worked for the DC Comics figures, and could be a huge success if they keep the quality high, don’t flood the market, and continue to make the 8″ figures as well.

It’s entirely possible that MEGO might have another surprise announcement or two at Toy Fair. Meanwhile, we’ll review one of the Wave 4 figures next week.

Mattel

Mattel unexpectedly turned a profit in the last quarter of 2018, due largely to the success of their plan to boost the sales of Barbie by flushing all their other fashion doll lines down the toilet. Hot Wheels sales also surged, and this is a huge turnaround for the company, which was on shaky ground just a year ago.

At Toy Fair, we can expect lots of Barbie and Hot Wheels and Imaginext. We’ll also see new offerings for their very successful WWE Action Figure line, and some sort of continuation of their Jurassic World line. Their Hot Wheels displays are always impressive, and it’ll be cool to see what they do this year.

A major question mark is whether they’ll bother showing any DC Comics action figures at Toy Fair. Mattel never really shows their entire lines at Toy Fair. They meet with toy buyers on a regular basis all year round, so for Mattel, Toy Fair is mainly about showing off stuff for the press. I do know that they have a few remaining DC Comics toys in the pipeline, including a new Batman line and a new Justice League line that are starting to turn up in stores now, plus action figures based on the Shazam movie, and possibly more Aquaman toys, for when that movie hits Blu-Ray next month. However, they may choose to downplay those toy lines i favor of properties that they’ll still be handling beyond 2019.

Hasbro

Hasbro has leaked some early photos of Transformers and Nerf, but they’re sure to show tons of cool stuff for collectors a week from Saturday morning, when they have their huge off-site press conference (Hasbro keeps a separate showroom in NYC, and doesn’t display at the actual Toy Fair event).

What we can expect at the press conference will be details on all the Marvel Universe figures, as well as the Star Wars action figure line, which will tie-in with the new movie, and probably won’t all be available to photograph, and also all the figures due out that are based on upcoming Marvel movies, like Avengers: Endgame. Hasbro will also unveil their take on the newly-acquired Power Rangers. They’ve already leaked images of the role-playing toys, but the figures are what everyone wants to see. As we prepare this post, images have surfaced of the Power Rangers Beast Morphers Beast-X Ultrazord Figure and the Playskool Heroes Power Morphin Megazord Playset (seen above).

The four Tranformers that Hasbro has shown are: SIEGE TITAN OMEGA SUPREME (seen above), due out in August with a retail price of $159.99; SIEGE DELUXE IMPACTOR, available in October with a price of $19.99; SIEGE DELUXE MIRAGE, also available in October, with a price of $19.99; and SIEGE COMMANDER JETFIRE (seen at the head of this post), a $79.99 figure due out in August.

Super 7

Speaking of Transformers, Super 7 has licensed the brand from Hasbro to produce Deluxe –Transformers Super Cyborg figures. Each 11” tall Super Cyborg figure is fully articulated and features a transparent removable chest, revealing the robotic guts within. The heroic Optimus Prime and evil Megatron are the first screen-accurate action figures of the original Generation One cartoon designs.

Super 7 has also anounced that Rocky 4 will be joining their ReAction line and Supersports by Super7, a collection of licensed sports product, which will kick off with a ReAction figure of Jackie Robinson, released in time for his 100th birthday.

We’ll try to bring you more Toy Fair news leading up to next weekend, and during the actual Toy Fair itself.

Radio Free Charleston International New Friday

Friday at 1 PM and 10 PM on The AIR, it’s a special episode of Radio Free Charleston International, with guest co-host Mel Larch. You can listen at the AIR website, or on this embedded radio player…

Since we’re nearing Valentine’s Day, and it’s been a while since my lovely wife and I have shared a microphone, I decided to have Mel co-host RFC International with me this week, and tailored the playlist to include some of her favorites. You can see for yourself…

RFC International 063

SpongeBob Squarepants “Sweet Victory”
Joe Jackson “Alchemy”
Sarah Brightman “Follow Me”
Paul Weller “Wishing Well”
Keith Emerson “For Kevin”
Toy Matinee “There Was A Little Boy”
Matt Berry “Take My Hand”
Pink Floyd “Comfortably Numb (Live 8)”
Robert Berry “Brain Damage”
Gowan “A Criminal Mind”
Joanna Newsome “81”
Paul McCartney “Nothing For Free”
Roy Orbison “I Drove All Night”
Hazel O’Connor “That’s Life”
Pet Shop Boys “Fugitive”
Pretenders “Light Of The Moon”
The Stranglers ‘I Hate You”
ELO “Mr. Blue Sky”
Hooverphonic “Inhaler”
Prince “Pop Life”
The Dresden Dolls “Pretty In Pink”
The Puppini Sisters “Rapper’s Delight/Chadelier”
Korn “Word Up”
Eurythmics “Who’s That Girl”

Radio Free Charleston International can be heard Fridays at 1 PM and 10 PM, with replays Saturday at Noon, Sunday at 1 AM and 2 PM, Tuesday at 10 PM and Thursday at Noon, exclusively on The AIR.

And that is it for this week’s PopCulteer. Check back for all our regular features and fresh content every day.

 

1 Comment

  1. Thomas Wheeler

    Holy cow, they’re doing Omega Supreme? That’s pretty impressive. Hoping for some good Marvel Legends and Star Wars news out of Hasbro. Praying for some DC news out of Mattel.

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