The Toy Fair’s Not Back In Town

Action figures are good, but they can be better! All you have to do is become a customizer! Toys are like drugs except you need to find a place to keep them after the high wears off.

NY Toy Fair has been cancelled for 2021. In lieu of the big press show, many companies are doing smaller virtual conventions through the year. The most hyped was last week’s Hasbro Pulse Fest Fan Fest. Rather than spacing things out, Mattel, Diamond Select, & NECA decided to post similar events around the same time with less fanfare. They were all underwhelming to various degrees. I would’ve made more impulse pre-orders had Hasbro not suddenly jacked up the price of all their 6″ lines by $3. It doesn’t sound that steep on an individual basis, but it adds up when they encourage you to buy entire series of Marvel Legends to complete BAFs. With customers’ budgets already stretched thin by the terrible 2020, this feels like a precarious time to raise prices on non-essentials.


“Ach, I’m not some nouveau riche piker! I employ people to burn my money for me!”

The MCU movies being backlogged means that Disney won’t let Hasbro officially reveal its The Eternals or Shang-Chi & The Legend Of The Ten Rings lines yet. Of course they’ve leaked already, but Disney won’t even release trailers for these two until Black Widow finally opens because it can only concentrate on marketing one thing at a time. Supposedly Targets are selling the Shang-Chi toys anyway. Nothing spells confidence in the property like Iron Man variants filling up two slots! (See also the first GOTG & Black Panther assortments.)

Wrapping smoke swirls around Ironheart’s wrists doesn’t make sense if she’s not firing rockets. Maybe they’d work better on her feet for flying poses? She’s oddly not included in the cool stop motion ad for the rest of the series.

The Walgreens website keeps lying to me about which branches have the exclusive Moon Knight in stock.

For the price hike, the plastic of this repainted She-Hulk’s joints had better match her skin on the final product! I still wish this body was taller & wider to mach the art. Mr. Sinister definitely shouldn’t be a smidge taller! Her new gargantuan Avengers physique really needs to be made as a BAF or (even better) a deluxe release. Her 616 A-Force outfit would be a toyetic too. Now if only there was finally a Titania to tussle with her…

Toy Biz’s 10″ KB exclusive She-Hulk that was a repainted Xena with Johnny Blaze’s shotgun may have inspired a cartoon.

It’s a bummer DC Collectibles couldn’t get its luchador line out, yet Funko is doing a bunch of inferior Marvel luchador merch.

Walmart customer service finally got back to & said my untrackable exclusive Black Widow is going to ship on April 1. (This paragraph was supposed to have been published last year.) The next day a different email says “I’ve double checked your order using your email and I can see here that the item that you ordered is currently out of stock on the website; however, the system will check other centers for 10 days to see if it can be fulfilled. After 10 business days, the system will automatically cancel the order if another center is not found.” Many other purchasers got emails on April 2 about it being delayed until mid-May, but I didn’t even get that courtesy. It did send me an email that they’ve dropped the price by a whopping 12¢! I still couldn’t track it. It was finally delivered May 20. (This wasn’t even my most frustrating action figure experience of 2020, sadly.)

“In Rebirth continuity, the character formerly known as KGBeast was trained by Kanto of Apokolips” is a completely normal sentence you should say in your next conversation.


Remember when I said I had no interest in GI Joe Classified figures? The Pawtucket dastards got me with Pimp Daddy Destro! How was I supposed to resist? Fie upon my weakness for ostentatious capes! Destro owns a mink ranch. Knowing their fur lines his cape’s shoulder pads is half the battle! Now I need a Baroness to go with him, but she’s a Target exclusive that sold out instantaneously.

I once raised the ire of Topless Robot readers by not including Destro on my list of “The 13 Greatest Fictional Scots of Nerdom” because I didn’t give a tinker’s cuss about GI Joe. (I’d also snubbed the beloved Demoman of Team Fortress 2 as I’m not a video games player.) My editor was a GI Joe fan so it was odd he didn’t request an extra entry on James McCullen XXIV when I submitted it. This was before I learned it wasn’t unethical to read other listicles to compensate for personal blindspots of ignorance.

I keep parsing the URL for the Hiss Tank website as His Stank.

This is just April O’Neil.


Every Turtle Tuesday in April, Judith Hoag will be documenting the making of a movie April O’Neil action figure. Hopefully Paige Turco gets one too.

Ryan North needs to write this crossover for IDW.

I was terrified to find a ransom note for bufflinks in the Leonardo & Donatello set. I don’t have any bufflinks!

Trenchcoats & Tor Johnson Masks: My Life As A Ninja Turtle

Leatherhead has a ketchup shotgun? I wish Slash had alternate hands since he holds his guns much better than his swords. Leonardo looks better with Slash’s katana than the cutlasses he came with.

Mutagen Man & Ace Duck wins kookiest two-pack. The cartoon’s version of George Lucas must’ve combined Indiana Jones and Howard the Duck into the greatest franchise of all time. So Ace Duck action figures only exist as a cruel reminder that the Turtles, not us, live in the best of all possible worlds.

“Ah, now eventually you do plan to have alien dinosaurs in Target’s website today, right?” I never thought I’d be this angry over Triceratons not invading. I missed the notification that the Triceraton infantryman &  Roadkill Rodney Dangerfield went up briefly the one time I stopped F5ing it. It sold out in as many minutes as it has horns. The next morning I saw it was in stock an hour away across state lines but didn’t go because it was pouring & I thought it hadn’t gone live online yet. Then they quickly sold out there too. Target sent me a lying email a month later claiming it was back in stock. NECA recently made them available to order through its site to spite me for resorting to eBay.

I did have more luck with Zarax & Zork, who finally went live over a week past the the promised release date. It was still available twenty minutes after it went up on Thanksgiving eve when I happened to refresh the page. The Target notification email didn’t arrive until another ten minutes, after which it quickly sold out. It may’ve been the slowest selling TMNT toon set. Although it was a pain getting three, I feel there ought to be a fourth unique Triceraton to even the odds against the terrapin teens. They can be Vice Admiral Holdo’s new posse.

I asked NECA if its video game license would allow it to make Wingnut & Armaggon form Tournament Fighters. It turns out they will be making Armaggon as a LootCrate exclusive figure. I don’t like being forced to pay for extra cruft, especially when they didn’t have pics of all the exclusive prototypes in advance. When LootCrate gave me a 25% off coupon on St. Patrick’s Day, I finally opted to pull the trigger. I had the TMNT Arcade set in my cart. Once I entered my address, it said the series was sold out? I thought they meant supplies were limited to what was ordered by March 23 & “almost sold out” was a week’s warning. As soon as I order one on eBay for triple the price, they’re going to announce the non-pixelated Archie Comics version I wanted to begin with.


Why does Walmart’s site say the NECA Defenders Of Earth toys are “available for purchase online” when I can’t order them online? When I tried the stores the site said had them in stock, they were sold out. What’s the point of them being timed exclusives if they don’t sell them during their exclusivity window? How are Walmart & Target two of the country’s biggest retailers when their websites still don’t function well?

Gargoyles will expand into a full line starting with Goliath!

I need NECA to assure me it has the license to mass produce Trevor Zammit’s custom cartoon The Tick! SPOON!


I feel like I’m alone in disliking Batman Beyond. Shriek was pretty cool though. He’s like Mysterio for sound effects dressed like an abstract panda. I’m glad he’s finally getting a toy, but I have no interest in that ugly Joker-bot BAF. I’m pleasantly surprised that I can buy a non-exclusive Shriek without the BAF parts. Wait, I rescind my kudos to McFarlane Toys! They changed it so the non-exclusive doesn’t include the helmeted head & has different sonic accessories. So even if I pay $5 extra for the exclusive I’m still not getting a complete Shriek. Is the market for loose McDC figures fair? Or am I better off just ordering through Target? Terry McGinnis has no mouth yet he must scream.


Basic action figure lines for kids are a relatively new thing. In previous decades there wasn’t a distinction for toys for kids & toys for adults, at least not before McFarlane Toys got gorier. Everyone got the same toy, although the molds would often be pantographed to a variety of scales. Marketing what would’ve just been regular action figures as “adult collectibles” is just for people too embarrassed to admit they like children’s playthings. Meanwhile it seems like the high cost of the basic kiddie lines is just to justify the exorbitant inflation of what would’ve been considered the standard lines. I understand families have different price ranges, but why bother with the cheaper stuff when the quality ones are right there & not that much pricier? Maybe the “adult” range could be more affordable if manufacturers didn’t also expend resources making inferior companion lines that don’t appear to sell better?

Which brings me back to why I hate false “vintage” figures. (Repaints evoking retro decos are a different thing that can be okay.) Toys of previous eras were made to the standards of the times. If they had access to all the advancements modern manufactures have now, they would’ve used them sooner. So now that we finally have multiple toy lines that live up to high childhood expectations, why are so many people eager for toys that are obsolete on purpose? Most of them are meant to evoke Kenner’s original Star Wars toys, but that wasn’t even an industry standard. Super 7 Re:Action Figures are absurdly priced for what you’re getting. The Beeboverse Captain Cold it made is wrong on so many levels. Down with inauthentic nostalgia!

GameStop jacks up the prices of its toys. Then they eventually puts them on sale below MSRP on its site. Except when you try to buy them, they won’t ship it to your house. They’re also out of stock at your local stores so you can’t pick them up. It’s just pages of items of items they don’t want to sell to you. How does its business model profit from infuriating customers?

Evil Chancellor Traytor disproves nominative determinism, like how No-Bel Hi’ro is the biggest bastard to ever sleaze his way outta Bastardsville.


Was Apex’s Ghidorah skull in Godzilla Vs. Kong supposed to be the one from KOTM’s stinger? Or is it a different one since there are multiple available (unless the rest were all atomized) & Charles Dance doesn’t share Apex’s ethos? Charles Dance was pro-Kaiju destroying modern civilization to restore natural balance. Apex is anti-Kaiju to protect modern civilization. Their goals don’t align for them interacting to be a natural progression. Am I putting more thought into this than the assorted screenwriters did? Does the Legendary Monsterverse just have bad continuity?

Capitalism is good because it led to the production of this RC Mechagodzilla. Capitalism is bad because I don’t have $6K to drop on this RC Mechagodzilla.


I saw my local library put my only debut novel, The Dolorous Adventure Of Brother Banenose, on the sale cart. Seeing it on the shelf had been one of the proudest moments of the publishing experience. It’d even bought the copy instead of me gifting it. So this was disheartening. I almost bought it, but then I realized I have a surplus of author’s copies. So a barely used library copy could be someone’s for a quarter if they act quickly!


Now that you’ve reached the end of this freestyle rant, will The Falcon & The Winter Soldier or Mortal Kombat review be next?

4 thoughts on “The Toy Fair’s Not Back In Town

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s