As far as our hobby goes it seems to be cruising along. All in all it's been a pretty good year. Hasbro only screwed up one line, Indiana Jones. They did mange to score success after success with the Star Wars line! The Big Millenium Falcon will certainly garner quite a few awards. The AT-TE was almost as large and just as cool. The selection of characters and quality of their figures has really gone up. (I am soooo glad I walked on this line so long ago. NO way could I afford anything else if I was still chasing after all of the product from this one line alone).
The Marvel license has left quite a bit of room for improvement. 2009 will have to be the year that Hasbro steps up their game for this line. Transformers gave collectors quite a bit to chase after as did G. I .Joe. While I don't collect either line I can see that if you do collect these characters you had to be pretty happy. Mighty Muggs was a hit! Ok, maybe they're not your cup of tea but you do have to admit that some of them were pretty damn cool. With the line expanding in 2009 to include G. I. Joe and Transformers, I have a feeling that some characters will have to be passed on. I like the line as it gives collectors a bit of a peek into the world of vinyl. I liked & bought the D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) Black and White models Hasbro put out.
Mattel reallllllly did a wonderful job on the DC Superheroes line this year. Great sculpts (THANK YOU 4 Horsemen)!, superb character selection and a Build a Figure program that continues to make collectors happy. Now if Mattel can get the distribution fixed, all will be cool.
The high end of the market seems to be healthy. Sideshow Collectibles looks to be continuing their success with their 12 inch line. Even the less exciting characters sell out eventually. I have to say that I have really slowed down on the statues and Premium Format products. I just have no room to display the bigger pieces anymore and I also have to think about the economics. Something has to give and the higher end is where I started.
Speaking of high end, Hot Toys is going to be a bright spot in 2009! HT just announced human characters from the Predator movie! The Iron Man license looks cool as well. My wallet is already groaning. Enterbay, a new company from overseas, has the 24 license as well as having just announced The Godfather! I might have to get a second job if this keeps up!
McFarlane finally started to make resin statues of Spawn! I remember meeting Todd in the McFarlane showroom at Toy Fair years ago and telling him that this idea would sell. Sometimes it takes a while for a good idea to sink in. Tonner Doll has just exploded with great product. Again, maybe it's not your thing but you have to give them props for great character selection and fantastic quality. I am really looking forward to the Dr. Who and Lara Croft lines.
Mezco has quietly continued to do their thing. I am so glad Mez has survived. While I haven't collected nearly as many Living Dead Dolls as I used to I still love them.
Diamond Select has just released the first of their new 18" deluxe figure lines with Darth Maul and Indiana Jones! This will be the gem of 2009. 18 inches, super poseable, great sculpts, cloth outfits and
The vinyl market is my brightest spot! Man oh man if you are a vinyl freak like me you are going broke. There has been such an explosion of product this year that it really makes my head spin.
I have to stop for a second and give many props to Andy of www.toysrevil.blogspot.com I stumbled on Andy's site earlier this year and it has become one of my favorite sites of all time. I don't know how Andy does it but he posts more news about the world of vinyl then anyone else in the world. I discovered a bunch of companies and have spent an unknown amount of cash on vinyl toys because of Andy. Check out his site if you haven't done so already.
I found out about 3A/Ashley Woods because of Andy. Not only does Ash make some of the coolest robots around, he also made some of the coolest 12 inch figures! His Nom De Plume and Noir De Plume figures we just so cool. His latest release, Tomorrow's Kings, sold out in a day or so and I am eagerly awaiting its arrival. I understand that Ash might be working on making smaller versions of his robots! That'll be great for my wallet as well as for my displaying them.
Toy2R has continued to bring us cool figures. Now that Kevin Winnik (formerly of Diamond) is the President of Toy2R USA, we will see more of Raymond's cool products. If not for Raymond's success (much like Todd McFarlane's success) the vinyl market wouldn't be what it is today. I look forward to 2009 for Toy2R's offerings.
Tim Tsui's Da Fighter is da bomb. Sharky from Toyqube is a favorite of mine, vinyl Booty Babe is hot (drooooooool), Strangeco has King Ken and so many other fantastic lines from too many companies to mention. Check out the vinyl world, you'll be amazed at what you find.
The emerging resin market is really interesting. Artists are now making super low run "art toys" and selling out as quickly as they make product. Argonauts Resins, Phu and a ton of other artists from all over the world are making cool collectible art/toys. Check it out, you'll be glad you did.
I want to thank quite a few people fro making 2008 a great year for me. First would be my family. My wife puts up with the year round clutter, picture taking and column writing with nary a word. I know a lot of other people whose wives give them a rash of crap for being toy collector's and pay for it. Thanks honey!
Glenn "Umpire" Harman is a peach. If not for Glenn this site would have died when Randy left for greener pastures. Glenn jumped right in and brought a new vision to the site. The movies (which are a huge hit), the contests, the new look, the new guy in the Jedi Council (check this kid out. He is from the UK and makes some of the best movies about Star Wars figures and reviews I have ever seen) and everything else that's great about this site is due to Glenn's hard work, dedication and love for AFTimes. You are THE MAN Glenn! Thank you so much for putting up with my phone calls, and for your friendship. I look forward to a great 2009.
To Andrew Gaughen (Randy of Ask Randy). I always have to go back to Andrew because if not for him I wouldn't be TOYGODD. Andrew gave me (as well as anyone and all of us who write or ever wrote for this site) my chance to write on the net. He taught me the ropes, gave me advice, showed me how to take better pictures and put up with the endless barrage of me and the annual Burning Bridges Tour. I am grateful for his friendship and his foresight. Have a great 2009 "My Master".
To Steve"Captain Collector". I have met few people who are as passionate about toy collecting as Steve. He is always there to hunt down Super Hero news and his pictures and reviews are second to NONE. I have made some really good friends in my time in toys and Steve is one of those I cherish. He is a great friend and a good person. I wish him and his family a fantastic 2009.
To all of the readers of this site. I have said it before and will continue to say it until the day I retire, it is because of YOU that we are a success. If no one read the site there wouldn't be a reason to do what we do. I salute you and wish all of you and your family's a Happy, Healthy and Successful 2009!
To the Legion of the Purple Meatball. LOL….what can I say. It's great when you find a group of like minded individuals who bond over a shared ideal. Hating crappy toys (and non existent one's at that) is a hoot. Watch for 2009 to be THE year for The Legion. Meaty salutes you!
Last but not least to my detractors. You seem to revel in making me the focal point of your miserable lives and failures. Guess what…I DON'T CARE! Here's a clue. Look in the mirror. You are your own worst enemy. You fail at everything you do. You are pompous, immature, and unprofessional and just suck at everything you try to accomplish. I can't wait to hear the next spate of excuses as to why you have failed once again. I am a success. I accomplish my goals and your not liking me just makes me smile. I will be here to dance on your husk when you crash and burn. (ahhhh…I feel much better now)
I wish all of you who read this column, a Happy & Healthy Holiday season and a successful 2009. Let's all hope for a brighter future. I'll be back with a ton of product that I just couldn't get to this year, I promise! See you next year. Same toy time, same toy channel………….TG
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