"Variety is the spice of life," might as well be the unofficial motto of the collectible world. This week's edition of TOYING AROUND is the perfect example of that as DC Collectibles and Gentle Giant unleashed their latest batch of solicit information, while a variety of new pieces based on franchises like The Avengers, The Walking Dead, Star Wars, Thundercats, Venture Bros. and even Doc Savage also saw the light of day.
THE WALKING DEAD | It's no surprise Michonne has become one of the most popular characters in both the comic and TV version of "The Walking Dead." What's not to like about a badass lady with jawless pet zombies who slices and dices walkers with her samurai sword? McFarlane Toys is paying tribute to the character's comic book roots by offering a black and white 3-pack of her with the two leashed pets. The pack is available wherever fine zombie toys are sold.
DC SUPER-VILLAINS | With word spreading around the internet that DC's focusing on its villains this September, it's appropriate that month also sees the release of DC Collectibles' Super-Villains' Captain Cold figures. The roster is bolstered in October by figures of The Joker and Black Manta. While figures of these characters exist, these are the first based on the New 52 designs.
MARVEL STATUES | Bowen has a very eclectic group of Marvel heroes coming out in their statue line this summer. June sees the release of a pair of Thor supporting characters: Enchantress and The Executioner. Things get more obscure in July when the renowned statue makers present Spider-Man 2099 and Hellcat statues to the world. Finally, the company also offered a website exclusive statue of Iceman as he originally appeared in "X-Men," but the piece has already sold out so you might have a tough time getting your hands on this one.
STAR WARS | As always, Gentle Giant doesn't have just one kind of Star Wars collectible for fans to get excited about, but a variety. First up, they're adding a pair of bounty hunters to the Jumbo Kenner line: 4-LOM and Dengar. If that's not enough, you'll also be able to pick up Grand Admiral Thrawn and Luke Skywalker Snowspeeder pilot mini busts. All four pieces are out towards the end of 2013.
BATMAN STATUES | Batman and his rogues gallery have been the basis for loads of statues over the years and 2013 is no exception. This fall alone, DC Collectibles has plans for a quartet of pieces. The Batman Black and White line adds two Greg Capullo-based pieces, a Joker and, of course, a Batman both of which are out in October. Meanwhile, Poison Ivy is making her first appearance in the Bombshells line in September, while a repainted version of the Batman vs. Killer Croc piece lands in October -- this time with a more comic-accurate color scheme.
HARLEY QUINN | Speaking of all things Batman, over on their Facebook page, Funko showed off this behind-the-scenes shot of the Pop Vinyl version of Joker's best girl with the message, "A teaser... simply to blow your minds. Due to overwhelming popular demand here is a first view of the Harley Quinn Sculpt."
BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY | Last week DC Collectibles showed off a black and white Batman statue based on the game -- it's 10 inches and is out in September -- but they've also revealed the first official image of the deluxe Solomon Grundy action figure from the line. We saw this piece at Toy Fair, but now you can see the 13-inch tall behemoth in all his glory. Grundy is also out in September.
THE VENTURE BROS. | Bif Bang Pow has a little something for Venture Bros. fans: the first wave of 3.75-inch action figures are now shipping! The initial offering -- which we got a look at at Toy Fair -- includes Dean, Hank and Dr. Mrs. Monarch!
STAR WARS | He might be one of the most intimidating men in a galaxy far, far away, but that doesn't mean you can't have a little fun with Darth Vader. Underground Toys wants you to have exactly that with a pair of products they recently unveiled on Facebook. First up, you've got a 24-inch large helmeted plush Vader who talks. If you're more of a refined Star Wars geek, you might want to get your hands on the Darth Vader cork screw which uses mysterious Force powers under ol' Anakin's cloaks to remove wine stoppers.
DOCTOR WHO | Underground also revealed a trio of Doctor Who collectibles in the works. They've got replicas of both the third and fourth Doctors' Sonic Screwdrivers -- both of which are spring loaded and feature sound effects. If you're more of practical Whovian, though, you can pick up the K-9 USB hub which offers four additional USB ports for your TARDIS… or computer.
CHILD'S PLAY | Sure Mezco's version of "Child's Play" star Chucky can be played with, but it also happens to be an incredibly accurate prop replica of the murderous little toy. Chucky here stands 15 inches tall, sports 11 points of articulation and is in stores come September -- just in time for Halloween.
LIVING DEAD DOLLS | Chucky's not the only one getting the Mezco collectible treatment, as they also have big plans for one of horror's biggest icons: Dracula. The Universal Monster made famous on screen by Bela Lugosi in 1931's "Dracula," joins the Living Dead Dolls in October!
DOC SAVAGE | Doc Savage began life in the pulps, but went on to star in comic books, animation and movies. Now he's getting a super-limited action figure dubbed the Double Danger Deluxe, limited to just 250 pieces. This one figure comes with two different heads, die-cast weapons -- one of which was designed by Jim Steranko -- and a wardrobe full of clothes for different looks, including a ripped shirt and Jodhpurs. Order yours now, the piece ships towards the end of the year.
PUNISHER | Just last week we showed you Sideshow's preview of their Punisher Premium Format Figure statue, and now it's up for pre-order on the site! The piece ships in January of next year, stands 23 inches tall and features a fabric costume and a faux leather harness. If you purchase the limited Sideshow exclusive version you'll get a knife-wielding alternate hand and a boot sheath to keep it in.
THUNDERCATS | Diamond Select Toys announced on their Facebook page there are even more Thundercats MiniMates in the works. They've got a box set that's currently available for pre-order featuring Pumyra, a Ro-Bear Berbil, Lynx-O, Bengali and the villainous Ratar-O that also includes their signature weapons.
THE AVENGERS | Hot Toys continues to produce impressive 12-inch action figures based on the colorful cast of characters seen in last summer's "The Avengers." The bad guys finally get one of their own in on the game with this Loki figure. The piece comes with various heads, hands and weapons and also features a dead-on likeness of actor Tom Hiddleston. Loki ships towards the end of the year.
THE WALKING DEAD | Gentle Giant kicked off their Walking Dead mini bust line with a few zombies and of course Rick Grimes, but now they're reaching deeper into the AMC series' cast of characters for its next offering: Daryl Dixon as played by Norman Reedus. The 7-inch tall piece -- which has not yet been finalized -- is out at the end of the year.
THE HOBBIT | "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" featured plenty of bust-worthy characters of all shapes and sizes. Gentle Giant has plans for the biggest of the batch so far: the Goblin King (a.k.a. the Great Goblin). Played by Barry Humphries in the Peter Jackson adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy classic, the Great Goblin is getting a 9-inch tall mini bust that comes with a Goblin Scribe, if you order directly from Gentle Giant.
VALIANT | Valiant Entertainment announced this week by way of press release they've made a deal with Quarantine Studio to create a line of statues based on the comic company's stable of characters. The line launches in 2014 with the X-O Manowar Deluxe Edition Statue, a 14-inch piece based on Marko Djurdjevic's cover to "X-O Manowar" #12. While no in-progress shots were revealed, they did send along the pictured concept art to give you an idea of what the statue will look like.
MATTYCOLLECTOR | If you missed out on snatching up one of MattyCollector's subscriptions earlier this year, the toymakers are offering another chance to get on board between April 15 and 30. The new offerings include Club Eternia (Masters of the Universe Classics), Club Infinite Earth (DC Comics), Club Black Freighter (Watchmen) and Club Filmation (cartoon-based Masters of the Universe Classics).
TOY HUNTER | Travel Channel's "Toy Hunter" which features Jordan Hembrough running around the country, digging through peoples' toys, buying the best ones and flipping them, returned for the second season earlier this week. Collider scored an exclusive video interview with Hembrough that's worth checking out. "Toy Hunter" airs at 9:00PM on Wednesdays.