Under the Radar's Holiday Gift Guide 2019 Part 4: Collectibles (Part One) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, December 16th, 2019  

Under the Radar’s Holiday Gift Guide 2019 Part 4: Collectibles (Part One)

Superheroes, Pop Artists, Time Travelers, Ghosts, Jedis, and More from Kidrobot, DC Collectibles, Diamond Select Toys, Mondo, and Others

Nov 27, 2019 By Mark Redfern Web Exclusive
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Welcome to Part 4 of Under the Radar's Holiday Gift Guide 2019. This one is centered on collectibles. As superhero epics continue to dominate at movie theaters, with even an R-rated movie about The Joker making over a billion dollars worldwide, and more and more new streaming services (such as Disney+) offering even more sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and comic book TV shows on top of the multitude already airing on existing channels and platforms, the appetite for all things geek remains unabated.

We have handpicked some of this year's finest geek-friendly statues, action figures, plushies, alternative movie posters, vinyl mini figures, toys, and more. They include products featuring characters from DC Comics, Marvel, Star Wars, Back to the Future, Blade Runner, and much more. Kidrobot and Diamond Select, in particular went above and beyond with their submissions this year, but there are also fantastic items from DC Collectibles, Mondo, Uncanny Brands, Hallmark, Hasbro, and Cryptozoic. And this is just part one of our collectibles guide. We are still being sent a few other fun items that we will highlight in part two.

In terms of our Holiday Gift Guide 2019 we have already posted a guide about video games and two drinks related guides, one for coffee, beer, and wine and another for cocktails. And stay tuned for more guides we'll be posting on board games, DVDs and Blu-rays, technology, music box sets and reissues, toys and other gifts for kids, and books and graphic novels. And don't forget that Under the Radar print magazine subscriptions also make a great gift. Plus donating to the charity of your choice in the name of the gift receiver is also a good way to go.

Avengers Infinity War Spider-Man Phunny Plush (Kidrobot)

RRP: $11.99

Spider-Man has had a good couple of years. In April 2018 he appeared as a pivotal character in Avengers: Infinity War. Last December the acclaimed animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse opened and it ended up winning the Oscar for Best Animated Film and has been appearing on various Best Movies of the Decade lists. Then this year he appeared in two hit live action movies, April's Avengers: Endgame (now officially the biggest movie of all time) and June's Spider-Man: Far From Home (which is now the biggest Spider-Man movie of all time). All were hits with critics and audiences. There was briefly a worry that Spider-Man would have to exit the Marvel Cinematic Universe due to a disagreement between Disney (who make all the MCU movies) and Sony (who have the rights to Spider-Man), but that hiccup was thankfully resolved. An Into the Spider-Verse sequel has been announced for release in 2022 and another film starring Tom Holland as the hero has been announced for 2021. In other words, it's been a good time to be a Spider-Man fan.

Celebrate this golden age of the Wall Crawler with Kidrobot's Phunny Plush of Spider-Man from Infinity War. It's 7-inch tall and features the fancy new costume Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) gave to young Peter Parker, the Iron Spider Armor. (Buy it here.)

Avengers Infinity War Thanos Phunny Plush (Kidrobot)

RRP: $11.99

Isn't Kidrobot's Thanos plush cute! No matter that he wiped out half of all life in the universe with a snap of his finger. He's so cuddly! And besides, The Avengers brought everyone back. Sure, it was traumatic and all the people snapped away skipped ahead five years while their remaining friends and family members mourned and moved on with their lives. But in this form Thanos is totally harmless. The 7-inch tall plush sports the deadly Infinity Gauntlet on his left hand. Don't even try to get it off him (no really, it doesn't come off this plush). (Buy it here.)

Back to the Future 88 MPH 2-Pin Set (Mondo)

RRP: $16.00

"I'm from the future. I came here in a time machine that you invented. Now I need your help to get back to the year 1985," so goes the first meeting of Marty McFly and 1955 Doc Brown in Back to the Future. Marty is trapped in the past and tracks down his friend at his house. Doc answers the door wearing a mind reading device on his head that doesn't work. 1955 Doc hasn't met Marty yet and believes the teenager is pranking him. "Then tell me future boy, who's President of the United States in 1985?" Doc challenges. "Ronald Regan," Marty decisively answers. "Ronald Regan?! The actor! Then who's Vice President, Jerry Lewis? I suppose Jane Wyman is the First Lady and Jack Benny is the Secretary of the Treasury." Marty finally convinces 1955 Doc by relaying a story 1985 Doc told him about how he came up with the idea for the Flux Capacitor. Mondo's Back to the Future enamel pin set features Doc in this moment, with the clunky mind reader on his head. Marty's pin recreates the poster for the first Back to the Future movie, Marty with his sunglasses raised as he looks at his watch. 100% Soft designed the 1.48-inch and 1.25-inch high hard enamel pins. (Buy it here.)

 

Beetlejuice Phunny Plush (Kidrobot)

RRP: $11.99

Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Michael Keaton's devious poltergeist (technically named Betelgeuse) comes alive (even though he's technically dead) in Kidrobot's Beetlejuice Phunny Plush. The long in the works Beetlejuice sequel may never happen, but now fans can cuddle up to the "bio-exorcist" all to their heart's content. It's 7.5 inches tall. Just be careful what you wish for. (Buy it here.)

 

Blade Runner Police Spinner Vehicle Ornament (Hallmark)

RRP: $19.99

It's hard to believe, but Blade Runner takes place this year. The opening title to the 1982-released sci-fi masterpiece sets up that it's November 2019. Director Ridley Scott and everyone else involved in its production were perhaps overoptimistic to think that in a mere 37 years we'd have flying cars, off world colonies, and androids almost as realistic as humans, not to mention that Pan Am and Atari would still be viable companies. Well, we do have videophones now at least. Regardless, the film is still a timeless classic and a visual feast for the eyes and was also followed by the nearly as impressive sequel, 2017's Blade Runner 2049.

Over the years Hallmark's Keepsake Ornaments line has featured all sorts of characters from famous films and TV shows, as well as vehicles, such as various Star Wars and Star Trek ships. Their 2019 line includes the Police Spinner flying cop car from the first Blade Runner. It's ready to take flight from the branch of your Christmas tree to aid in your search for Replicants (or are you one yourself?). (Buy it here.)

 

Bob Ross Phunny Plush (Kidrobot)

RRP: $11.99

It's hard to believe that Rob Ross has been dead for almost 25 years now. The host of PBS' The Joy of Painting from 1983 to 1994 may have died in 1995 due to complications from lymphoma at the relatively young age of 52, but he has since lived on as an Internet celebrity due to YouTube videos, his episodes being featured on Netflix, and Ross being lovingly spoofed in the likes of Family Guy, The Boondocks, and Deadpool 2. Now Kidrobot has gotten in on the nostalgia for a one of a kind guy who taught millions how to paint landscapes in the comfort of their own home. Their eight-inch tall Phunny Plush of Ross features his iconic afro and beard, as he holds an easel and brush in one hand and a smiling pine tree (perhaps a car air freshener) in the other. This could make for an amusing gift for your Generation X friends. (Buy it here.)

 

Captain Marvel Phunny Plush (Kidrobot)

RRP: $11.99

Kidrobot's Phunny Plush series also features Captain Marvel. Brie Larson immortalized the hero in this year's hit movie, the first in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be fronted by a female superhero. The six-inch tall plush features Carol Danvers in her iconic red, blue, and yellow costume, rather than the green one she initially wears in the film. (Buy it here.)

 

Captain Marvel Goose Enamel Pin (Mondo)

RRP: $10.00

Keeping with the Captain Marvel theme, Mondo has a cool little hard enamel pin featuring her cat Goose. Goose may appear to be an average housecat, but the movie reveals she is in fact a Flerken, an alien feline. Matt Taylor designed the pin, which features Goose protecting the Tesseract by essentially eating it. It's been awhile since a cat almost stole a whole film, so it's only fitting that Goose is honored by this stylish pin. (Buy it here.)

 

Coraline with Button Eyes Phunny Plush (Kidrobot)

RRP: $14.99 

Much was made of the return of 3D at the start of the century, starting around 2003, but few films have done all that much with the format. Many aren't even filmed in 3D to start with and are converted after the fact. 2009's Coraline, however, was one of the movies to really get 3D right. Henry Selick of The Nightmare Before Christmas fame wrote and directed the stop-motion animated film, which was based on a 2002 novel by Neil Gaiman. The PG-rated dark fantasy is kind of a horror movie for kids. Coraline Jones (voiced by Dakota Fanning) is an 11-year-old girl who finds a passageway to a parallel world via a secret door in her new house. There she finds what at first appears to be an idealized version of reality, but soon it takes a dark turn. In the "Other World," as it's called, buttons are sewed over people's eyes, trapping their souls. The scenes where Coraline crawls through the passageway to the "Other World" and where she is later trapped on a giant spider web truly looked stunning in 3D in a way that they simply wouldn't in 2D, thus making full use of the technology to give depth to the images, rather than just having scary things jump out at the audience. Coraline was a financial and critical success, doing much better at the box office than Selick's previous film, 1996's James and the Giant Peach. Kidrobot's Coraline Phunny Plush is both adorable and creepy, featuring the young heroine with button eyes. It features real sewn on buttons and embroidered details and is seven inches tall. (Buy it here.)

 

DC Bombshells: Death (DC Collectibles)

RRP: $125.00

Death, from the world of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman comic book series, gets the DC Bombshells treatment. The Bombshells line takes existing DC characters and re-imagines them as 1940s characters, complete with new retro looks and some costumes for female heroes that more resemble World War II pin-up girls. What initially started in 2011 as art prints and statues based on the designs of artist Ant Lucia has evolved into a regular comic book series, T-shirts, mugs, action figures, and more, as well as Bombshell variations on some male DC heroes too. The characters from The Sandman don't interact with the rest of the DC Universe all that regularly, so it's interesting that they've brought Death to line. In The Sandman death ushers the living to the afterlife as you might expect, but she's no Grim Reaper. Instead she is a good-natured attractive goth woman, dressed in black casual clothes. In the Bombshells version she is clad in a black and white nurse's outfit, with a black dress, white cape, and black and white hat. She's also sporting black heels and a black umbrella. It's a very stylish look.

Tim Miller sculpted the statue from a design by the aforementioned Ant Lucia. It measures approximately 12.25 inches tall and is a limited edition of 5,000, so grab it while you can. (Buy it here.)

 

DC Comic Gallery Batgirl PVC Diorama (Diamond Select Toys)

RRP: $45.00

Batgirl was revamped in 2014 by writers Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart and artist Babs Tarr with a hipper take on the character starting in Issue 35 of the then current Batgirl series. Barbara Gordon (Batgirl's secret identity) moved to Burnside, which is kind of like the Brooklyn of Gotham City, well when Brooklyn was the center of cool music over a decade ago. Our heroine is a tech wiz and a graduate student at Burnside College, while also balancing her crime fighting career and her two roommates. It was an acclaimed run that humanized and modernized the character and dealt with social media, artificial intelligence, and other pertinent issues. Batgirl was also equipped with a more realistic costume featuring a cool purple jacket with an actual zipper down the front, rather than overly form fitting spandex. Alas in 2018 the character was revamped again and returned to an older, less iconic looking Batgirl suit. Diamond Select Toys' DC Comic Gallery Batgirl PVC Diorama, however, features the costume from the Burnside era. Caesar designed the 9-inch statue and James Marsano sculpted it. It depicts Batgirl ready for action, seemingly on a rooftop somewhere, and reflects one of the best comic book runs for the character. (Buy it here.)

 

DC Comic Gallery Deluxe Dark Knight Returns Batman & Robin PVC Diorama (Diamond Select Toys)

RRP: $65.00 

In the 1980s DC changed up mainstream comic books in a big way with several groundbreaking series that embraced a darker tone and tackled more adult themes for the tights and flights characters, such as some of the work by UK writers Alan Moore (Watchmen, The Saga of the Swamp Thing, The Killing Joke) and Grant Morrison (Animal Man, Doom Patrol, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth). Another such person was Maryland-born writer/artist Frank Miller. He got his start revitalizing Marvel's Daredevil series, which was almost cancelled before he took it over. But then he moved over to DC for two iconic Batman tales. 1987's Batman: Year One retold the Dark Knight's origins and is the gold standard for such efforts, spawning various other Year One titles for other DC heroes. 1986's The Dark Knight Returns, however, was set at the other end of Batman's life. It imagined a dystopian future version of Gotham City, where Bruce Wayne is 55 years old and has been retired as Batman for a decade. He puts the cowl back on again as Gotham becomes more and more violent. He is aided by Carrie Kelley, a 13-year-old girl who becomes the first female Robin after saving Batman's life. In the finale of the graphic novel Batman must fight Superman, who has become a reluctant but loyal agent for the U.S. government. This fight is echoed in the climax of the 2016 film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Alas Carrie Kelley has never been successful integrated into the main DC Comics continuity, apart from a few token appearances, but she was a part of Miller's two sequels, 2001's The Dark Knight Strikes Again and 2015's The Dark Knight III: The Master Race.

Diamond Select Toys' DC Comic Gallery Deluxe Dark Knight Returns Batman & Robin PVC Diorama depicts the aging Batman and Carrie Kelley's Robin on top of a rooftop, ready to strike. Batman has a determined and angry facial expression and Carrie's Robin is armed with a slingshot, just like in the comics. Shawn Knapp designed the 8 inches tall diorama, which was sculpted by Alterton. (Buy it here.)

 

DC Comic Gallery Supergirl PVC Diorama (Diamond Select Toys)

RRP: $45.00

The original Kara Zor-El version of Supergirl debuted way back in 1959 and died in the iconic Crisis on Infinite Earths miniseries in 1985. After that others took on the name Supergirl, but Kara returned in a big way nearly two decades later in 2004's issue #8 of Superman/Batman (written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Michael Turner), with a rebooted version of Kara crash landing on Earth. She's a confused teenager who only speaks Kryptonese and doesn't understand her powers. Luckily Batman finds her right after she lands and subdues her before she can do too much damage, thanks to some handy Kryptonite in his utility belt, and she is introduced to her cousin Superman. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman all take Kara under their wing and eventually she grows into becoming Supergirl. Her initial costume has her wearing a half shirt, which some could certainly argue over-sexualizes the character, although she is a teenager in this incarnation and half shirts were quite popular with teenage girls at the time. In the pilot episode of The CW's current Supergirl TV series (which debuted in 2015), when Kara (played by Melissa Benoist) and her friend Winn (Jeremy Jordan) are designing her first Supergirl costume she briefly tries on a proto half shirt version and responds: "I'm not flying around saving people in this thing, I wouldn't even wear it to the beach." But keep in mind the TV version is in her 20s.

Diamond Select Toys' new PVC diorama/statue of Supergirl pulls from the popular early 2000s version of the character. It was nicely designed by Caesar and beautifully sculpted by James Marsano. It depicts the Girl of Steel in a dramatic pose in flight soon after breaking free of some chains. (Buy it here.)

DC Cover Girls: Huntress by Joëlle Jones (DC Collectibles)

RRP: $125.00 

Huntress may not be the best-known DC character to the general public, although that might all change next February with her big screen debut in Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Although Margot Robbie's return as Harley Quinn is the main draw of the film, she'll be backed up by various other strong female characters, including Helena Bertinelli, aka Huntress, as played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. There have been two other notable versions of Huntress, including one from the 1940s who was a villain and one from the 1970s who on an alternate Earth was the grown daughter of Batman and Catwoman. The current version debuted in 1989. Bertinelli is the daughter of one of Gotham's Mafia bosses who vows revenge after her family is murdered. On TV she was in the short-lived 2002 live action show Birds of Prey (played by Ashley Scott) and has appeared on the CW live action series Arrow (played by Jessica De Gouw), as well as showing up in animated form in various DC animated shows, movies, and video games. This statue from the DC Cover Girls series is based on her New 52 costume and the art of Joëlle Jones. Jack Matthews sculpted it.

Jones is a Boise, Idaho native whose professional career launched in 2006. She's not only an amazing artist, but an accomplished comic book writer. Some of her notable work includes co-writing and drawing the Eisner-nominated miniseries for Dark Horse Lady Killer, drawing the DC miniseries Supergirl: Being Super, drawing the regular Batman series, and recently writing and drawing the regular Catwoman series. She was the first female artist to have her work adapted for the DC Cover Girls series, including previous statues of Batgirl, Supergirl, Harley Quinn, Black Canary, and Mera. The 9-inch tall Huntress statue finds the crossbow-wielding vigilante in an action pose, partially bent down, perhaps as she stalks an adversary. (Buy it here.)

 

DC Movie Gallery Shazam PVC Diorama (Diamond Select Toys)

RRP: $45.00

This year's Shazam! movie, released in March, had the perfect tone for the superhero. It had enough gravitas to take the characters and stakes seriously enough, but it wasn't as brooding as some recent DC Comics films (such as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) and had as much humor as some of the lighter Marvel movies (such as the Ant-Man and Spider-Man movies). The PG-13 film could appeal to the whole family (well, apart from that monstrous boardroom massacre scene that definitely requires the covering of some young eyes), but also respected the source material enough to appeal to diehard adult comics geeks. And while the character dates back to 1939, back when he was known as Captain Marvel and debuted in the "funny books" only a year and a half after Superman, the basic concept is often summed up by referencing a movie from 1988: it's Big meets Superman. Billy Batson (played by Asher Angel) is a teenaged foster child who bounces around from group home to group home while searching for his real mother. His life changes when he is granted superpowers by a desperate and dying ancient wizard, who turns him into the adult superhero Shazam (although in the film he has various other silly names, such as Captain Sparkle Fingers), as played by Zachary Levi. Levi is pitch perfect as the boy in a man's body and it's nice to see an actor who has mainly been relegated to supporting roles in films and TV shows after his breakout part starring in NBC's Chuck finally get his due. In fact, he initially auditioned for a smaller part in Shazam! before director David F. Sandberg realized he was actually the perfect Shazam. The film was well received by critics and fans and made over $364 million worldwide, a lot less than some modern superhero films, but its budget also wasn't as big as some of those films so it was enough to put a sequel into development, as well as a long in the works companion film about Shazam villain/anti-hero Black Adam (to be played by Dwayne Johnson).

Diamond Select Toys' DC Movie Gallery Shazam PVC Diorama features Levi's Shazam seemingly just after Billy has said the magic word ("Shazam!" of course) that causes a bolt of magical lightning to turn him into his older alter ego. It looks just like Levi. Caesar designed the dynamic diorama and Rocco Tartamella sculpted it. (Buy it here.)

 

Godzilla Vinyl Mini Figure Series (Kidrobot)

RRP: $9.99 each

Godzilla turned 65 this year and is surprisingly still going strong. Surprising, because there's really not all that much to the character: he's a giant lizard who comes out of the depths of the ocean to destroy some cities, but it usually turns out he's trying to save humanity from an even worse monster. He's come a long way from just being a guy in a rubber suit stepping on model tanks. There have been 35 Godzilla films so far, with 32 made in Japan, and three made by Hollywood. The Hollywood films this decade include 2014's well-received Godzilla and this year's Godzilla: King of the Monsters (which was admittedly a bit ridiculous and was a box office disappointment), with Godzilla vs. Kong due out next November (recently pushed back from its original release date next March). And the character is alive and kicking in Japan, with a recent trilogy of anime films set in the far future, 20,000 years after Godzilla has taken over the Earth, and 2016's live action Shin Godzilla, which actually won Best Picture at Japan's equivalent of the Academy Awards.

Kidrobot are celebrating all this with their Godzilla Vinyl Mini Figure Series. All are blind-boxed, so you don't know which version you'll get. You could end up with one of the several Godzilla ones, including one modeled after his first appearance in 1954 and another reflecting his Shin Godzilla look, or you could get Rodan, Mothra, Mechagodizlla, or one of the mystery figures. Order 24 to get a nice display box. (Buy it here.)

 

Hello Sanrio Micro Vehicle Blind Bag Series (Kidrobot)

RRP: $9.99 each

Hello Kitty has really endured since the Japanese character's creation in 1974. Even though none of her multiple cartoons have never really been considered classics of children's television (at least not outside of Japan), as a branding icon she is exemplary, with her image appearing on tens of thousands of products over the decades, from toys to clothing to purses to wine to cafes to even airplanes, with various passenger planes from Taiwan's EVA Airways featuring Hello Kitty. She is the best-known character from the Japanese company Saniro, but they also have plenty of other cute anthropomorphic animal characters. Kidrobot has a series of blind bag collectibles featuring Sanrio characters and the latest is their Hello Sanrio Micro Vehicle Blind Bag Series line. Each bag features a random little rolling food truck inspired by Hello Kitty and other Saniro characters. They each come with a collectible matching cotton pouch. Food trucks include: Hello Kitty Milk Truck, Keroppi Rice Ball Food Truck, Dokidoki Yummychums, Tuxedosam Ice Cream Truck, Badtz-Maru Sushi Truck, and our favorite, Gudetama Lazy Egg Carton Food Truck. These would be perfect stocking stuffers for Saniro fans young and old. Or if you order 24 of them, then you also get a display box. (Buy it here.)

 

IT Pennywise Phunny Plush (Kidrobot)

RRP: $11.99

When you first saw IT your initial reaction was "now what I really need is a cute little stuffie of Pennywise, the creepy murderous clown," right? No? Us neither. Still here he is. You can now cuddle up to your worst nightmare. Red balloon not included. (Buy it here.)

 

John Wick Select Action Figure (Diamond Select Toys)

RRP: $24.99

It was 11 years after the third Matrix film (2003's The Matrix Revolutions), but in 2014 Keanu Reeves finally found a new action movie franchise worthy of his particular skills and talents: John Wick. Chad Stahelski co-directed the first movie, in what was his directorial debut (co-directing with David Leitch). Stahelski already had experience working as a stuntman, stunt coordinator, and second unit director, including being Reeves' stunt double on The Matrix movies, which meant John Wick's action sequences were particularly well-executed. The film was a surprise hit with both critics and audiences, but 2017's John Wick: Chapter 2 and 2019's John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (both directed solely by Stahelski) were even bigger box office hits, with Chapter 4 due out in 2021. In the first film Wick is a former hitman out for revenge after Russian mobsters steal his beloved Mustang car and kill his new puppy (gifted to him by his late wife, who died from a terminal illness).

Diamond Select Toys' John Wick Select Action Figure is based on his appearance in the first movie. Yuri Tming designed the figure, which was sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios and has 25 points of articulation. It comes with his dog, multiple guns, a knife, and a replica of one of the film's gold coins. (Buy it here.)

 

Legends in 3D Iron Giant Half-Scale Bust (Diamond Select Toys)

RRP: $200.00

In an alternate reality, The Iron Giant was hopefully a big hit. Alas in this reality Brad Bird's 1999-released film perhaps just came out at the wrong time. It was set in 1957 and made with traditional animation just as computer animated films were starting to take hold with the early Pixar and DreamWorks Animation films, such as the first two Toy Story movies, Antz, A Bug's Life, and the first Shrek.

The film centers on a boy named Hogarth Hughes (voiced by Eli Marienthal), who befriends a giant robot seemingly from space (voiced by Vin Disel). With the help of local beatnik artist and junkyard owner, Dean McCoppin (voiced by Harry Connick Jr.), Hogarth must keep The Iron Giant a secret from his widowed mother (voiced by Jennifer Aniston) and evade government agents and military officials who want to destroyer his new metal friend.

Despite it being his first film, Bird successfully fought off studio executives who suggested such changes as adding a dog sidekick, setting the movie in the present day, or switching to a hip-hop soundtrack. Bird's vision made the film a timeless classic and a critics' darling, but unfortunately The Iron Giant was a box office flop, only debuting at #9. This has since been attributed to poor marketing by Warner Bros., who didn't realize what a gem of a movie they had until they saw it's unbelievably high test screening numbers. By then it was too late to work out fast food toy tie-ins and the like. The Iron Giant's stature has only grown over the years and while the merchandising for the film in 1999 may have been lacking, there are more toys and collectibles available in the present day. One such item is Diamond Select Toys' Legends in 3D Iron Giant Half-Scale Bust. While busts can often seem like only half a collectible, in this case it works due to The Iron Giant being so, well, giant. Joe Allard designed the very handsome statue, which features Hogarth perched on its shoulder. The piece is a limited edition of only 1,000, so get it while you can. Any Iron Giant fan would delight in this gift. (Buy it here.

 

Many Faces of Andy Warhol Mini Figure Series (Kidrobot)

RRP: $9.99 each

Andy Warhol probably would've loved these little vinyl figures. There are 14 of them and each depicts the pop artist in a different era and mode, from his Madison Ave. advertising days in the 1950s to the 1980s (he died in 1987). They include three figures of Warhol in drag (including one where he looks a bit like Dorothy in The Golden Girls), one from his Factory days, complete with one of his Silver Clouds (floating pillow shaped balloons), and even a figure where he is dressed as Robin. Warhol was a fan of the campy 1960s Batman show and once dressed as Robin, with German singer Nico as Batman, in a photo shoot for Esquire magazine. They are three inches tall and would make good stocking stuffers for your art history professor (or art history major) or really anyone who loves Warhol. Order 24 at the same time and you also get them in a cool display box. (Buy it here.)

 

Marvel Comic Gallery Spider-Man Symbiote PVC Diorama and Marvel Comic Gallery Spider-Man Webbing PVC Diorama (Diamond Select Toys)

RRP: $45.00 

It was a big deal when Spider-Man got a new black costume, revealed on the cover of Secret Wars #8 in 1984, after 22 years of being clad in his traditional red and blue outfit. It was obtained on an alien planet, where all the main Marvel superheroes and villains had been transported to during the epic miniseries. But when Peter Parker returned to Earth the costume's true nature was eventually revealed, that of a Symbiote creature who started changing Spider-Man's personality from that of a wisecracking hero to a more brooding and violent vigilante. Still, Spider-Man wore the costume from 1984-1988. When Parker ditched the costume, it bonded with Eddie Brock to become the villain (and sometime antihero) Venom. This was all chronicled not so memorably in Sam Rami's 2007 film Spider-Man 3 and then Venom got his own self-titled film in 2018, with Tom Hardy as Brock (but no Spider-Man) and a second Venom film is due out in 2020.

Diamond Select Toys' Marvel Comic Gallery Spider-Man Symbiote PVC Diorama captures Spider-Man in the black costume pre-Venom. Alterton sculpted it, based on a design by Caesar, and it is approximately 7 inches high by 11 inches wide. It features Spider-Man on some webbing above a streetlamp and would appeal to '80s comic book fans. Also available is a version with Spider-Man in his traditional red and blue costume. (Buy the black costume version here. Buy the red and blue costume version here.)

 

The Nightmare Before Christmas Jack Skellington with Chair Coffin Doll (Diamond Select Toys)

RRP: $74.99

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a dual-purpose holiday classic: it's essential viewing at both Halloween and Christmas. Henry Selick may have directed the film, and deserves a lot of credit, as does Caroline Thompson who wrote the screenplay, but The Nightmare Before Christmas definitely has all the hallmarks of producer Tim Burton, who created the characters and came up with the story (so much so that it's also sometimes titled as Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas). The film was only a modest hit at first, making $50 million in its initial theatrical run in 1993. But since then it has spawned a mini merchandising empire, with books (including a very impressive pop-up book), comic books, video games, toys, T-shirts, Halloween costumes, and any number of other products. And now added to that is Diamond Select Toys' The Nightmare Before Christmas Jack Skellington with Chair Coffin Doll. It's a handsome 16-inch tall doll, clad in a real cloth costume. He comes with a suitably gothic looking chair and is packaged in a cool coffin box. (Buy it here.)

 

Pretty in Pink Screenprinted Poster (Mondo)

RRP: $50.00

For the last 15 years Mondo has been at the forefront of the alternative movie poster movement. Movie posters became a bit of a lost art for a while, with official posters from the movie studios understandably functioning more as advertisements rather than truly creative works. But all of that has changed now, with a new generation of graphic designers revisiting classic movies with brand new limited edition screenprinted posters, as well as alternative posters for recent and current movies. For this poster Mondo has set its talents to redoing the poster for John Hughes' eternal high school classic, 1986's Pretty in Pink. Hughes wrote and executive produced the teen romantic comedy, which was directed by Howard Deutch. Jacquelin de Leon designed the poster, which features heroine Andie Walsh (played by Molly Ringwald in the movie) in profile, a breeze blowing her red hair in her face while pink flowers abound. Andie was something of a style icon to young girls of the '80s, as was Ringwald in general, and she looks as stylish as ever in this poster, which was printed by Lady Lazarus Press. It's 18 inches tall and 24 inches wide, which is thankfully a pretty standard frame size, and is limited to only 175 posters, so get it while you can.

Fun fact about Pretty in Pink: in the original ending Andie ends up with her quirky best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer), but test audiences didn't buy it and so a new ending was shot where she finds true love with Blane (Andrew McCarthy) instead. This meant that Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (aka OMD) had to write a last minute new song for the climax and they wrote their classic song "If You Leave" in less than 24 hours, before they had to go on tour. (Buy it here.)  

 

Sixteen Candles Screenprinted Poster (Mondo)

RRP: $50.00

Mondo keeps the John Hughes and Molly Ringwald lovefest going with their poster for Sixteen Candles. Released two years prior to Pretty in Pink, 1984's Sixteen Candles was written and directed by Hughes and starred Ringwald as Samantha Baker, who wakes up on her sixteenth birthday to discover that her whole family has forgotten her birthday, in part because of her older sister's impending wedding. Meanwhile, Samantha falls for the older boy Jake Ryan (Michael Shoeffling), while fending off the advances of geek Ted (Anthony Michael Hall). Sure, some things about the movie haven't aged well 35 years later, such as the Asian stereotype that was Long Duk Dong, but Sixteen Candles is still a beloved coming of age classic.

Sara Deck designed Mondo's poster, which features the iconic ending scene of Samantha and Jake on her dining room table, a birthday cake between them, as seen through the window. The poster's height is 36 inches and its width is 24 inches, a standard poster frame size. It is limited to only 200 posters. Fun facts about Sixteen Candles: Viggo Mortensen was nearly cast as Ryan and Ally Sheedy was in the running for Samantha (Hughes liked her audition so much that he still cast her in 1985's The Breakfast Club, along with Ringwald and Hall). After her audition, Ringwald became Hughes' muse and he wrote the final script over a weekend with her in mind. (Buy it here.)

 

Star Wars: A New Hope Luke Skywalker Ornament (Hallmark)

RRP: $18.99

The nine-part Skywalker saga might be coming to an end soon with this year's Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Until it's released on December 20 we won't truly know what director/co-writer J. J. Abrams has up his sleeves in terms of wrapping up an epic storyline that began over 42 years ago. We also don't know how much Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill) will factor into the plot, considering his fate at the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In the meantime, fans can revisit the Luke of the first Star Wars movie, 1977's Star Wars: A New Hope (aka Episode 4, aka just Star Wars) with Hallmark's new Keepsake ornament featuring a young Luke Skywalker, back when he was just a farm boy on Tatooine, before discovering his true destiny as a Jedi Knight. It is the 23rd ornament in their Star Wars line and depicts Luke as he looks out over the dual sunset on his home planet, having no idea what adventures await him or who his father really is. (Buy it here.)

 

Star Wars Darth Vader Two Slice Toaster (Pangea Brands/Uncanny Brands)

RRP: $49.99

Toasters are kind of boring appliances. You put bread in, push it down, and it comes back toasted. That's about it. There's not much more you can do with toasters. Or so we thought. Star Wars fans, however, will delight at this Darth Vader toaster. Not only does it look like Darth Vader's head, it imprints the Star Wars logo on your toast. Fittingly, the dial for setting just how close to burnt you'd like your toast goes from "Light Side" to "Dark Side." It sure is a lot more fun than your average kitchen appliance. May the toast be buttered! (Buy it here.)

 

Star Wars Death Star Popcorn Maker (Pangea Brands/Uncanny Brands)

RRP: $49.99

The Death Star Popcorn Maker is the perfect accompaniment to any Star Wars home viewing. My near-seven-year-old first grader daughter is going through a major Star Wars phase right now, as are a lot of her friends. She's long since seen the original trilogy, but now we've been working our way through the prequels, building up to modern films when she's ready for them. It might be time to bust out some Death Star popcorn. Beyond the novelty of it being shaped like the Death Star, it's actually quite an efficient little popcorn maker. It uses a hot-air popping method, meaning no oil is required, which makes for a healthier snack. It pops the corn almost as fast as a microwave does, in only two to three minutes. And the top cover flips over to become a serving bowl. This is one Death Star you may not want to blow up. (Buy it here.)

 

Star Wars Deluxe Millennium Falcon Waffle Maker (Pangea Brands/Uncanny Brands)

RRP: $49.99

Why buy frozen waffles when you make better (and likely healthier) ones at home? Why make boring circle shaped waffles when you make ones shaped like the Millennium Falcon? If your kids are into Star Wars, they will be the envy of their friends come the morning after a sleepover when you feed them all waffles that really do look like Han Solo's beloved ship that made the Kessel Run in "less than 12 parsecs." After having Millennium Falcon waffles it's hard to see why you would want any other type of waffle. It has a coated, non-stick waffle plate, comes with a cool moveable sensor dish on the top, and even has the Rebel Alliance symbol on the waffle plate. Give this to some of your Star Wars buddies and then quote Han: "Don't everybody thank me at once." (Buy it here.)

 

Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs Mini Figure Series (Kidrobot)

RRP: $9.99 each

Sing it with me: "We're tiny, we're tony/We're all a little looney/And in this cartoony/We're invading your TV." Those were the opening lines to the theme song to Tiny Toon Adventures. If you're of the right age, then you possibly adored the animated show, which aired from 1990 to 1992. It was smart enough for teenagers and adults to get it (in fact the first episode premiered in as a prime-time special on CBS, even though the show otherwise aired on daytime TV), but silly enough for kids to enjoy.

The premise was simple enough: the next generation of Looney Tunes characters go to Acme Looniversity together. It was all in the execution, however, as the show had fun parodying Star Wars; Howdy Doody; An American Tail; The Twilight Zone; Star Trek; Superman; Indiana Jones; The Odd Couple; Who Framed Roger Rabbit; Fantasia; Sherlock Holmes; Honey, Shrunk the Kids; The Wonder Years; Jeopardy; I Love Lucy; Super Mario Bros.; The People's Court; and even Citizen Kane (and that's all just in the first season). Steven Spielberg was one of the producers of the show, which might help explain its brilliance, and it won several Daytime Emmys. Tiny Toon Adventures was followed by another Spielberg-produced, Looney Tunes-related show, Animaniacs, which aired from 1993 to 1998 and is scheduled to be revived with a new show next year on Hulu.

It's a good time then for Kidrobot's Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs Mini Figure Series. They are three-inch tall vinyl figures that are blind boxed so that you never know which one you'll get. Not only does the series include characters from Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs, but also from the related show Pink and the Brain. There are 14 in all to collect at $9.99 a piece or you can order 24 and also get them in a display box. They would make great stocking stuffers for younger Gen-Xers, older Millennials, or current kids who have since discovered these shows on Netflix or YouTube. (Buy it here.)

 

Transformers Collaborative Ghostbusters Ecto-1 Ectotron (Hasbro)

RRP: $39.99

It's a Transformer that turns from the Ecto-1 Cadillac car in Ghostbusters into a robot named Ectotron who is also a paranormal investigator. Let us say that again, it transforms from the car in Ghostbusters! Is there anything cooler than that? Need we say more? Well, it comes with a little Slimer as well. Ghostbusters and Transformers both debuted in 1984 and are celebrating their 35th anniversaries this year, so this is a timely mash-up, especially with a new Ghostbusters movie due out next year and the Ecto-1 prominently featured in its first teaser trailer. There's also a Ghostbusters and Transformers crossover comic book from IDW that ties into this toy, plus a Ghostbusters-themed Optimus Prime toy.

This is a perfect gift for pretty much anyone who was a kid in the mid-1980s. And may we humbly suggest other Transformers collaborative figures that could be made featuring other famous 1980s vehicles: KITT from Knight Rider, the DeLorean from Back to the Future, the van from The A-Team, the helicopter from Airwolf, and the Batmobile from the 1989 Batman film. But regardless, this Ecto-1 Transformer is one of the coolest geek-friendly toys of the year. (Buy it here.)

 

Wonder Woman Movie Collectible Vinyl Figure (Cryptozoic)

RRP: $29.99

Some would argue that the DC Comics movie universe went through a rough patch when 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad both failed to please critics and many fans, and 2017's Justice League alienated not only fans and critics, but mainstream audiences with a disappointing box office result. Warner Bros. have since course corrected with three films that have been bigger hits with fans and critics:  2018's Aquaman and this year's Shazam! and Joker, with Aquaman and Joker each making over a billion dollars worldwide (in Joker's case, a first for an R-rated film). In that 2016/2017 period, however, there was one DC film that generally pleased both fans and critics and also made a lot of money: 2017's Wonder Woman.

Israeli actress Gal Gadot truly shined as the title character in a star-making performance and there was even some talk that the film was worthy of a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars (which didn't come to pass alas, but the American Film Institute did select it as one of the 10 best films of 2017). It had a unique setting for a superhero movie, the battlefields and trenches of World War I, wisely changed from the original comic book's World War II setting to differentiate it from other superhero movies set during the 1940s. Gadot gave a commanding performance and Patty Jenkins expertly directed the action scenes, including the goose bump-inducing one where Wonder Woman first reveals her full costume and steps onto the battle field. There was also a credible love story, with significant chemistry between Gadot and Chris Pine as Steve Trevor. In terms of the domestic box office, it was the biggest opening weekend ever for a film made by a female director and at $412.6 million was also the biggest ever female-directed film at the domestic box office, making Gadot and Jenkins the true Wonder Women. With both of them returning next June for the sequel Wonder Woman 1984, now is a good time to revisit the first film with Cryptozoic's Wonder Woman Movie Collectible Vinyl Figure. It features a stylized cartoon likeness of Gadot in her full Wonder Woman costume, her legendary God Killer sword in her hand, her trusty Golden Lasso at her side, and her jet-black hair blowing in the wind. She stands on the Wonder Woman logo. Pedro Astudillo designed the eight-inch statue and Anders Ehrenborg sculpted it. (Buy it here.)

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