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Under the Radar’s Holiday Gift Guide 2018 Part 4: Collectibles

Statues, Vinyl Figures, and More from DC, Marvel, Kidrobot, Adult Swim, and Fun.com

Dec 03, 2018 By Mark Redfern Holiday Gift Guide 2018
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Welcome to part 4 of our Holiday Gift Guide 2018, in which we highlight collectibles. Political comedian and TV host Bill Maher, of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, recently got in hot water for writing on his blog right after the passing of legendary comic book writer Stan Lee about how Lee’s creations and comic books in general had helped dumb down America and pave the way for a reality TV star to be elected President. And while Maher often has valid points, this, like much of what he does, seemed like it was written purely to get a strong reaction, an extreme trolling article. Maher may truly believe that adults shouldn’t read comic books or that graphic novels shouldn’t be considered as serious literature, but the timing of his post, right after the death of the most beloved figure in the comic book industry, someone profoundly influential on popular culture, was clearly aimed at getting Maher the most attention possible, and it worked. But Maher, who says he hasn’t read a comic book since he was a kid and didn’t even read them much then, is clearly ignorant on the subject. Yes, a lot of mainstream comics still center on epic good and evil battles, but there can still be a real artistry to some of those works. Not to mention Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novels such as Art Spiegelman’s Maus that deal with serious and deep subjects.

And who wants to truly grow up anyway? Yes, we should all do our civic duty and vote responsibly. Yes, we should pay our bills and do all the adult things needed. We should worry about the environment and rally against corrupt politicians. Be good spouses/partners and parents. All of that. But on the side, what’s wrong with still enjoying comic books, superhero movies, and reliving the pop culture of our youth? Nothing. A lot of work goes into those creations and those creators should be honored.

Below we have gathered some collectibles that adult fans of pop culture can enjoy (and some will appeal to kids as well). They include some of Stan Lee’s enduring characters (Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor, etc.), as well as other Marvel Comics and DC Comics characters, plus some aliens, ghosts, rock legends, and more. A big thank-you to DC Collectibles and Fun.com for sending us some of these products and a super-sized thank-you to Kidrobot, who went above and beyond and sent us so many amazing items for our Collectibles Holiday Gift Guide this year, as you will see below. Excelsior!

We have previously posted part 1 of our 2018 gift guide (for video games), as well as part 2 (for board games) and part 3 (for technology). And in the next couple of weeks we will still also be posting more gift guides centering on DVDs/Blu-rays, music box sets and reissues, toys and other gifts for kids, apparel and household items, and books and comic books. And don’t forget that Under the Radar 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.

Adult Swim Blind Box Vinyl Mini Figure Series 2 by Kidrobot

RRP: $9.99 each

While the kids sleep, the adults can go play. Since 2001, Adult Swim has been taking over Cartoon Network’s airwaves every night from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for a block of mainly animated programming certainly not for kids. Its irreverent shows range from anime to absurd sketch shows to surreal cartoons to the out-and-out parody of Robot Chicken. For those teenagers, college students, and young adults who came of age sometime in the last 15 years, Adult Swim was possibly an important cultural touchtone for them. The brand has also dabbled in music, with its Singles Program and Los Angeles music festival.

Kidrobot’s Vinyl Mini Figure Series features many of the iconic characters from the network’s various shows, including ones from Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Samurai Jack, Rick and Morty, Robot Chicken, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Mr. Pickles, and The Venture Bros. Because they are in blind boxes, you never know which figure you’re going to get when you open the packaging. You might also be doubling surprised if you get one of the extremely rare mystery figures. One of these would make an excellent stocking stuffer for the Adult Swim fan in your life. (Buy it here.)

Alien Xenomorph HugMe Vibrating Plush (Kidrobot)

RRP: $34.99

Have you ever watched the Alien movies and thought that the murderous Xenomorph creature would make a cute stuffed animal? No, us neither. But someone at Kidrobot did. And what’s more, it vibrates when you hug it or clap. The 16-inch plush is kind of cuddly, and thankfully it won’t stalk you around the house or implant its eggs in you (or so we’ve been told). (Buy it here.)

Ghostbusters Slimer HugMe Vibrating Plush (Kidrobot)

RRP: $34.99

If the thought of hugging an alien isn’t appealing, how about a ghost? More specifically, Slimer from Ghostbusters. We promise you won’t get slimed if you promise not to wreck the hotel ballroom in order to catch the little guy. Like the Xenomorph, he’s 16-inches tall and vibrates when you hug it or clap. (Buy it here.)

Marvel Deadpool Riding a Unicorn HugMe Vibrating Plush (Kidrobot)

RRP: $34.99

Kidrobot’s HugeMe Vibrating Plush range also includes Deadpool riding a unicorn and what’s more adorable than that? Again, he’s 16-inches tall and vibrates when you hug it or clap. Get it just in time for the new PG-13 version of Deadpool 2 and bring it to the theater with you to display your commitment to a more kid-friendly version of the fourth-wall breaking prankster. (Buy it here.)

Aquaman Movie: Black Manta Statue (DC Collectibles)

RRP: $165.00

Warner Bros. has a fair amount riding on the upcoming Aquaman movie. Their last live action DC movie, 2017’s Justice League, had a troubled production, was not well-received by critics, and was considered a box office disappointment (if making $657 million worldwide can be considered disappointing). If Aquaman is a success with critics and audiences it will course correct the DCEU. If it’s a failure, well we are getting new Shazam!, Joker, and Wonder Woman movies no matter what, as they are all already in production, but it could put a damper on movies after that. Luckily the very early reviews for Aquaman have been promising.

We’ve seen Jason Momoa’s Aquaman on the big screen before, in Justice League (where his portrayal was generally well-received), but this film will mark the silver screen debut of villain Black Manta, an undersea mercenary armed with laser eyes and an array of gadgets (he’s played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). Based on the trailers for Aquaman, they have nailed Black Manta’s look, with a true-to-the-comics costume. DC Collectibles have a very sturdy tie-in Black Manta statue. It was sculpted by Alterton, is approximately 12.3 inches tall, and features a magnetic detachable arm sword. It’s an impressive and imposing statue. Also available are statues for Aquaman and his love interest Mera (played by Amber Heard). (Buy it here.)

Batman: Black and White Statues By Gerard Way (DC Collectibles)

RRP: $89.96

Gerard Way may be best known as a musician, as the frontman for My Chemical Romance and also his solo work, but he’s carved out a very credible second career in the comic book industry. He first came to prominence in that medium in 2007, with the Eisner Award-winning The Umbrella Academy for Dark Horse Comics (which is being adapted into a Netflix TV show due next February). More recently he launched DC Comics’ Young Animal imprint, featuring off-kilter characters and a more experimental approach to superheroes. Now Way has designed for DC this fresh take on Batman for a black and white statue. You could call him the emo Batman (or the goth one, although Batman is already pretty goth as it is). He’s thin, has pale skin, has a padlock over his heart, and a cape decorated with imagery and filled with holes. He’s really like no other Batman we’ve seen before and fans of either The Dark Knight or Way would appreciate this gift. DC should get Way do a miniseries featuring this Batman. Also available is black & white statue of Way’s take on The Joker. (Buy it here.)

DC Artists Alley: Poison Ivy By Sho Murase Vinyl Figure - Holiday Valiant (DC Collectibles)

RRP: $40.00

The DC Artists Alley series aims to bring “unique, artistic viewpoints to the DC Universe through highly-detailed, limited-edition designer vinyl.” Each figure comes with a print featuring the original artwork that inspired the figure. One of the artists involved is Sho Murase, who is half-Japanese/half-Korean, although she grew up in Barcelona and has spent the last 10 years in San Francisco. She’s behind this Poison Ivy figure. The Batman villain debuted in 1966 and is something of an eco-terrorist, using her plant powers and mind-controlling pheromones to protect the environment by any means necessary. She’s sometimes an anti-heroine, aiding the heroes. Murase’s figure comes in a holiday valiant, a red and green colored version that both still fits the redheaded character and a Christmas vibe. It’s 6.73-inches tall and limited to 500 pieces. The regular version of Murase’s Poison Ivy figure is also available and limited to 3,000 pieces. Also available from Murase are Artists Alley figures for Batgirl, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn. (Buy it here.)

DC Comics Justice League Dunny Keychains (Kidrobot)

RRP: $5.99 each

Kidrobot’s Dunny art figures series essentially takes well-known characters and gives them cute bunny ears. This version of the line presents mini figures of various DC Comics superheroes, each one a keychain. Like the Adult Swim figures, they are in blind boxes, so you don’t know which character you’re going to get. They range from well-known characters from the Justice League (Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Batman) to rare figures (such as lesser known characters Animal Man and Booster Gold) to extremely rare figures (the Guy Gardner version of Green Lantern and everyone’s favorite super-powered female magician, Zatanna). Keys have never been so heroic. (Buy it here.)

Batman x Kidrobot 3” Blind Box Dunny Figures

RRP: $11.99 each

Robin, get the Bat-Dunny! If you want to get even more specialized with your DC Comics fandom, Kidrobot also has slightly larger 3-inch Dunny figures centered around Batman, his allies, and his colorful villains. Again, you never know which character you are going to get: Batman, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, The Joker, or the extremely rare Batgirl and Hush figures. There are 15 in total collect and would be great to stuff in a Bat-Stocking of kids young and old. (Buy it here.)

DC Comics Phunny Plush (Kidrobot)

RRP: $11.99 each

Kidrobot’s Phunny line of “sinisterly squeezable” 8-inch plush includes several DC Comics characters, such as Ben Affleck’s Batman from the DCEU films, Wonder Woman, The Joker, and Harley Quinn. (Buy Batman and Wonder Woman here.)

Marvel Comics Phunny Plush (Kidrobot)

RRP: $11.99 each ($14.99 for Deadpool Riding a Unicorn)

Kidrobot also has a huge range of Marvel Comics Phunny Plush toys. For those kids in love with Spider-Man after seeing the upcoming, already acclaimed, Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse, there’s one for everyone’s favorite wall-crawler. Those adults lamenting Netflix’s cancellation of Daredevil can hug this plush of everyone’s favorite blind vigilante (hopefully the show continues on Disney’s new streaming service). Earlier we told you about the vibrating Deadpool riding a unicorn plush, well there’s also a smaller Phunny version (no vibration though). Plus there are Phunnys for Hulk, Thor, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Captain America, and The Punisher (probably the least kid-friendly character of the bunch). (Buy it here.)

DC Comics x Kidrobot Harley Quinn Art Figure by Brandt Peters

RRP: $150.00

Compared to many iconic DC Comics characters, most of who debuted in the 1940s or 1960s, Harley Quinn is relatively new on the scene, first appearing in a 1992 episode of Batman: The Animated Series before soon making the jump to the printed page, the opposite transition most comic book characters make. In the last couple of decades she has become an extraordinarily popular character, rivaling DC’s big Golden Age heroes, easily moving on from her original role as The Joker’s girlfriend. Fans can expect a lot more Harley Quinn in our culture in the coming years. Margot Robbie is reprising her role as Harley in the upcoming 2020 movie Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), as well as in voice form in 2019’s Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. There are various other movies in development with Robbie as Harley, including Gotham City Sirens, Suicide Squad 2, and a Harley Quinn/Joker movie. And next year the streaming service DC Universe will premiere a new Harley Quinn animated series, simply titled Harley Quinn and featuring The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco as the voice of everyone’s favorite slightly crazed anti-hero.

If you can’t wait for all that upcoming stuff, you can get your Harley fix now with Kidrobot’s art figure. They have once again teamed up with illustrator and designer Brandt Peters, who has drawn the character for DC Comics before, for this new vinyl art figure featuring Harley Quinn in her original costume. The retro and cartoony design is further twisted by Peters turning Harley into a marionette puppet. The figure is 10 inches tall and Harley brandishes her signature mallet, with “Your Face Here” written on the top and “Ha!” written on the bottom. The color version is limited to 700 pieces, but there’s an even more limited edition black & white version of which there are only 200. It also comes in a handsome box that looks like something you might buy at an upscale department store in the 1960s. (Buy it here.)

Ghostbusters Slimer, Stay Puff, and Ghostbuster Logo Plush Toys (Kidrobot)

RRP: $11.99 each

My five-year-old daughter was home sick from school one day and so at her insistence I decided to take a chance and show her Ghostbusters, even though she was perhaps a bit too young to watch it (it is only rated PG and most of the adult jokes went over her head). Luckily she loved it and then we dived into The Real Ghostbusters cartoon series, which is on Netflix and alas doesn’t hold up so well three decades later. We haven’t gotten into Ghostbusters II yet because a friend showed it to his similarly aged daughter and she was really freaked out by Vigo, the supernatural villain trapped in a painting. So next up might be 2016’s much-maligned, but still fitfully amusing all-female reboot. Based on how excited she’s been that The Doctor in Doctor Who is now a woman, my daughter will likely be into a gender-flipped Ghostbusters.

Kidrobot has three cute plush toys for Ghostbusters fans young and old. They have wisely decided against a Vigo stuffed animal, instead focusing on fan favorites the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (you can decide if he’s an innocuous corporate logo or the chosen form of the sadistic god Gozer), the aforementioned Slimer, and the actual Ghostbusters logo from the film. So put on Ray Parker Jr.‘s “Ghostbusters” theme (or the next best thing, Huey Lewis and the News’ “I Wanna New Drug”) and answer the call. (Buy it here.)

Guardians of the Galaxy Dancing Groot Speaker (eKids/Fun.com)

RRP: $24.99

This speaker isn’t intended for die-hard music heads concerned with the best sound quality possible (its reasonable price should signal that). But it is an amusing gift for Marvel fans, including kids who might want a speaker in their room. As befitting the Guardians of the Galaxy films, it is styled like a tape deck. The plant-based hero Groot is perched on top and when music is played he moves to it. It comes preloaded with Jay and the Americans’ 1964 hit “Come a Little Bit Closer,” which was featured in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Groot also says his signature catchphrase at the touch of button. But you can also connect your MP3 player, Walkman, Discman, etc. to the speaker via the aux-in port so that he can dance to the song of your choice. To sum up the product, in the words of Groot himself: “I am Groot.” (Buy it via Fun.com here.)

Mecha Aqua Teen Hunger Force Vinyl Art Figure by Kidrobot

RRP: $49.99

Aqua Teen Hunger Force was an unlikely concept for an animated show to last 11 seasons and 139 episodes and spawn a feature film, 2007’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters (which Glenn Kenny at Premiere magazine called “the most successful full-on surrealist film since Buñuel and Dalí‘s 1930 L’Âge d’Or”). I mean, what is the show even about? It features a milkshake named Master Shake who likes to lie a lot, a box of French fries named Flylock, and Meatwad, who is kind of a shape-shifting meatball. The “heroes” went on seriously surreal adventures, if you could call them that, with a lot of the dialogue and jokes improvised. And let’s be honest, a huge segment of the show’s audience were likely high while watching it.

For those fans missing Aqua Teen Hunger Force since Adult Swim cancelled it in 2015, there is Kidrobot’s fun vinyl art figure. It is six inches tall and features the fast food icons combined into one Voltron like robot, ready to fight munchies in all forms. (Buy it here.)

POP! Rocks Music: Jimi Hendrix Woodstock Vinyl Figure (Fun.com)

RRP: $9.99

History has been rocked by many memorable music festivals and performances (1985’s Live Aid charity concert, as partially recreated in this year’s Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, springs to mind), but none more so than Woodstock. POP! have an exhaustive range of vinyl figures, although they mainly focus on fictional characters. Their POP! Rocks line has nothing to do with 1970s/1980s popping candy that definitely won’t make your stomach explode when eaten with soda, but instead features various real life rock legends, including Axl Rose, Jerry Garcia, Kurt Cobain, Lemmy, Elton John, Joey Ramone, Alice Cooper, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and…um…Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber (okay, they aren’t all rock legends, but close enough). One of our favorites might be Jimi Hendrix, dressed in the outfit he wore at Woodstock, complete with his headband. Hendrix was Woodstock’s very last performer, playing an uninterrupted two-hour set from 9-11 a.m. Monday morning and closing out the four-day festival with “Hey Joe.” Coming in 2019 are POP! Rocks figures for Prince (in his Purple Rain garb), Amy Winehouse, and, to bring it full circle, Queen’s Freddie Mercury and Brian May. (Buy it from Fun.com here.)

Wonder Woman Grayscale Art Figure By Tara McPherson (Kidrobot)

RRP: $125.00 for Grayscale or $100.00 for Color Version

Artist Tara McPherson has long been on our radar, in part because of her iconic rock poster art and her beautifully sad characters (many of whom have a heart shaped hole in their chests). We interviewed her back in 2009 because of her art book, Lost Constellations: The Art of Tara McPherson Volume II. While McPherson’s art has appeared in comic books before, she’s not traditionally known for her work with superheroes. That makes this Wonder Woman figure from Kidrobot all the more special. Not only that, it won Best Licensed Figure at the 2018 Designer Toy Awards.

The striking vinyl art figure is 11 inches tall and Diana holds her Golden Lasso of Truth in such a way that it forms a heart shape around her front, perhaps referencing McPherson’s earlier work. It’s available in both a vivid color version and a handsome grayscale one (which is limited to 300 pieces). The next Wonder Woman movie, Wonder Woman 1984, isn’t due out until June 2020, but this wonderful figure should tide fans over nicely. (Buy the grayscale version here, buy the color version here.)

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