Today is a day in America in which we celebrate our freedom as a nation. It was on this day in 1776 that the Continental Congress formerly adopted the Declaration of Independence. It was this day that our founding fathers made their intentions to establish a free and independent nation known to the world.
In the intervening years, the focus Independence Day has been more on backyard barbecues and fireworks and yet it is also a day for all Americans to reflect upon the freedoms and individual liberties that they enjoy as citizens of our nation. It is also an opportunity to reflect upon those who sacrfice so that we might be able to enjoy a day of festivities and celebration.
From all of us here at JoeBattlelines, have a safe and happy July 4th – our Independence Day!
Yes, I realize that there are plenty of high-quality toy lines vying for the attention of collectors these days. From the Marauder Task Force to the amazing Vitruvian HACKS to the forthcoming Legends of the West, collectors are finding themselves faced with a veritable cornucopia of high quality products to choose from. From modern military to Greek mythology to the Old West, there seems to be something for everyone. So what makes the Animal Warriors of the Kingdom unique? What reason could I possibly give to persuade action figure collectors to support this project in its final two weeks?
I won’t give you one. I’ll give you:
Five Reasons to Support Animal Warriors of the Kingdom.
The Micronauts set will be available at the Hasbro booth at SDCC 2016 from July 21 – 24 and with limited stock available after the show at HasbroToyShop.com. They’ll also be making an appearance at Fan Expo Canada from Sept. 1-4 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.
The SDCC 2016 Micronauts set includes modern reissues of three original line characters including:
While I would never considered myself a life-long Micronauts fan I’m just old enough to have had a few figures from the line as a kid– including Pharoid. Granted, I was probably too young to truly appreciate him (which explains why he’s missing ALL of his accessories now) but seeing him included in the set tugs on the nostaligic heartstrings in such a way that I’m going to do my darndest to try and acquire one of these SDCC 2016 Micronauts sets when they drop on HTS post-show. I still have enough vague memories of the old Micronauts commercials from TV to get excited about their inclusion in the Hasbro Cinematic Universe!
Joe Con 2016 concludes today but we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about Legends of the West.
Earlier in the Armchair Coverage of Joe Con 2016, there was mention of the Broken Arrow Toys booth and how there were several lines being displayed there. JBL’s already highlighted Spero Studios Animal Warriors of the Kingdom but now it’s time to acknowledge another more classic-themed line: Chicken Fried Toys’ Legends of the West!
Imagine if you will a brand-new 1:18 scale series of Western-themed figures. Now, take those figures and add in incredible sculpting detail. Sound pretty good? Let’s take it a step further and give them modern-level articulation! Now, if that doesn’t make you want to saddle up and support the line I don’t know what will!
According to the images shown at the Broken Arrow Toys booth, the line will consist of the following figures:
The Head Honcho
The Trail Boss
The Ranch Hand
There’s also the possibility of two others who, according to the initial artwork, seem to be a combination of parts from the other figures. Each figure also appears to include at least two accessories (firearms) as well as a unique Chicked Fried Toys display base.
So what is “Animal Warriors of the Kingdom?” It’s the debut action line from Spero Studios, based on the graphic novel “The Kingdom – Rise of the Ape King” from author Jason Bienvenu. Spero Studios was founded by Bienvenu and Brandon Gary who were inspired by the action figures we’ve known from the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s. Spero is dedicated to bring back the fun of those classic lines with modern articulation and accessories!
The first series is epic in its simplicity; it features the main primate character Pale, the heroic albino ape warrior, as well as four unique army builders. That’s right– in the first series supporters can obtain the core character of the graphic novel as well as variety of troops in which to stage their epic battles. Continue reading →
Transformers: The Movie debuted on August 8, 1986 and changed the franchise forever. In addition to thrusting the timeline forward from the 1980’s to 2005, it was the film that (spoiler alert) killed off the franchise’s core heroic character Optimus Prime!
Featuring a star-studded cast that included Judd Nelson, Eric Idle, Leonard Nimoy, and Orson Welles in his final role as the planet-eating titan Unicron, Transformers: The Movie was to be the first of a series of Hasbro/Sunbow films to hit theatres around the world. However, poor box office receipts of this and the My Little Pony film, caused Hasbro to shift the release of G.I. Joe: The Movie to home video instead.
In the intervening years, the film has garnered true cult status and has become a favorite of Hasbro, Transformers, and Sunbow fans around the globe! Plus, who can forget the soundtrack which featured song’s like Stan Bush’s “You’ve Got the Touch” and Weird Al Yankovic’s “Dare to be Stupid”?
This marks the first new region 1 release of the film since 2006’s 20th Anniversary edition and the first time the film has ever been offered on Blu-Ray. This also marks the first time that the film will be available in digital format. No word on what additional special features will be included at this time.
The new 30th Anniversary editions are currently up for pre-order at Amazon.com:
A long time ago in a childhood now far far away… this particular admin discovered Star Wars. It happened well a full 6 years before G.I. Joe was ever part of my life when a good friend of mine showed up at pre-school with two brand-new Kenner action figures. As we clustered around him on the playground, my friends and I were treated to our first look at tiny plastic representations of a towering brown ape-like creature and a chrome-domed trash can with legs. It was love at first sight!
Growing up in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Star Wars was everywhere. I was fortunate enough to be part of the generation of fans who experienced everything Star Wars for the first time– from the films to the merchandising! I can still remember standing at a local Kmart store looking at the new figures from Empire Strikes Back and wondering who all of these new characters were.
For some people, the big question of the entertainment world was “Who shot J.R. Ewing?” For me and my friends it was “Is Darth Vader Luke’s father?” Growing up I slept on Star Wars bed sheets and was woken each and every day by my Star Wars talking alarm clock. (The sounds of R2 and 3PO can still immediately rouse me from a deep sleep due to years of “conditioning”…)
My folks weren’t necessarily Star Wars fans growing up and yet somehow I managed to see all three of the original trilogy in the theaters. (Just in an altered order due to re-releases.) In fact, Return of the Jedi was our “Sunday after church family outing” for that week. Even my Mom, who never understood my fascination with science fiction, warmed to the Ewoks by the time the film was over.
Star Wars is a cultural phenomenon that has transcended genre status and has become a part of our cultural zeitgeist. It’s stories and themes have shaped the attitudes of generations. So find a friend or coworker today and tell them: “May the fourth be with you!”
The Batman ’66 TV series premiered 50 years ago today!
BAM! POW! ZAP!!!
These words first appeared on television screens across the United States on January 12, 1966 as renowned comedian Frank Gorshin menaced Gotham City as “The Riddler“. Advertised as “in color”, this campy take on the superhero genre was chock-full of pop culture references, celebrity cameos, and social commentary. The result was a series that became an overnight pop culture sensation leading to the phrase that the top pop culture influences of the 1960’s were “the Beatles, Bond, and Batman.”
The series even spawned a 1966 feature film that pitted the Caped Crusaders against FOUR of their greatest foes! (Sadly, Julie Newmar was unavailable due to filming commitments and so Lee Meriwether took over the role of Catwoman.)
The series also put forth some of the most memorable super villain performances in genre history. From the aforementioned Frank Gorshin as the Riddler to Burgess Meredith as the DEFINITIVE Penguin to Caesar Romero’s laughing “Crown Prince of Crime” version of the Joker the series had no shortage of “criminal charisma.”
While many fans today might decry the show as “goofy” or “cheesy” there is an artistic brilliance to the series that cannot be denied. From its vibrant use of color (in 1968 only 25% of US households owned a color TV), it’s pop culture sensibilities, and the calibre of the celebrity guest villains, Batman was unlike anything that had hit the screens before and it made overnight sensations out of its leading duo Adam West and Burt Ward. Airing two nights a week with each story divided by a cliffhanger, audiences were powerless to resist the power of the Dynamic Duo. Continue reading →
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from JoeBattlelines.com!
I’d like to thank everyone who still visits this site for stopping by throughout the year and hope that you all have a wonderful day with family and friends. May the Grinch be kept at bay, may Shipwreck not hit the egg nog too hard, and may you have a blessed holiday.
There’s only one small detail about this new shared universe— most of these properties have very little relation to each other. Even worse, aside from G.I. Joe, most of these have been absent from toy shelves and popular culture since at least 1990. Outside of some die-hard fan circles, the general public is generally now completely unfamiliar with most of these brands, as evidenced by this installment of Nerdist News hosted by Jessica Chobot: