NO, don't get me started on "toys" versus "collectibles", okay? This is not the post for this :p
But you know what, I NEED TO LABEL this post, so I reckon I’ll go with “TOYSREVIL’s TOP TEN APPROPRIATED POP CULTURE ICON-INSPIRED TOYS of 2016”! ... no wait, that's too long ... aaahhh I'll call them "POP CULTURE ICON TOYS" for the time being, cool?
Looking back at an entire year of “collectible toys” - which includes “officially”-licensed products, to non-licensed goodness, with the only caveat being: ”They Needed To Be Produced and Made Available in Multiples”! - Which essentially rules out one-off customs, sorry to say.
Genres considered include MUSIC, ANIMATION, CARTOON, POP CULTURE, FOOD CULTURE, aaaand ONWARDS WE Scroll!
TOYSREVIL’s TOP TEN POP CULTURE ICON TOYS of 2016: #10 - DIE ANTWOORD x 3A Toys
While not exactly on the popular billboard charts (I may be wrong as I’ve no stats, but you know what I mean :p), there is no denying the sounds of South African rap-rave group "DIE ANTWOORD" on the cutting edge of bleeding music! And then ThreeA Toys does Ninja & Yolandi in 1/6th?
Ashley Wood’s take on Yolandi Visser’s toy-identity is haunting excellent, and felt “perfect” to her persona, since taken shape as a toy collectible, whereas it’s hard to envision it in any other context that does not quite parallel 3A Toys’ depiction.
And while I’ve only partaketh of Die Antwoord on youtube before (attention for them coming to the fore after my EVILBOY posts had been threatened to disrupt my blogging career), and subsequently thanks to the film Chappie and Threezero’s excellent adaptation unto 1/6th (which I don’t own nor have I touch nor smelt it’s plastic LOL) … seen above was 3A’s display at last year’s Toy Soul, while the orange-jumpsuit clad pair has only JUST been listed online for pre-order!
#playingwith BOBETT by @iamwetworks! Made it's debut at the recent #STGCC2016 and no doubt a highlight of the annual event, IMHO, this hand-painted resin figure will next be made available onlin via iamwetworks.bigcartel.com Comr Sept 19th 9AM PDT! (9am LA / 5pm UK). Only 10pcs are available, so don't dwaddle! Check in with @iamwetworks for pricing! #toylife
TOYSREVIL’s TOP TEN POP CULTURE ICON TOYS of 2016: #9 - BOBETT by WETWORKS
Amongst the most bootlegged of characters from the Star Wars lore - which includes Darth Vader and Storm Trooper - is the most feared intergalactic bounty hunter known as “BOBA FETT”, and popular toy culture sees his guises at every corner of the toy community - mass and indie, and with most featuring variations of color, and/or clever mash-ups with other pop-culture icons, the design that stands out the most, is Carlo Andrada Cacho AKA Wetworks’ “original” depiction - with “BOBETT” evoking a child’s “cosplaying” of the character, complete with a “Slave-1” toy of it’s own!
Released at STGCC2016, and subsequently Sold Out twice online, Wetworks’ Bobett was also recently upsized by FLABSLAB in two colorways (OG & Holiday Edition). Wetworks has been the mastermind behind tons of Star Wars-appropriated works and customs thru the years, and he is not stopping yet!
*Now, the “smart thing” was to have included his one-off “ELEVEN” from “Stranger Things”, but alas it was not a produced multiple figure, so… :p
TOYSREVIL’s TOP TEN POP CULTURE ICON TOYS of 2016: #8 - MAZINGER Z by ERIC SO x UUNBOX INDUSTRIES
Classic super robot meets classic urban vinyl designer, with Eric So depicting MAZINGER-Z, and produced by Unbox Industries!
And while previous year’s Rusted version (hand-painted by Eric So, no less), and subsequent Devilment Edition was as-awesome, the true exceptional edition, had to be the O.G. Superman Toys' Special Edition Mazinger Z!
And now that he has put his touch on the GETTER ROBO for 2017 too? #EPIC
TOYSREVIL’s TOP TEN POP CULTURE ICON TOYS of 2016: #7 - HE-FINN by ROBOTIC INDUSTRIES
Our scene is rife with appropriation concepts and attempts - which to me is part-n-parcel of the indie toy scene, and totally all-good in da-toyhood (for me personally) - but nothing could beat the sheer pizzazz and professional-looking packaging put into this release!
He-Man x Adventure Time’s "Finn" became the clean with simple lines and no fuss “HE-FINN” - being such a mash-up of cartoon-epicness, nobody else has put their stamp on the genre as James Freckingham / Robotic Industries had, IMHO!
TOYSREVIL’s TOP TEN POP ICON TOYS of 2016: #6 - ANDY WARHOL x KIDROBOT
“Mass licensing” seems a bane for loads of “designer toy”-collectors, especially critical of Kidrobot’s licensing route, which includes brands like “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turle”, “Soic The Hedgehog” etc
But nothing could ever trump the collaboration of pop culture ARTist “Andy Warhol”, and the art toy Dunny form - the result is - to me - a paradox of wonders, based on a true recognised ART-artist, utilising his imagery on vinyl platform toys, and plush!
A brilliant collaboration. A highly effective visual representation. And in the “business” of “buying ART”, or “buying TOYS”, well, Kidrobot is ramping up a release of a second series from the deceased artist, so yeah, I reckon it might be doing decent well, innit? :)
If I could afford it, I’d be trucking’ these home by the boxes, yeh?!
TOYSREVIL’s TOP TEN POP CULTURE ICON TOYS of 2016: #5 GENERAL TSO’S NIGHTMARE by FRANK KOZIK X KIDROBOT
F88king-Finger-Licking-Good be Frank Kozik’s GENERAL TSO’S NIGHTMARE (Tagged / formerly known as “Colonel Cock”)! As fun as it always is to see the Ronald of the Golden Arches being subverted in pop culture, we seldom get to see the Colonel manifest unto a collectible, besides graphic representation, methinks.
Design-wise, it is not that easy to match the Ronald’s red and yellow stripes and lip-sticked smile, but Kozik gives his a skull-with-a-fine head of hair, and an interchangeable rooster head (which would be PERFECT for this coming Lunar New Year, since 2017 is the Zodiac Year of the Rooster).
Ever since seeing the unpainted prototype in STGCC circa 2014, it was as exciting to see the figure take form online from Kidrobot, in TWO colorways, and THAT excellent chicken bucket packaging!
TOYSREVIL’s TOP TEN POP CULTURE ICON TOYS of 2016: #4 - KEIKO JOKER from FOOLS PARADISE
And while Hong Kong-based FOOLS PARADISE has been doing wonderfully fine with their Lowfool in "homage" to Superman and Batman (Tattooed by Tim or otherwise), the ultimate “fun” came in the form of KEIKO JOKER - because it married the notion of appropriated pop-culture, with a self-created character “Keiko”, who has “cosplayed” her way thru the years - being a constant toy-conduit for popular culture icons - this time deliberately in a Joker-isque helmet/headwear, while riding a Batmobile coin-op ride = GENIUS!
To me this is sort of an adult-lover of the genre’s secret wish to ride a Batmobile without the need to keep an actual Batmobile in the garage.
I’ve had the privilege to own two Keikos x Star Wars (Sand K.troop + BOBA K. SLAVE), but if I had a choice (and ability), I would def add THIS to my humble collection!
TOYSREVIL’s TOP TEN POP CULTURE ICON TOYS of 2016: #3 - XXRAY BATMAN by MIGHTY JAXX x 4D MASTER
It’s one thing about the XXRAY x DC Comics Line from Mighty Jaxx - which I adore (which could have easily been my “Bootlegs” and “Gachas” in 2016 as they had been previous years - will explain this in another post), but for the distinct opportunity to hold unto the figure, back in STGCC, major thanks to Bane from MJ!
I feel this was/is an important aspect of the spirit of art toy / low brow / art sculpture mashed-in with the mass pop culture of an iconic character, that while well loved, would’ve been easily counted as a prominent character in print, decades back as a costumed hero, re-enacted unto the television screens as a campy kitsch tv show, before Tim Burton’s “darkness” showed everyone else how it could adapt characters from the 4-color printed page to celluloid, IMHO. (Christopher Reeves’ “Superman” being the sole exception).
Jason Freeny’s dissected anatomical style has since seen toy-action in a sweet selection of licensed figures - which in and of itself is pretty darn awesome cool - and looks like it;s not going to stop!
The weight of the prototype, the feel of the enlarged form, and the visual qualities even from an unpainted prototype, was a “dream” made real of Jason Freeny’s dissected anatomical aesthetics, over the clear form familiar to 4D Master’s products, as seen in their Funny Balloon Dog and Rubber Ducky figures. #EXCITING
TOYSREVIL’s TOP TEN POP CULTURE ICON TOYS of 2016: #2 - GRIN SIMPSONS by RON ENGLISH x MADE BY MONSTERS
Ron English has put his GRIN-stamp unto multiple iconic pop culture characters in recent years (produced by Made by Monsters) - from “Charlie Brown” to “Teletubbies”, the recent “South Park” Cartman even “The Statue of Liberty” (produced by MINDstyle), but nothing is quite as fun as The Simpsons! BART SIMPSON /BARTMAN, and HOMER SIMPSON were a ton-o-chuckles, but what pushed this over the edge - for me - was KRUSTY GRIN, particularly the McDee’s colorway (seen above), which was a perfect two-barrelled shotgun blast to both the clown in the beloved animated series, and also the clown of the golden arches!
Before we feature the #1 “TOYSREVIL’s TOP TEN POP CULTURE ICON TOYS of 2016” (which I think needs a “shorter” title :p), here’s a peek at a few “HONORABLE MENTIONS” (I could not fit within the Top Ten :p);
Threezero produces tons of licensed characters, and out of them all, what impressed me were from the TMNT movies, in particular 1/6 Bebop & Rocksteady - because they provided a NEW body form! Another to note was “J DILLA” - while the vinyl figure was released in 2015, a second version was unleashed in 2016: The “Donuts” version - that really fit the visual style of the late-90s of “urban vinyl” ala Hong Kong toy-days. Last but not least, what had my firm attention was G-FORCE by Play Toy - which I had the opportunity to see and saw at STGCC, but alas could not afford the entire set… And my utter fav Spongebob-riff, has to be Eric So’s Scouring Pad Pad!
TOYSREVIL’s TOP TEN POP CULTURE ICON TOYS of 2016: #1 - 2000 A.D. x 3A Toys
Now, this is personal.
Having been a huge old time fan of the 2000AD comics, 3A Toys’ adaptation of it’s characters - in particular “ABC Warriors”- was a fist-pumping YES! Until the demise of the 1/6th-scaled series … then 2000AD returned in a new scale, and I’d not looked back much since! Having had the chance to shore up 3 of the Four Dark Judges, and a couple Judge Dredds, I’d mildly dropkick my bank-account for not being able to afford the 1/6th-scaled Judge Dredd when it was opened for pre-orders, but remain a toy-dream for owning it one day.
Not a whole lot of 2000AD releases consistently thru the years, with smatterings of celebratory-related roll-outs … but now? Johnny Alpha from “Strontium Dogs” too? Here’s hoping we’ll see more reveals for when ThreeA attends the FORTY YEARS OF THRILL-POWER FESTIVAL (Feb 11) in February! DROKKIN’ AWESOME!
Do YOU have any favs you'd like to ADD to this list? Drop a word in the comments section of this post, thanks!
And Have A Toy-Ful Year to come in 2017 :)