SDCC 2016 [Exclusive Toy Reviews]: Hasbro / Mattel / Funko.
HASBRO (Marvel, Transformers, Star Wars, etc.) – Much like prior years, Hasbro owns the market on exclusive Comic-Con toys. If you were to judge by the lines, this year was no different; unfortunately, the exclusive options haven’t improved from last year as one would like. It’s apparent that Hasbro has hit their creative peak over the past 2 years, from 2015’s Thanos Infinity Gauntlet mixed with questionable figure choices, to this year’s The Collector’s Vault that included one new figure and a bunch of leftover stock from past releases (and unreleased molds). Hasbro just isn’t making a statement with Marvel at the Con. Although moving up to 6″ figures has improved little since collectors were given a reboxed set — The Raft — that included some repainted figures and only three unreleased figs: Enchantress, Dreadknight and the now Netflix-famed Purple Man.
But Hasbro did excel at #SDCC2016 with their Transformers line. Last year, Hasbro didn’t score as high since they went away from their tried-and-true method of mixing popular G.I. Joe figs with Transforming vehicles; but, thankfully, that returned this yeat with the re-enactment of the popular episode “The Girl Who Loved Powerglide.” Also Hasbro dipped into their Transformers Generations with Titans Return: Fortress Maximum and Titan Force sets. Both good purchases for the price.
Finally, ‘Bro lit up nerd-campers’ plastic lightsabers with their Star Wars property with not one.. or two.. but three–THREE!–exclusives. The exclusive Black Series line this year (that quickly went on a slight overstock just yesterday on HasbroToyShop): The ultra glorious Obi-Wan Kenobi pack; an unmasked Kylo Ren (complete with destroyed Grandpa Vader mask); and the new to the line Rogue One star Jyn Erso. All pretty costly but profoundly made. Also on display, was Hasbro’s exclusive Magic the Gathering set (“geeeeeeeekks!!”) which was a bit scaled down from prior years with only a set of cards. 4/5.
MATTEL (Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad, Hot Wheels, Barbie, etc.) – One company to drastically improve over last year was Mattel with their exclusive options for fans. Prior years had seen a mix of properties getting one exclusive or another, but never something to cry home about. Maybe due to their ever expanding DC properties or just more emphasis being placed on the con, 2016 was the year of Mattel. Making a big splash with exclusives this year was the 2017 film Wonder Woman (the Barbie exclusive was on full display with a pretty cool invisible jet I can hide my creeping Ken/Lance doll with). Also selling out within the first couple days were the Suicide Squad exclusives Jared Leto Joker and Panda Bear– that came in their own box of cereal, Joker O’s. Very creative.
Mattel’s other biggest property Hot Wheels touched on every property the company has their hands on. With noteworthy items being a Marvel’s Daredevil vs. Punisher themed set and Harley Quinn’s suspended themed car housed in her very own jail. Other honorable mentions at Mattel this year were: the He-Man themed Minecraft set, a Thunder Cat set of Wily Kit and Kat–which were sold out before day one–and the Barbie Star Trek 50th anniversary doll of Captain Kirk’s green sexual escapade. 4/5. – Lance Paul
FUNKO (Pop! Vinyl) – Unfortunately, one of the top exclusive toy companies from last year had its worst showing. Maybe Funko just got too big to hang with the big dogs, but the stress was showing — fom their poor customer service and press handling, to their exclusive options. No longer did they have prized exclusives open for the line weary like previous years. This year, Funko chose to hand them out at an exclusive event with little people and all, which seems a bit untasteful on so many levels. The most noticeable exclusives — if you could find them — were the Game of Thrones 6″, Mag the Mighty, and Under Water Batman. Sounds appropriate. 2.5/5. – Lance Paul