Batman Honored by U.S. Postal Service with Limited Edition Forever Batman Stamps

Batman himself at New York Comic Con.

Last Thursday, the U.S. Postal Service, in collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Entertainment, kicked off New York Comic Con 2014 at the Javitz Center by dedicating the Limited Edition Forever Batman Stamps. Eight commemorative Batman designs were revealed, depicting Batman from the four distinct eras of comic book history, and including the various incarnations of the famed Bat emblem.

Four versions of Batman are depicted from the four eras of comic book history: the Modern Age, the Bronze Age, the Silver Age, and the Golden Age. In addition, there are four incarnations of the famed Bat-Signal, the spotlight that Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon sends into the night sky to summon Batman.

The Batman Limited Edition stamps are being issued as Forever stamps and will be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price. Customers may purchase them at usps.com/stamps, the Postal Store, at 1-(800)-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), and at post offices nationwide.

Mezco Toyz’ Dark Knight Figure Rises at New York Comic Con

Mezco Toyz Batman Action FigureMezco Toyz revealed more details about its One:12 Collective figure line at New York Comic Con last week. The line will include the popular comic book character Judge Dredd, as well as the version of Batman from the graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns.

The Dark Knight Returns Batman will feature more than 30 points of articulation to go with real fabric clothing. Other details include:

  • Four pairs of interchangeable hands
  • One interchangeable boot with pistol holster
  • One removable utility belt
  • One pistol
  • One grappling hook
  • One alternate head
  • One Bat-symbol display base
  • One articulated figure stand for multiple dynamic figure poses
  • One detachable cape-posing stand accessory

The figure, which ships on January 12, comes in a fifth panel window box with slip cover, and is available for pre-order at Mezco Toyz’ official site.

Spirit Halloween to Host Annual Spirit of Children Program

SpiritofChildrenSpirit Halloween will continue its annual Spirit of Children program, which brings Halloween cheer and festivities to hospitalized children by hosting more than 84 events in conjunction with Child Life departments throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Special guests at select Spirit of Children parties will include Warner Brothers’ Batman, Saban‘s Power Rangers Super Megaforce; Nickelodeon‘s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dora the Explorer, and Bubble Guppies; DreamWorks Animation‘s Puss in Boots, Skipper from Penguins of Madagascar, and more.

This year, Spirit of Children’s goal is to raise $5.2 million—bringing its total contribution to more than $21 million donated since the program’s inception in 2006.

Shoppers can donate to the Spirit of Children program online or in a Spirit Halloween location. The funds raised will go to the location’s closest hospital. Spirit Halloween shoppers who make at least a $2 donation will receive a Spirit of Children bracelet.

All funds raised are donated to participating Child Life departments across North America and focus on the emotional and psychological well being of hospitalized children while doctors and nurses focus on their medical needs.

NRF Says Record Number of Americans to Buy Halloween Costumes This Year

nrfAccording to data from the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Halloween Consumer Spending Survey, more than two-thirds—or 67.4 percent—of celebrants will buy Halloween costumes for the holiday, which is the most in the survey’s 11-year history.

An estimated 2.6 million children plan to dress up as one of Disney’s Frozen characters, while about 1.8 million children will dress as one of the re-imagined classic characters from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Princess (3.4 million), animal (3 million), and Spider-Man (2.6 million) will also be popular choices for children.

The NRF survey also found that 75 million adults will dress in costume, with most sticking to traditional options, including a witch (4.8 million), an animal (2.6 million), a Batman character (2 million), and a pirate (1.8 million).

A total of $2.8 billion will be spent on costumes overall, with celebrants shelling out $1.1 billion on children’s costumes, $1.4 billion on adult costumes, and $350 million on costumes for pets. Findings revealed that among the 14.3 percent of celebrants planning to outfit their pets, 10.8 percent will dress them as a pumpkin, the top costume choice again this year.

Slightly more than 34 percent of Americans will look for costume inspiration online, while 33 percent will seek it at a retail store or costume shop. The survey found 11.4 percent of Americans will turn to Pinterest for costume ideas, up from 9.3 percent last year, with young adults driving the most Pinterest traffic: 21.2 percent and 21 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds and 25-to-34-year-olds, respectively.

DC Heroes and Villains Get a Cuddly Side

BC-ManofSteelBleacher Creatures will launch a line of DC Comics-based plush figures on October 1 under license from Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) and DC Entertainment.

The roster of superheroes and villains includes Superman from Man of Steel and characters from the Batman Classic TV series: Batman, Robin, Batgirl, as well as his nemeses Catwoman and The Joker. The Teen Titans, Bat-villain Harley Quinn, and the Green Lantern Corps are also featured.

Other DC-inspired entities, such as Richard Donner’s Superman movies and theatrical releases Green Lantern and The Dark Knight Trilogy, will be given the plush treatment in the future.

On the Hunt with Jordan Hembrough

When you step inside Hollywood Heroes in Westwood, N.J., you can literally smell the nostalgia (for those of you who are unfamiliar, nostalgia smells similar to dust-covered cardboard and childhood memories—but like, in a good way). In the collectible toy shop, bright lights beam down on glass cases displaying superhero relics with more than 40 years under their utility belts, making these toys anything but child’s play.

Owner of Hollywood Heroes and star of the reality TV show Toy Hunter, Jordan Hembrough poses with a plush version of himself.

Owner of the shop and star of the Travel Channel series Toy Hunter, Jordan Hembrough is an expert in the art of toy collecting, with more than 25 years of professional experience dealing toys. However, toys were always an integral part of Hembrough’s life. From schoolyard selling, Hembrough entered the big-time after college, when he secured a job as a buyer for StarLog, a chain of science-fiction-focused retail stores. Despite a lack of business background, Hembrough eventually went on to launch his own company, Hollywood Heroes. “I had the passion, and I think sometimes passion will drive you more than a business plan,” he says. [Read more...]

Mattel and Warner Bros. Extend Strategic Relationship for DC Comics Universe

Batman EvergreenWarner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP), with DC Entertainment, has extended its alliance with Mattel Inc. with a new multi-year agreement granting Mattel rights to continue as master toy licensee for the DC Comics universe of characters. Under these terms, Mattel is granted unprecedented access to the DC Comics vault of characters, which includes more than a thousand DC Comics superheroes and super-villains, such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and The Joker. The deal continues Mattel’s support of DC Comics across its entire portfolio of core brands, including Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Barbie, Mattel Games, and Fisher-Price.

In addition to existing characters and content, the extension includes Mattel’s rights to produce toys based on future DC Comics films, animation, and TV projects that are developed and produced during the term of the agreement. Mattel is set to develop toy lines for two of Warner Bros.’ most highly anticipated theatrical releases: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is set for a summer 2016 release, and the recently announced Justice League film to follow. [Read more...]

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Blasts Off to Outer Space Adventure

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, the third installment of the Lego: Batman video game franchise, will be available this fall under multiple platforms. The game is being developed by TT Games and will be published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham will take Batman and Robin outside of the title city to join the superheroes of the DC Comics Universe in an effort to stop the evil Brainiac from destroying Earth. Players will be able to unlock over 150 characters from the DC Comics universe, including members of the Justice League, as well as villains such as Killer Croc and Soloman Grundy. Fans can play as heroes and villains alike with new gadgets and abilities. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: These New Japanese Toys and Games Aren’t Just for Kids, Part 2

So Japan has toys that are compelling enough for grown-ups to enjoy? Figures. No, I mean action figures. As I mentioned in part one of this commentary last week, Japan has some of the coolest action figures on the planet, and much of why has to do with that country’s toy-buying market, which skews older than, say, in the U.S.

However, a lot of that sophistication is now making its way over to this country, in the form of toys that are either imported from Japan, or have their roots there. Some are kids’ items that have double appeal among older audiences, while others are purposefully aimed at grown-ups. That’s a bit of a blanket statement, of course, as any toy can appeal to lots of different demographics for varying reasons. However, we have a feeling adults will want to get their hands on these particular figures once they’ve cleared customs–probably even more so than kids will.

Phil.April23.HikariTMNTThis spring, Funko will introduce its new line of Hikari Japanese Vinyl figures, which are inspired by the vinyl “kaiju” figures that have developed a considerable following among collectors in Japan. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: These New Japanese Toys and Games Aren’t Just for Kids, Part 1

Phil.April18.2014.1I may not be the biggest aficionado of Japanese pop culture, but I do consider myself a fan, having devoured lots of manga and anime over the years. What I also appreciate are the toys: Japan has some of the most exquisitely-made action figures and giant robots ever made, and in their native land, these items are generally aimed at adults.

Now when it comes to toys and games, Japan has long enjoyed a healthy foothold in North America—think of all the Pokémon, Hello Kitty, and Power Rangers products that have made their way over. So far in 2014, that trend has continued, with several new properties either just launching or expected to launch soon. But these are Japanese imports, meaning they’re sophisticated enough for grown-ups, even if they look like they’re for kids. [Read more...]