China Toy Fair


Lionel Opens New Brick-and-Mortar Store and Headquarters in North Carolina

Lionel.NewStoreThis past Monday, Lionel opened its first retail store in Concord, N.C. The new location will serve as a central station for popular train sets, replicas, and collectibles, as well as store-exclusive gifts and keepsakes.

To celebrate the new store, which will also serve as the company’s new headquarters, Lionel President Howard Hitchcock drove festivities with J. Scott Padgett, the mayor of Concord, and Donna Carpenter, the CEO of the Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Lionel.NewStore2The store will become a terminal for field trips, new product testing, and company announcements. The 1,100-square-foot space will house one of Lionel’s fully decorated layouts, which will feature different trains throughout the year. Kids can control the layout with handheld remotes and test the newest trains.

Lionel has made numerous expansion efforts of late, including partnering with the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago to debut its first life-sized trackless train ride, The Lionel Train Adventure, earlier this month. The company has also continued to add licenses for new train models through partnerships with DC Comics, Coca-Cola, Crayola, and other brands.

COMMENTARY: Comics’ Timeless Heroes (and Villains) Are Still Loved by Today’s Kids

Superman-First-Comic-Action-Comics-No-1-222x300Kids these days may not know that Superman, Spider-Man, and Batman (among many, many others) hailed from glorious comic books first published in the 1930s, costing someone 10 cents an issue on the stands. They also may not realize how well some have held their value, being that the very first Superman comic, Action Comics No. 1, supposedly goes for $3.2 million dollars—but let’s not get too sidetracked.

The real point here is that today, September 25, is National Comic Book Day, and it’s hard to imagine the toy aisles without the superheroes and villains who once upon a time, were neither action figures nor stars on the silver screen played by big-league actors and actresses; but instead, started out as hand-illustrated drawings on a comic strip. [Read more...]

WBCP Introduces Halloween Costumes Inspired by Godzilla, DC Comics, Dumb & Dumber, and More

RUBIEíS COSTUME CO.  ñ Godzillaô Inflatable CostumeThis Halloween, Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) will introduce adult, children, and pet costumes including a fully inflatable Godzilla costume, Dumb & Dumber-inspired dog costumes, and DC Comics superheroes and villain-inspired masks and costumes.

Adults will also be able to dress up as an infamous supervillain from Rubie’s Costume Co.’s Batman Classic TV Series Costume and Mask Collection, as well as characters from the Wizard of Oz and The Hobbit trilogy.

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.

Barnes & Noble Celebrates Pop Culture in Stores This Summer

Barnes & Noble will bring pop culture favorite books, comics, superheroes, and television shows to life in stores nationwide from July 18 through August 10. The Get Pop Cultured with Barnes & Noble series of themed events will feature panel discussions, contests, exclusive content, giveaways and prizes, sneak peeks, activities, and more featuring popular characters, DVDs, artists, illustrators, and pop culture icons.

The campaign will highlight the influence that books, graphic novels, movies, TV shows, music, toys, games, and collectibles have on culture. Get Pop Cultured with Barnes & Noble will kick off with a preview weekend and costume contest from July 18 to 20. All Barnes & Noble stores will have limited quantities of free, never-before-seen samplers of upcoming releases, posters, and digital downloads during Preview Weekend. Other events include Batman Day on July 23, where all Barnes & Noble stores nationwide will sell exclusive merchandise; the DC Comics Spectacular from July 23 to July 27, which will offer fans a chance to celebrate DC Comics with activities, special giveaways, and a limited time offer on graphic novels; a sing-along and story time event, Frozen Friday: Cool Off with Olaf! on August 1; Marvel Day on August 2, which will feature Marvel Comics-themed activities, giveaways, and product offerings; and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Jr. Ninja Training Academy Event, which will include activities, crafts, and a Ninja training event.

There will also be special guests such as Grumpy Cat, Christopher Paolini, and various authors.

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...]

Aquarius Entertainment Signs Agreement with Hasbro, Expands into Toys and Games

LLC2NMRDC_PLAY24Aquarius Entertainment Merchandise (aka NMR Distribution America) has transitioned from a poster, calendar, and gift vendor to a toy and games gift resource. Its top-performing products include playing cards and puzzles in the game category and desk top standees, lunch tins, and tin signs in the gift category. A DC Comics board game is currently in development.

My Little Pony poster displayer, exclusive to Hot Topic stores.

My Little Pony poster displayer, exclusive to Hot Topic stores.

Recently, Aquarius entered into a licensing agreement with Hasbro to create a range of collectible classic lunch box tins, playing cards, tin deck sets, funky chunky magnets, and posters and décor featuring Hasbro’s classic brands, such as My Little Pony, Transformers, Mr. Potato Head, G.I. Joe, Monopoly, and Candyland. Products are now available on specialty retail shelves.

Aquarius/NMR also holds licenses including Marvel, the Beatles, Coca-Cola, and more.

COMMENTARY: Teen Titans Go! Has Licensed Toys Ready to Go

Phil.TeenTitans1.RobinFunkoIt’s been a good year for superhero comics on TV, what with the success of DC Comics’ Arrow and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., not to mention the planned fall arrivals of The Flash and Gotham. But let’s not forget the animated side of small screen super-heroics, as the second season of Teen Titans Go! premieres next month. The series resurrects Teen Titans, which aired during the mid-to-late 2000s, as something wackier and anarchic. Both shows are based on the long-running comic book of the same name, which is centered on some of the best-known teenage characters in DC’s pantheon.

Along with everyone’s favorite young sidekick, Robin, the cast includes Starfire, Cyborg, Raven, and Beast Boy. While adept at defeating evil-doers, Teen Titans Go! more often depicts them hanging out unsupervised at their team headquarters, at which point trouble worse than any super-villain tends to break out. The series is a fun romp, not to mention a good antidote to the spate of more serious, live-action superhero adaptations of late. Teen Titans Go! is currently licensed by a number of toy companies, with items for collectors, young kids, and everyone in between. But in all cases, the property’s lighthearted attitude shines through. [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...]

Status Media Heroically Debuts Hero Holder

Status Media has unveiled the Hero Holder, a mobile device holder featuring popular superheroes. The first Hero Holder will be a limited edition Marvel Spider-Man, available now for pre-sale in advance of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which will be in theaters May 2. There will also be a super-limited, 1-in-100 variant of Spider-Man in his black costume, which can be found exclusively at ToyWiz.

The Hero Holder comes with two sets of bendable arms that can hold any size mobile device or tablet—vertically or horizontally—including iPhones, Android mobile phones, full sized or mini-iPads, Kindles, or any tablets made for kids or adults. Chargers can easily plug into devices when in the Hero Holder, which will be produced with Wicked Cool Toys. Current licensors offering creative support for the product include Marvel, DC, and WWE.