COMMENTARY: The Toy Industry Stands Up for National Bullying Prevention Month

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and whether or not you believe bullying is a natural rite of passage among children, versus a series of preventable behaviors that can leave lasting emotional damage on the young, one thing is clear: It has become a part of the national conversation. Joining the voices chiming in on the subject is the toy industry, which in the months leading up to October, has seen a number of actions among various players to address the problem of bullying. Some take the form of products that try to make kids understand the bad feelings that come with being picked on; others seek galvanize youth into taking a stand against bullying together. [Read more...]

Marvel Comics Touring Attraction Teams Up with Hollywood Veteran Jerry Rees

MarvelExperienceAs reported by Los Angeles-based entertainment company Hero Ventures, Jerry Rees will lead the creative team responsible for producing The Marvel Experience, an innovative, traveling attraction that affords guests the opportunity to actively participate with dozens of Marvel super heroes.

Rees is a director, producer, and writer of live-action, animation, and theme park attractions. He has directed 16 Disney Theme Park attractions around the world in California, Hong Kong, Florida, and Paris. [Read more...]

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.

More Details on Marvel’s The Avengers Play Set for Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes

MarvelInfinity.IronMan copyDisney Interactive has released updated details for Marvel’s The Avengers Play Set, which will be available for Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (2.0 Edition) this fall. Based on a brand new, true-to-property storyline composed with the help of veteran Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis, the play set will feature Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, and Hawkeye.

In The Avengers Play Set, players take the role of earth’s mightiest heroes as they try to put an end to Loki’s plans to invade New York City. Along the way, they will learn that Loki isn’t working alone, but is merely the first obstacle in a larger, equally villainous plotline. [Read more...]

DST’s Retro Spider-Man Web-Swings Out of the Past

Retro-Spider-Man1Diamond Select Toys (DST) will release a line of gift sets inspired by Marvel Comics‘ The Amazing Spider-Man’s earliest appearances, including his original “circle suit” costume that dates back to 1973. Crafted by EMCE Toys, this retro Spider-Man will have removable head and costume, allowing additional heads, hands, outfits, and accessories in the set to turn him into Daily Bugle photographer Peter Parker, or a more comical version of the super-hero.

The 1970s-style Spider-Man figure will come packaged in a reproduction window box inside a larger collector case. Additional outfits and parts will come packaged on an adjacent display tray. The case will also contain a miniature booklet outlining the history of the character.

Future DST figures will include Captain America, Iron Man, and Wolverine, each with alternate outfits and parts. Aimed at the collector’s market, each set is limited to 3,000 pieces. Spider-Man will be on store shelves during the latter part of the year, although pre-orders are currently being taken.

Marvel, Feld Entertainment Release Exclusive Marvel Comic Book for Marvel Universe Live!

MarvelLiveThis summer, Marvel Universe Live! will bring more than 25 Marvel characters together for a live arena show that will tour 85 cities, and debuts this July in Tampa, Fla.

Feld Entertainment, the producer of Marvel Universe Live!, will release an exclusive prequel comic book created by Marvel. It will give audiences insight into the story behind the show, as well as introduce a new item in the Marvel Universe that plays a key role in the live show: the Lectro Link.

Written by Frank Tieri and illustrated by Miguel Sepulveda, with color art by Jay David Ramos, the comic is available for a limited time to those who pre-order tickets. The Lectro Link, meanwhile, is being made available as a unique collectible item, which customers can either pre-order online when purchasing tickets or buy at the show.

(4/23: The headline has been changed from “Pre-Order Marvel Universe Live! Tickets, Get Exclusive Comic Book.”)

April Is a Marvel-Filled Month for Diamond Select Toys

SpiderManStatueThis month’s offerings from Diamond Select Toys include figures and statues that tie into Marvel’s upcoming movies, as well as one zombified version of a classic Marvel super-villain.

The Marvel Minimates Series 57 Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Assortment captures the film’s characters as 2-inch mini-figures. Featuring nine different characters, the assortment includes four different two-packs: Star-Lord with Ronan, Drax with Groot—and a Rocket Raccoon micro-figure—Gamora with Nova Corps Centurion, and Nebula with Sakaar Soldier. The Gamora and Nebula sets will only be available in comic shops and specialty stores.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Movie Resin Statue depicts Marvel’s wall-crawler in a dynamic battle pose atop a New York City rooftop. It measures approximately seven inches tall with its base. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: New Warner Bros. Licensed Games Look at Superheroes in a Different Light

I couldn’t be happier that 99 percent of all current movies—including Thor: The Dark World, due in theaters this week—seem to feature somebody in a cape or a miraculous suit of armor battling evil. Full disclosure: I was way into superhero comics when I was a kid. I managed to amass hundreds, which I kept in cardboard long boxes, re-reading them over and over throughout my tortured adolescence. I didn’t buy them for collecting purposes, thank goodness; years later, I traded in the entire lot for $10 and a key lime pie, and considered myself lucky to have gotten that much.

(Seriously, folks, if you started collecting comics during the 1990s or later, they’re not going to put your kid through college. It just won’t happen.)

My point is, I’m a huge superhero fan. However, I’ve started to feel super-saturated by all the licensed comic book-based movies and TV shows popping up of late. They always seem so serious, with all the world-saving and high drama, the death and epic romance and heroic posturing. It’s great the first time, pretty good the second, but around the umpteenth, I have to fight the urge to stand up and yell, “Hey, grown person in hockey pants! Aren’t we supposed to be having fun here?”

For that reason, I am grateful for the recent trend in video games based on licensed superhero properties, specifically those from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. While its offerings of late include the very seriously toned Batman: Arkham Origins, the company is also responsible for two titles that manage to be respectful of the superhero genre, while simultaneously turning it on its head in ways that are funny and downright fun. Both games are available now and suitable for kids ages 10 and up. [Read more...]

Todd McFarlane Productions and Image Comics To Release Visual Biography

The Art of Todd McFarlane: The Devil’s in the Details, Todd McFarlane’s first and only art book, is scheduled to hit shelves nationwide Wednesday, November 21.

A visual biography celebrating almost 30 years of artwork from one of the comic industry’s most popular and iconic artist personalities, The Art of Todd McFarlane: The Devil’s in the Details, is not just another art book. It follows McFarlane’s journey from a young comic book fan mimicking his favorite artists to his subsequent rise to comic book stardom. McFarlane, himself, provides hundreds of anecdotes throughout the 400-page book, walking the fans through his career.

Fans will receive a look at McFarlane’s creative take on characters from both DC and Marvel Comics and learn more about his move in helping to form Image Comics, where he published his brainchild, Spawn. In addition, fans get an exclusive peek at McFarlane’s first forays into various media, including toys, film, animation, music videos, and video games.

New Licensed Marvel Costume Set to Launch This Summer

Round 2 and Captain Action Enterprises announce the launch of a licensed Marvel costume set for Dr. Evil, marking the first time this 1960s character will be able to transform into a Marvel villain. The first look, a 1:6 scale Loki costume set, will launch in August.

The costume sets come in two versions. The Toys “R” Us-exclusive Loki costume set includes the Loki costume, complete with a mask, boots, a staff, a helmet, a belt, newspaper, and gloves. The deluxe set adds bonus accessories, including gloved hands, Uru Chains, a goblet, and a Hawkeye tunic and harness.

In addition to the Loki attire, Round 2 and Captain Action Enterprises will release a Thor uniform and accessory set to pair with the Captain Action figures that launched earlier this year. Thor and Loki, Thor’s adoptive brother and the God of Mischief, battled multiple times throughout Marvel’s Journey into Mystery series. They will battle on-screen this summer in Marvel’s The Avengers.

The Dr. Evil figure and both costume sets will be available at Toys “R” Us, hobby stores, and at www.autoworldstore.com.

This post was originally written by Leah Rocketto and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and “like” The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.