Saturday was day one at 2015’s New York Toy Fair. Toy Fair is a fun place yet different from what most expect. It’s a trade show through and through for all those that know what a trade show is. It is not a convention like Comic-Con. You may find it surprising that this show is not open to the general public meaning that you (yes, you!) are not invited to one of the coolest parties in town. Attendance eligibility for Toy Fair is described as “open to the trade only; Toy Fair is not open to the public.” Luckily for me being a writer for What’cha Reading and occasional worker at Royal Collectibles in Queens nearly guarantees admittance. As I am a member of the press and a trade show guest, it’s pretty safe to say that I’ll be there.
The bad of Toy Fair is, more or less, found exactly in my above words. For a show that celebrates the uniqueness and coolness of pop-culture, it’s not open to the people who rabidly wait online for hours to get their tickets for Comic-Con. It instead is a trade show that opens up networking, business growth and development, and makes various (and unnamed companies) a lot of money! It’s pretty safe to say Hasbro will do very well with their upcoming toy lines for “Star Wars” and “Jurassic World.” I know what you’re thinking, “I love those movies. Why can’t I see the merchandise in person? Why do I have to wait months before my store gets them in?” Well, while you may not be attending, most of the companies present will release news and images surrounding their products online. While you may not be able to see the toys in person and hold the products that you’ll most surely pick up during the coming year, rest assured, we have you covered on a few collectibles that are worth being highlighted.
Toy Fair is an enormous amount of fun (especially if you’re a collector at heart.) For someone like myself, it’s the perfect way to be introduced to over a year’s worth of merchandise that you’ll be spending your money on. What do you spend your money on? Are you looking forward to owning a George Clooney vinyl Pop figure by Funko? Maybe a MEGO-inspired figure of Matthew McConaughey from “Interstellar”? Well, Funko and NECA has you covered. Oh, let me clarify something… you get to look, maybe touch, but you can’t bring them home just yet. Yes, this is the ugly part. I have to wait just like you to own the toys.
My first stops at this year’s NY Toy Fair were Funko, Diamond Select Toys, NECA, Kotobukiya, and Vinyl Sugar. First off Funko! Funko has an excellent booth and one that is both aesthetically pleasing and inviting. Their brightly lit section reflects everything that you love about their Washington based company. Funko has quickly amassed a line of action figures, collectibles, and designer art toys that represent an enormous base of licenses from Disney, Marvel, DC, and all the movies/tv shows/video games that you love. The real highlight for me was seeing the debut of Funko’s “Disney’s Tomorrowland” merchandise. Not only are they releasing a series of POP! figures, but they will also be offering their old-school, Kenner Star Wars action figure throwback line of ReAction figures. On top of that, we’ll also be getting a line of “JAWS” ReAction figures and a Travis Bickle “Taxi Driver” along with their previously announced lines including “Firefly”, “Star Trek”, and “Big Trouble in Little China.” I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. The ReAction figure of Travis Bickle from “Taxi Driver” is particularly interesting in that it shows the market that Funko has an amazing line of collectibles based off of a mind-boggling amount of licenses. The thought of who will they make next truly buzzes around their magnificent booth. Especially finding a line up of collectibles for “The Fifth Element” is rewarding for fans of that movie as a toy line was originally planned several years ago by the now defunct company N2 Toys.
“Disney’s Tomorrowland” action figures are very exciting as the film directed by Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) looks extraordinarily entertaining. Funko’s line of Pop! Vinyls and ReAction figures were the first collectibles I took notice of and was pleased to see. The blister cards are certainly very attractive and feature an image of the actor on whom the figure is based. (I.E. George Clooney is featured on the Frank Walker blister card. Hugh Laurie for David Nix.) Along with the 3 3/4 inch action figures, Funko will also be releasing POP! Vinyl figures and a Tomorrowland pin (an item integral to the plot of the movie.)
Vinyl Sugar, described as “the illegitimate love child between Funko and some of the best free-wheeling designers by way of the back streets of London, through the boutiques of Harajuku, and the galleries in NYC” also had an impressive area to debut their products. Sharing the same block as Funko, their products share a similar looking quality with more of a sense that if blank was animated, this is what it would look like. Vinyl Sugar’s lineup included “Seinfeld”, “Young Frankenstein”, “Dazed and Confused”, “Say Anything”, “Ghostbusters”, “Shaun of the Dead”, “Hot Fuzz”, “Back to the Future”, along with some pretty cool DC and Marvel Comics collectibles. From a collector and fan standpoint, I’d say they are highly reminiscent of Funko’s Hikari vinyls with more detail, color, and appeal. There’s already a few that I can’t wait to own. Vinyl Sugar is easily one of the most exciting companies to keep an eye on as this year progresses.
Between Funko and Vinyl Sugar, I almost felt as if there was no other need to further explore the floors of NY Toy Fair, but I did. My next stops were NECA and Kotobukiya and they did not disappoint. Please stay tuned for my write up on their offerings. In the meantime, if you see something you like and have not seen it reported, please feel free to share and give What’cha Reading a shout out. NY Toy Fair is a big place and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of… the good, the bad, and the toys!