SDCC is not on everyone's mind anymore and the funk that emits from Con-goers is finally lifting. The big presentations have been made by the major movie studios because let's face it, Comic-Con has become less and less about Comic Books than the medium itself as a property be that TV or movie. But the base of it all is still grounded in those pulpy pages of wonder that we grew up with. The magical wonders that we picked up every Wednesday until for some who collect toys as well, the price became just too high to engorge on both hobbies. I miss it so much that I ache sometimes but I had to pick one so I picked AFJ, not CBJ. Obviously, when you run a site like AFJ, I had to go with toys but I have found that now more than ever, the toy industry is keeping very on track with the current comic book storyline and up to date costumes of both heroes and villains. So I can still flirt with a weekly pull list but not blow a lot of cash like I used to and still be in the know.
On the comic book front, there are actually some very cool projects on the horizon that piqued my interest. Since everything in the MARVEL U seems to revolve around the Merc with a Mouth, it's no surprise that a SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL comic is in the works by Joe Kelly and artist Ed McGuinness. Sales are sure to be a no-brainer on a title like this. Next up is Frank Miller's third part to his magnum opus returning with THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN with some assistance from Bryan Azzarello and Adam Kubert. There will also be some new YEAR ONE action for both Aquaman and The Flash which is pretty cool because I really dig those retellings of origins from different creator perspectives. It looks like BLADE will be returning but with his teenage daughter in tow so I am looking forward to seeing what that character looks like and if there is a MARVEL LEGENDS figure of her in the near future. Joss Whedon takes his directors cap off and will tackle a "female Victorian-era Batman" which we all know has been lacking in the pop zeitgeist. Then again, anything that guy does sells so "In Joss We Trust." I saved the best for last because IDW has retained the comic book rights to my favorite trilogy, BACK TO THE FUTURE, and will start churning out new adventures of Marty & Doc. Yay! Finally!
So hopefully you Junkies walked away from the show with the Exclusive toys you hoped to get from that friend of a friend that agreed to pick you up some exclusives for a small percentage of your yearly salary. It was actual slim pickings this year in the Exclusive SDCC stickers department and besides the STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS STORMTROOPER from Hasbro that was sold out for the Con by Saturday and FUNKO's BATMAN Vs SUPERMAN 2-pack POP! Vinyl which was limited to only 500 pieces for the show, there was not much to go crazy for in SDCC '15. The HASBRO ANT-MAN exclusive was fairly easy to get a hold of and Mattel really did not have much to offer this year. Although I will say that I did get my hands on the first BATMAN VS SUPERMAN MOVIE MASTERS 2-Pack and it packs a wallop. So much so that a review will be up here on the site later this week. I would say that overall, FUNKO was the big winner with all of their unmasked Con POP Vinyl variants that are already increasing in price. Plus with the debut of their new VINYL IDOLZ, FUNKO is really showing the toy and collector world how it's done realizing that there is still a hearty audience outside of Mattel and Hasbro. I was hoping to see some bigger reveals from MEZCO & NECA but the former already released their amazing Batman that topped our hot list last month and the NJ based NECA is releasing a figure of Ah-Nuld from 1985's COMMANDO so all is forgiven!
Typically it is TOY FAIR and not SDCC that is the venue to debut the year's offerings for all of the new toys and this year was no different. Sure we got a couple of peeks at two WALGREENS MARVEL LEGENDS EXCLUSIVES (ANT-MAN & YELLOW DAREDEVIL) and the new wave of 3.75" MARVEL INFINITE wave that no one really cares a heck of a lot about since the loss of articulation. However, we finally got some peeks at the BATMAN Vs SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE figures which surprisingly generated a lot of positive good buzz amongst fan and industry folks. One very cool thing is that with the very popular STAR WARS BLACK SERIES 6-inch figure line, fans were allowed to vote in person and online and the winner was...DARTH REVAN! However, on the rest of the toy front, that was pretty much it Junkies. In 2015, our eyes were turned to the big screen of 2016 and in grand fashion, I might add.
The studios rolled out the big guns with the A-List stars and filmmakers ready to promote the hell out of the new blockbusters of 2016. Surprisingly, for the most part, MARVEL was relatively absent playing their cards close to the vest except for DEADPOOL which actually turned out to be a prudent move. It gives Kevin Feige and his MARVEL cinematic universe the air of saying, "that's ok, we're fine! We'll do our talking at the box office." A bold move for sure but with over a billion in the bank in 2015 before ANT-MAN was even released, it's safe to say that DISNEY-MARVEL is keeping the war chest well stocked. Now let's get to the breakout winners of San Diego's great Hall's.
When you think about it, the last Batman and Superman films were really not long ago at all. MAN OF STEEL was just two years ago and Christian Bale triumphantly hung up the cowl barely three years ago. But WARNER BROS., DC & director Zack Snyder are determined to reshape the DCU culminating in a JUSTICE LEAGUE PART ONE tentpole movie slated for 2017. But first, to begin to shape that world we will experience BATMAN VS SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE. We already know Henry Cavill as Big Blue but prepare yourself for Oscar winner Ben Affleck as Batman in Snyder's massive film. The 3: 30-minute trailer debuted at SDCC is really the first "more than a peek" that fans have seen of the film. And the reaction? In this Junkies book, it was off the charts positive with pundits literally breaking down every last frame of the trailer. This is really the first time that I have seen such an epic trailer that included Easter Eggs for fans. What was Robin's suit doing in the Batcave? Why was the Joker's writing scrawled on it? Was that Aquaman in the water? I must have watched the trailer a dozen times and even hooked up my laptop to my flat screen to get more of the cinematic feel. In a word: epic. And my doubts about the film have in one fell swoop been washed away. I honestly thought that it was impossible to do for me after MAN OF STEEL that I only marginally liked. Ironically I liked the leaked CBS SUPERGIRL pilot episode much more! Oh, and did I mention that we finally get a good look at the stunning Israeli actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and she looks not only beautiful but totally badass in her Amazonian armor? Here is the must-see trailer everyone is still talking about.
As if that were not enough, we went and got two very non-JUSTICE LEAGUE trailers that we have been anxiously waiting for in DC's SUICIDE SQUAD and MARVEL's DEADPOOL. The latter is looking to be actor Ryan Reynolds' pies de resistance as the role that he was born to play. It is nice that the acknowledgment that they didn't do it right in ORIGINS: WOLVERINE and are doing a hardcore comic book version that is absolutely looking to be one of the most fan-friendly adaptations I have ever seen. The leaked trailer (there was no official one so prepare for some dizziness) is wall to wall violence, sex, bad language and is just downright offensive. Basically, I loved every second of it. Take a peek.
The big talk about SUICIDE SQUAD has been Oscar winner Jared Leto's portrayal of the Joker. It is a hard act to follow Heath Ledger who posthumously won the Oscar for playing the Clown Prince of Crime in 2008's THE DARK KNIGHT. The trailer itself is a nice malaise of the characters that we will see including Killer Croc, Deadshot, Katana and the one everyone has been waiting for, Harley Quinn as portrayed by WOLF OF WALL STREET temptress Margot Robbie. We even get a peek of the Dark Knight himself in a car chase scene. For an ensemble of big stars, this film really looks like it has the balance that a big summer movie needs to make beaucoups bucks at the box office. As far as Leto's Joker is concerned, I am still not a fan of those silver teeth but he's got the acting chops and I want to give his performance a shot.
Finally, although not a trailer, but there was an amazing almost four-minute look behind the scenes at STAR WARS EPISODE VII. I'd be lying if I said I did not get a little weepy in a guy cry sort of way but it is just fiercely moving to watch this footage. It is almost ethereal like it is not really happening. Like it's all a joke and the world is actually scheduled to end on December 17th, the day before the movies premiere date. All and all, for not being in attendance this year, which some years I regret and some years I don't, I was satisfied in the air conditioning of my home. I was able to score the toy exclusives I wanted without braving the lines and was able to take things in in real time from r. As for next year, it is definitely on my to-do list because it will have been four years which is my longest drought in a long time. But I am happy to report that AFJ will be at NYCC this Fall should all things work out as we plan, and as we know, it always does. Like my people say, next year in San Diego!