When I would still get a weekly pull list at my local comic shop, my favorite week by far was when it was the Wednesday that included the new issue of ToyFare magazine. It was the only magazine of its kind and the perfect read for the toy Junkie. It was chock full of information including how to's, a price guide, solid features and the section that I always turned to first, ToyFare's Top 10 Hottest Action Figures. The list was an easy to read but a comprehensive monthly list of the hottest figures in the biz. Not only did it give you the going rate for the figure, it went into great detail justifying the marked up cost compared to a month earlier when it could have been bought at regular retail price. This wasn't just a list of what was hot, it was a list to hunt! The perfect size to fold and fit in your back pocket, saddle up like Indiana Jones and set out on a five-hour road trip to every retail chain in a 30-mile radius and do what Junkies do best. Sometimes we'd come home with the proverbial golden idol sand sometimes the giant boulder would chase after us. Either way, it was ToyFare's guide that led us on the adventure. With that in mind, AFJ decided to pay homage to ToyFare and start our own Top 10 Hottest Action Figures as a monthly column. I should note that the list does not go by highest price but if that happens for a #1, it is just a coincidence. We also factor in regular and online cost, difficulty to locate, availability, shipping, secondary market value, and other variables. Without any further ado, here is AFJ's maiden TOP 10 Hottest Figures List!
1) MEZCO ONE:12 BATMAN DARK BLUE & GREY ($180)
MEZCO is proving to be one of my favorite smaller but high-end toy companies and there is a reason top dog Mez Markowitz and his loyal minions stand at number one this month. One word: QUALITY. I thought I was getting the deal of the century when I pre-ordered the legendary DARK KNIGHT RETURNS in black and grey in MEZCO's new ONE:12 format for $65. When it arrived I was like a kid on Hanukkah evening tearing through the box and all of the sweet extras thinking I had found toy nirvana. It is seriously geekgasm time with this toy. Then it hit me--there was also a dark blue and grey version also for $65 that in my excitement I somehow missed out on. While my black and grey one is brilliant, the Limited Edition Dark Blue & Grey has my inner Junkie screaming "miiiine!" And while it may just be the appearance that is different and two of my favorite words attached to any toy I buy (Limited & Edition), the Dark Blue & Grey has shot up in price going for up to three times the original price of $65. So while I love my TDKR ONE:12 from MEZCO, I now need the figure that takes our maiden number one spot on AFJ's TOP 10 HOTTEST FIGURES! If you can find it on the secondary market for a hundred and a half or less, consider yourself lucky. Oh, and have you seen the extras on this baby?? Cannot wait for the ONE:12 JUDGE DREDD!
2) HASBRO STAR WARS BLACK SERIES R2D2 ($75)
The Black Series has revitalized mine and so many other Junkies Star Wars collecting that you would think bigger would be better. However, it's everyone's favorite R2 unit that has collectors scrambling. While R2D2 wasn't the big dog out of the gate, it suddenly started gaining ground on the flashier characters. The little droid that could is now fetch up to $75 on the secondary market and the cases of four that go for $80 that the little guy originally came in have become scarce. I will say that this R2 is the Bentley of R2 figures; it's got all the bells and whistles short of a spring action lightsaber that shoots Luke's weapon out off of Jabba's sail barge. Great, now I gotta go find the figure and make absolutely sure it does not have that feature! One thing is for sure, you don't have to be big to make the upper echelons of the AFJ Hot List!
3) MARVEL SELECT HULKBUSTER ($70)
The HULKBUSTER frenzy continues as the summer gets in full swing and more products hit the market. One of the most highly anticipated toys of the summer was the MARVEL SELECT HULKBUSTER and it quickly made a beeline to the top of our list after only being released just two weeks ago. At just $25 on Marvelshop.com, Junkies ordered these as fast as they could once the announcement was official. Now, those that missed out are scrambling to find one at the Disney Store amongst the FROZEN crowd of midgets. It's hard out there for a Junkie, especially when you miss out on one of the figures of the year. I should mention that after opening mine and writing a review for AFJ, I gotta say that the SELECT HULKBUSTER is a beast. It has some real weight to it and for those that are coveting the elusive HOT TOYS version, this is your best bet on the cheap. Although prices are starting to get up there on eBay and some of the major toy groups that deal with sales and trades. Do a Junkie a favor that has not found one yet and pick one up for a buddy in need. Trust me, they'll thank you for it!
4) MARVEL LEGENDS BULLDOZER $45
You can always count on a MARVEL LEGENDS figure to make any Top 10 list and sure enough, just last week the new ANT-MAN wave swooped in with some new offerings. And right away the title for VHTF went to... BULLDOZER. Junkies can finally finish their elusive WRECKING CREW thanks to the big orange guy. After just a week, the figure is already hovering at $45 or more on the secondary market. That is pretty impressive out of the gate price for a figure that's barely had time to warm the pegs. (Although this group shot is not of the new BULLDOZER, I wanted to give you guys an idea of how cool your CREW is gonna look!)
5) POP! HULKBUSTER ($50)
So you have to have heard about the wild spread of these "exclusive" monthly boxes where you spend around $20 to $30 for around $50 worth of merchandise. Sounds too good to be true right? Well yes and no. While I don't partake in any save for the new MARVEL COLLECTORS CORPS, I haven't been that impressed with the other companies offerings. Probably because I am not much of a gamer. However, make mine MARVEL is what I always say so when I got the whiff that there was going to be an exclusive MARVEL COLLECTORS CORPS only HULKBUSTER mega-sized-POP! VINYL being released, I signed up faster than Tony Stark ordering a martini. And my bet worked because of the ultra-large POP! has become the POP! to have for those into the craze or not. Although I only have about fifteen POP's in my collection, I gotta say that this HB POP! is seriously pretty dope. It is an absolute must for the die-hard MARVEL fan and I only see this HULKBUSTER POP going up in value as it currently holds steady at around $50. Plus it is a seriously awesome display piece for the office and crushing smaller POPs!
6) MARVEL SELECT AGE OF ULTRON BLACK WIDOW $45
It's always the ladies that seem to be the most difficult to locate in the figure game. Especially when she's the only core babe on the team. While my MARVEL SELECT AGE OF ULTRON BLACK WIDOW has a shipping date of tomorrow, their is still no movement as of the publishing of this article. Not even the box art has been released yet! Just the images that Diamond Select released months ago at TOY FAIR 2015. So why all the mystery for the lively Natasha Romanoff? I'm not that concerned because I am psyched to have an AGE OF ULTRON BLACK WIDOW because it is the first "movie version Select" that Junkies are getting treated to. Prices are already jumping in waves of five dollars every few hours possibly because of the mysteriousness surrounding the babealicious Russian assassin. eBay already has it locked in at $45 and that's without any pics of the packaging! For me as a consumer, the packaging is key especially with a MARVEL SELECT piece because of the very large container for their deluxe figures. Either way, BLACK WIDOW is sure to stay at a solid even market price because I just do not see this being a figure that flies off the shelves at the Disney Store--if it is even going to be available there amongst the Mickey Mouse set. Still, I liked what I saw enough at TOY FAIR to make a purchase and my prospecting was dead on with the price continuing to gain steam. A definite must have to round out your movie AVENGERS SELECT figures.
7) GAMESTOP RED HOOD EXCLUSIVE ($45)
I have this terrible habit that I guess could be compared to "drunk dialing." Although instead of regrettably looking like a schmuck while under the influence, I have the habit of "half-asleep pre-ordering." I tend to toss and turn and never sleep through the night which means checking my phone a lot. And sometimes while barely conscious and wading through my go-to figure sites, I occasionally will pre-order a figure and not realize I did so until it arrives months later. So was the case with GAMESTOP's EXCLUSIVE RED HOOD. Thankfully it was one of those cases where I was happy I pulled the narcoleptic trigger. This RED HOOD figure is sweet and I reviewed it here on AFJ just a few weeks ago. I gave it highest marks on everything from packaging to sculpting and really think that DC COLLECTIBLES is on a serious role with the look of their new wave of figures. There has not been a dud in the bunch giving me more faith in the line and more uniformity to their overall look. RED HOOD has that cool worn, just battled in the streets look and he just is totally badass. Those that forgot to pre-order have been able to pick one up in the store as I understand which is lucky because some mint in package figures of the HOOD are going for close to $50. Keep those exclusive pre-orders coming to GAMESTOP!
8) THE KARATE KID REACTION. MR. MIYAGI CHASE ($45)
The awesome folks at FUNKO sent me a wave of the brilliantly done KARATE KID ReACTION 3 & 3/4" figures and I could not have been more thrilled. See, I am one of the worlds most devout and exceedingly knowledgeable KARATE KID fans in the world! OK, maybe not the world but at least here in Jersey where I should mention Daniel Larusso lived before his move to the San Fernando Valley of California. But here's the rub, as it turns out, FUNKO snuck one by me and it was a doozy. A Mr. Miyagi CHASE FIGURE somehow eluded my radar! It was such a simple and subtle distinction that it actually is the perfect CHASE FIGURE because it is tough to spot. It turns out that the regular Mr. Miyagi figure I got is just good old Pat Morita in the role of a lifetime in his handyman outfit. However, the CHASE FIGURE has Miyagi wearing the iconic Okinawa headband he bequeaths to Daniel-san during the film. How did I miss it?? I am still kicking myself because it is sold out at my favorite online retailers and I am not willing to spend the$45 on eBay out of sheer principle. It's AFJ 101: Always be prepared for a Chase!
9) JAPANESE BACK TO THE FUTURE MARTY MCFLY W/ EINSTEIN $45
The Miyagi incident is inexcusable because it happened on my own turf; the good old US of A. But the next entry is far more disconcerting because my favorite trilogy of all time is BACK TO THE FUTURE. So if it wasn't bad enough that I have the Miyagi incident hanging over my head, I made another colossal blunder but this time on Japanese soil, technically. Apparently, in my excitement to pre-order the BTTF ReACTION figures earlier this year (I was late getting these), I missed that FUNKO had apparently made a Limited Edition Marty McFly with Doc Brown's trusty dog Einstein. Plus the package has cool BTTF Japanese writing on it. It's not just the whole Japanese LE thing that gets me but how could I overlook Einstein? So now, like Miyagi, I am stuck on the mid-'80s with two figures I cannot locate in stores and have to resort to the sometimes evil secondary market where I'm looking at $45 all tolled for this must-have figure for those that live for DeLorean time traveling. In the words of Doc Brown, "Great Scott..."
10) FIREFLY JAYNE COBB PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE VARIANT ($35)
I can sing the song by heart after digesting FIREFLY: THE COMPLETE SERIES repeatedly for over a decade. "JAYYYYNE....THE MAN THEY CALL....JAYYYNE..." After all, he is the Hero of Canton. FUNKO released an amazing five figure set of FIREFLY's core characters including the lovable lug mercenary, Jayne Cobb and his beloved rifle "Vera." However, that figure does not come with the hat that Jayne has become forever associated with. The hat his mother sent him on his space journeys that has somehow permeated Con culture and become a widely seen accouterment amongst the fanboy and girl set. So any Browncoat this side of the 'Verse must get their hands on this PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE JAYNE COBB Variant figure with his trusty cap. At just an extra ten bucks, I say keep it Shiny and make the purchase before these become scarce and the Alliance boosts them in price.