By Jarrett Kruse

My fellow New Jersey folk kept the streak alive with another solid showing at Toy Fair '16 continuing to plant their flag as a major player in the toy biz. And why shouldn't they? They are swimming with sharks doing new and exciting things with big time properties that include DC, MARVEL, ROCKY, TERMINATOR, PREDATOR & ALIEN. And that's just off the top of my head! What I love about NECA is that they give their figures a life in their displays and create a world for their works of art to play in. You look at their displays and you say to yourself as a collector, "Man, I should make something like this to display my figures." If my kids ever need to create a shoebox diorama for school, I am immediately messaging the incomparable Randy Falk and his team of Junkies here in Jersey. I really don't like bothering the "Toylebrities" at the big show and I could see how busy Randy was so I just went around the booth and had myself a grand old time taking hundreds of photos. A lifelong ROCKY fan, I could not wait to see the ROCKY III figure with Championship Belt that was Tweeted out a few weeks back. It was totally epic to see this new iteration of my childhood hero which is going to be available in a new 4-figure set for a scant $74.99 due out in June. The Variant Clubber goes for more than that alone folks! Just another reason to love NECA, they give Junkies a second chance to get something they missed out on just a few years ago. I was bummed that the AMAZING "Italian Stallion" boxing ring that Balboa and Clubber Lang were in at the display will not be available but maybe Randy and the gang will hook AFJ up or at least give us a tutorial on how to make one!

The PREDATOR line continues to impress me and NECA is really the company that always comes to mind when I think of a license that needs figures. Back to the Future is my favorite and when I think of the best 6-INCH figures from the last decade, my mind immediately goes to NECA's '89 Keaton Batman, '78 Reeve Superman, '08 Ledger Joker, etc. Its only natural that my mind automatically goes immediately to NECA when I think about which company should give a new property a shot. How about a NECA '84 Karate Kid wave of figures? I mean, who else can pull off a "Weird Al" Yankovic & a Bill & Ted set all in the same show?!? Its that kind of eclectic mix of old school thinking in modern figure-making that has made them such a success. Don't forget, NECA is also firmly entrenched in newer licenses revealing a stunning quarter-scale Affleck Batman along with a brilliant (but not final) Avengers Hulk and Iron Man. Not to mention museum style limited run lines like The Hateful Eight which is a set of figures I would run into a burning building to save. I am psyched for when the Toy Fair '16 dust settles and AFJ can make the trip to the NECA Headquarters where I imagine a compound of some sort with biometric hand prints, voice recognition and retinal scans just to enter. It will be like getting a Golden Ticket for Junkies but instead of chocolate, it will be an inside look at what the company has up its sleeve. One of my favorite highlights was the new line of die-cast CINEMACHINES which feature amazingly detailed miniature vehicles from the ALIENS & TERMINATOR films. I see a big vacant spot in the market for these beauties with a boatload of possibilities for future waves. The future for NECA is looking very bright and they even managed to pull off the trick of making the relatively campy 1990 TMNT movie look absolutely fantastic with their version of Donatello. Take that Michael Bay Turtles! Oh, and for the non-secular crowd, the Seinfeld Festivus pole is a must have, for the rest of us...




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