Even as an adult, I cannot fathom how quickly the summer always seems to go. The con is over and I already saw my first "Back to School" commercial and its only July! Its like they don't even give kids (or grown-up kids) a break! By September 1st the Halloween stuff will be up in all the retail stores and by mid-October, its Thanksgiving and Christmas and the year is over. Can't we just slow down for a minute, please? Okay, my slowing down time rant aside, it was a seriously kick-ass month for toys. SDCC gave us some very cool new goodies including a shoo-in at number one but there definitely was not as much Con merchandise to make the Top 10 as I expected. But every year is different with Con and you never know how it's going to play out. Other than that there were definitely a few out of the blue entries to make the list that I did not see coming which I always like. Everybody loves an underdog right? Without any further ado, here is the AFJ TOP 10 HOT LIST for July!

Cue the Imperial March!! That's right, STAR WARS is back folks and in a big way. Hasbro unveiled the very first figure from the upcoming EPISODE VII: THE FOR E AWAKENS at SDCC just a few weeks ago in the form of a 6-INCH BLACK SERIES STORMTROOPER. It was the figure to get at Con this year and sadly, even my Con contact could not get a hold of one from the Hasbro line. The figures were going for a very reasonable $25 but I did not hear of any quantity limit per customer which may have been why they were in such short supply. Some reports said that Hasbro was fully out of stock by Saturday but who knows at this point. On the secondary market, the Con Trooper is still hovering close to $100 and in some cases over the century mark! I will tell you this when opens for business on Tuesday the 28th, I will be at laptop clicking furiously until I get at least two of these landmark figures. May the Force be with all of you trying Tuesday!

It was not announced until just days before SDCC but with the roll, FUNKO is on, I should have known that this POP! two-pack was going to be a monster hit. I had it on my list of SDCC wants and then my contact informed me that (wait for it), FUNKO had only produced just 500 pieces for the show making that 125 per day of Con. Gulp. The $25 two-pack skyrocketed once the news hit and was selling consistently on eBay for over $300. Yes, you read that right, $300. And although it has only been two weeks since the doors of Con were closed, the POP! Con Exclusive is still selling consistently over $200 a set. This speaks volumes on a few different levels. For one, POPs are seriously no joke and two, that SDCC Exclusive sticker can really add value to an item and three, a company capping how many of an item they are going to sell proved to be a brilliant strategy. Like I always say, collectors love exclusivity and even more so when the item is a numbered exclusive. Even though there were no numbers written on the boxes, it spread like wildfire that there were only 500 of these puppies out there making collectors who are also sellers smell blood in the water. Whichever way you slice it, it actually is a very nice set of POPs. I liked how they made Superman's hair more slicked back like in the new upcoming movie and really adjusted this Batman to look like the movie version as opposed to the myriad of Batman POPs already out there.
Cue to the most famous breathing in movie history! And cut! What would a TOP 10 list be without an iconic STAR WARS character? Now, PLAY ARTS KAI has come on the scene the past few years and made a tremendous dent in the toy market. In fact, I made PAK my toy company of the year in 2013 which speaks volumes considering some of the amazing toy companies that are out there. Vader is a towering 11" tall and comes with lightsaber, lightsaber with effect, left hand with "Force" and five optional hand parts. At a $160 retail, it has been pre-sold out for weeks on most of the major online retailers have been scrambling to get the item back in stock. Collectors have been forced to resort to eBay paying north of $200 for the ultimate in Vader figures. Some sales have reached as high as $250! At those prices, I better be given special Force powers for one day a month.
 2015 will definitely go down as the year of the HULKBUSTER. Collectors have been inundated with images of the mechanical beast since the very first AGE OF ULTRON teaser hit. And let's face it, the hype has been worth it. Between the surprisingly versatile Titan Heroes HULKBUSTER that has become popular custom fodder and last months MARVEL SELECT edition which totally kicked ass, now we are treated to perhaps the greatest BAF (BUILD A FIGURE) in MARVEL LEGENDS history. From the first picture I took of the prototype at TOY FAIR back in February, I knew that MARVEL die hards would be salivating and that pre-orders were going to skyrocket. So now that the ML wave has hit the pegs, fans collectively are rejoicing of putting together their very own BAF HULKBUSTER. It's been a long time coming but the wait was definitely worth it. I think that because this is a BAF made up of separate parts, the final product has more of a feel of a figure with its moving parts being more play and pose ready. Since stealing the BAF parts from LEGENDS has become such an enormous retail store problem that all they do is ignore, if you did not order a case of the HB wave, it can be very difficult to track down each piece for the BAF. It is because of this, finding a fully put together ML BAF HULKBUSTER is going for major bucks on the secondary market. Dropping at least a c-note for Tony Stark's creation on eBay is the norm for right now at least until we get some distance from the summer of the HULKBUSTER. For now, if you're only interested in the BAF HB, prepare to shell out some cash.
Although it was the year of the massive AVENGERS sequel, I was partial to ANT-MAN in the theaters and I am loving the figures from the film. And the best one out there is the MARVEL SELECT ANT-MAN that is hot right night now since the movies successful debut on the 17th. And with a positive first week at the box office, the receipts did not drop much in its second weekend at the theater proving that this ANT-MAN has legs--no pun intended. The figure has one of the best actor to plastic resemblances I have seen to date and it is easy to tell that it is actor Paul Rudd from across the room. I loved the suit in the film and it is perfectly captured on the figure. The figure is unmasked which is usually a variant feature but have no fear, the figure comes with the dope looking ANT-MAN helmet along with two sets of alternate hands AND a mini ANT-MAN! Well worth the $25 you can nab it for on the or but a lot of newbie collectors do not realize that it is available from those online outlets and head straight to eBay where people are shelling out up to $50 for this awesome movie doppelgänger. To be fair, ANT-MAN has been out of stock a few times already on the aforementioned websites making eBay the only option for collectors that "gotta have it now." I say it's great to see a B-list AVENGER get some A-list figure treatment.
I reviewed FUNKO's entire wave of JAWS merchandise last week here on AFJ but was unable to get my hands on the SDCC Exclusive variant Great White shark with Quint. Oh, and Quint is in the shark's mouth, bloodied and split in half. The fish is also covered in blood with the tank of compressed air inside his mouth. Needless to say, with the availability of this piece at Toys R Us, it has been flying off the shelves with the official FUNKO Exclusive sticker on it. Collectors are scrambling to get their hands on one of these "Bruce" sharks with all of the extra blood. And at just $30, it is a find at retail and has already seen a major bump in price on the secondary market going for upwards of $70. And rightly so considering it's the 40th Anniversary of the summer blockbuster. And let's not forget, there are barely any Robert Shaw action figures out there being bitten in half by a Carcharodon carcharias.
Nothing like a new Joker figure to hit the market and send collectors into that gotta have it frenzy. If there's one villain that is pretty much a guaranteed sell, it's the Clown Prince of Crime. Bursting from the pages of DC's New 52 books, this Joker is advertised as the "Trench Coat" figure and it is pretty menacing looking. I particularly like this Joker because it kind of looks like a Hybrid of The Killing Joke Joker and Lee Bermejo's more updated Joker. The dark trench coat and white dress shirt makes him look particularly crazy like he's on his way to kill at a formal event. His white skin really pops to the eye and his lanky frame stands 6-inches tall along with the trench coat and of course a knife. You can nab this now for a little over $20 but I think that this is one of those Joker's that is destined for a higher tax bracket.
Just posted on over the weekend, an Exclusive that I did not think was hitting the major retailer until later this year dropped to order online and it's already going fast. Mattel's '66 BATMAN line from the classic campy TV show didn't do as well as some had hoped especially those like myself that have been waiting for these figures since they were a kid. This new 3-pack comes with Batman, Robin and the long-awaited Yvonne Craig Batgirl that actually just made her solo debut at the SDCC EntertainmentEarth booth just a few weeks ago. It looks like they have made some paint adjustments on the Dynamic Duo but I can't be sure until mine ships and I can closer inspect it. Still, Junkies have already been sighting the Exclusive in stores and as of this printing, it is still available for shipping at their online store. It costs $50 retail but I see it increasing around 20% over the next few weeks once word spreads.
Batman's most famous accouterment gets a revamp here in this GameStop Exclusive from the smash ARKHAM KNIGHT video game. This was a cinch of a purchase for the loyal Gothamite and even though I am not much of a gamer, this is definitely one of the coolest prop replicas that I now own. This may even top the Exclusive Grapnel Gun from ARKHAM ORIGINS. Slick in its design and replete with some very cool light sporting the Bat-signal, this piece is a heck of a lot of fun whether you are a Cosplayer or not. Come Halloween, I imagine seeing a lot of these at parties and such because of its easy versatility that allows the classic weapon to fold up easily until it is needed for use. I'm not condoning throwing it anyone but I'm sure there is a YouTube video pending out there of some college kid throwing it at a willing friend! It also is really a super cool display piece with the right lighting for your man cave. Well done GameStop.
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Although DC has really not had a bona fide hit since their ARKHAM 6-inch line, the 4" MULTIVERSE figures have been fan favorites. Naturally, that means that this current wave is the last one before it goes belly up. It's a shame too because they really have come up with some solid figures with the line including a lot of the Burton Batman film figures and other rarities we never thought we'd see. The final wave consists of an updated '66 BATMAN, a new adjusted costume DEATHSTROKE and the very hard to find BATMAN BEYOND. And that is the one that has made AFJ'S Top 10 list because frankly, I can't find the damn figure anywhere! Granted BATMAN BEYOND is a wildly popular character especially in figure form so a 4-inch MULTIVERSE edition is a very cool addition to a pretty dope line that is ending too soon. In the wild, the figure goes for about $12 but on the secondary market, the piece is already fetching between $20-$25. So if any Junkies see one on the pegs and don't want it, grab one for me will ya please??
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