TOYING AROUND: Superheroes, Simpsons & Sorcerers!

Vitality seems to be the theme of collectible news this week because so many of the characters and franchises getting new toys and statues have been around for decades. Batman and Dick Grayson clock in at 75 and 74 years, respectively, while J.R.R. Tolkien's Bilbo Baggins has been entertaining readers and viewers for 77 years. The Universal Monsters have been skulking around the shadows scaring film lovers for about the same time. This week's newbies include "Ghostbusters" and "The Simpsons" which have been around since 1984 and 1989 respectively. Read on to see how these oldies can still inspire some amazing modern collectibles.


BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM | "Batman: Arkham Asylum" literally changed the Batman game. The 2009 video game kicked off a revolutionary new franchise for the Caped Crusader as well as a deluge of new collectibles. Funko's getting in on that action with the first wave of "Arkham Asylum" Pop Vinyls. The initial batch includes Batman, Harley Quinn in her nurse costume, Killer Croc, Joker and Poison Ivy and hits stores in October.

THOR: THE DARK WORLD | In just a few short years Thor went from being a beloved comic book character to a blockbuster movie star. His last film outing, "Thor: The Dark World," made nearly $645 million worldwide. This week, Sideshow Collectibles unveiled their Premium Format Figure based on Chris Hemsworth's portrayal of the character from that film. It stands 22 inches tall and captures Odin's son lunging into battle. The Sideshow exclusive version comes with a different Mjolnir crackling with lightning. Both ship in September 2015.


NIGHTWING | As the world's most famous former sidekick and a bright spot in the generally dark Batman Universe, Dick Grayson has amassed a huge following since his debut in 1940's "Detective Comics" #38. He's gone through a variety of changes over the decades, but to many, the first Robin is best known as Nightwing. Kotobukiya wants to give those fans a chance to get their hands on an ARTFX+ piece that showcases his blue and black costume instead of the red and black one seen when Dick first appeared after the New 52 relaunch. The catch? It's a New York Comic Con exclusive. According to Koto's Facebook page, this will be the only time this statue features the blue costume.


THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES | "The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies" will end Peter Jackson's epic, three-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's 1937 novel "The Hobbit." Funko will celebrate the film with a few new Pop Vinyls featuring Tauriel, Sauron and two 6-inch versions of Smaug, the regular one and a 1/12 variant with gold eyes. The toys hit stores in October so they'll be read to rock when the film opens on December 17.

THE SIMPSONS | NECA's ready to rock with their fourth wave of "Simpsons" guest star action figures. The line, which celebrates the legendary cartoon's legion of celeb visitors, will get around to figures of Buzz Aldrin, Tom Jones, Elvis Costello, Weird Al and all five members of Aerosmith: Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Steven Tyler, Brad Whitford and Joey Kramer. The new figures hit in October.

GHOSTBUSTERS | As talk of a third "Ghostbusters" film continues to float around Hollywood circles, there's plenty of people paying homage to the original films. Quantum Mechanix recently previewed their cartoony, Q-Pop Ghostbusters including Venkman, Spengler, Stanz and Zedmore. We'll keep you posted when more details are announced.

UNIVERSAL MONSTERS | Tis the season for Diamond Select Toys to release their latest batch of Universal Monsters figures. There will be two different versions of Frankenstein's monster from "Son of Frankenstein," the Creature from the Black Lagoon and a version of Van Helsing designed by the toy company. The Toys "R" Us versions come with accessories while the online ones feature more detailed bases. These figures are available for purchase right now!

MATTYCOLLECTOR | Finally, fans of Batman and Ghostbusters take note, Mattel's Mattycollector.com announced this week that they're offering free shipping on Epic Creations cosplay accessories including the Batman Cowl and Utility Belt from the '60s "Batman" series as well as the Neutrino Wand and Ecto Goggles from "Ghostbusters."

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