HONG KONG TOY SHOPPING
By Steven Miller
I’m finally back in the States after a month working in Hong Kong. There was a lot I loved about HK, but I’m definitely glad to be home. I was having one of those days the other week where I was feeling officially over everything and generally having a really frustrating time. I was looking for the stationary store, and managed to get lost. I was only a few blocks from my office. I was ready to give up, when I turned down a street and discovered line of toyshops. I made a note and found my way back to work. That evening during my walk home, I decided to check out these stores and see what I could find. And folks, it was awesome.
In my search, I found toys that fit into a few categories:
- Legitimately good value for the money
- Slightly off-model bootlegs
I now present my findings. I hope you enjoy.
Legitimately good value for the money
There were a lot of cool toys to be found in these places, especially those fancy statuettes and Hot Toys/Bishouju/sexy anime unarticulated figures, but I was looking for something exciting and cheap. There were many contenders, but I settled on this set of Sailor Moon figures, because…well obviously.
Upon opening the box, I was nervous that I wouldn’t get the full set since all of the boxes looked the same. I thought this was maybe one of those mystery figure scenarios where I’ll end up getting 6 Jupiter figures. But alas, I was able to get the whole set, and they’re painfully cute. Especially the little Luna and Artemis figures. The set cost me about $115 HKD (a little less that $15 USD).
Slightly Off Model Bootlegs
I found a lot of these that were either legitimate toys repackaged as off-brand, or just things that were so close to the originals, but not quite.
I’m relatively sure that “Sweet Fashion” was the original working title for Frozen.
I ended up settling on some sets of superhero Lego Minifigures.
There are a few things interesting about these sets. First of all, they aren’t Legos, they are IQ Blocks and Decool Blocks. Second, what are these collections, even? The first set is mostly DC, except Loki and Black Widow. Also, Faora? Really? Guard is my favorite DC hero, though. In the 2nd set, it’s curious there is ONE DC character in this Super Heroes set, and it’s Joker. This isn’t randomly collected…you can see from the box that they were meant to be packaged this way.
I also appreciate the appropriation of the Avengers logo.
Some of the characters are labeled correctly, but some are going by aliases. Note “Diana” instead of Wonder Woman and “Quinzel” instead of Harley Quinn. My favorite (picture above) is Harvey Kent, Two Faces (instead of Harvey Dent, Two Face).
Inspecting the figures, you can see they’re pretty similar to the legitimate ones, but a little bit different.
My version has red arms and no lasso. Also her skin is a little pinker. But all in all, pretty good. Each boxed set was about $60 HKD (about $7.75 USD).
The next category was one that I thought was really fascinating; the leftovers. These are figures that were probably in US stores, but never sold and got clearanced out, and finally made their way into the Asian market. For whatever reason, these were bagged as a group.
I’ll have one bag of Spider-Mans, please. For just $20 USD, you too can own a bag of Spider-Mans, perfect for your Clone Saga dioramas.
I’m not sure if those middle ones were legitimate or they are repaints, but I am living for Sea Foam Iron Man.
I’m not sure what happened to Black Widow’s face, but she looks really sad about it. So does Nick.
I’m not sure why this Avengers set has a random Batman in it, but I guess a better question would be why WOULDN’T they throw in a Batman? Batman is awesome. If I were the Avengers, I know I would want Batman.
This “Top Secret” Iron Patriot figure came packaged with an American Flag. Truly proud to be an American.
There were a few really strange things, but there’s only one really worth mentioning, and it’s this Superman figure that I bought. I can only hope this is an advance of the New 52 version of “Death of Superman.”
So there you have it. My shopping adventure into a couple of Hong Kong toy shops. What’s the weirdest toy you’ve found while abroad? Let us know in the comments.
GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT
By Steven Miller
Recently I came across an issue of Gotham By Gaslight, an Elseworlds DC comic that imagined what Batman might look like in the late 1800s. I might not have paid too much attention to it, except that it was penciled by Mike Mignola, maybe best known for creating Hellboy. And because Mignola is a master, I decided to take a look. As a note, there may be some spoilers for this twenty-year old story, so, you know, you’ve been warned.
TO LAND IN THE UNCANNY VALLEY
By Stephen T.
From my limited research, the uncanny valley is a term used to identify the sensation of revulsion that happens when we as humans see a representation of another human that is too close to real. When this happens, the brain is sent conflicting signals of “person” and “not person” at the same time, creating this effect of confusion and discomfort. In comics, the use of either stylized or hyper-realistic illustration is common, but most artists stay clear of this danger zone.
Today we will explore some illustrators who dare to stand at the edge of this valley and laugh at (or fall into) the abyss.
Female Justice League Line-Ups!
By The Boomtube
Inspired by benito-cereno and his requests for all-female Justice League teams, your friends here at The Boomtube decided to toss our teams into the ring. Check them out below. Reblog and comment on Disqus to tell us how right or wrong we are, and add your picks for your Justice League Lady teams!
COMIC BOOK LEGO PLAYSETS I WANT TO SEE
By Mike Balderrama
The Lego Movie just came out on DVD this past week, and it got me thinking about one of of my favorite components of my hands-down favorite childhood toy. Lego now has super heroes.
By The Boomtube
CHILDHOOD TRAUMA AND COMIC BOOKS
By Angela Kucera
What follows are Angela’s thoughts about child abuse in comics and how characters have become stronger in spite of their traumas. We think this goes without saying, but we’d like to issue a TRIGGER WARNING on the following content.
DIAMONDS ON MY NECK, DIAMONDS ON MY GRILL
By Stephen T. (words and illustrations)
First of all, before we even start talking about Emma Frost we need to put this on a foundation. Emma Frost is a ridiculous character. Nothing about this person was created to not serve an entertaining purpose. Her accent, her hair, her love of capes, it’s all supposed to be flippant and campy. She is, in part, based on a fake persona that Emma Peel from The Avengers used to sneak into a secret organization of sadists. That being said, Ms. Frost has become an integral character in the past decades, proving that she can, in fact be a real person after a long time as a villain and a fan-fiction bondage fantasy.
SEARCHING FOR COMICS IN HONG KONG
By Steven Miller
Néih hóu! Greetings from Hong Kong!
I recently spent a month in Hong Kong for work. It was incredibly exciting, but being in one of the most densely populated places on Earth can actually be quite lonely. If you’re not in the heart of Hong Kong, and don’t speak any Cantonese, it can be quite difficult to make connections and have companions on the island.
I’ve always been able to connect with people who are interested in comics; it’s a subject easy to debate, but is finite in scale so that most fans are at least familiar with most important stories. I was also curious to know what comic shops must look like in a city of over seven million people. So I set out to explore Hong Kong and discover comic shops along the way.
PRETENDING YOU HAVE SUPERPOWERS
By Mike Balderrama
Last week, I babbled on about wanting to see theme park rides give us the real Super Hero experience. Today I come to you saying that, actually, I have super powers.
Yup. I have super powers, and I have ever since I was a little kid.
The Gang Kills Deadpool
By Angela Kucera
Everyone wants a Deadpool movie. Literally everyone, even your grandmother, who has never heard of a Deadpool but knows she wants a movie about it. Babies are being born saying “if I don’t get my Deadpool movie soon I’m going right the fuck back up there I swear to god”.
I don’t know when or why this started. Was it the terrible Deadpool in the first Wolverine movie (Wolverine Origins aka Wolverine, as opposed to Wolverine 2 which was THE Wolverine)? Was it the general boredom with gritty but righteous superheroes (because god save us from another “I have a city to save WHERE ARE THE DRUGS I am gonna murder the shit out of the last member of my race” superhero movie)? Because that I understand.