Yesterday was the last day of Toy Fair. I spent the past four days running through the Javits Center here in New York City playing with toys, hanging out with companies, and trying to steal a giant Chewbacca. I failed at that last venture… this time.
As always, I attended Toy Fair with my [insertgeekhere] site partner, Andrea. The over-arching theme for this year was Collectibles. It was even named as a major trend for the rest of 2017 by the Toy Industry during their trends briefing. For full disclosure though, I missed that event because I was at an actual collectors event. Collecting has always been a big part of the geek world and it is totally reflected at Toy Fair.
I spent a long time checking out statues and figures that are mainly for display. Quantum Mechanix has been rolling out figures that reach fandoms other companies won’t focus on, like Supernatural. They are also working on a Millennium Falcon that could rival the real deal in detail. I was also blown away yet again by Mezco Toyz One:12 Collective line. With the addition of female characters like Wonder Woman, these figures are some of the best on the market, and one of the few to have real clothing rather than sculpted.
As you might expect, blind boxes are still climbing in popularity for another year. They were everywhere. New companies and the old favorites were all about the blind surprise items. My favorite definitely was the DC Shoebox Collection line at Cryptozoic, sculpted by Shephan Ehl. Super creative and well representative of the women in DC Comics. I am also a big fan of Cryptozoic because they always credit the designer and/or sculptor with all their pieces. I was also a big fan of the upcoming Classic Nickelodeon line from KidRobot. They probably had the best-looking Ren and Stimpy that I have seen in years!
My absolutely favorite items were at the LEGO booth. LEGO Marvel is hitting it out of the park this year. My two greatest loves are things that I haven’t seen before: Agent Coulson in a flying Lola should be a fan-favorite because of how beloved that character is. Plus, I would love to see Clark Gregg playing with it. No one loves Lola like him! And the possibly best thing period is the LEGO Ms. Marvel with the giant arms. I love love love Kamala Khan and to see her added to the LEGO universe is just awesome. March 1st is when I finally get to add them both to my own personal collection.
This is just a small taste of the things that made me squeal with joy throughout the week. Every year, I am just amazed by the ingenuity of the designers and how excited these companies are to make the fans happy. It is going to be a great (and pricey) year for toys!
Wow, Toy Fair was an amazing time. Over four days, I saw my wallet cry in pain over how many things I wanted. Have you ever seen a wallet cry? It’s just devastating. But forget the feelings of an inanimate piece of fabric. Let’s talk about some of my highlights from my four days of awesome!
I attended the Manhattan show with my [IGH] site partner, Andrea and we noticed a friendlier tone than past years. Company representatives remembered us from previous years, which meant that it was more like greeting old friends. So, on top of a great experience of hanging out with some cool people, we also got some tidbits that we can’t share. What was really great, especially at the geekier booths, was that companies started asking for our opinions. There were more than one booth were people pulled out their notebook or phone and started quizzing us for ideas! Hopefully we inspired some great toys to come out.
As you might have guessed, I was on a Star Trek hunt. I scoured the floors for 50th Anniversary items. I was a little disappointed that many locations told me that new products were coming but not available for the show. Many places made a point to tell me that they would be unveiling around August for the major Star Trek convention in Las Vegas. However, I was pleased that some of my favorite toy companies were already showing a few pieces to excite and delight me.
Quantum Mechanix, who has done Star Trek pieces for a number of years, unveiled some amazing Kirk and Spock figures. They also said that Dr. McCoy is on the way. Mezco Toyz also showed off their Star Trek additions to their One:12 Collective line, which includes Kirk, Spock, and Sulu. They also mentioned that female characters are on their way to the One:12 line so that means Uhura! And my favorite piece, the ST: TNG Phaser was being shown by Diamond Select Toys. I really want to own that. They were also showing TNG figures, like Deanna Troi and the Borg Queen.
The top of the list was still Wood Expressions Multi-level Chess set, modeled after the TOS chess set. It is smaller than the one on the show, and while it is playable (even comes with Star Trek game rules!), would also make a fantastic display piece.
You may remember a couple weeks ago, when I was talking about my excitement about the changing tide of gender representation in toys. That has definitely held true. A few years ago, when I would ask about female characters, there was always a hesitation by toy makers. Now, companies seemed eager to talk about the female toys added to their line, or the gender-neutral nature of their toys.
Both companies that I mentioned in that last piece, Mattel and IAmElemental, were eager to speak with me about their role in the toy industry. I spoke with the creator of IAmElemental, Julie Kerwin, who radiated energy and excitement to see other companies following her charge to bring girls and women into toys. I also had a chance to speak with a number of reps from Mattel, who all seemed excited by the changes in Barbie and the introduction of the DC Superhero Girls line. Now, when going through their booth, I got to hear things like “Girls want to explore space” and “Girls like to shoot things too!” I know that there are still steps to be made, and battles to be fought. But this year, with even more companies like these, it felt like a cosmic shift in how the industry feels about girls.
So, I’ve barely scratched the surface of everything I saw and loved and wanted to steal. It was an amazing time! The toy industry is bright this year, and I can’t wait to see how everything develops.
Three years ago right around this time, I was lamenting the fact that there was a sad, sad lack of comics and genre fashion merchandise geared towards women. At the time, my experience was that the available clothing for women to purchase and wear was mostly t-shirts, only some of which were actually fitted for or geared towards women. And accessories of the sort women might be interested in, like jewelry or handbags or less manly wallets, were mostly available only via Etsy or through other fan enterprises.
Generally speaking, what was available via licensed merchandisers was also lacking in the style, flair, subtlety, or imagination that I’d have really liked to see in female comics fashion. Despite being a fan of the comfort of a cute tee shirt, there are times when I’d prefer to be able to let fly the flag of my geek pride with a little more style – like when I’m running from one end of San Diego Comic Con to the other and can’t manage a full costume, but would love to wear a cute dress instead of throwing on the same old tee and jeans combo. Or when I’m heading in to work and want to jazz things up a bit with a subtly geeky accessory.
Fortunately for me and all the other geek women out there who might feel the same way, things have changed since 2012. Companies like Ashley Eckstein’s Her Universe began appearing and paving the way by coming out with clothing more flattering and fitting for women and establishing a high profile at conventions. Companies like We Love Fine and Superhero Stuff really caught on to the fact that “if you make it, they will buy” when it comes to women and cute geek clothes. 2014 in particular saw an uptick in more exciting geek fashions becoming available for women, starting in February with geek-inspired runway fashions (and companies like Cozday Clothing), and going into the fall with several companies such as Black Milk Clothing and Living Dead Clothing coming out with themed lines.
As spring rolled around this year and I started looking for a few new items for my geek and con wardrobe, I felt anew that the female geek fashion wasteland of 2012 has happily been replaced by a growing garden of options for the discerning geek gal. From shirts, skirts, dresses, pants, and tights to jewelry, bags, and scarves, to pieces that could be incorporated into actual costumes for cons, there are a lot of cool options out there right now.
Given that these options are still sort of scattered around, I thought I’d provide you with some favorites I’ve found – some of which I actually own, and some of which are on my wish list.
So check these out, and flaunt your geek fashion for the world!
Although some of it appears sold out at the moment (noooo!!!!!), We Love Fine has been carrying some cool-looking geek chic lately. A couple of things I had my eye on were the Companion Cube Fit and Flare Dress, the Kawaii Avengers Sleeveless Top, and the Ms. Marvel Tank. The Balloonicorn Pattern Top is also just plain adorable, and I kind of crave it despite the fact that I haven’t played Team Fortress and usually don’t wear things I’m not an actual fan of on principle (but I did see clips of the in-game Balloonicorn in action online and it amused me greatly, so there’s that).