Tired of all those “Best of” blog posts that purport to survey the entire annual output of our hobby and then objectively single out a few for praise, when really the writers are probably just picking the stuff they liked? Fie on such pretense, I say!
Welcome to Poe Plays Favorites 2008 (PPF08), in which I list my favorite items of the year. Do not consider these awards or even miniature reviews–they’re just my favorites.*
*In some cases, I just added the word “Favorite” to the title when really favoritism has nothing to do with the category at all.
Favorite Action Figure Line
How much do I love DC Universe Classics? Two years ago, I wasn’t even reading DC comics. Now I have shelves full of them. I think DCUC has usurped Marvel Legends as the premiere 6″ superhero line, as evinced by the complaints of those who can’t find them. The Four Horsemen’s always-superb sculpting and style, the diverse character selection, and the excellent Collect and Connect figures have made DCUC one of my favorite action figure lines of all time.
Yes, Mattel has had continuing quality control and distribution problems on this line, but as I’ve written often, I have not encountered nearly as many problems as others appear to have. Out of my 50+ DCSH/DCUC figures, I’ve had maybe two instances where a figure had to be replaced. And with the exception of the Walmart wave (which never really showed up anywhere in my state), I didn’t have too much trouble getting them thanks to online retailers.
Runners-up: Masters of the Universe Classics, Mattel Movie Masters, NECA TMNT
Favorite Action Figure
If you asked me what the “best” action figure of 2008 was, I’d probably have to go with NECA’s Ninja Turtles. In terms of design, sculpting, engineering, and paint application, those figures were incredibly well made.
But as any of you who read this site over the last year can probably guess, Deathstroke was my favorite figure of 2008. His sculpt is of course excellent, his articulation great, but it was his accessories (and the ability to holster them all) that made me take photo after photo of him. He’s easily one of the most photogenic characters I’ve ever owned.
I don’t have much use for action figure packaging, since it’s just one more thing between me and the toy. But occasionally even I have to stop and admire a work of art, and that’s what fans got with Mattel’s incredible box for the King Grayskull SDCC exclusive. Not only did it unfold into a cardboard Castle Grayskull, not only did it have a working jawbridge and flickering lights, but it even had a sound bite of the King saying, “I have the power!” Bravo, Mattel.
Favorite Review (of mine)
Writing reviews can get a little dull. It starts to feel like a job sometimes, particularly if I’m not very enthused about the subject. That ennui is what led me to try a variety of review styles this past year, from the “intereviews” to the reviews where I just write a few random paragraphs. In the end, though, I think the MWC-style reviews with categories and a final “overall” tally worked the best, and that’s the format I’m going to stick with moving forward.
My favorite review of 2008 was the aforementioned NECA TMNT. Not only did I enjoy writing it and taking the photos, but I also managed to publish it before any other high-profile review websites, which didn’t hurt my site traffic.
I visit a number of action figure forums every day, so this is a tough one to call. But I’m going to give the coveted (or what might be coveted if anyone knew it existed) Poe’s Favorite to The Fwoosh. I find the posters there are mostly civil, pertinent news is posted quickly and frequently, and the mods work hard to keep everything running smoothly, from the discussion forums to the trade threads.
Again, this is a hard one to call, since many of the blogs I visit are run by people I feel privileged to call friends. So hopefully I’m not alienating anyone when I name Rob Bricken’s Topless Robot as my favorite blog of 2008. TR came on the scene just over a year ago (to the day, actually). With its substantial helpings of geek news, humor, and terrible, terrible fan fiction, TR became one of my must-visit blogs. What’s more, Rob even took me under his leathery, bat-like wing and let me write a few Daily Lists. Feel free to accuse me of playing favorites here, because, well, yeah–that’s the idea.
Favorite Site Tweak
My long-suffering webmaster, OB1, has had the patience of a saint in dealing with my endless ideas for “improving” this site. But he was always willing to speak up when he thought something was a stupid idea, too–thanks for saving me from myself, Obe!
That said, a few of the changes we made did work out quite well. I think my favorite was the addition of the Recent Popular Posts in the sidebar, which made it much easier for readers to go straight to whatever bizarre argument they were in the middle of without having to scroll through multiple posts.
Favorite Pic of the Day
Yet another tough one, but I had to go with this eerie, atmospheric piece by Sasamaster. There’s an elegiac lyricism in this photo that gives it a power beyond the usual Pic of the Day.
Favorite Random Post that Generated Tons of Traffic
“20 Things I Learned While Watching Spider-man 3” was posted on FARK and then added to StumbleUpon, resulting in an insane number of hits to the site in late spring. I now fully comprehend the power of the Snarky Geek List.
Least Favorite Annoying Collector Complaint
There was a point a few months ago where I might very well have punched a collector in the face if I’d heard him bitching about DC Universe Classics’ distribution in person.
For a while, I was the guy over on RTM’s Toy Buzz who would post “Ouch! – dead horse” after every post complaining about DCUC’s distribution. Eventually even doing that became like flogging a dead horse and I just curtailed my visits. I’m not denying the distribution issues are a legitimate problem, but the mean-spirited ranting has gotten really old.
Mattel seems to have somewhat mollified collectors by getting waves 3, 4, 6 and now 2.5 out in decent numbers, but they burned a lot of goodwill with the Walmart wave mess.
Least Favorite Figure
Tom Brady Pro-Bot. Ugh.