Poe Plays Favorites 2009 (The Awards Post)

Has it been a whole year already? I feel like I wrote last year’s PPF just yesterday. Anyway, welcome to the second annual awards post here at PGPoA. As you may recall, the way this works is I select my awards solely from figures I reviewed. So while there were obvious eye-popping examples of action figure design this year–the deluxe Hot Toys Joker comes to mind–you won’t see them here, because I didn’t buy them.

On to the awards!

Favorite Action Figure Line

While I started this year with my DCUC obsession intact, around mid-year my interest in DCUC flagged as my love for Masters of the Universe Classics grew. There’s no question this became my favorite line of 2009. Of course, this being Mattel, my anxiety from the distribution issues of DCUC (which was like a low-level software program running constantly in the background of my mind and draining precious CPU power), my MOTUC worries were condensed into a monthly series of brief but intense bouts of rage at the website’s inability to handle the traffic. And of course, there’s also the price issue (although I think paying $15 for a DCUC figure at retail is much worse than $20 for the larger and more exclusive MOTUC figures).

But despite all those issues, MOTUC still wins out as my favorite line. Like the 1980s originals, the figures are an archetypal example of everything action figures should be. They’re both great toys and great collectibles.

Favorite Figure

If I were giving an award for best figure, this would definitely go to Masterpiece Grimlock. Like his Masterpiece brethren, he’s a marvel of toy engineering and an amazing update of one of my favorite toys of all time. But the fact is, I just don’t love Transformers the way I did when I was a kid. I love MP Grimlock, but to call it my favorite of the year would be disingenuous. (Of course, if I ever become obsessed with Transformers again, it’s entirely possible he’ll become my favorite toy once more.)

So this year’s award for Favorite Figure goes to Skeletor. Always one of my favorite figures in any form, Skeletor’s MOTUC update finally gave him the ball jointed head and hinged knees, elbows and ankles he so richly deserved. Of all my MOTUC figures, this is the one I pull off the shelf every day or two.

Favorite Packaging

I didn’t get the DCUC Wonder Twins set, otherwise that would probably be the winner here. Everything else I reviewed came in pretty standard packaging, so I guess, for the lack of a better option, Masters of the Universe Classics wins this one too.

I do think it was wise of Mattel to go with the style of the packaging for the vintage MOTU vehicles and playsets–all gray-green stone and yellow parchment–than the red volcano blast of the single figures, which they’d already recycled for the 200X incarnation. With MOTUC, Mattel seems to understand that it’s better not to just shoot for the most obvious nostalgic references to the original line, but to evoke the better parts of it, such as the vehicle/playset box art and the Earl Norem/William George posters.

Favorite Review

Again, this one was a bit hard to choose; unlike last year, no particular review stood out, either in the writing or its popularity. But there was one review that I felt was thorough and informative, as well as allowing me to wax a bit about my childhood love of toys: my review of Masterpiece Grimlock.

Favorite Forum

I wasn’t nearly as into forums this year as I have been in previous years, particularly in the second half of 2009. By default the winner this year is He-Man.org, but even there I’ve only posted a handful of times this year. (OK, maybe two handfuls.)

Favorite Blog

This year’s prize goes to ItsAllTrue.net. While I’ll admit that I slacked off a bit, particularly in the second half of last year, NoisyDvL5 has picked up the pace, especially on DCUC. With frequent news updates, opinion pieces, and reviews, 2009’s IATN looked a lot like 2008’s PGPoA.

Of course, PGPoA may be evolving a bit. But more on that later.

Favorite Site Tweak

No question, my favorite change to the website this year was the addition of all the great art by Poester and new PGPoA art director MechaShiva. That great Mattycollector Calendar graphic on the side is only the latest example of his clever work.

Favorite Pic of the Day

I don’t think any pic made as much of an impression on my this year as this one. Seriously, the look in G.I. Joe’s eyes is priceless. Or possibly criminal.

Most and Least Favorite Company

In an odd twist, Mattel wins both my Most and Least Favorite Company.

It wins Most because it produces my favorite toy lines, particularly DCUC and MOTUC. They’re also willing to take a few risks on occasion, such as the early days of MOTUC and the upcoming Battle Cat. And of course, they employ the Four Horsemen, my favorite sculptors.

On the other hand, they made some brain-melting bad moves in 2009. Two big ones stand out: the decision to limit Gleek to SDCC and the decision to print a mere 1,000 copies of the MOTU Art Book (allegedly for some sort of charity-related tax reasons, but this was never adequately explained). Both moves did little other than anger their fan base and leave lingering resentment that has yet to abate. But more than that, I have absolutely no confidence they learned a single thing from these PR cluster****s, and I’m certain history will be repeated at this year’s SDCC in some way or another.

And that’s not even getting into the constant Mattycollector.com screw-ups. Again, I love that I own MOTUC Skeletor and DCUC Joker, and that I’m getting a gigantic Battle Cat in a few months, but damn, Mattel’s marketing department, PR department and product departments need to get on the same damned page–and preferably one that doesn’t end up screwing over collectors in some way or another.

Least Favorite Figure

Unlike the Tom Brady Probot from last year’s awards, there wasn’t any particular figure I loathed this year. But there’s no question there were some disappointments, especially in DCUC, and of them all I disliked Kid Flash the most. Undersized and overly toyish-looking, KF was an underwhelming example of an otherwise great line.

—-

And now the one you’ve all been waiting for: the Poester Award for Toy of the Year! Voted on by you, beloved Poesters, this is the figure a majority of you (who participated in the poll) believed to be the best action figure of those I reviewed in 2009.

This was a highly-contested award, and there was a mere two votes between the winner and the third runner-up, He-Man. He-Man receives 11 votes, while the second and third runners up, Scareglow and Masterpiece Grimlock, tied at 12 votes apiece, and the winner received 13 votes. The remaining 77 votes were divided among 31 other figures.

But the big winner of the 2009 Poester Award, with his lucky 13 votes, is none other than DCUC Joker!

24 Comments »

Comments now closed (24)

  • I only pay $13 for DCUC at retail– and shouldn't MOTUC be $28 a pop, since you have to buy and have it shipped from Mattycollector? I guess next year it'll be just a best of MOTUC then? Oh well, it seems like a lot of people are into the line, so enjoy. Glad to see the Joker won; it's in my top-5 DCUC.

  • @The Flash III: I believe the price hike was supposed to kick in with Wave 11, and that does seem to be reflected in the online prices. But I haven't seen Wave 11 or 12 at retail, so I don't know what the big box stores are pricing them at.

    And I think the shipping for MOTUC versus the time investment and cost of gas for driving around to find DCUC more or less balance out for me, personally. Particularly the time and aggravation factor.

    As for DCUC reviews on the site, I'm looking into some options regarding that, but nothing to report yet.

  • "Of course, PGPoA may be evolving a bit. But more on that later."

    I'm intrigued. Very intrigued.

    As far as the picks go, nothing too surprising. I agree with pretty much all of it, particularly the bit about Kid Flash as a disappointment.

  • My favorite figure of the year has been Giganta. My biggest gripe this year (even beyond mattycollector) is the still horrible regional distribution of DCUC. The same 20 Cyborgs have been sitting at the three stores I go to most often for six months now and probably aren't going anywhere.

  • @Poe

    I imagine the prices vary from place to place. I also live in Montana, so no sales tax! I got wave 10 for under $100, but I order primarily online, where I pay around $15-16. As a DCUC fan, any further coverage of DCUC would be appreciated!

    @ TAO

    Yes, Kid Flash shows NO figure should ever be molded of yellow plastic!

    @Nicholai

    The pegwarmers are also a store issue. Though Mattel sent them the Cyborgs and Captain Colds, stores surely know they have to move them out to get newer figures. Oddly enough, I never see them on clearance at Target or Wal-Mart.

  • I'm already s******g my pants in regards to obtaining Battle Cat. It's going to be an F'n mess.

  • MOTUC pretty much dominated my year, both as my favorite line and offering my favorite figure. I don't know if I could pick just one fave, but Skeletor in his well executed simplicity is right up there on top. While I did collect Transformers and DCUC in the first half of the year, after June I think I may have bought 2 TF's, and like Poe my interest in DCUC significantly waned.

    As far as non-MOTUC figures, NECA Stay Puff Marshmallow man is up there. No, there's no articulation and he's hollow, but they absolutely nailed the look on the sculpt, and even though he's not in-scale with the Ghostbusters line, he's still darn cool. Another figure that stands out to me is Transformers: ROTF Ransack,he's a $8 Scout class figure, and provides a great steam-punk inspired robot mode, and a bi-plane, which is a first for a TF alt-mode. He's just as much figure as a deluxe or a voyager, just smaller!

    As far as least favorite figure, I think that would fall to either Kid Flash or Transformers Classics Cheetor. The only thing Kid Flash had going for him was that he had Atom Smasher's arm. For both Cheetor and Kid Flash, I opened them up, fiddled with them for a few minutes and I've barely touched 'em since.

    WM's near me is charging $12.98 for DCUC figures, which with Mass 6.25% tax comes they come to $13.79, so if one was able to find all of a wave, it should cost under $100 (not including variants).

    MOTUC seems to be one of the only lines people have a major gripe with about the s&h. Do people expect these figures to be delivered for free? Considering time & gas money, and the fact that these are delivered right to your door, its worth it. No multiple trips required, and other than the frusteration of the red screen of death, its pretty cheap considering not having to waste gas and fight traffic, mindless shoppers, and ignorant employees. If DCUC is any indication of what MOTUC distribution would be like, and remembering what I had to go through with the 200x line once I was fully on board in collector mode, its a small price to pay!

  • @Poe: I just picked up most of wave 11 at Wal-Mart for $13 each. So I guess the price increase didn't hit here yet. Also I about had a heart attack when I found them.

  • Shouldn't these awards have a name, like the Poestys, The Ghostys, or the PoGos? It might give them some well-deserved pomp and circumstance.

  • @PrfktTear: I actually enjoyed looking the shops trying to find the 200X figures.

    Remember the trill is in the hunt….although I will say 200X hunting proved to be a damn long hunt ;).

  • @Griffin: Whereabouts are you located? I'm not too concerned with wave 11, but I'm really looking forward to The Question, John Stewart, and maaaybe Deadman.

    @Mark: Hunts aren't all bad, sometimes its nice to have some "me" time, and I usually try to fit them into where I'm heading already so I'm not driving 20 miles just to hit up a TRU or a Wal-Mart. That said, when looking for the same figure time after time, always coming up with empty shelves, countless variants, or the same three figures (looking at you Capt. Cold) it gets tiresome and starts to tear the fabric of one's soul.

  • @Tear

    Deadman is my favorite and the Question is awesome, even though they are the only two figures in this wave with limited neck articulation…at least in the set I got.

  • Are there anything in 2009 that even comes close to MotUC as a toyline? DCUC seems past its heyday, and everything else just pales in comparison.

  • I guess it all depends on what circle you're in. Maybe there are people having a discussion right now about how GI Joe stuff kicked so much butt this year… ;-P couldn't type that with a straight face.

  • @PrfktTear: Bad as the movie line was it did give us some great figures and vehicles.

    Lets face it Hasbro gave us on the best GI Joe figures ever with City Strike (Resolute) Snake Eyes.

    Also yes the hunts do get tiresome….havng that at the minute trying to get some movie GI Joe figures….seems they are not stocking anything past series 3.

  • While I'm on the same DCUC/MOTUC bandwagon as the rest of you my line of the year was Star Wars, and it has been for the last couple of years straight.

    It's given me great sculpts and Joe-level articulation on hundreds of characters (never less than 70-odd in a year) and the hits have far outweighed the misses this year……and I'm still in love with last year's BMF. No-one here will agree with me, but that's OK.

    Figure of the year was Grimmy though…….he woz robbed!!!

  • @Mark: I wasn't trying to knock the movie Joes, just used that as an example. I haven't picked up any Joes since at least the first half of last year, but I've kept an eye on them, they look decent. The new stuff looks awesome, hopefully it'll get released. If anything the movie line's given Hasbro and customizers a LOT of options for swapping parts and such.

    Motorthing: BMF?

    I'm still patiently waiting for MP Grimlock.

  • Wow. Poe, we're all a little speechless over here. Everybody asked me to pass a long a great big thank you for the nod. A big personal thanks from me to you too.

    POA is one of my favorite toy blogs and I wish you a great 2010. I can't wait to see what you've got planned!

  • G.I. Joe this year wasn't just about movie toys, though regardless of what you thought of the movie it brought about some fantastic figures and vehicles. Non-Joe movie toys this year included the resolute/Blowtorch wave from the beginning of the year, the Skyhawk/Ghosthawk, the Stinger, and the Flak, the incredibly awesome Attack and Defense of Cobra Island 7-packs. And movie-related toys included the Wal-Mart exclusive (yeah, PITA, I know) battle stations, which are fantastic and the Target-exclusive sets such as the Snake armor.

    Regardless, I would have to say at least Marvel: Universe trumps MOTUC, because it brought out a fantastic assortment of figures in great detail, and you can actually walk into a store and find them on a shelf, no dealing with red-screens, no matty-collector.com, and no digital river. Huge edge for it there.

  • wow, i got poe talking IAT over here… you guys have really expanded dayraven's online hutning grounds, and i truly appreciate that. you both have great content, great articles, and are running great communities. i hope the new year holds big things for both of my new favorite websites this year.

    and for the record, i share your probot woes… i snagged a peyton manning for the wife and WOW was that crap. especially in light of the incredible cleatus of the previous year, i kind of had hopes that the probots folks would aspire to that level of cool… not only didn't they succeed, they clearly weren't even trying for that… they were shotting for "shit in a clamshell" and boy did they accomplish that goal!

    and though he was a late contender for fig of the year, i'm surprised big daddy didn't rate higher for you. that figis flat out NUTS… i love motuc, but even i would say, he proved they're bunk even at the 20 dollar price point… he's got 10 times the sculptural detail, he's 100% unique sculpt, fantastic paints, and i can't imagine he got made in significantly higher production numbers… and all for the same price i just paid for re-teela.

  • @PrfktTear: BMF= Big Millenium Falcon.

    If you like GI Joe at all you owe it to yourself to pick up Paris Pursuit Snake Eyes…one of the best Joe figures ever. Also the Steel Crusher APV is a great vehicle.

    @Motorthing: I will agree with you that, is an amazing piece….it used to be on sale for £75….really wish I had picked it up, but due to lack of room and already having the older one I sadly had to pass on it. Habro are deffinently putting out some cool SW stuff…they should do more Ewoks though, I always liked them LOL.

    It still amazes me though that after all these years they still have not made a decent figure of Luke in his Jedi Knight gear when he faed Vader on the Death Star.

  • Actually I have got to say for me Paris Pursuit Snake Eyes is my Action Figure Of The Year for 2010.

    So much fun, great unique sculpt, loads of articulation and accessories: sword, sheath, rifle, knife, pitol and Timber. And to top it off a cheap price of less than £5.

  • @PrfktTear: I'm in DC, but this store was farther into Virginia. There was only a John Stewart and a Steppenwolf red v. left, but I don't know if either is still there still there. Now I just need a Deadman.

    My John Stewart has a swivel neck but otherwise is awesome, especially the accessories. The Question has limited articulation in general and looks best in static type poses.