Ask Julius Marx
September 23, 2005

04/19/05

I think the first question on most people’s minds is "What the heck happened with you and AFT?" Good darn question! I’m still trying to figure that out. They all have their side of the story, and I have mine and the truth must lie somewhere in between. It’s a pretty strange sensation to wake up and have the column that you built from the ground up for 4 years pulled out from under you. But I guess God is trying to teach me a little something about change, because change is something that I’m not a big fan of. So now there is someone else at over at AFT doing some of my schtick. I like to think that I’m not that interchangeable. :) But that just propels me to the next evolution of what I want to do with my writing and the way it is presented.

What you are now reading is a pet project that Jason and I have been tinkering with – looking at Julius and Otter v2.0… or it may be v3 or v4 for Jason. The guy has been around! Because of the recent actions of the AFT senior staff my "maybe someday" project became my "right away" project this past week. So here it is. We’re still letting some of the paint dry and hanging some pictures, but this is my new home, which means this is where I will be hanging out. So, if you have a question for me, here is the place to ask it from now on.

David J asks: Julius, I keep hearing about DC Direct releasing a line of modern JSA figs. The last I heard they were supposed to be out this July, but all I see is more Batman and Superman. Any news on the JSA? Great column, keep up the outstanding work!

Julius says: While they never officially showed up on the "official" schedule, there was a bit of talk from the DC Direct crew during summer convention season about JSA 2-packs being a possibility this year. The proposed idea was the 2-packs would contain a character from the classic JSA and a character from the modern JSA series. As you all know, things can change very quickly in the toy world and that is why many companies are hesitant to talk about future plans before everything has been nailed down. DC Direct is sort of the servant of two masters right now. They know what the fans are asking for, but ultimately they have to answer to the DC Marketing group, and the leadership in the marketing group is very focused on what is "hot" right now. I can’t say for certain, but I don’t believe the marketing group reads any of the message boards. They just set their own agenda. DC Direct feels pressure from above to do things like an Identity Crisis line, which makes a lot of sense because the book sold incredibly well, but they are aware of what the fans are rallying for. If marketing is all about "flavors of the month" then we will never see figure lines based on Neil Adams or George Perez. As a result the clever lads at DC Direct give us our satellite era Zatanna, but because of the powers that be, she is a Michael Turner designed figure and not the Perez design that fans have perpetually been asking for.

Hmmmm… I may be on my soapbox and not answering your question. The answer is, the idea was kicked around, most likely penciled in, and then moved to make way for more current product tie-ins.

 

Bob Peterson asks: Hi, I wondering when they will release information on the new Marvel Legends series.

Julius says: There will be a few leaks leading up to the Summer (there always are), but the next big announcement will be at Comic Con in July and it will blow your doors off!

 

Paul R asks: What happened to the Alex Ross Flash figure’s butt? (How’s that for a question?) The final figure changed from the prototype, which had a unique new hip joint; any word on why it got changed?
And when will Marvel Legends include Yellowjacket, Hercules, Dragon Man and Impossible man?

Julius says: Hmmm… My first "what about the butt?" question at the new site. This is a momentous occasion. It appears that DC Direct is still working out the engineering for that new joint. Hopefully it will appear on future waves of the Alex Ross figures. As for your Marvel Legends wish list, the only one I know we’ll see is Yellowjacket but not as a regular figure, instead he will be a non-poseable sidekick accessory with the WonderMan figure in Marvel Legends- Legendary Riders series. Personally I’d love to get a Hercules figure. I’ve seen some really nice customs done of ole’ Herc and I’d like to beef up my Avengers line-up.

 

dylonius asks: Hey Julius, Firstly, I love your site, i’ve been hitting it frequently for well over a year.
I am a collector of Batman animated figures, and your site always has the best up to the minute news on em. I have a question though. Is Mattel done making the original Batman animated series figures? The ones with the Timm design? I was hoping they would continue, but they look pretty dedicated to the new animated series, which i am not interested in. If you have the time, I would love your input on this. Thanks, and keep up the great work.

Julius says: For the time being Mattel is done with creating new figures based on the Timm designed Batman Animated Series. The figures that Mattel did produce were really just stop-gap "filler" to make sure that Batman didn’t loose plan-o-gram space at the major retailers as Mattel started work on their 6" Comic book based line. Now it appears that retailers aren’t interested in supporting any Batman lines that don’t have a current media tie-in. Your animated Batman fix will have to come from Justice League Unlimted and The Batman.

Dave asks: Julius, I hope all is well.
Thanks for all the great reports and tidbits about DCD you give us.
My questions are with the DCD solits, the new JLA box set, it says, 6 inch figures, is it possible to be more precise or could you ask DCD, see I want to get 4 sets but only if they are all in the MA scale and height, if not I may have to pass and in the picture, Batman is very light grey and he seems to have a smile, please say no to both, it’s just the photoshop playing tricks with me, right, could you ask them about this, too, thanks again, Julius, keep up the good work, looking forward to your ToyFair pics and reports!!

Julius says: All of the figures in the new JLA boxed set, with the exception of hook-hand Aquaman are all existing figures with new heads and paint-jobs. The Batman figure is the Tim Bruckner Sculpted batman from the Silver Age 2-pack. the Superman figure is the Buckner sculpted Superman from the first Superman wave and the first JLA assortment. Wonder Woman is the Jim Shoop sculpt from the first JLA assortment and John Stewart/Green Lantern is the Silver Age Hal Jordan Sculpt by Jim Shoop. So if you have access to any of those original figures you should be able to answer your question for yourself.

Nels asks: Julius, I have been seeing some cartoon network toys of Atomic Betty. Will we see any from the grim adventures of Billy and Mandy? Also I would like to find out what kind of Christmas toys they plan to come out with this year. How about a melted frosty the snowman?

Julius says: Hey Nels, I’ve been hearing you’ve been having some great toy-luck around town finding new stuff. You even scooped CubanZod on a few things! The Atomic Betty toys come from Playmates Toys. I took a tour of their showroom and took pictures of the AB stuff, so I’ll get those posted over in the Toy Fair section soon. The fate of new Rankin/Bass Christmas figures looks a little grim. Now that RC2 owns both Playing Mantis and their Memory Lane group they don’t seem to be releasing much past a handful of items that were already in production. Hopefully a company like Palisades will step up, much like they did with their Sam Goody/Media Play exclusive Year Without Santa Clause line and give us some more well-made, in scale toys based one our holiday favorites. That would be my Christmas wish.

The Ape Of Jape asks: Hello, Mr. Marx. Hope you’re doing well. It’s been about three weeks since your last update, so I assume you’re also extremely busy.. Just wanted to know if there was any change in the status of the NECA Epic Scale Balrog at this year’s Toyfair. Will we see this figure (sure to be the crown jewel of any LOTR collection) this year? Any idea of the retail price? Thanks for your time.

Julius says: Hey Ape… or is it Mr. Of Jape? … ANYway. Those of us who have seen the beast that is the NECA Balrog prototype know that this is one of the most HIGHLY anticipated figures for every Lord of the Rings fans. I hadn’t heard much information on the piece lately so I went to NECA’s Director of Product Development Randy Falk and asked him your questions. He said:

The Balrog is still in development. Hoping to see release this Fall.
This will be a fully poseable action figure – over 22” tall.
The wing span is over 42” across! Lights and Sounds are still being considered.
We are trying to hit a SRP of $80

We hope to have some more definite news in time for the Summer Convention season!

Thanks for the help Randy. I’ll be following up on this story as the summer draws closer.

 

WaynedBruce asks: Julius: Before Toy Fair you mentioned that Diamond Distributors was trying to work out a deal with Mattel to distribute the 6"/classic Batman figures in the U.S. but I have never seen anything in Previews. Were they able to arrive at a deal?
Julius says: Yes. At long last an agreement was reached and this case has been solicited. This is great news for fans of this line… but the even better news are the whisperings that this line may get a second chance a regular retail later this year. We’ll see if that pans out to be true.

Jason B asks: Hey Julius! First of all, thanks so much for doing us all a fantastic favor by constantly updating us with your extensive knowledge! (much appreciated). My question
comes in regards to the DC Direct Dr. Fate Helmet prop that was on display at last year’s Comic-con. Now I know it isn’t exactly a figure, but to those who’ll be able to swing its hefty price tag, it’s still sort of a "toy."
Anywho, if you know of anything going on with this piece’s release date could you please let us know? Initially it was reported to be out for Q1 2005, however I’ve combed the schedules for DC Direct products through November and it still isn;t being listed. Any thoughts?
Thanks so much for all you help again and all the best,

Julius says: DC Direct is still working out the details of their really high end prop replicas. They were having a problem finding a vendor/factory that could produce a finished product that was as nice as their prototypes they had created. When I was in the DC Direct offices in February they were still working out the kinks on the Batman utility belt that was first shown a full year before the Dr. Fate helmet. They had just got a new sample of the belt and they described is as "about 85% there." The know that if people are going to shell out that much of their hard earned cash for a cool prop replica it had better be cool and deliver what was promised. The Fate helmet is in the same boat. They have shopped it around to a few vendors, got pricing back and now they are working to see who can deliver the best product back to them on budget. It’s still coming, but it won’t be resolicited until they get it to where they want it to be.

Brian M asks: Just saw the photos for the second series of Crisis on Infinite Earth figures, I have 2 questions, where is the photo for the Anti-Monitor and second
why is the Superman of Earth 2 wearing the Earth 1′s symbol?? Can you please talk to the guys at DC Direct about correcting this….Thanks.

Julius says: I never heard why the picture of the Anti-Monitor was not included in the most recent round up of solicitations, but I would speculate that:

a) the figure just wasn’t ready yet. DCD is on such a tight schedule and Diamond can’t hold printing the new Previews if you are late with something.

b) it was promised as an exclusive to a publication, or the official DC Direct site. They sometime like to break news on their own site. Imagine that.

c) the picture was given to Jimmy the DC Direct intern with the instuctions "guard this with your life!" Jimmy took it back to his office and put in in the "secure" pile on his desk where it promptly slid off as he was putting together the new solicitations and it is now hidden wedged between the wall and a stack of boxes marked "hamdingers."

Again, this is all just speculation on my part.

What is NOT speculation is that DC Direct has already corrected the "S" on the Crisis Earth-2 Superman. I saw the solicitation photos a few days early and I wrote to them and said "if you don’t fix that the people on the DCD boards will riot." They told me that the issue was already corrected but there was not time to correct the solicitation photo before it went to press. They also told me that Earth-2 Robin from the first wave will have the gray in his hair that the prototype was missing.

Montserrat asks: do you have a girl friend?
Julius says: No. Oddly enough, my wife is real funny about that sort of thing.

Daniel Pickett
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since. In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features. He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced. In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website www.ActionFigureInsider.com. Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s “Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on MSNBC.com, Wired.com, Fark.com, Boing-Boing, Gizmodo.com, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows. But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.
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