I spent several hours last Saturday at the Javits Center, wandering the immense halls of the New York Toy Fair. For those who don’t know about this sort of event, toy fairs are industry hubs where such companies as LEGO, Capcom, and Games Workshop showcase and debut products; buyers from Target, Toys R Us, Barnes and Noble, and more flock to catch wind of the latest trends and hottest products; international business meetings are held to take advantage of everyone being in one place; and the press swarms around like a cross between Fatal Frame and Pokémon Safari. Traditional toys, such as blocks, dolls, bikes, are everywhere but do not dominate; there are just as many books, puzzles, games, and action figures. From the quirky and novel to the tried and true, there is a good smattering of everything. There was even a farting . . . pig . . . thing. I could have taken a photo of that, but a six-foot-tall, googly-eyed pig wired with huge speakers blasting the soundtrack of a bad one-night stand with Taco Bell was a bit intimidating. Sorry, guys.
I wasn’t able to take many photos period, as many products on display are pending approval or limited to high-level press. It would be impossible to talk about even a fraction of the offerings, so I will focus on what seemed to be the trends.
The first thing that I noticed, and was surprised by, was the overwhelming presence of The Walking Dead IP. The show is obviously popular and extremely successful, but the trickle down into various products is impressive. A lot of the figure booths had reserved their premium displays for Walking Dead resin figures. And I do have to say, regardless of personal opinion about the series, the sculpts were absolutely stunning. In most cases the displayed figures were prototypes, so their sculpts and paint were vastly superior to the mass-released product. I didn’t see the “pending approval” disclaimer with a lot of these, though, so they may actually be what to expect. If that is the case, these are something to keep an eye on for a serious figure collector.
I also saw Walking Dead “building kits,” which were probably the most impressive thing I saw at the show. These kits come with hundreds of plastic miniatures (about the scale of Warhammer) of both protagonists and zombies. Picture a love child between little green army men and McFarlane’s horror series. Which makes sense, as these sets are the newest offering from Todd McFarlane Productions. The kits also include scenery pieces and props and are incredibly detailed and high quality, offering the prospect of not only putting it together but displaying it as well. Dioramas on steroids.
The Walking Dead also took some prime display over at the Funko POP! booth. That was the second big thing I noticed—the insane amount of vinyl figures not only from Funko, the company that originated them, but thousands and thousands and thousands of imitators. The small, rounded, simple figures with disturbingly oversized heads were everywhere across the entire toy fair. Pop-culture bobbleheads also seemed to be making a comeback, at least with exhibitors.
Speaking of Funko POP!, they had as their main display their newest figures announced. This was a strict no-photo spot, but I can tell you there were several Doctor Who characters on display, as well as some from Futurama. Other big things were Marvel products, with a huge emphasis on the Batman IP. I was able to snap a few photos at the Diamond booth.
The biggest “big” thing this year, though, was the new line of Barbies from Mattel called . . . Princess Power.
I’m just going to leave this here, and go hide from humanity with my Tate Doll.