Wednesday, March 28, 2012

March is the Cruelest Month

March Madness is in full swing, the Final Four is this weekend, and I could care less. Heck I'm more interested to see if Tiger can win the Masters this weekend. I'm also focusing all my fan vibes on rooting the Kings to a playoff spot. Why don't I care about March Madness? Well, duh, I'm an Alum of UCLA.

The newly minted Pacific 12 division was a huge disappointment this season, garnering only TWO bids to the big dance, and one of them was in one of the four play-in games. And Cal lost that game. Colorado, the winner of the inaugural Pac-12 tournament didn't fare all that well either. Ah well, Baseball starts this week!

Topps Golden Giveaway

Speaking of Baseball, remember I said I would give my take on the Topps Golden Giveaway online gimmick? Here goes:

BLEGH! Digital coins are not vintage cards. The real cards supposedly fall about one in 15 codes, I've put in something like 8 codes so far and I haven't seen one. Whereas last year's edition of the vintage card giveaway was actually pretty cool, and the year before that earned me $100 in eBay money (thanks to pulling a Derek Jeter auto), this year's edition doesn't excite me whatsoever. We'll have to see as the three series of Topps flagship brand are released as to how well the program goes. I would imagine this will be the last year for any online type offering from Topps, as they haven't renewed their ToppsTown promotion this season.

Which reminds me, that's kind of sad. I actually liked the ToppsTown promotion, where you could enter a code found in each pack of cards into the web and were rewarded with a pack of virtual cards. I actually completed the Baseball set for each year of the promotion, and I had a great time trading virtual cards in order to complete the set. I won't get a chance to do that again this season. Oh well.

I think eTopps is practically dead as well.

I think the thing that bothers me is that there should be some sort of digital content tied into a baseball card pack. Upper Deck had a pretty good program where you could enter codes from the back of each card and earn points that you could save up to get free cards. Believe me, I know, I earned two retail boxes of cards that way. Upper Deck was kind of stupid about it though, each card may have had a code, but the code was the same for each copy of the card. They would have been better off just putting the codes on their wrappers, which is what they tried for their horribly executed virtual world a couple of years ago.

See I think redemption programs or rewards programs are a pretty nifty thing. They certainly make me purchase more of a specific item if I know I'm getting rewards points. For example, I've been doing the MyCokeRewards program now since it's inception, and I daresay that I've gotten several hundred dollars worth of merchandise for free simply for inputing some codes. I also redeem Disney Movie Rewards, and have gotten a couple of hundred dollars of exclusive merch from them too, including a really bad-ass Pirates of the Caribbean Watch, and a Jim Shore Tinkerbell figurine.

I think a really well run wrapper code redemption program from Topps would be awesome. Each code could be worth a random amount from 10 to 100 points, and you could redeem points for special singles or packs of exclusive cards. Instead of doing the silly eTopps auctions or contests, they could easily have the same back end computer frameworks reworked.

Doctor Who News

Matt Smiths' third season, the seventh overall of the newly revived Doctor Who begins airing in August. I won't unleash the spoilers here, suffice to say it looks to be an exciting year of episodes!

I FINALLY pulled the trigger on the Character Building 11 Doctors Set.

Should be here in a few days. I'll definitely give it a review when it arrives. Got a great deal too, $33 all together including shipping off of eBay. So that's about $3 per figure, which is actually CHEAPER than I can get the single packs from Series 1 or 2 right now.

Speaking of which, since I last blogged my collection of CB Doctor Who figures has increased to a staggering SIXTEEN figures, including both of the "Rares" from Series 2 (River and Police Girl Amy). I found single packs retailing for $4.99 at Aahs which is a chain of Southern California gift stores. Sure when I include tax I'm looking at $5.50 for a figure that shouldn't cost me more than $3.00, but at least I can get them, and I can "feel" through the packs to find the ones I want.

Series 3 of blind packs and sets are scheduled for release within the next couple of months in the UK and previews have shown that Character Options, the overall master licensor of all things Who has a robust future planned for the ersatz Lego figures. You can check out more at Doctor Who Toys. I'm there on the forums as "Time Lord Will", just FYI.

Once I get my 11 Doctors Set I will work on an all new comic. I think. I'm not really sure to be honest. Sounds like a good idea, but you never know what with the time and everything.

Bargains Galore

If you've been to your local toy store lately you'll notice that there are probably figures left over from last year's hot Summer films, notably Thor, Captain America and Green Lantern. Mattel took a huge bath on the latter film, due to what I believe was a too expansive line with really crappy articulation. Seriously. While the character selection was nice and varied, the figures just sat on the shelf, probably also due to the fact that the Ryan Reynolds feature wasn't very well received. If you're still so inclined though, you can find rock bottom prices on tiny plastic Scarlett Johannsen exes at your local discounter in various shapes, sizes and multi-packs. Seriously Mattel, WTF? We lost the gradually improving DC Infinite whatever 1/18th scale line for this?

And just an aside, WHY can't I get a decent 1/18th scale DC Universe figure line like the Marvel Universe Line? I mean that line is amazing, even though I don't really collect Marvel anymore. Well, with the exception of the below paragraph that is...

The two Marvel films were significant improvements over Iron Man 2 and set the stage for this year's Avengers line. While I haven't personally seen any Cap film figures on clearance, I have found a few of the Asgardian's mates for more than half off. My personal collection now includes a Loki and Volstagg, both of which flank my Thor. While I would have preferred a nice display stand rather than the incredibly dopey kiddie weapons, these aren't bad figures at all. I am going to purchase the best looking Cap figure I can find, but so far I haven't seen one I like, not even in the Avengers line. Which, well, let's face it, two waves in blows huge chunks.

I mean seriously, the Hulk figure from the new Avengers line up is an abomination of plastic that should have never hit the pegs. It looks like a bad bootleg that I would buy down in Santee Alley.

G.I. Joe Retaliation

We're just a couple of months away from the second big screen adventure for the original action figure toy. While it's being billed as a "reboot/sequel" I think the film is going to succeed or fail based on an unfair comparison to Rise of Cobra which I didn't think was all that bad. I don't really understand what people are looking for when they go to a movie that's based on a toy line in the first place. When you go see Battleship this Summer are you expecting to see Shakespeare in CGI?

I am looking forward to the toy line that will accompany Retaliation though the five previews of carded figures so far do not excite me at all. As with the last movie line Hasbro has decided to put in a huge kiddie weapon, which most likely fires a huge missile, instead of the arsenal of accessories included with the wildly popular "Pursuit of Cobra" line that spun out of the last movie line. The one plus that I can see so far is that they are making a Joe Colton figure, only his second appearance in the entire line, and the first, to my knowledge, 1/18th scale figure of the one and only Bruce Willis.

So there you go, now excuse me, but I've got a Hockey game to watch. Go Kings Go.

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