The Collector's Piece: Loot Point or Why You Should Subscribe to Loot Crate

In the past few months the term "Loot Crate" has been one I have seen here and there, mostly on Facebook, and eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I took the plunge.

But what does that mean exactly?  What is Loot Crate and what does subscribing entail?  

August 2014's Loot Crate included an exclusive Groot Pop! Vinyl!

I was wondering that myself when I decided to get in on the action.  As the head of Games and Theory, the game shows track for All-Con each year I am always on the lookout for potential prizes large and small for our contestants.  Beyond that I am an avid geek and love cool collectibles of every kind.  These two factors were a big part of my decision, but certainly one of them is kind of unique to myself.  However, the other deciding factor - cool collectibles - is certainly far less so.

I had heard about the product mix in Loot Crates having included such things as Pop! vinyl figurines and other such collectibles from Funko as well as t-shirts, fridge magnets, keychains and the like.  I was also moderately aware that each month's box was themed, the most recent being October's "Fear" theme.  As I write this article I am awaiting that particular crate, but I have already received my first crate, September's "Galactic", and I must say I am impressed, especially for the price.  But why not see for yourself in the following JCU Video Selfie...

In the brief, Loot Crate offers fandom a fun collection of $40 worth of themed goodies on a monthly basis at a really good price overall.  The Funko Reaction Alien figure alone would cost $10 at any retail outlet.  Factor that into the subscription cost of $11.67 to $13.37 per month (depending on your subscription level) and it really turns out to be a bargain!  Personally I went for the six month plan and look forward to sharing the contents of future crates with followers of the JCU as each month's selection arrives.

T-shirt design from July's "Villains" Loot Crate
If you have been inspired to subscribe to Loot Crate at the one, three, or six month level, just click here to get in on the fun.  And to sweeten the pot, Loot Crate has offered past crates to new subscribers and has a monthly drawing for a highly valuable ($750 worth of coolness) Mega Crate to be won by a lucky subscriber!

A little black box of amazing!

The Collectors Piece - Who Watches Matty Collector?

After over a quarter century of waiting the dream action figure line of fans of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' master work, Watchmen, is going to be a reality!

Chances are we will NEVER get the Owl Ship,  but then again, who knows?
Mattel Toys will get our new year off to a great start with the first release from their Club Black Freighter line of action figures based on the designs from the comic series, not the movie!  Tomorrow, January 15, 2013, this exciting line will have its first offering, Rorschach, made available starting at 9 AM Pacific.  
The $25 price tag (plus shipping) may seem a bit steep at first, but consider a few key points.  The average retail price of Mattel's DC Universe figures was close to $20 when they were still being produced.  Add to this what will undoubtedly be a much smaller production run than those figures produced for the toy and department store market and the price seems much more reasonable.  And finally, DC Direct had promised a line of action figures based on Watchmen back when the title was approaching its 20th anniversary, but cancelled the project when Alan Moore withdrew any support for DC's planned celebrations.  Collectors have waited a long time for figures of this kind and this limited 6" figure line is an answered prayer at any price.  Rorschach will come packaged in a unique book-like box that includes an oversize trading card.

While subscriptions to Club Black Freighter (which ship two weeks earlier than general orders) have long since sold out, you can order your Rorschach figure on Tuesday by clicking here to take advantage of the offer while supplies last.  It is recommended that you order as soon as possible once this figure becomes available as DC figures from Matty Collector tend to sell out quickly.  

This line will expand throughout the year with Dr. Manhattan being offered in March and other figures likely being put up for orders every other month through the end of 2013.  Six figures (undoubtedly the principle characters) are slated for release in this series, though there is hope that other characters from the Minutemen or Ozymandias' feline companion, Bubastis, may become part of a 2014 expansion.  But that is simply wishful thinking at this point.  The Collectors Piece will be reporting on future releases of Watchmen figures so keep an eye out here for further news.

Also being released on Tuesday are Blue Lantern Saint Walker from the DC Universe Club Infinite Earths line and Netossa from the Masters of the Universe Club Eternia line.   

UPDATE!  Less than 12 hours after the Rorschach action figure offer went live it was confirmed as SOLD OUT!  It may have sold out much sooner, though I have it on good authority that it was still available at least two hours later.  If you are not already on the Matty Collector mailing list I highly recommend that you sign up to get a timely announcement for March's release of Dr. Manhattan. - JediCole  

The Collector's Piece #1: What Do You Get the Star Wars Collector Who Has Everything?

How about the Star Wars collecting books that HAVE everything!

With Christmas fast approaching many a friend or family member of a collector finds themselves wondering about the perfect gift.  Nobody wants to accidentally give a collectible the recipient already has in their collection and gift cards are not always available to the places collectors shop.  While I cannot help you with every kind of collector out there, I do have a pair of great recommendations for the Star Wars collector in  your life...the Star Wars Super Collector's Wishbooks!

For ten years this series of books has become a staple for collectors worldwide.  Each volume is packed with thousands of photos and tens of thousands of listings and prices.  In 2011 the Star Wars Super Collector’s Wishbook underwent two major changes.  The first was a change in publishers (from Collector Books to its new home at Schiffer Publications) and the other a change of format.  While the overall structure of the book remained the same, the presentation changed in one important way.  For the first time the content was split into two volumes, one for collectibles of every type except toys and the other, titled simply Star Wars Toys, encompassing perhaps the single largest category of collectibles within this license.

This change allowed for a greater number of reference photos to be included and eliminated an element of prior editions, the statement, “See prior editions for photo” on many listings.  Over the years the size of these books remained the same, but the volume of collectibles being showcased grew and grew.  A larger format with more pages was considered, but the price point for a single massive tome proved higher than for two separate books.  And the decision to split the work into two volumes also meant that collectors were not faced with an unwieldy and oversized book on their shelves.

“Impressive.  Most impressive.” – Darth Vader (The Empire Strikes Back)

The Star Wars Super Collector’s Wishbook (2011)

This volume represents the sixth edition of this long running series.  I had the incredible good fortune of meeting the author just prior to the publication of the first edition and was able to see a black and white proof of the edition before it went to press.  That sample was impressive in its own right, but did not do justice to the finished product to come.  Over the years this series has only become more incredible in the sheer scope of its coverage of Star Wars licensed products. 

In this latest incarnation, Mr. Carlton brings back the format of the earliest editions with larger photos of featured items in every conceivable category but toys.  By eliminating toys from the mix there is more room for all of the apparel, school supplies, trading cards, keychains, patches, dishware, and comic books (to name just a few categories) featured.  As many collectors focus on a specific category or character, having a resource that not only lists products and prices, but shows you what you might be missing is a positive boon.  Especially when the illustrations do not require a magnifying glass to be seen!

With 464 pages containing 12,000 color photos and featuring over 24,000 collectibles, The Star Wars Super Collector’s Wishbook is not only an ideal resource for collectors, it is a fascinating book to peruse for collector and non-collector alike.  Hours can be spent turning the pages and drinking in the sheer volume of collectibles produced worldwide over the last 35 years.  The phenomenon that is Star Wars was never portrayed as well as it is in the pages upon pages of consumer goods that grace this gorgeous book.  And when one considers the thousands of hours it took to photograph the featured items (a staggering percentage of which were photographed by the author himself) this book, like its companion volume, becomes only the more amazing.

Star Wars Toys: A Super Collector's Wishbook (2012)

The long-awaited sister book of The Star Wars Super Collector’s Wishbook has been available only a scant few months and is equally impressive.  I got my start as a Star Wars collector with the Kenner Early Bird Set under the Christmas tree in 1977, so this book has already become a personal favorite.  My own personal knowledge of toys based on George Lucas’ epic pales against the coverage of this category offered by this book.  At press time the book contained images and listings of every toy known to the author from the 1978 release of the first Kenner action figures (Luke, Leia, R2-D2, and Chewbacca of the aforementioned set) to toys that were released early in 2012!

Like its companion title, this volume offers not only prices and reference photos, it presents a compelling journey through the history and scope of just one category of Star Wars collecting.  Toys and playthings from all over the world, some so obscure that most collectors had no idea of their existence, are brought front and center with colorful pages full of surprises.  From the life-long collector to those just starting out, this book is an invaluable resource for every Star Wars toy hunter. 

With over 8,600 color photos the expansive coverage of toys offered by this edition is nothing short of incredible.  Tens of thousands of toys are listed in this prolific chronicle that is further sub-categorized for ease of use.  As both a collecting reference book and a history lesson in the success of LucasFilm when it came to marketing the Star Wars saga.  It truly is a must-have volume for the serious Star Wars toy collector in your life.

Even collectors who have previous editions of this series will appreciate both of these new books awaiting them under the tree.  Personally I own all seven books in the series which are proudly displayed on a bookshelf in the living room below several Star Wars statues.  Many are the collector who have maintained a library of all of the past books in the series and anxiously await the arrival of the next (which have been released every two to three years in the past).  

Geoffrey Carlton's dedication to and love of Star Wars collecting is evident in all of the books in the series which are further enhanced by feature articles written by fellow fans and collectors as well as the author himself.  I have personally had articles I penned appear in three volumes of the series, including the newly released Star Wars Toys.  Apart from the additional collectibles that are added to each new release, brand new articles are an added plus to every book in the series.  

464 pages

448 pages