At the Wizard World Philly 09 Marvel Toys panel, there was at least as much focus what might have been as there was on what will be. Lead designer, Jesse Falcon, sculptor Phil Ramirez, and David Vonner and Scott George from Hasbro’s Marvel team helmed the event which included a few surprises, a good amount of applause, and even some resentment and disappointment.
The presentation started off with a ton of pre-production images of Marvel Legends and other figure lines in various stages of production. Nothing new here, and nothing that we haven’t seen before, but a nice way to start off the very Marvel Legends-centric panel. This led into the guys showing a few of the “Lost bases of Wave 9;” figure bases that were intended to be included in Toy Biz’s ninth wave of Marvel Legends, but were scrapped in favor of the Galactus Build-a-Figure. Among the bases shown were a destroyed street scene intended for the Hulk and a gorgeous Necronomicon base for Dr. Strange that included a Lovecraftian tentacle demon. As much as I’d like to have that Dr. Strange base, I wouldn’t trade my Galactus for anything.
Next up, Jesse showed some of the goofier ideas that the team has had, including an Elvis figure with Doctor Octopus’ tentacles, and a couple of modified trolls from Lord of the Rings – Mullet Troll and Ol’ Miner 49er Troll. It was pretty funny stuff, and it showcased the kind of layed back attitude that must exist in the Marvel Toys offices.
Then, it was on to some images of prototype figures that were never produced. The success of the robotic Spider-Man figure made them draw up designs for a robotic Wolverine, Captain America, and Venom. The designs were extremely detailed and quite impressive, but I’m glad the figs weren’t produced, as that would have taken other worthwhile figures out of the mix.
They then showed a mock-up of a Quinjet (The Avengers’ flying vehicles), wich was intended to be a sort of “Super Build-a-Figure” that would have been spread out over four waves of figures. The rising cost of plastic made this financially impossible, but at least we got to see what might have been.
Also from the “what might have been” category, Jesse showed style sheets for Darkhawk, Absorbing Man and Bug from the Micronauts, as well as a fully-sculpted Dire Wrait figure. The crowd was ecstatic, until they learned that all these figures have been scrapped, and will likely never see the light of day.
Continuing in the “What if?” tradition, Hasbro showed what would have been the third wave of Legendary Comic Book Heroes. It’s a damn shame, too, because it looked to be the best lineup yet for the indie-comic series; Grendel, Grendel Prime, Nexus, Nixon (from Hard Boiled), Vanguard (Savage Dragon), Aphrodite IX, Mean Machine (Judge Dredd), and the Rocketeer, with “The Big Guy” from “Rusty and the Big Guy” as the Build-a-Figure. It feels like this could have been the wave that finally sold the line, but sadly, they’ll never see store shelves.
Finally, it was time to show some new stuff. At San Diego this year, Hasbro will announce and show 16-18 new Marvel Legends, but Philadelphia got a sneak peek at three of them.
When Warpath was shown, people applauded. For Lady Bullseye, the reception was somewhat less enthusiastic. But when Madrox was shown, the room went nuts. Apparently, Marvel Legends fans have been eagerly awaiting the ultimate army builder, The Multiple Man. All three sculpts looked nice, and while it wasn’t mentioned, I have to assume there will be a variant Madrox that has an “M” over his eye to reflect his current appearance in the pages of X-Factor.
After that, the panel opened the floor to questions. Following a few really asinine questions (“What are Marvel Legends?”, and “Who else will be in next year’s waves (that you just told us won’t be announced for another month)?”), an attendee asked about the availability of Hasbro’s Walmart-exclusve Nemesis wave in the US. While the line has been delayed, it is still coming to the States. No date was given for its US release, but we can expect new 2-packs some time in August. Whoever the rest of the 2010 figures turn out to be, they won’t come with a Build-a-Figure piece, as the BaF program has been suspended for the year. It’s possible that it will return in later waves, but even that’s not certain.
A few more bits of info were mentioned, such as the possibility of figures inspired by the Dark Reign storyline that currently dominates Marvel’s books, and the likelihood of more Inhumans figures and a Mockingbird figure, and when asked if the GI Joe license would ever appear in the six-inch scale, Phil Ramirez replied “YO, NO!” A sad fact, but funny delivery.
As a Marvel Legends fan with a collection of over 250 figures, I couldn’t have been happier with this panel. Prior to this, I, like many people, wasn’t sure if the line would continue at all, but we now know that Hasbro still plans to support the revolutionary line for at least another year and, from all indications, have no plans to scrap it any time soon. I was a bit surprised at the lack of any info regarding Marvel’s new 3.75” line, which seems to be their most prominent line on store shelves, but it’s great to see the Legends line back in the spotlight.