Dec. 05, 2014 | 8:58 a.m.

Holiday gift guide: ‘Hobbit,’ Batman, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ more

Hero Complex Holiday Gift Guide 2014
Ho, Ho, Ho(dor)! It’s the time of year for geek-friendly holiday shopping. Whether you’re shopping for fans of “Game of Thrones,” “Star Wars,” Batman or Captain Marvel, the annual Hero Complex holiday gift guide has you covered. This year’s selections include some family-friendly video games for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Wii U; gorgeous hardcover books celebrating the anniversaries of Marvel Comics, Batman, the Teen Titans, “Alien” and Hello Kitty; a Godzilla toy that’s probably bigger than your dog; and a quadcopter camera drone, among other selections. Click through the gallery above for a peek at our selections. Items are listed below, sorted by cost. Under $25 “Living Language Dothraki,” $3.99 app, $19.99 audiobook, $30 online course: Athchomar chomakaan! The Khal or Khaleesi in your life must command the Dothraki language before commanding the troops, and thanks to Living Language’s new course (offered as an app, CD and guide […]
July 26, 2014 | 8:30 a.m.

Comic-Con 2014: Sideshow Collectibles’ 20 years of genre artistry

A Han Solo in Carbonite. The life-size figure is part of a giveaway at the Sideshow Collectables booth. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Re-creating characters for a niche audience is always a slippery slope, and doing it for a cadre of collecting superfans is an even more daunting endeavor. But for 20 years, Sideshow Collectibles has been making detailed, scaled-down versions of monsters, heroes, comic book characters, movie icons, television legends and original creations. Located in Thousand Oaks, Sideshow sells sculptures — some of them are poseable figures but most are not — to discerning collectors through its website, through comic book and collectible stores, and through conventions like San Diego’s Comic-Con International. The pieces are made by committees of conceptual artists, sculptors, painters and more, and are not particularly mass-produced, averaging about 200 per order, so that they are coveted pieces of art. FULL COVERAGE: Comic-Con 2014 “We produce everything from 12-inch figures, retailing at $125, through to life-size figures, which retail for $5,000 […]
June 23, 2014 | 1:57 p.m.

Transformers: Five things learned at Botcon 2014

Cosplayers dress up as Autobots. (Jevon Phillips / Los Angeles Times)
For 20 years, robots have never had to be in disguise at Botcon – the annual celebration of all things Transformers that took place at the Pasadena Convention Center last weekend. Botcon isn’t necessarily a hype machine for the June 27 release of “Transformers: Age of Extinction” — the convention began in 1994, long before Michael Bay took the helm of the film franchise —  but it does transform nicely into one. Overall, though, it is geared more toward the group of stalwart fans that have the same sensibilities that helped rocket the mechanical aliens to popularity some 30 years ago when it began as a Hasbro toy line in 1984. ———— For the record: In an earlier version of this post, it was stated that Pirate Clone Pounce and Pirate Clone Wingspan were Autobots. They are, of course, Decepticons. […]
Feb. 07, 2014 | 8:00 a.m.

Valentine’s Day gift guide: ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Sherlock,’ comics and more

Hero Complex Valentine's Day gift guide (featured image)
Do you and your Valentine put Clark Kent and Lois Lane to shame? Or is your greatest love a platonic one, like Sherlock and Watson or Finn and Jake? Whether your loved one is a gamer, a Whovian or a comics aficionado, the Hero Complex Valentine’s Day gift guide has you covered. Click through the gallery above and check out the list below for our selection of the best geeky Valentine’s Day gift ideas, sure to make your sci-fi-loving soul mate swoon. Under $25 “The Adventures of Apocalypse Al,” $2.99 per issue: J. Michael Straczynski’s new Joe’s Comics title follows plucky redhead Allison Carter, a resourceful private investigator tasked with saving the world from all manner of supernatural threats — zombies, imps, wizards, closet trolls and even undead ex-boyfriends, all while dispensing wisecracks with deadpan aplomb. If that winning combination […]
Nov. 28, 2013 | 12:19 p.m.

Holiday gift guide 2013: ‘Doctor Who,’ ‘Hobbit,’ ‘Thrones’ and more

You don’t have to take your broom to Diagon Alley, cross the Bifrost, traverse the Misty Mountains or steal a vortex manipulator to find the perfect gift for the Trekkie, Whovian or Westerosi-wannabe in your life. We’ve done the looking for you in our annual Hero Complex Holiday Gift Guide. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or another gamer, a comics enthusiast or film buff, we’ve got you covered. Click through the gallery above for a peek at our selections. Items are listed below, sorted by cost. Happy shopping, and happy holidays! Under $25 Millenium Falcon guitar pick, $2.49: Here’s a song for you: The Millenium Falcon, it’s a smugglers’ ship. It can make the Kessel Run in “less than 12 parsecs.” Han Solo and Lando Calrissian use it, but neither has it as pick to strum and make rebel music. […]
Sept. 04, 2013 | 11:40 a.m.

Max Steel movie: Mattel action figure to get big screen treatment

Max Steel (featured image)
The popular cartoon and toy line hero Max Steel is set to take his turbo-energy powers to the big screen. Mattel is teaming up with Dolphin Entertainment and Open Road Films to develop a live-action feature film based on the character, the companies announced Wednesday. The “Max Steel” film will be written by Christopher Yost, who recently worked on “Thor: The Dark World” as well as several Marvel cartoon series, and directed by Stewart Hendler (“H+,” “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn”). The film will be produced by Dolphin and distributed by Open Road. For the uninitiated, “Max Steel” tells the story of teenager Maxwell McGrath and his alien pal Steelis — a duo that can combine “turbo-energy powers” to generate the superhero Max Steel. The character has been around in various incarnations since the late 1990s, when Mattel introduced the […]
July 15, 2013 | 1:26 p.m.

Comic-Con: ‘Predator 3D’ toy to feature fans’ decapitated heads

Comic-Con: Predator 3D (featured image)
The alien monster Predator is on the hunt for San Diego Comic-Con attendees. To mark the 3-D Blu-ray release of the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring “Predator,” Fox is dedicating a jungle-themed booth to the film and its iconic extra-terrestrial. “Predator” fans will be able to purchase custom-designed mini-figurines featuring their likeness. Because what fan wouldn’t want to see his or her own decapitated head, spine still attached, being held up by a Predator? The action figures will be created using photographs of participants (taken at the booth) and 3-D printing. The figurines will be mailed to buyers after the convention. Click through the gallery above for a sneak peek. The booth will also feature a Comic-Con exclusive “Predator 3D” head as well as the opportunity to preorder the Blu-ray. The release follows last year’s 3-D version of “I, Robot.” Comic-Con International […]
June 28, 2013 | 11:34 a.m.

Exclusive: Hasbro honors ‘Transformers’ history with Comic-Con toys

Comic-Con 2013 Transformers toys Optimus Prime (featured image)
This year’s Hasbro Transformers Comic-Con toys pay homage to the franchise’s 29-year history, and Hero Complex readers get a first look at them. The three special-edition Comic-Con toy sets run the gamut of the brand’s evolution. In preparation for the brand’s 30th anniversary, one of the sets pays tribute to Transformers: Generation 1 — the original toy line that launched in 1984. The Transformers Titan Guardians action figure set features five classic characters: Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave and Grimlock. “These are five of the greatest Transformers characters ever,” said Jerry Jivoin, Hasbro’s global brand marketing director for Transformers, in a statement. Jivoin said the figures feature the original G1 colors and sculpts, based on the 1980s designs. Another toy set — Shockwave’s Laboratory — finds inspiration from today’s popular animated series “Transformers: Prime – Beast Hunters” (currently airing on the Hub network) and […]
June 14, 2013 | 3:57 p.m.

‘Man of Steel’ merchandise: Costumes, shirts, toys flying into stores

Mattel's "Man of Steel" Movie Masters figures ($14.99 each) feature an assortment of heroes and villains from the film, including Jor-El, Superman, General Zod and Faora. (Jeff O'Brian / Warner Bros. Consumer Products.)
The already-ubiquitous Superman symbol is about to get a lot more popular. Whether or not “Man of Steel” dominates the box office this weekend, the studio can probably count on it being a cash cow for merchandising. The Warner Bros. film, opening in theaters Friday and starring Henry Cavill as the titular character, is accompanied by a host of “Man of Steel”-inspired products, including T-shirts, baseball caps, action figures, costumes and Lego sets. “Man of Steel,” directed by Zack Snyder (“300,” “Watchmen”), is Superman’s first time on the big screen since Brandon Routh’s turn in 2006. Among Cavill’s costars are Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent, Diane Lane as Martha Kent and Michael Shannon as General Zod. PHOTOS: 50 images from ‘Man of Steel’ Toys and apparel are available featuring the Last Son […]
May 23, 2013 | 6:02 p.m.

‘Star Wars': Life-size Lego X-wing Starfighter coming to California

(AFP / Getty Images)
The White House rejected a petition to build a Death Star, but a different piece of “Star Wars” machinery has been brought to life — with Lego. On Thursday in New York City’s Times Square, Lego unveiled its largest model ever: A life-size X-wing Starfighter, constructed out of Lego bricks — 5,335,200 of them, to be exact. The “Star Wars” X-wing replica, which weighs nearly 46,000 pounds and contains a full-scale R2-D2 in the cockpit, was created to promote “The Yoda Chronicles,” a new Lego Star Wars three-part animated series premiering next week on Cartoon Network. The model will remain in Times Square through Saturday. Afterward it will land at Legoland California Resort, where it will be on display through the remainder of 2013. The X-wing Starfighter is, of course, the ship that Luke Skywalker and other members of the […]
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