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Watchmen Toys and Collectibles
Past, Present and Future
By Robert T. Trate
February 27, 2009
DC Direct 15th Anniversary Watchmen action figure line prototypes
© Mania.com/Robert Trate
As we approach midnight on the doomsday clock for the Watchmen movie many of us are already scratching our heads as to what to buy from the film. If you are like me you are probably kicking yourself for not buying DC Direct’s Rorschach action figure when you first saw them. Hey, I thought there would be an overabundance of Rorschachs too. Really, who is going to want the Silk Spectre? Why not make her a variant?! I’ll buy both Nite Owls before I pick her up. There are lots of alternatives to the action figures in the realm of Watchmen paraphernalia. The International Toy Fair had some great new items and a few of them fall under the Toy Maniac’s must have category. However this week’s column isn’t just about the new Watchmen items it is about those that have come before as well.
I got back into comics after college. The nineties with its variant covers and over indulgence turned me off to the whole experience. I walked into a comic shop one day and looked around and started to pick things out randomly. The clerk asked me a few questions and told me that I might like this book called the Watchmen. I loved the trade paperback and it became the first of many new comics I shared with my friends. That original trade paperback has been my bible this past year and its tattered edges and creases have never looked better. I have mentioned before the “Necessity Syndrome” (see full description here). After reading the trade I wanted something, anything from the Watchmen. The book was almost twenty years old at the time so I turned my attention towards eBay and discovered the following.
DC Comics and DC Direct have long mastered the comic book button. Their buttons today are a staple of any comic book convention. It is always the first place I stop at for any comic book convention. Back in 1986 they released a pack of four buttons. Obviously the Rorschach is a fan must have but this collection should never be taken out of his comic book style packaging. For a close up of the buttons see the gallery.
Promotional items always make great collectibles. Usually it is because they are more likely to end up in the trash instead of framed on the wall. The Watchmen comic had a great ad campaign and there were several posters for the series. I bid on these on eBay again and again and this was long before the film was announced. They remained forever out of reach, damn snipers. For the sake of this article I went back and looked for them again. The prices have doubled, if not quadrupled since I last went after an original Rorschach poster. Now they have redone these original concepts with the actor’s likenesses. For this fan these are perfect. There are more on display in the gallery.
In doing some additional research on the new action figures I came across an image of the 15th Anniversary Watchmen action figure line prototypes. Apparently they debuted at the San Diego Comic Con in 2000. DC Direct had no official press statement or image about these figures. Whether these are the work of some highly detailed fan or internet fiction remains to be seen. Was anyone at the 2000 SDCC? Do you have pictures of the prototypes? Fill us in.
There will be a variant of Rorschach and a variant of the second wave Dr. Manhattan to hit stores in March. The Dr. Manhattan is made with translucent plastic and limited to 5000 pieces. Rorschach’s variant is also limited to 5000 pieces but his face is being kept secret. I doubt this is a different ink blot pattern on the same figure. If this was Hasbro that would probably be the case. There is a little flesh tone revealed in the picture at the base of the neck. So look for, possibly, a Rorschach without his mask (see gallery).
There are probably many of you that were Rorschach for Halloween last year, myself included. We all got a jump on what all the new fan boys will be this year. Rorschach is also one of the easiest characters to do as a costume. Well, easy until you come to the mask. NECA debuted their new Rorschach ski mask at the International Toy Fair. Sure there are eye holes in the mask but that is what Photoshop is for, right?
NECA also had a practical collectible for the Watchmen fan outside of their stickers, patches, banners, lunchboxes and messenger bags. They have made a wooden Doomsday wall clock. At Toy Fair NECA’s representative told me that a bloody Doomsday clock is already in the works. So keep your eyes open.
The final must have new collectible from NECA is a film replica of Hollis Mason’s “Under the Hood” novel. The inside is a blank journal but the cover is aged to perfection. This makes a great accessory to your Watchmen collection or future Halloween costume.
DC Direct has been silent on what is in store for the Watchmen action figure line. Though various waves are planned for additional figures comic book likenesses are still nonexistent. One only has to look at DC Direct’s ten year history to see how many Batman and Superman likenesses there are to see that this is inevitable. Like anything it all depends on how well the movie does. A week from now we could all be bitching about how big a bomb the Watchmen movie was, how it really was the unfilmable graphic novel. As the doomsday clock moves closer to midnight (March 5th) I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.