It was a banner year for geeks who don’t like to be bothered with having money occupying space in their pockets. With fandom continuing to flourish and grow thanks to the continued success of superhero films, the comics they’re adapted from and the boom in genre-based television shows, the appetite for cool stuff related to these properties is big enough to make Galactus burp with envy. Another trend we noticed and liked? Toy and collectible companies seem to have finally caught up with the fact that fangirls like to buy cool swag as much as boys. The explosion in the number of items that appeal to female fans was noticeable and long overdue.
Action figures, statues and mini-busts, retro-style toys, fast-food giveaways, even replica wands: These were a few of our favorite things in 2016 that had us cracking open our Superman piggy banks and overextending our credit cards, because we JUST HAD TO HAVE IT.
We wanted to put together a list that reflected the wide variety of genre properties with devoted fan bases. Each item on this list had a retail price of no more than $250 and can typically be found on secondary markets for that price or even less. Enjoy, and let us know in the comments which collectible made your year!TMNT SDCC Exclusive Arcade Set
This collection took Turtle Nation by storm when it was announced NECA was creating figures based on the classic Ninja Turtles 4-player arcade. The sculpts accurately captured that glorious '80s video-game look, and the arcade cabinet packaging just made it even more awesome. This one sold out instantly in San Diego, but you can find them on eBay, typically paired with the equally fabulous Foot Clan box set.
Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan Walgreens Exclusive Funko Pop! Figure
Kamala Khan's profile continues to embiggen. Latest proof? This red-hot Funko Pop! figure of Marvel's super-popular teen hero that was only available at Walgreens stores. If you think it's somewhat random that a drugstore chain is now on the treasure hunt map for collectors, then you haven't been paying attention. Walgreens already carries Star Wars Black Series and Marvel Legends figures exclusive to its stores. So now you have a reason not to complain next time your wife sends you out at night for toilet paper and scotch tape! It can be yours for less than $21 here.
Lucille Negan's Bat From The Walking Dead SDCC Exclusive
Quite possibly the most disturbing collectible from this year's San Diego Comic Con, this replica bat of Negan's beloved Lucille will simultaneously thrill and scare the pants off someone. It's full-sized, 34 inches, but don't worry. It's made of plastic, not skull-crushing wood. And the "barb wire" is actually rubber. And if that info disappoints you, then you should really see someone. If you don't feel like paying the eBay premium for the exclusive, McFarlane Toys is coming out with a $29.99 version this spring.
Game Of Thrones Night King Limited Edition Bust
The perfect paperweight for any desk, this limited edition (only 1,250 made) silver 8.75 inch bust by Dark Horse of the leader of the White Walkers is incredibly detailed. And while the official description on the dark horse website describes the Night King's arms in position like an orchestra conductor, we all know what his pose really means: COME AT ME, BRO!
This retailed for $129.99, but recent auctions indicate you can get it on eBay for slightly less.
Shogun Warriors 1964 Godzilla 19" Retro Figure
Of all the retro figures that have been released in recent years, this behemoth is the absolute grooviest. An exact replica of the Godzilla toy from the beloved Shogun Warriors line of the 1970s, this glorious blast from the past features the flicking tongue, rolling wheels and a firing right fist! It will make you feel like an extra in a vintage TV commercial. This one can be found on secondary markets for just under $250.
Transformers Generations Titans Return Fortress Maximus
Toy companies were in full 'Go Big or Go Home!' mode in 2016. Hasbro stepped up with this nearly two-foot tall behemoth. This was a perfect storm for Transformers collectors. It was the first new Fortress Maximus toy in a long time, and the release from the Titans Return line was not only huge, but extremely well-designed, with 3 different modes: Robot, battle station and Autobot City. You can find this one on Amazon for less than the original retail price right now.
Disney Vinylmation Doctor Strange Eachez LE Variant
One of the newest collecting crazes in recent years surrounds Disney's Vinylmation figures. These vinyl figures resemble Mickey Mouse but Disney being Disney, recognized the how popular they had become and started coming out with all sorts of variations. Like This Doctor Strange Astral Projection one. It was sold as a blind box item. Meaning, you could get the traditional version of the good Doctor, or the much harder-to-find Astral Doc. Only 2500 of the Strange Vinyls were made, and only a fraction of those were the astral projection figures. They pop up on eBay for around $60. If you find one or have an extra you want to part with, let us know in the comments (asking for a friend).
Princess Leia Organa Star Wars Black Series 6" Figure
This one is bittersweet. Before Carrie Fisher's untimely death, Hasbro had issued one of the best Leia figures in a long time. This entry in the Star Wars Black Series 6-inch line showcased Princess Leia as we first met her in A New Hope, complete with long, flowing robe and the signaure buns hairstyle. The resemblance to Fisher is also captured well. It was one of the easier Black Series figures to find from this latest wave until the tragic news, so shop around and don't get fooled into thinking you have to pay premium prices on the secondary market.
Newt Scamander's Illuminating Wand
When it comes to the Harry Potter universe, you can't go wrong with a nice scarf or wand. We particularly enjoyed this release from The Noble Collection, because it lights up. All you have to do to channel your inner Newt is wave it and it turns on. Do it again, and it turns off. The nice display box and relatively affordable price ($39.50) make this an easy choice for Fantastic Beasts fans.
Doctor Who Extraterrestrial Encounters Trading Cards by Topps
The Whovian merchandising empire grows larger each year, and this was one of its most anticipated offerings. Topps' set features 100 cards, as well as special insert cards and autographed cards from over 70 key players from the beloved series. The set dropped in November and already, boxes with 24 packs are going for nearly $100 on Amazon. Trading cards used to be a regular part of film/tv merchandising, but has become increasingly rare. That novelty and the enduring popularity of Doctor Who no doubt combined to make this a hit.
She-Ra Masters of the Universe SDCC Exclusive
This item deserves to be on this list for the packaging alone. Mattel really outdid itself with this She-Ra figure, which debuted at SDCC 2016 (I know we've spotlighted a bunch of Comic Con exclusives, but the Cons really do offer a wealth of riches for geeky collectors). The outer packaging and inside features stunning artwork of the fan favorite MOTU character. The figure is also impressive. It's eleven inches tall, highly articulated and comes with a closet full of accessories. This one is still available on secondary markets for under $100 - a steal!
Supergirl Designer Series Figure by Darwyn Cooke
DC Collectibles continues to spotlight some of its greatest creators with its Designer Series figures line. This Supergirl from the late, great Darwyn Cooke is simply magnificent. The 6.5" figure captures the retro style charm Cooke made famous in New Frontier, and makes for a great display figure. Bonus points for including Krypto & Streaky to provide a truly kid-friendly package.
DC Superhero Girls High School Playset w/Batgirl Exclusive Figure
The DC Superhero Girls initiative has been wildly successful on many fronts, not the least of which is providing inspiration for great toys aimed at girls who love superheroes. This giant playset based on the superhero high school is one of the coolest pieces in the line. It offers all sorts of fun options for kids to play with their action figures. Bonus: it comes with an exclusive Batgirl figure. My two young girls are OBSESSED with this. You can find it here for under $40.
Hot Wheels Star Trek 64 Buick Riviera with Spock
If you don't know the story behind this clever SDCC exclusive from Hot Wheels, there's a famous photo of Leonard Nimoy in his Spock costume posing in front of the Buick he bought himself after joining the cast of Star Trek. This collectible features a 1:64 version of the Buick with a tiny Spock figure leaning. The 3D diorama only adds to the awesomeness. This retailed for $20 at the Con, but expect to pay a bit of a premium now. But look how cool it is!
Retro Teen Titans Bus Playset By FTC
The Figures Toy Company continues to make dreams come true for older collectors who grew up worshipping at the altar of Mego. This vintage-inspired bus is tailor-made for FTC's line of retro Titans figures, to send them off on Scooby-style adventures. It also comes with a Wonder Girl figure. Considering what original Mego figures go for in collector's circles, offerings like this go a long way towards making collector's happy and keeping them from going bankrupt. Available for $99.99 here.
McDonald's Yo-Kai Watch Happy Meal Toys From Japan
These may be the hardest items to find for most collectors, since they were only offered as Happy Meal toys at McDonald's restaurants in Japan. But considering the growing popularity of Yo-Kai Watch here in the states, many fans are scouring eBay to snatch up the 8 toys offered. As Happy Meal toys go, they're pretty standard. But given the scarcity, they're getting hard to find.