While the influence of comic and action figure brands on Hollywood has been rather apparent the last decade, the inverse hasn't always been as true. Yes, there have been toys, games, and statues based on the films and television series we've all been enjoying, but there aren't many creatives who transition from the glitz and glam of Hollywood to the cramped desks and corridors of the toy world. Based on this year's Toy Fair, however, it would appear the tides are changing, and the artists responsible for bringing so many of our favorite characters to life on screen are bringing them to life on shelves.
DC Collectibles' Rick Baker Joker bust will go down as one of the most revered pieces of this year's show. No, not all of us will be able to afford it, but that doesn't make it any less spectacular. Baker, an Academy Award-winning makeup artist famed for his work on the likes of Star Wars, An American Werewolf in London, and Men in Black, has been out of the game for a few years, but was lured back in by DC with the promise of free rein on whatever project he chose. That ended up being this outstanding, eerie, and unnerving Joker, which captures the Clown Prince's essence while being wholly something of Baker's imagination. To think what a Baker-fied Joker could have looked like on the sliver screen.
Having Baker's name attached certainly helped the Joker stand out from DC Collectible's other impressive statue pieces, including Gerard Way's Batman and Joker straight from an unpublished (and unfinished) comic from the rock star writer. We're definitely crossing fingers Way finds the motivation to at least let some of his other character designs make their way to the Black and White statue series, even if we never get to see actual comic pages.
Though his hands are less immediately tied to the production of NECA's newest pieces, that doesn't make the New Jersey-based company's Guillermo del Toro figures any less impressive. Beginning with Pan's Labyrinth, new figures for both the Faun and Pale Man will arrive this year. The Devil's Backbone isn't far behind, and who knows where the partnership will take us beyond those? We never thought we'd be in a world where del Toro toys were even possible, yet here we are, and we couldn't be more intrigued by the idea of adding more of his creations to our collections.
The pendulum still swings heavily in the direction of toy companies doing their best to bring big-budget spectacle to our homes for a fraction of the cost. Bandai's upcoming Pacific Rim figures, both for the original and upcoming sequel, are standouts of the trade show this year. Of course, we'd be remiss in not noting just how big a part Jurassic World is going to play in Mattel's plans for 2018. Tons of new dinosaur figures for kids are coming, as Mattel is putting out more Jurassic pieces this year than any one company did in the past. Here's hoping they don't go extinct as fast as the originals.