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Tag Archive: Loot Crate


dpicard-08

Anyone who has ever played with action figures has had the thought.  What would it be like to be as small as the figures and roam around with them in their vehicles, or what if they were as large as life and roamed around with us?  Daniel Picard enjoyed collecting the high-end, Sideshow Collectibles 12-inch “statue” figures.  He was also a photographer.  So Picard blended them together and posted them online.  He then sent some of his photos to Sideshow Collectibles’ management and the result is Figure Fantasy: The Pop Culture Photography of Daniel Picard, a hardcover collection of his creations, published by Insight Editions.

What makes Picard’s photographs work is the “magic” of lining up light and shadow so that his photographs of real world situations blend seamlessly with spliced-in images of 12-inch figures.  The Sideshow Collectibles figures are exclusively used in this collection–these are the figures that sell for hundreds of dollars because of their highly detailed production quality.  (Sideshow made the borg.com Best of 2016 list here last year, and we discussed the Star Wars line last year here).  So this line of figures was ideal for Picard’s project.

figure-fantasy

The situations Picard selects, the clever humor, the juxtaposition of the fantastical and the mundane, all combine to make Picard’s work stand out from the standard attempts at similar combinations you might find on the Internet.

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Bad Guys pin

Earlier this year here at borg.com we reviewed the very first Loot Crate in the exclusive Firefly Cargo Crate theme, available every other month via a partnership with QmX.  The first crate (which can be seen for re-sale on eBay now for as much as $300) featured Kaylee Frye, and for fans of the Serenity’s mechanic, that one will be hard to top.  For everyone else, Loot Crate has set the bar again, this time with this month’s Jayne Cobb-themed box, “Let’s Be Bad Guys.”

Just when you think you’ve seen a great monthly box in the mail, whether it’s from Comic Con Box, Nerd Block, or any other service, it’s that much better when the next one that comes along tops the last.

metal flask

The only thing missing here was Adam Baldwin’s famous Jayne knitted hat (sewn by Mama Cobb), which actually was in the boxes of 20 random winners (plus the grand prize in the “Big Damn Prize” category for three very lucky people, a 1:250 high-end model of everyone’s favorite Firefly-class ship Serenity).  But heck, every fan of Firefly already has Jayne’s hat by now, right?

Check out all the was included in this month’s crate:

Jayne shirt

  • an excellent Jayne Cobb shirt in orange (great when box services seem to be stuck on delivering only black shirts lately)
  • a high quality, usable metal flask with a Jayne design

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For lucky canine-loving fanboys and fangirls out there who subscribe to LootCrate’s LootPets monthly box service, one of the best fantasy comic book series arrived on their doorstep this past week.  Originally a webcomic, the first year of Mike Norton‘s 2012 Eisner Award winning Battlepug was released back in 2012 by Dark Horse in a hardcover version and Volume 1 is now making an appearance across the globe in a trade edition thanks to LootPets.

What is Battlepug?  Norton artfully scribed another story of the Arabian Nights, even told by Sheherazade herself, only in Battlepug her name is Moll, a storyteller recounting the “Tale of the Warrior and the Battlepug” to her two pug dogs.  Norton goes where no one has gone before, recounting the origin story of a Conan type warrior set upon revenge resulting from a certain hell that laid waste to his people, leaving him the last Kinmundian.  And the form of destruction?  A giant (cute), evil (really cute), white harp seal.  And yes, our warrior has his revenge, off-camera beating the seal to death with a giant candy cane.  In taking that revenge he must defeat another oppressor, the king of the Northland Elves, who decrees a life of servitude for our hero.  The king himself is none other than Santa Claus himself, although not referred by that name.

Jadie adventure time shirt for borgdotcom

This all sounds very dark, doesn’t it?  How can it be funny and so good?  It’s in the delivery–putting such untouchables in such unthinkable situations is perfection. And it’s just really good.  I haven’t even mentioned the curse of the thousand angry gophers, the “scribbly scrabbly” crazy man who accompanies our hero, the fate of the witch toad, the almighty God-dog the White, or even the entry of the eager and brave Battlepug into the story.

Back in a review of Battlepug here at borg.com in 2012, I compared Norton’s series to David Petersen’s Mouse Guard, a series of comic books that when compiled read like classic children’s storybooks.  Norton and Petersen have this niche in common with their books–you want to sit down and have storytime.  These guys are among the best Eisner Award winning comic book artists that write as well as they draw, and they are both among the nicest guys in the business you’ll ever meet.  With Battlepug you have beautiful images, interesting and funny surprise characters, and a narrative structure and tale that would fall alongside any other classic tale on your bookshelf.  It’s no wonder Norton was recognized by the Eisner committee–this isn’t only crazy silliness, it’s a story with roots in classic fiction and the beginnings of a character who could hold his own with Conan and Tarzan.

So what else made the LootPets crate this month?

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Labyrinth shirt

Loot Crate continues to be one of the best buys on the market in the monthly collectibles grab bag space at less than $20 per month.  Across all boxes, whether it’s Nerd Block, Comic Con Box, or any other, the fantasy themed boxes only seem to come around once or so per year, but when they do it is easy to make the genre base happy.  And that was no less true this month with the Quest themed box from Loot Crate.

One of the most untapped franchises for fan merchandise is History Channel’s Vikings series.  We’ve talked about the comic books before here at borg.com, but have not stumbled across much for fans to buy.  So we were ecstatic to not only find a Vikings item in the crate but a cosplay-worthy 1:2 scale replica of Floki’s drinking horn complete with wearing strap.  Although you wouldn’t wear it if you’re after a full-sized large horn for your fantasy or historical costume, it will work fine for those who prefer carrying the smaller horns during Renaissance Faire season.  And it looks great.  Of course when you’re ready for the real thing, check out our friend’s shop, Wildman Drinking Horns, here.  Randy has the best real drinking horns around.

Vikings Floki Viking horn    Floki Vikings horn replica

With the passing of David Bowie and rejuvenated interest in the classic 1986 adventure film Labyrinth co-starring Jennifer Connelly, incorporating a clever labyrinthine box design and well-designed T-shirt was a good move for Loot Crate.  See the shirt design above and fold-out box below.

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Firefly Cargo Crate poster

Loot Crate and QMx has answered Funko’s Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty bi-monthly box service with a new bi-monthly box for Firefly fans, the Firefly Cargo Crate.  Somehow Firefly licensees continue to keep coming up with interesting new ways for fans of the 14-episode series (and tie-in film) to show-off their fandom.  The first Firefly Cargo Crate is sure to appeal to both the average and die-hard fan, focusing on Jewel Staite’s Kaylee Frye, the Serenity’s lovable girly and tech-savvy mechanic.  Since the second crate’s theme will be Adam Baldwin’s Jayne Cobb, it appears at least for now each crate will feature a key cast member.

We were curious what Loot Crate would include for $39.99.  Certainly you’d expect at some point to see one of Jayne’s mom’s cunning hats or one of his T-shirts.  But Firefly fans already have those, right?  Luckily QMx has plenty of items to select from in its arsenal, and delivered the goods on its first crate.  Let’s look through what you get.

Kaylee Bear reveal at 2016 Toy Fair

The two big items are a QMx mini-master figure of Kaylee and a Kaylee plush Teddy Bear, first revealed this year at Toy Fair in New York City.  You don’t remember Kaylee having a bear on the show?  Think of this more like Funko Pops! only with bears.  They look great, are darned cute, and you can envision an entire line of these bears for all sorts of licensed franchises.  The Jayne version (shown above with the Kaylee version at QMx’s Toy Fair display) looks great, too.

Firefly cargo crate box

Next you have the smaller items:  you get a QMx QBits PVC figure of either Jayne or Simon, five QMx Kaylee “Shindig Parasols” to stick in your favorite beverage, two metal pins (one mailed separately with the Serenity and one featuring Kaylee’s quote “Everything’s Shiny Cap’n”), and a set of two extra playing cards for the Firefly board game (we got two sets in our box).  You also get a pair of concept art drawings of the Reaver ship on sturdy card stock.  We expect to see more paper inserts like this, and think this box is a great opportunity for inclusion of replicas from the show like the memorable paper money.

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Aliens rock music video 1980s

Following on its success with last year’s Back to the Future Day celebration and the annual Star Wars Day (May the Fourth), 20th Century Fox has created a new day to bring fans back to the Alien franchise.  Although we believe they should have gone with Mother’s Day, April 26, 2016, is being targeted for the first Alien Day in honor of the doomed world, LV-426, where Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley first encountered the vile xenomorphs in 1979’s Alien.  This means bringing the movie back for a limited theatrical release and plenty of product tie-ins.  It’s all in anticipation of Fox’s release of Ridley Scott’s next Alien franchise film next year, Alien: Covenant, starring Michael Fassbender.

Aliens Funko

For action figure fans, NECA is releasing Lieutenant Vasquez, Newt, and Kenner-style Ellen Ripley figures, and Funko is releasing a Kenner-style Queen, Power Loader and Ripley figure set and Super 7 will offer several figures.  Hot Toys will sell a 1:6 scale Ripley figure.  Look for Kotobukiya to release a 1:10 scale xenomorph.  Sideshow and Medicon Toy company will also release new Alien figures.

Alien Invasion Lebbon

Titan Books is releasing a new Tim Lebbon tie-in novel, Alien: Invasion.  (Check out our review and interview with Lebbon here at borg.com of Lebbon’s first awesome Alien novel Alien: Out of the Shadows).  And Alien: Out of the Shadows will get its own audiobook featuring the voice of Rutger Hauer.  Insight Editions will release a new book, The Weyland-Yutani Report.

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SW Loot Crate

If you’re a Star Wars fan (and who isn’t?), it’s hard to stay away when you learn that subscription box services like Smuggler’s Bounty, Loot Crate, and Nerd Block are offering up loads of exclusive collectibles in their subscription boxes.  The downside to many of these is their reliance on exclusive Funko Pop! bobbleheads.  Funko Pops!–those over-sized cartoony versions of everything from The Walking Dead to Guardians of the Galaxy–seem to have flooded the market in the past year with variants that make the Kenner Star Wars action figure line seem like child’s play.  Just check out the wall of them at your local Books-a-Million.  If you collect Pops! then these boxes are just for you.  But one new limited edition, one-time only box didn’t take the Pop! route, and is crammed full of so many Star Wars goodies it might crush all the monthly boxes we’ve seen so far.

That box is Loot Crate’s Limited Edition Star Wars Crate.  It arrives in a gigantic 2-foot by 14-inch cardboard crate–that’s more like a suitcase.  It’s the kind of box that should encourage all box services to consider that benefits of sending one quarterly giant box instead of the monthly boxes.  Shipping charges, which benefit no one, make a single box like this–that sells for $100 instead of the standard box at $30–simply a better buy.

Many box companies spend some time on their box design, often giving members something to display their collectibles on.  The dimensions on Loot Crate’s Star Wars box are large enough to reveal a beautiful, frame-worthy image of the Millennium Falcon.  And the case includes sturdy compartments like you’d find in a steamer trunk.  But no one buys these for the cardboard box, right?

Loot Crate Vader Down

Here’s the blurb from Loot Crate:

A limited edition curated collection of cool Star Wars™ collectibles and gear for Jedi, Padawans, Bounty Hunters, Rebels, Stormtroopers, Scruffy-Looking Nerf Herders and serious fans of Star Wars™.  Nine items, including an exclusive BB-8 raglan t-shirt, $150+ value for $100 USD Domestic/$130 USD (VAT included if applicable) International including S&H!  In addition, 20 randomly-selected Star Wars™ fans will receive a Funko Hikari C-3PO variant figure valued at $80!

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Sci-Fi Block Doctor Who

Catching up with the fun, genre-tailored grab bags like Loot Crate and Comic Con Box, two new box services beginning soon will mean you will have four major monthly genre-themed services to choose from.  We reviewed past Loot Crate and Wizard World’s Comic Con Box offerings earlier at borg.com here.  Our conclusion from a review of a few months of each of those boxes was that these may be for you depending on (1) how much you want to spend, (2) whether you like surprises, and (3) whether you have a broad interest in genre swag.

Friends we know who regularly subscribe to these box services tend to trade or sell items, or have friends of different interests they can give items to as gifts.  You can save money by committing to three months at a time, with Loot Crate this gets you a discount, and with Comic Con Box you can get an extra, exclusive variant comic book.  The biggest draw of box services generally is the exclusive swag.  Comic Con Box includes random gifts like autographed photos.  The two latest boxes, Nerd Block’s Sci-Fi Block and Funko’s Star Wars themed Smuggler’s Bounty also stress the exclusive swag that will be coming to their subscribers.

Smugglers Bounty

So what will you get?  It’s a surprise–You don’t find out until the box arrives.  But, the types of content in the boxes will be similar.  T-shirts, action figures, toys, comics, you name it, it might be included–as long as it can fit in the shipping box.

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Loot Crate Comic Con Box display

Ever thought about checking out what is in those monthly surprise boxes that have become more and more popular in the past few years?  Some of our friends have been buying Loot Crate and Nerd Block for several months, and when our friends at Wizard World dropped us a note about their new Comic Con Box we decided it was time to check these out.  We got in on the first three Wizard World Comic Con Boxes and three boxes from Loot Crate (we haven’t checked out any other companies’ boxes yet).  So what did we learn?

Loot Crates run about $20 including shipping per month per box, and Comic Con Boxes roughly $37 including shipping.  Each contain coupon opportunities, some with downloads, app opportunities, and similar items in addition to the main draw of the boxes–the shirts, comics, and collectibles.  You can sign up for one or multiple months and can terminate membership so long as you do so before the next box ships.  Customer service for these is very easy-going and helpful to explain if you think you messed up your ordering.  Themes are pre-announced, so you can skip months with themes that don’t interest you.

Cyber Loot Crate skull

The companies each insert random bonus items in boxes and have a deluxe box opportunity worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars that some lucky subscriber will get.  And if you film your “unboxing” and upload it to YouTube you can be eligible for other prizes, and other contests are also available throughout the year.  We didn’t get the big prize pack in our three months of boxes but did get a good bonus item in one box and in another we got a 1 of 2 variant that ended up being a rare insert.  The bonus item came with a Comic Con Box, and it was an authenticated, personally autographed photo of actress Karen Gillan in her Nebula garb from Guardians of the Galaxy.  Her autograph can sell for $70-$85 so this was the big win of all the boxes.  A close second was a Greg Horn rare variant cover for the recent issue of Wolverine #1 also in a Comic Con Box.  It also was selling online for around $70-$85.

Of the regular boxes we were most impressed with Loot Crate’s “Cyber” theme box.  The exclusive Terminator Genisys half-scale skull was just dead-on for our love of sci-fi and borg tech.  And that’s the thing about these boxes:  The broader your interest in pop culture, the more value you’ll get for your dollar because each company varies the licenses/franchises in each box.  You can easily add up the price of each item and tally more than the price of the box but ultimately it is your own taste that will be the judge of value.  If you have a spouse or friends or kids to share with or friends to trade items with, or if you’re accustomed to selling on eBay, then it can be easy to make these boxes a “win”.  Expect to see plenty of “trinkets” and the kind of swag you might find at San Diego Comic-Con plus a few higher valued items in each box.

So what exactly can you expect to find in the boxes?

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ComicConBox

You can now treat yourself like your birthday is every month with a subscription to one of many surprise content subscription services in the tradition of coffee-of-the-month, flower-of-the-month, and food-of-the-month clubs.  Following the successfull pop culture services Loot Crate and Nerd Block, comic book convention promoter Wizard World is launching ComicConBox, its new subscription-based premium monthly grab bag service which offers subscribers the opportunity to receive exclusive collectibles, toys, technology, games, licensed artwork, comics, apparel, Wizard World Comic Con tickets, VIP discounts and more, delivered right to their doors.  The first box will be shipped this week.

The service, priced at $29.99 per month plus shipping with no contractual commitment, will also feature “Epic Grand Prizes” in random boxes.  Differentiating the new service from other companies, Wizard World CEO John Macaluso said, “Wizard World’s unique access to leaders in the entertainment industry and some of the most popular celebrities, creators and publishers means that ComicConBox will have the best quality and variation of products possible.”

secret_wars_bw

Select boxes will include Mystery Items.  You can subscribe for only one month or set up automatic monthly shipping, and Wizard World offers premiums for those that commit to three months at once, such as the exclusive Marvel Comics Secret Wars variant cover issue shown above.

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