The Monsters of Geek have been tasked with coming up with some lists of different highlights for 2014 now that the year is winding down. I’m not doing a traditional “Best of 2014” style list. We have plenty of those throughout the month and the other geeks are better equipped to handle those anyway. I am changing lanes just a bit and going with the Best Things I Added to My Collection in 2014. These aren’t things that necessarily came out this year (in fact some are decades old), but they are the best things (to me, anyway) that I have added this year. So here we go and in no particular order.
Empire Strikes Back Yoda Puppet (Kenner/1981)
This isn’t one of those ultra rare mid-80’s Star Wars items that fetch outrageous bucks on Ebay. This is a fairly common Yoda puppet that came out early in the first Star Wars hey day and really isn’t anything that special. I had been wanting one for 30 years or so, and I remember playing with one as a kid and thinking it was really cool, even though at the time I didn’t really even know who Yoda was.
It took me way too long, but I finally purged my collection of a lot of toys to clear out for a bigger space devoted to Star Wars, and I knew this puppet was going to finally be mine after all the years of wanting it. It’s a great ESB Yoda, seen in his old age as the funny wise man with the surprising knowledge and powers. I love that Yoda and this rubber puppet is the perfect representation.
Funko POPs (Funko)
If you haven’t picked up a Funko POP then you are missing out. Don’t be a toy snob and snub your nose up at the cool little statues of pretty much every nerdy character to ever exist. Funko has taken just about every property there is in geek fandom and converted it over to the cartoonishly fun POP line. If there isn’t a POP yet of whatever you love then rest assured there will be, because they pump them out faster than you can buy them.
They have been around for several years, but I didn’t pick any up until 2014. Once I was bitten by the bug I couldn’t resist buying another and another and another. My POP collection may pale in comparison to some I have seen online, but this is the line I have bought more of this year than any other toy line. From Robocop to Ninja Turtles to Star Wars, there’s everything I love in one coherent line and I can’t pick just one as my favorite (though if I HAD to it might be that cartoon Shredder).
The original Return of the Jedi Speeder Bike and Scout Trooper from Kenner was a favorite of mine and the newest version from Hasbro has been one of their home-runs in the new line. The Speeder is gorgeous and the Scout Trooper looks perfect either alongside or riding the speeder. This was my must have new toy from 2014 and I am not let down at all by how great it is.
Dr. Z (Kaboom Toys)
I have always had a soft spot for Masters of the Universe, and Planet of the Apes is one of my top sci-fi franchises (Yes, I even like the Tim Burton one). Kaboom Toys blended both of those together with Dr. Z and I added him to my collection this year. He reminds me so much of the Remco figures from the 80’s that were He-Man knock-offs, but fairly well regarded in their own right. Dr. Z is one-of-a-kind, but you can get plenty of other MOTU inspired figures from the same Kaboom Toys. Just look them up on Facebook.
McDonald’s Super Loony Tunes Happy Meal Display
I’ve always wanted one of those displays that McDonald’s use to show off their Happy Meal toys. Just any display wouldn’t do either, it had to be one of the greats like the Muppet Babies, Rescue Rangers, or those Micky D’s Transformers from the 80’s. I came across this Super Looney Tunes display earlier this year and after freeing up some space I brought it home. I had every one of these Happy Meal toys back in the day and loved them all. Bugs as Superman and Daffy as Batman, you can’t get much better than that for a free toy with your McNuggets.
Dino-Riders T-Rex (Tyco/1980s)
If I had to pick my favorite nerdy item of all time it would be the T-Rex from Dino Riders. I was into Dino Riders as a kid and had several toys, the lunchbox, coloring books and watched the cartoon, but the awesome T-Rex was never mine. I never knew anybody with one either and it became sort of a mythical thing to me as I built up its awesomeness over the years. Finally, earlier this year, I took the leap and through several Ebay auctions I pieced together a complete T-Rex for a halfway decent price. Once I had it all put together, it really and truly was as awesome as I had made it out to be for all those years.