- The Washington Times - Friday, December 8, 2017

Here’s a selection of top gift ideas for pop culture collectors in the family.

Justice League Aquaman (DC Collectibles, $150) — Limited to 5,000 pieces, this mixed-media statue by sculptor David Pereira offers a near lifelike representation of actor Jason Momoa portraying DC Entertainment’s latest cinematic version of the King of the Seas.

Towering at nearly 14 inches tall, the gem features a finely painted armored bodysuit in dark-green and gold that looks ripped from the film. Blond highlights ripple through Aquaman’s shoulder-length, dark-brown mane.

The DC Comics’ icon grips a bronze-colored, metal Trident of Neptune (more of a quindent with five prongs) to help battle Steppenwolf’s evil minions, and stands atop a heavy base highlighting the Justice League truncated movie logo.

Gamora & Rocket Raccoon (Diamond Select Toys, $45) — Gift givers with a slightly more modest budget will still easily satisfy fans of the latest “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie with a PVC diorama featuring two characters from the legendary team.

Specifically, owners get an excellent likeness of actress Zoe Saldana as the green-skinned daughter of Thanos as she stands 9inches tall on a rocky and moss-covered base. She wears black leather pants, boots, black leather vest and has her famed silver blade thrust forward.

The weapons-obsessed Rocket stands next to her at half her size and wears a blue leather outfit.

He wields a pair of brushed metal-colored pistols that look like they would cause some serious damage to opponents across the galaxy.

Paint details to appreciate include silver rings on Gamora’s fingers as well as her boots’ belt buckles; and Rocket’s sharp white teeth, intricate jetpack and highlights on his bushy brown-and-black tail.

Diamond has done a great job over the years of offering some excellent hard plastic sculpts of stars from the Marvel Comics and cinematic universe and the tradition continues with this “Guardian” homage.

Harley’s Holiday (DC Collectibles, $275) — Offering a nearly perfect reproduction from an illustrated title card from a 1994 episode of the legendary show “Batman: The Animated Series,” this mixed-media statue features Joker’s girlfriend dressed to the hilt and walking her pair of pet hyenas.

The almost 10-inch-tall masterpiece sculpted by Irene Matar reveals a supposedly rehabilitated polyresin version of Harley with her bright yellow hair in a ponytail and wearing a black-and-red minidress, red high heels, a massive red-and-black floppy hat (an exaggerated fascinator), and a pair of glasses.

She stands in front of a collection of suitcases and has two elastic leashes with small metal clasps attached to her pets’ collars as the ropes twist around her legs while her furry friends guard her on either side of a heavy and thick art deco-styled base.

A generous gift for the true fan of creator Bruce Timm’s Bat show, its price reflects a meticulous quality and a finely detailed design. Owners will be smart to take great care in removing the pieces from the packaging as well as assembling this museum-quality statue.

Batman and Rogues (Entertain Art, $75) — A select lithograph of master pop culture painter Alex Ross will give lucky owners a chance to admire one of his cooler homages to the Caped Crusader and his greatest villains.

This 18-inch-wide by 24-inch-tall reproduction of Mr. Ross’ work on printed canvas offers lifelike representations of Batman being nearly smothered by Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, the Riddler, the Penguin, Two-Face, Scarecrow, Catwoman, and Ra’s and Talia al Ghul as he wraps his hand around the Joker’s neck.

It’s an eye-popping gift surely to amaze comic-book fans smitten by the Dark Knight, and it’s ready for hanging over a desk or as a featured piece in a home entertainment room.

Retro Punisher (Diamond Select Toys, $80) — Action-figure loving, nostalgia buffs will most appreciate this package paying homage to the 1970s Mego doll line that featured characters from the comic-book universe. 

A limited edition collector’s set (only 1,500 available) includes three versions of Frank Castle, the famed Hell’s Kitchen vigilante from the Marvel Comics’ universe.

First, owners pull a traditionally costumed, 8-inch-tall Punisher doll from a vintage-looking Mego box and can arm him with a sniper rifle. His white gloves and boots, white skull logo on his black bodysuit, and v-shaped hair cut will remind comic-book lovers of his first appearance in “Amazing Spider-Man” issue No. 129.

Next owners can swap the head (sporting a different hairdo), the hands (flesh-colored) and clothing to put Frank in street garb — wearing jeans, an olive-green jacket, beige work boots and black turtleneck.

Finally, the coolest look of the bunch offers a third variation using a swappable head of the Punisher with white bandage on his nose and the option to attach fisted or pistol-holding gloved hands.

He also changes into a black pleather trench coat, black bulletproof vest (with white skull logo), black military boots and black pants.

Weapons include an assault rifle, pair of pistols and knife. The beautifully detailed and stitched cloth costume features a metal belt buckle, metal snaps for the jacket and velco for the vest.

Suffice it to report, it’s a well-round homage to one of Marvels’ most violent characters.

Negan Deluxe (McFarlane Toys, $34.99) — A 10-inch-tall, hard plastic statue pays homage to the leader of the Saviors showcased in the latest season of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” zombie television show.

Based on Robert Kirkman’s brutal comic-book character, Negan looks plucked from the show and sports his black, zippered leather jacket, motorcycle boots and jeans.

The mild articulated figure (twist the neck or rotate the arms) offers the likeness of its acting counterpart, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, with a maniacal grin and rests upon a terrain base.

Negan is permanently positioned for display, looking down upon a possible victim with his barbed-wire-covered bat Lucille over his head and hands gripped on the weapon as he prepares to swing away.

It’s not quite the position I would have picked to appreciate his facial detail, but he will certainly look menacing on a shelf or office cubicle.


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