It's been almost a year since I last updated, and a hectic year at that. After seven years in Queens, my wife and I packed up and moved across the country to Seattle.
In addition to that, there are a few other reasons this blog fell to the side. The first is that I've been concentrating on my fiction: I wrote a huge number of short stories over on Mainlining Christmas, and I'm working on a new novel. In addition, my collecting habits last year became less focused. While I've never been a completist, DC Universe Classics has clearly been the centerpiece of my collection for years. With that wrapping up, I'd moved away from collecting lines and towards picking up the odd figure here and there. I didn't feel like I had as much to add to the discussion around most of those.
It was a visit to The Disney Store that got me typing again. My wife picked up the Mother Gothel figure last year, and we've been waiting ever since to see if Disney would expand the line of villains. Today, I wandered in to find Maleficent and the Evil Queen sitting on the shelves. I haven't heard about them until today, so I wanted to spread the word.
These are 12 inch dolls, in scale with Barbie. Needless to say, you can pick up the princesses and princes, too, as well as accessories, additional costumes, and even some supporting characters. Overall, the princesses are pretty good, while the princes still look like decade-old Kens. I keep hoping that Disney catches up with modern conventions and brings their male characters up to the quality of the females.
These dolls are more like the princesses, minus the vapid expressions protagonists have as a default. There's also a Jafar in this line, but - like the princes - he just doesn't compare. Each villain features a unique head sculpt and - for the price - a nice costume. I'd have loved to see some accessories - say a staff or raven for Maleficent and an apple or even a mirror for the Evil Queen - but that's probably a lot to ask.
The clear winner of these three is Mother Gothel, with the Evil Queen coming in second. Maleficent is still a good figure, but the skin tone doesn't quite work.
The best part of these is the price: they retail for $14.50, less than I'm used to paying for a six-inch action figure. Plus, they seem to be on sale more often than not. I picked these up for 2 for $20 today, though I was so excited to find them, I didn't even notice they were on sale until I was at the register.
These are obviously low-end dolls, but I'd argue they hold up pretty well as collectibles. In the current market, these seem almost comically under priced. I suspect some collectors dismiss The Disney Store as being too kid-oriented, but it's become a fantastic source of reasonably priced dolls and action figures.