People's Choice Awards for 2001

After much compiling and reviewing, here they are - the People's Choices for the Best and Worst of 2001 poll!  If  you'd like to compare it to last year, just check out this link.

Thanks to all that answered the questions, and one of you was the lucky winner of the Murder Legendre figure.  Jeremy Wilcox, take a bow! You should have your figure shortly.

This year's fan poll was interesting. Normally, when you have folks vote on something like this, it ends up being the same couple companies taking most of the awards, both in the best and worst categories. Think of the Oscars...and how many did Crouching Tiger end up with?

But this year it was slightly different. There was far more diversity than I had expected, and some of the folks that won 'best' awards also managed to take home 'worst' awards in other categories. Some of the categories had clear winners, while others were neck and neck. There were some big changes from last year's poll as well, and I'll point those out as we go along.

I did something a little different this year too.  For every first place Gold, the winner gets three points.  For a second place Silver, they get two, and for a third place Bronze, they get one.  But that's only for the 'good' awards.  If they picked up a Gold in a worst category, they get -3 points, -2 for a Silver and -1 for a Bronze.  I call these 'tarnished' awards.

I took all those awards, totaled them up, and one company did blow the rest of the out of the water.  While there was a lot of diversity in individual awards, one company managed to do well in the Best categories, and picked up none of the Worsts.  That's the secret to coming out on top overall.

First up - The Best Overall Company.
This one wasn't particularly close, but the top three took home the majority of the votes. In third place was Playmates with 13% of the vote. Clearly a few of the Simpsons collectors were chiming in here! In second was the old favorite, McFarlane Toys with 18%. The big winner, with a whopping 31%, was Sideshow Toy.

Last year's winner, Dragon (who wasn't even on the radar this year) only had 18% of the vote.  The voting was much closer in 2000, and only McFarlane returns as one of the top three from the previous year.

Next - Best Overall Line.
There isn't a top three this year, and there wasn't last year. Two lines stood out from all the rest. This year second place goes to the 12" Universal Monsters line from Sideshow. And first place - well, first place goes to the same line that it did last year, the Simpsons with 31% of the vote. I said Playmates had a winner on their hands last year, and that was clearly true. With this much interest in the line, it looks like 2002 will be the year for the World of Springfield.

Up next - Best Male Figure.
Last year this category was split up over 43 different responses, which greatly diluted the pool. This year there were a whopping 49 different figures mentioned! But this time there was a clear winner. Third place is a tie between the hyper-articulated Spiderman from the Spiderman Classics line and the F-15/F-18 Pilots from bbi, both with 8% of the vote. Second place, with 9% of the vote, goes to every bodies favorite nerd, Professor Frink. And the big winner, a real surprise to me - Dracula from Sideshow Toy. He received 16% of the votes, quite a bit considering how many different male figures were suggested.

The males are nothing without - the Best Female Figure.
Unlike the men, there were fewer choices for the ladies, and the winners had more votes each. Third place, with 12% of the vote, goes to Vampirella from MAC. There's proof that a little booty show can get you places.

Second place, with 19% of the vote, is Sideshow's 12" Buffy figure. Considering all the problems with the ankles, this shows just how much folks appreciated the great sculpt. And finally, the winner with 20% of the votes - Blaze from bbi. With Blaze and Buffy taking the top spots, it's not just the naked women getting the attention any more.

I'd also like to give honorable mentions to Leela from MAC, and Olive Oyl from Popeye, who each got 9% of the vote. If you consider those two along with the other three, I find it very interesting that only one - Vampirella - was using sex to sell. 

I think it's also important to note that two of those five female figures came from MAC, where sculpting
attractive ladies has always been a talent. 

The next category was - Best Articulation.
In this category we see one previous winner, plus a couple new companies. Our third place winner is Toybiz, with 15% of the vote. Obviously this is due to the excellent Spiderman Classics line this year.

In second place, with 19% of the votes, was last year's winner, Dragon. They continue to please with their great male and female bodies.

And the winner, with 28% of the votes, is Sideshow Toy. They've tightened up the joints, and people have noticed what an excellent overall body design they have.

In our next category - Best Sculpting - there were no big surprises.
Third place was filled by Playmates, with 11% of the vote. Clearly the Simpsons collectors were voting again. Second place, with some excellent sculpting this year by Mat Falls, was Sideshow Toy with 30% of the votes.

The big winner is no surprise to anyone. Repeating in their dominance in this category from last year, McFarlane Toys takes the top spot with 36% of the vote.

For the MIB/MOC collectors - Best Packaging.
Last year's big winner, Dragon, found themselves bumped to third place this year, with 9% of the votes. Second place was McFarlane Toys, grabbing 13% of the voters attention. And first place went to a company that returned to the gatefold box with excellent results, Sideshow Toy. Not only have the graphics been  excellent, but I think collectors really like the ability to remove the figures without tearing up the attractive boxes.

Your place or mine - Best Playset.
There really aren't that many to choose from most years, and with the Simpsons doing well in other
categories, I figured it would be a blow out. Almost, but not completely.

Taking third place with 12% of the vote was the Androids Dungeon, with the ultra-cool Comic Book Guy. In the second place spot was one of my favorites this year, the Jaws diorama from McFarlane Toys. And in the top spot, to no one's suprise, is the Treehouse of Horror set with Kang and Kodos. It grabbed 22% of the votes.

And in the final best category - Best Idea.
There were a number of neat ideas this year. Things like the Pop Out People, the Rock N' the Box stuff, and the Ertl Sportsmen figures all did pretty well in this category. But three of the ideas really stood out.

Third place went to the new display stands from Ultarama. These are particularly cool for the Star Wars collector, but others are finding them extremely useful as well.

Second place went to the re-issue of the He-man figures, with 17% of the votes. Lots of folks are also looking forward to what the He-man line has in store for 2002.

And in first place, with a whopping 30% of the votes, were the Lego line, Bionicles.

Ah, now on to the worst categories. Many of these were blowouts, with far fewer close races than in the best categories.

First up - Worst Overall Company.
This one wasn't even close. Both the second and third place folks were well behind the first place 

Third place was last year's winner, Hasbro. They only received 9% of the votes this year, way down from the 54% they grabbed last year. That's probably due to the fact that the Star Wars license was handled far better this year than last.

Second place was a brand new company - Stan Winston Creations. Edging out Hasbro for the number two slot with 10% of the votes, this goes to show just how much the majority of folks disliked the Creature Features line.

The number one winner, with a huge 37% of the votes, was N2 Toys. No surprise here, with awful lines like Mad Max, Matrix, and Hardened under their belt this year.

Speaking of which - Worst Overall Line.
This was a category with no shortage of nominees this year. Most of them were movie related licenses, but there was no clear cut winner. Just about every poor line this year got some votes.

Third place was a tie with 9% each for the Spiderman Adventure Heroes (look! It's Spiderman in a bathing suit!) and the awful Planet of the Apes movie line.

Second place just edged them out, with only 10% of the vote, was the Hardened line, with Seagal and Rambo.

The big winners were in a tie with only 11% of the vote. Two movie lines that were far worse than their movie counterparts - Mummy Returns and the Matrix.

Next up - Worst Male Figure.
N2's work showed up big in this category, taking home 'honors' in both the bronze and gold.

Third place with 11% of the vote was the aforementioned Seagal figure from the Hardened line. Apparently he was slightly worst than his counterpart, Rambo, who tied for second with the truly awful Eminem from Art Asylum, with 14% of the vote.

But the gold went to the 12" Morpheus figure, who was just poor all around.

And behind every bad male - Worst Female Figure.
There are always fewer female choices than male, but folks had no trouble picking the worst.

The awful figure of Daena, from the Planet of the Apes movie line, took third place with 18% of the votes.

Second place was snagged by Lara Croft with 21%, who Playmates mangled. Considering that Playmates took third in best overall company, it's clear folks weren't too happy with this particular line even though they like Playmates.

Our top prize goes to the truly horrendous Masterpiece Edition Wonder Woman. No need to wonder why. She edged out Lara with 24% of the vote.

Here's an interesting note: Chyna recieved 16% of the vote, almost taking the bronze. She also won this title last year (in a tie with Winona). Since this voting was based on two different figures, I suspect this says something about the source material. Ahem.

No action in the action figure - Worst Articulation.
The two top winners in this category were also two of the top three Best Overall Companies. While people like these folks in general, it's pretty obvious that they could do a little more with their articulation.

Third place is taken by Stan Winston, who publicly stated his figures would have little articulation. No wonder that 15% of the voters agreed with him.

Second place was taken by Playmates, one of the Best Overall Companies. Folks would like to see a little more articulation in their Simpsons figs, and the awful Tomb Raider line didn't help. They received 19% of the vote.

And first place was a repeat winner from last year - McFarlane Toys. While some of their figures are highly articulated, like Samurai Spawn, they do so many pre-posed figures that they continue to garner this award. This year they received 24% of the vote.

Hit with an Ugly Stick - Worst Sculpting.
While categories like Worst Female or Worst Articulation were fairly close races, Worst Sculpting was another blowout.

Hasbro snuck in with 8% of the vote to take the bronze home, while JAKK's grabbed 14%, to take silver, even with their use of Real Scan.

But the big winner, with a whopping 42% of the vote, was N2 Toys. Let's face it - most of their figures look like they were hit by the ugly bus and then dragged for a block.

Get it out of there as fast as possible - Worst Packaging.
Not as many folks vote in the best and worst packaging categories, probably because many of them have little interest. But you can never underestimate the power that the packaging has in the initial sale of an item. Unless you're won of the winners in this category.

Third place honors go to JAKK's, with only 9% of the vote. They were well outdistanced by the second place winner - who also won the gold last year - Hasbro with 21%, and this year's new number one, N2 Toys, with 28% of the vote.

Next up - Worst Playset.
There were lots of SImpsons fans who voted this year, since that line took top honors as Best Overall Line. That doesn't mean they liked everything that had the WOS label though. Sure, two of the three Best Playsets were from WOS. But two of the Worst were too!

The recent Church playset with Reverend Lovejoy grabbed third place, with 16% of the vote. Second place was nabbed by the animated Bat Cave, probably because it was simply a re-paint/re-deco.

The gold goes to another WOS set though - the Simpsons Family Car. With a massive 44% of the vote, folks voiced their displeasure over it's scale and design.

It seemed like a good idea at the time - Worst Idea.
This year's third place winner is very interesting. Rock N' the Box took 9% of the vote, enough to be honored with a bronze medal. That's interesting, because the also received 11% of the vote for Best Idea. You loved them or you hated them.

Second place was filled by the limited Potter figures, like Voldemort and Dumbledore. 15% of the voters disliked this idea, and exclusives always rank high in this category.

But the numero uno Worst Idea was the overall increasing prices on figures. This year we've seen normal figures, like Jimmy Neutron, Planet of the Apes, or Tomb Raider, jump from a $6 price point to an $8 price point, and very few people are seeing the value. They took a monstrous 55% of the vote, the highest percentage of any winner in any category.

And finally - What Are You Most Looking Forward To.
Before I mention the winners of this for 2001, I think it's interesting to look at the winners of 2000 and see how they did in 2001.

Last years top winners were DC Direct and the Spiderman Classics figures, followed closely by Dragon and Famous Covers. I think that both DC Direct and most certainly the Spiderman Classics did very well this year, fulfilling people's hopes for the most part. Interestingly, nothing happened with FC's, as they faded into history, and Dragon seems to be far less talked about,
due in part to the greater number of figures from them in general, and the new competition in quality from bbi and Sideshow in 2001.

This year's winners were three great lines. In third place with 10% of the vote, is a line that we're just starting to get hyped up for Star Wars Episode 2. I'm sure that by May, the fervor will be full swing.

The silver medal goes to a line that was just recently announced, the Muppets from Palisades. I suspect this line will do very well, and 13% of the voters were looking forward to it.

And the gold goes to a Sideshow license - James Bond. 22% of the voters said they were looking forward to this license, and I think it could make or break Sideshow's reputation.

Looking at all these categories and winners, it looks as though lots of lines and companies were cvoered, good or bad.  Obviously, Sideshow did mighty well if you look at the big picture, and totaling up the awards simply proves that:

Company Gold Silver Bronze Tgold Tsilver Tbronze Total
Playmates 2 1 3 1 2 1 3
Sideshow 5 3 21
McFarlane 1 3 1 6
N2 5 2 2 -21
JAKK's 1 1 1 -6
Stan Winston 1 1 -3
Palisades 1 2
Hasbro 1 1 1 3 -7
bbi 1 3
Toybiz 2 1 1 -1
MAC 1 1
Dragon 1 1 3
Lego 1 3
Mattel 1 1 0
Ultarama 1 1
Art Asylum 1 1 -3
Total 10 10 9 9 10 10


With 21 total points, Sideshow blows past Playmates and McFarlane, both of whom were hurt by picking up a few tarnished medals.  N2 smokes everyone on the worst spot, with a score of -21.  Wow.

There is one big surprise.  First, where's Art Asylum?  They picked up a couple Worst awards, but not a single award for any Best.  They picked up a few votes with Crouching Tiger figures, in both the Best Male and Best Female, and had a few votes for Best Company as well.  Perhaps it's because most of the AA product that folks are talking about is still planned - Star Trek, Dark Angel, Minimates, etc.  The only really big line they had this year was Crouching Tiger, and while folks liked it quite a bit, it wasn't enough to push them in front of the more prolific companies.

That's it for the People's Choice Awards for Best and Worst of 2001.  2002 looks like a fantastic year for action figures, and the Golden Age isn't yet over!

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