The People's Choice for Best/Worst of 2002

The voting is done, the tallying's time for the announcement of the People's Choice for Best and Worst of 2002!

Lest you get confused and think companies don't notice, let me point out that last year's winner of best overall line - Playmates for the Simpsons - included it in their display at Toy Fair.  What you pick does count!

If you'd like to take a trip in the way back machine, check out the People's Choice awards for 2000 and 2001.  Some things change, and some stay pretty much the same!

This year there were between four and five hundred unique voters, depending on the category.  One lucky voter, Greg Method, got to take home the cool Dynamic Forces Spider-man life size bust as well!  Now on to the results...

The Best Overall Company

This was a tight race, particularly between the companies in first and second place.  Only a handful of votes separated them, but only one can be on top.

Third place, with 15% of the vote, was McFarlane Toys.  Not a huge surprise, considering how solid the Spawn 22 line was, as well as the Movie Maniacs assortment this year.  Their percentage is similar to last year's results (when they had 18% of the vote), but they are the only returning winner.

Second place, right on their tail with 22% of the votes, is Palisades.  Obviously many folks are happy with the new Muppets line, along with the rest of their products this year.

And finally, just squeaking them out with 25% of the overall votes, was my pick, Toybiz.  The improvement in the LOTR lines, and the fan love for Marvel Legends is clearly being heard here.

Best Overall Line
As you might imagine, you see some reflection of the best overall company in the best overall line.  Not surprisingly, a couple of the companies above managed to get their better lines into this category as well, but also as usual, someone else slipped in.

Third place goes to that long standing line, the World of Springfield from Playmates.  With 14% of the vote, it showed that it's still got some legs.

The second place line comes from our big winner of for best company, Toybiz.  Marvel Legends used all that articulation to grab 15% of the vote.

And the big winner is no surprise - the Muppets.  With almost 24% of the vote, it's clear that the line was a fan favorite.

Best Male Figure
The voting was extremely spread out for best male figure.  That's not surprising, considering the large number of voters, and the large number of great stuff that hit last year.

With 6% of the vote, Ironman barely slips into the top three.  Right behind him with only a couple votes giving him the second place honors, is Hank Scorpio, one of the best Simpsons figures of the year.  And finally, easily taking first place with 11% of the vote, almost double the second and third place winners, is Sauron from Toybiz.

Best Female Figure
Things weren't quite so spread out on the female figures, due to fewer female figures released this last year.

The third place winner had a 12% of the overall vote - Valkyrie.  The second place winner is Miss Piggy, with 16% of the vote.  That's fairly surprising, considering how much Muppets collectors complained about her!  And the big winner, right out of the re-released MOTU...Teela with 18% of the vote!

Best Articulation
There's a trend here - the best male was a very spread vote, the best female slightly less.  There's no doubt about these next two categories though, with one big winner coming forward in each.

In distant third for best articulation at 10% of the vote is Sideshow Toy.  That's a little surprising, considering that this category is normally dominated by sixth scale products.  But this year, a couple companies stepped it up in the 6"-7" market.

The second place winner, with 14% of the vote is Palisades.  They found plenty of ways to give us unique and creative articulation in smaller figures.

But the big winner, with practically a landslide 43% of the vote is Toybiz.  There's no doubt this is due to the increased articulation in the latest LOTR figure and the exceptional work on Marvel Legends.

Best Sculpting
There's another distinct winner here, and it should be absolutely no surprise who it is.  They've won this category all three years!

Sideshow Toy comes in with 11% of the vote.  With all their great work on actual human likenesses, they are a regular winner in this category.

Second place goes to Palisades with 23%.  They've shown with the Muppets how fantastic their sculpting can be.

But the obvious winner is once again McFarlane with 33% of the vote.  It's interesting to note however that this is the lowest percentage they've gotten over the last three years, as more companies are coming up from behind.

Best Packaging
Weirdly enough, this category turned out to be a match for the previous one!

Third place here also went to Sideshow, with 14% of the vote.  They deserve better than that, considering packaging like Monty Python.

Again, second went to Palisades.  Hey, all that work on the box art really paid off!  They had 17% of the vote.

And somehow McFarlane pulled off first with 20% of the vote.  That's a big surprise to me!  Maybe folks like the clamshells better than I had thought.

Best vehicle/playset
This is the only category this year where we had a tie!

The third place play set is the Electric Mayhem from the Muppets line.  With an excellent Animal figure and great details, it's no surprise the line is doing so well.

Our only tie is for second place.  Both Muppet Labs and the Alien/Predator set picked up 15% of the vote.

And the big winner, with 23% of the vote, is the huge, expensive and very cool Main Street set for World of Springfield.

Best New Idea
There were a ton of interesting and innovative products this year, not to mention some pretty smart marketing techniques.  Folks had no trouble picking out their favorites.

Third place goes to Heroclix, with 18%.  It's always great to see a new game take off, and the DC and Marvel fans love it.

21% of the vote was enough to take second place for Mattel.  Folks are pretty excited about the Batman/Superman license going to them, and they are looking forward to the fresh blood.

With 27% of the vote, the World of Springfield takes first.  They won for the cool mail away offers this year, including Cooder and Sinclair and the Be Sharps.

Now on to the Worst of 2002. Voters are often spread out even further in these categories, since very few things are universally awful.  But there's always a few!

Worst Overall Company
There wasn't much contest this year for Worst Company, but it's a bit like beating a dead horse.

Third place dishonors go to Jakk's, with 10% of the votes.  Many people are growing even more dissatisfied with the WWF/WWE lines.

Second place goes to a regular in this category, Hasbro.  They picked up 14% of the votes this year, and never do seem to be able to make the buyers completely happy.

And the winner is...N2.  They picked up 22% of the votes, and it's no surprise that they are no more.  We won't have them to pick on next year - I wonder who will take their place?

Worst Line
The best company/best lines are often very close, and so are the worst companies/worst lines.  This year is no different, with two of the three worst lines coming from two of the three worst companies.

In third with 7% is the WWF (now WWE) line of figures from Jakk's.  They need to breathe some fresh air into the line.

In second, with 10% of the vote, is Big Trouble in Little China, a line originally developed by N2.

And in first, with 20% of the vote is a dark horse - the Simpsons Blockos.  It's no wonder they received this dishonor considering the number that are still on the shelves.

Worst Male Figure
The voting for worst male was widely divided this year, but three manly men did manage to find their way to the bottom of the pile.

Third place, with 8% of the votes, goes to Jorge Sacul.  I think most people agreed with me and felt he was nothing more than one major suck up.

Second place, with 14%, goes to the Austin Powers figure from Mezco.  I didn't think they were THAT bad, but clearly lots of folks were disappointed.

The winner is unusual because he wasn't a poor quality figure, but a controversial figure.  Hitler, from Drastic Plastic, picked up 18% of the vote to take the top spot.  He is a very high quality figure, but the controversy surrounding his existence is his downfall.

Worst female
While worst male was fairly well distributed, there's a huge winner (or loser) for the worst female category.

Sarah Connor was almost a third place winner for best female - she was just a couple votes short.  Instead she got enough votes (10%) to take third in the completely opposite category.  Obviously, you love her or hate her, with nothing in between.

The second place winner took 16%, and disappointed Smallville fans everywhere.  Yep, Lana Lang grabbed the number 2 spot.

But the winner was clear - with a whopping 43% of the vote, the 12" Zam Wessel from Hasbro.  Enough said.

Worst Articulation
There were lots of companies that stepped up the articulation this year, but there's still a few hold outs that don't quite seem to get the idea.

One of those is our third place winner, with 15% of the vote.  Hasbro is getting better with the 3 3/4" Star Wars figures, but everything else, including their 12" figures for Star Wars, is way behind the pack.

Although they won lots of 'bests' this year, McFarlane managed to snag the second place trophy for worst articulation.  It surprises me a bit, since I think they are getting better most of the time, but 17% of the voters didn't agree.

The company that really missed the articulation boat is a big surprise - Playmates.  They picked up 18% of the vote, just barely making it past McFarlane.  Of course, this is because of the standard 5 points that the WOS figures have and will always have.

Worst Sculpting
Don't worry, nobody voted for McFarlane in this category.  But the voting was spread pretty evenly.

With only 9% of the votes, Jakk's takes third.  Clearly, Real Scan isn't doing them much good.

Hasbro got 16% and second place, further proving that Star Wars collectors are still dissatisfied.

And with 26%, our dead horse N2 takes first.  Who are we going to kick around next year!

Worst Packaging
Most people don't care about the packaging, but plenty of folks still found someone to vote for in this category.  It was another that was fairly spread out.

Third place goes to Playmates, with 9% of the vote.  They've updated the WOS packaging now, but will it do any good next year?

Second place goes to N2 with 13%.  I'm not sure why, since it usually wasn't their packaging that made you look away.  Maybe it's easy to hate them for the whole package.

The first place winner, with 14% of the vote, just beating out N2, is the perennial favorite, Hasbro.  Dull and uninspired is the best thing you can say for most of their packaging.

Worst Vehicle/Playset
There were tons of play sets this year, and two of the three winners in the worst category come from that background.

The Great Pumpkin set, with Snoopy and his dog house in the pumpkin patch, took third with 20% of the vote.  Let's hope the rest of the sets in this series are more like the Classroom.

Second place is snagged by the Springfield School Bus by Playmates.  Considering how poorly the Family Car sold, it's not surprising the bus shared a similar fate.  It had 23% of the vote.

And the big winner, the top dog, was the Guardians of Gotham Batcave.  Actually, it was released twice this year under different names, and had been used about five times before that.  Hasbro strikes again with the ridiculous re-issues!

Worst Idea
There was a lot less confusion over the worst ideas of the year, and one, a favorite every year, came out clearly on top.

But there was a contingent that's not happy about the limited Muppets figures.  11% of the voters picked what has become a big part of the line.

Another 27% despise Bobbleheads.  With the damn things lining shelves all over, and in every goofy license imaginable, I'd be surprised if someone didn't go on a bobblehead attack.

The thing that gets everyone's goat though is increasing prices.  While I didn't think it was that bad this year, 38% of the voters disagreed with me.

Most looking forward to in 2003
That's it for the negative - now on to the positive for 2003!  The voters had pretty strong feelings about the lines they were salivating for.

In third was a big line for this year - Masters of the Universe.  This new line of an old line of a new show picked up 14% of the votes.

The second place winner was the Muppets with 27% of the vote.  With the Chef/Kitchen set, and several very solid waves for 2003, it looks like a big year for Muppets fans.

And the top line for next year, the one everyone has their eyes on, is Marvel Legends.  With 31% of the votes, it looks like Toybiz has a big winner on their hands for next year too.

That's it for 2002 - see you in 12 more months for our next round of voting!

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