The People's Picks for 2011!

The Peoples have spoken! From 2000 til 2006, I held an award contest for the best pop culture collectibles as voted on by the readers - that's you. In 2007, I started a new industry awards contest, where the nominations and voting is done by a panel of judges from the industry - companies, media, artists, retailers and collectors.  Called the Poppies, it was a hit...but folks missed not getting to vote too, and have their opinions heard. So in 2008, I brought back the People's Picks, and gave readers the chance to vote on the same set of nominees as the Poppies judges, allowing comparisons to be made. I've posted the Poppies results earlier this week - now it's time for the results of the 2011 People's Picks!

I've also done my own set of bests and worsts of the year for comparison, but I'll be talking a lot in this article about how the readers voted versus the Poppies judges - where they are the same, where they are different, and perhaps why I think that might be.

Here are links back to past year's picks for comparisons:

My picks:   People's Picks:   Poppies:  
2011 2011 2011
2010 2010 2010
2009 2009 2009
2008 2008 2008
2007 N/A   2007
2006 2006 N/A
2005 2005 N/A
2004 2004 N/A
2003 2003 N/A
2002 2002 N/A
2001 2001 N/A
2000 2000 N/A

If you have comments you'd like to share, let me know by emailing me.  Let's get this party started!

Best Overall Company

In any category with a lot of choices, you generally get a bunch of nominees with votes, spreading it out and making the winner take the top spot with 15% or so, tops. When it comes to a lot of nominees, none of the categories has as many as Best Company, so you'd assume that this would be a pretty spread out field with a winner that just gets enough to take number one.

You'd be wrong, and that goes to show just how dominate the top dog is right now. But before we get to them, let's start with our bronze winner, with 6% of the votes - Sideshow Collectibles! I didn't have Sideshow on my own ballot for many categories this year, but it's not because they did bad work. They did very consistent, solid work all year, but only a few items really stood out for me. But the readers felt there was enough exceptional output (especially in Star Wars) for Sideshow to get the third place win.

I was a little surprised by the second place winner, since they weren't a flashy company this year. Also with 6% of the vote (but just a few more votes than Sideshow) is Diamond Select Toys. DST has several winners in their overall lineup, and I think the minimates resurgence has helped as well.

The winner dominated this year, with 54% of the votes. Of course, it's Hot Toys, that's no surprise. We all know that they are producing some amazing figures, and perhaps just as important, are getting a ton of press because of it. The name brand recognition is extremely high right now, inside and even outside the industry. But it's still a surprise to me that with the readers they dominated so heavily. Clearly, people appreciate what they are doing at the micro and macro levels.

I find it interesting that after Hot Toys, none of the three 'panels' had the same pick for second or third place. Hot Toys appears to be the only thing everyone can agree on!

Place MWC's Picks People's Picks Poppies Picks
1st Place Hot Toys Hot Toys Hot Toys
2nd Place Onell Designs DST
3rd Place NECA Sideshow Lego


Best Overall Line - High End

Unlike the judges, the readers went all in on the Hot Toys lines for this category. Both Sideshow's Star Wars and threeA's World War Robot made a run at it, but they didn't quite pull enough votes to take one of the top three spots.

Third place went to a dark horse, at least for me. Hot Toys Batman Begins series took the medal, although there weren't a lot of releases in 2011. Clearly the show exclusive Batman/Bruce Wayne was strong enough pretty much on his own to squeeze into the top three with 15% of the vote.

Hot Toys took second as well, and this time it was with my favorite (and the Poppies Judges second place favorite as well), the Marvel Movie series. Eighteen percent of the readers felt it was the best high end line of the year, and obviously I agree with them. With a bunch of releases - Spider-man, Thor, Odin, Captain America, Ghost Rider - they certainly did the Marvel license proud in 2011. With the Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man coming in 2012, I expect we'll see more of the same.

Hot Toys also took first this year, with 23% of the vote going to Iron Man 2. While the second movie might not have been as strong overall as the first, it still gave Hot Toys the chance to produce some very cool figures in 2011, and is another series where they go very heavy on the releases. Things were actually a little light for 2011, but with some huge figures planned for 2012 (including the Iron Monger), I suspect this won't be the last time we see this series getting top honors.

Place MWC's Picks People's Picks Poppies Picks
1st Place Marvel Movie Iron Man 2 Iron Man 2
2nd Place Star Wars Marvel Movie
Marvel Movie
3rd Place World War Robot Batman Begins World War Robot


Best Overall Line - Low End

This time, the readers and the Poppies Judges differed only a little.

That difference came in third place, where the readers gave Hasbro's Star Wars series 9% of the vote and the third place spot. I've already mentioned it several times, but it bears repeating - Hasbro continues to find ways to make the line interesting, and they keep raising the bar in every way with the 4" scale figure.

Second place went to the same line that the readers picked - Arkham Asylum from DC Direct. While part of this popularity is due to the game, it's also due to the excellent sculpts and paint work. It's nice to see DC Direct getting their feet back under them after a rough couple years. The readers awarded them with 14% of the vote.

The big winner, with 18% of the vote (this was a close race!), is Masters of the Universe Classics from Mattel. This is such a love/hate relationship. While lots of people still love the line, there's lots that also hate how Mattel has handled it, especially with their relationship with Digital River and the on going problems with ordering and order fulfillment. Let's hope Mattel learns their lesson at some point...make it soon, please.

Place MWC's Picks People's Picks Poppies Picks
1st Place Star Wars MOTUC MOTUC
2nd Place MOTUC Arkham Asylum
Arkham Asylum
3rd Place Glyos Star Wars G.I. Joe


Eddie Wires Award for Outstanding Paint

This award was created in memory of the amazing artist Eddie Wires. Many people in the industry knew Eddie, and everyone inside and out loved his work. The Poppies Judges thought it was appropriate to create a special award in his honor that in turn honors a collectible that stands out due to it's exceptional paint quality.

In one of the rare occasions outside of first place, all three panels picked Scarabus, from the Four Horsemen, for their third place spot. The Horsemen know how critical great paint ops are to the final look of the figure, and they've always done a great job. It's nice to see that everyone picked up on that this year, and I can't wait to see what they have in store for us in 2012. Scarabus took home 7% of the vote.

The Chris Reeve Superman came in second with 27% of the vote. Hot Toys put their talents for creating life-like, realistic paint work into one of the most iconic figures in comic book movies, and they are getting some much deserved kudos for it.

The readers agreed with me though, or at least 39% of them did, handing Captain Jack Sparrow from Hot Toys the gold. While this might be 'just another Jack', it's easily the best Jack produced to date, and that's due in no small part to the fantastic paint work.

Place MWC's Picks People's Picks Poppies Picks
1st Place DX-06 Jack Sparrow DX-06 Jack Sparrow Reeve Superman
2nd Place Sweeney Todd Reeve Superman
DX-06 Jack Sparrow
3rd Place Scarabus Scarabus Scarabus


Best Male Figure 12 - 18"

The three favs for the readers matched up with the three favs from the judges, just in a different order.

In third place with 8% of the vote is the Mark V version of Iron Man. There weren't quite as many readers as judges who liked him, percentage wise, but he still was a strong enough figure to grab the bronze.

The readers put the Chris Reeve Superman in second, with a sizable 28% of the vote. They clearly loved him...but not quite as much as they loved the DX06 Captain Jack Sparrow, who got a solid 34% of the vote. Hot Toys has dominated this category for the last couple years, but for two of their figures to get almost 2 out of every 3 votes? That's a pretty impressive win.

Place MWC's Picks People's Picks Poppies Picks
1st Place DX-06 Jack Sparrow DX-06 Jack Sparrow Reeve Superman
2nd Place Reeve Superman Reeve Superman
DX-06 Jack Sparrow
3rd Place T-800 Iron Man Mark V Iron Man Mark V


Best Male Figure  5 - 11"

I was a little disappointed that the big winner with the Poppie Judges - Scarabus - wasn't on the radar with most readers. Clearly, the Four Horsemen need to get a bit more exposure with their FANtastic Exclusives.

With Scarabus not selected, the third place spot went to a Masters of the Universe Classics figure - Vikor! I suppose there's some irony there, since he was also sculpted by the Horsemen...Vikor took 11% of the vote.

The second place winner is one most can agree with - it's the Marvel Select Juggernaut from DST. Juggs grabbed 13% of the vote, and is an excellent example of how great the Marvel Select line has been this last year.

While the readers might have overlooked the judge's favorite, they didn't ignore the judges number 2 pick, and gave their gold to the Joker from Arkham Asylum. He picked up 23% of the vote. He has exceptional paint and a terrific sculpt, and DCD was able to capture the game style extremely well.

Place MWC's Picks People's Picks Poppies Picks
1st Place Scarabus Arkham Asylum Joker Scarabus
2nd Place Skeleton Warrior Juggernaut
Arkham Asylum Joker
3rd Place Lion-O Vikor Juggernaut


Best Male Figure under 5"

This was a VERY divided field this year, with everyone getting a share of the votes.

That means that it only took 9% of the vote to snag third. The bronze medalist is Assassin's Creed Ezio, from Unimax. Nice to see them getting some praise for their work from the readers, as I've felt it was above most other companies working in this scale right now.

Second place was taken with 9% of the vote too - Battle Damaged Thor from Hasbro had just a handful more votes than Ezio. It's actually a bit surprising that a Thor toy made it in with the readers, as I've generally heard nothing but complaints about the series. I suppose those that hated it were just louder!

The winner took 17% of the vote, showing you just how spread this field was. Once again, it's Hasbro's new Low-Light figure. There's still plenty of Joe fans out there, and this toy had everything that makes a great action figure in spades. (Special thanks to for the use of the photo).

Place MWC's Picks People's Picks Poppies Picks
1st Place Savage Opress Low-Light Low-Light
2nd Place Low-Light Thor
Doc Strange
3rd Place Glyan Ezio Chewbacca


Best Female Figure over 11"

Now it's time for the lovely ladies to take center stage. When I did my picks, I tried to mix things up a bit with my top three, and my silver medalist - Abby Bominable - wasn't even on the ballot. But the Poppies Judges and the readers were confined to the ballot, and it's probably no surprise that with such a small field this year, their results were identical.

Third place was snagged with 13% of the vote (same exact percentage as the Poppies judges) by the BSA version of Jill Valentine. Yep, she's sweet all right.

Hot Toys Battle Suit version of Jill Valentine beat out her cousin with 28% of the vote. It's that outfit, I tell ya...and maybe the short hair. This is one of the sexier versions of Jill we've seen.

But with a whopping 52% of the vote, Alice takes the top spot again. With a smokin' hot outfit and a bevy of badass weapons, she's an exceptional addition to the Hot Toys Resident Evil series.

Place MWC's Picks People's Picks Poppies Picks
1st Place Battle Suit Jill Alice Alice
2nd Place Abby Bominable Battle Suit Jill
Battle Suit Jill
3rd Place Dakota BSA Jill BSA Jill

Best Female Figure 5" - 11"
Shrink the ladies down a bit, and their still mighty fine.

In third place with 10% of the votes is the excellent Masters of the Universe Queen Marlena from Mattel.  The MOTUC series actually had quite a nice share of babes in 2011, but clearly the 'two figures in one' nature of Marlena gave her the edge.

The second place winner grabbed 14% of the votes - it's the Marvel Select Black Widow from DST! This was a nice surprise, and it's clear that the fans are liking what DST is doing with the Select series.

With a very decisive 31% of the vote the Arkham Asylum rendition of Harley Quinn took the top spot. She was well loved by all, not an easy task with a pretty full ballot in this category.

Place MWC's Picks People's Picks Poppies Picks
1st Place Harley Quinn Harley Quinn Harley Quinn
2nd Place Catra Black Widow
Queen Marlena
3rd Place Mera Queen Marlena Mera


Best Female Figure under 5"

Just like with the Poppies, the votes were close between the top three contenders in this category.

Hasbro's Ashoka netted 22% of the votes, more than enough to take the bronze. Fans of the Clone Wars series were thrilled to get a better version in 2011.

She might be tiny and she might be cartoony, but with 25% of the vote the Wonder Woman from the Action League series is also a silver medalist. Action League, Superhero Showdown, and others of that ilk remain very popular with kids and collectors alike.

But we all know that it's sex that really sells, and if you're looking for sexy tough in a tiny figure, the gold medal winner is the right choice - Zarana from G.I. Joe. She received 27% of the votes, and I'm betting it was the variant look that gave her the edge. Or the bare mid-riff. (photo courtesy General Joes)

Place MWC's Picks People's Picks Poppies Picks
1st Place Zam Wessell Zarana Zarana
2nd Place Zarana Wonder Woman Action League
3rd Place Ashoka Ashoka Wonder Woman Action League


Best Build a Figure

There were a fair share of BAF's, CnC or build a whatever's this year, but even with that variety, the same three were in the top for the People's Picks and the Poppies, just the order changed.

Third place goes to the Electric Chair from the first series of Munsters figures from Diamond Select. It took 13% of the vote. We've also heard that we'll at least get Eddie and Marilyn this year, rounding out the family nicely.

Second place goes to the big American Indian - Apache Chief! I really like this figure, and it's nice to see something based on the old school Super Friends not just getting made, but getting recognized as a great BAF. He grabbed 15% of the vote.

The winner was a bit of a surprise, at least to me. Bane came out so long ago, almost a 2011 BAF, that for him to still have such a strong impression on readers is a great indication of how well done he is. Of course, it helps that he'll be the villain in next summer's big Batman flick, The Dark Knight Rises. Bane walked away with 26% of the vote.

Place MWC's Picks People's Picks Poppies Picks
1st Place Electric Chair Bane Electric Chair
2nd Place Apache Chief Apache Chief
3rd Place Anti-Monitor Electric Chair Apache Chief


Best Vehicle or Playset

Similar to the previous category, even with quite a few choices in this category, both the Poppies panel and the readers selected the same top three, minus the tie for third.

With the Masters of the Universe Classics getting such high marks in the Best Low End category, as well as Best Male 5 - 11 and Best Female 5 - 11, I was surprised that the best vehicle they did - the Windraider - only took 14% of the reader's votes. It was enough to take third place, but not as much as I'd expected.

Second place, with 18% of the votes, is the Sideshow Star Wars Dewback. He's very expensive, but he's also very cool. Throw a few Sandtroopers around him, and you have one Hell of a great diorama.

Gold goes to the other favorite, and another expensive vehicle - the Ghost Rider's Bike from Hot Toys. You had to buy Ghost Rider to get it, but what good is such a high end vehicle without a high end version of the character to ride it?

Place MWC's Picks People's Picks Poppies Picks
1st Place Dewback Ghost Rider Bike Dewback
2nd Place Ghost Rider Bike Dewback
3rd Place Family Guy Living Room Windraider GR Bike/Shuttle



Best Statue

This was a VERY close race, easily the closest in either set of awards. It was the most evenly divided, with everyone getting a small chunk of the vote pie.

The third place winner took 11% of the vote - it's Sideshow's Morgul Lord. This was the nicest Lord of the Rings PF of the year, and the flaming sword was a great touch.

In second place is another Sideshow LOTR collectible - Gandalf the Grey. It edged by the Morgul Lord with 12% of the vote. This one is not a Premium Format statue, but a more standard maquette. Sideshow began producing this new series last year, and so far has had several winners. Gandalf is arguably the best of the bunch so far, but Aragorn and Legolas were pretty sweet too.

I was beginning to fear the women would not be represented in this category this year, which would be a shame. But Gentle Giant pulls out the first place win with just 13% of the vote, squeaking by the competition. Their Baby Doll is a very popular statue, and that hopefully bodes well for the others they have planned for release in 2012. (photo courtesy Cool Toy Review)

Place MWC's Picks People's Picks Poppies Picks
1st Place Wonder Woman Baby Doll Baby Doll
2nd Place Raven Gandalf
3rd Place Bad Robot Morgul Lord Bad Robot/Wonder Woman


Best Bust

No ties here, either - the readers know what they like and they like it hard. Don't ask me what that means, because I have no idea.

Third place was a real dark horse, at least to me - Gentle Giant's new Obi-Wan Kenobi bust took the honor. He's certainly a major improvement over their past attempt. He took 7% of the vote.

Second place goes to the very large - but not as large as it could be - LSB bust of the Predator from Sideshow. With 26% of the vote, it was a solid win, and I think people are happy with this smaller scale but still pretty damn big rendition of the ugly alien hunter.

The winner took first with a solid 38% of the vote, clearly a fan favorite amongst the readers. It was tied for first in the Poppies, so it's a pretty good indication that it deserves all the praise - it's the Hot Toys Iron Man Mark V. Even when it's not a suitcase, that suit is pretty sweet.

Place MWC's Picks People's Picks Poppies Picks
1st Place Filch Iron Man MKV Predator/IM MKV
2nd Place Iron Man MKV Predator LSB
Dr. Who #4
3rd Place Son of Satan Obi-Wan Kenobi Professor Snape


Best Designer/Vinyl

This category has a couple surprises, although not when it comes to the winner. By the way, this is the one category where I'd like to get a broader range of judges that have specific experience, so if you are that sort of person or know someone who is, drop me a line.

Third place was a surprise to me, simple because it wasn't on my radar. It's the R2-D2 quarter scale bank by Diamond Select. DST has been doing quite well this year in the People's Picks, but this was one that I didn't think that many folks knew about - I was wrong. At least 15% of the readers did know all about it, and what they knew was good.

Second place goes to another Hot Toys release - the Avengers Cosbaby series. They snagged 21% of the vote, and are just a taste of what's to come from Hot Toys and the Avengers in 2012. I'm going to have my review up of these little guys sometime in the next week.

The readers went for the same vinyl figure that I picked in my personal selection, and that the judge's picked in the Poppies - Rango! The movie is a bit of an acquired taste, but even if you weren't a big fan of the film you have to admit that Hot Toys nailed this one. Rango won with 32% of the vote.

Place MWC's Picks People's Picks Poppies Picks
1st Place Rango Rango Rango
2nd Place Bumble - Pop! Avengers
3rd Place OMFG R2-D2 Boba Fett - Pop!

Best Prop Replica
The readers were in pretty close sync with the Poppies Judges on this one, although they skipped any ties.

The bronze goes to the Chalice of Kali from Sideshow, with 13% of the vote. I have this on display behind my bar, and my wife constantly reminds me that it's too disgusting and creepy. What more could you possibly want?

Second place goes to eFX for their very cool Luke 'reveal' lightsaber. They took 17% of the vote, showing that you can still find plenty of great ways to create lightsabers and make people notice.

First place wasn't even a contest though - the winner took 40% of the vote. Yes, once again it's Mattel's Ghostbusters Ghost Trap. I raved in my review how cool this thing was, especially for the money, and while Mattel can still have their problems, they are at least trying to work with the collector side of the business. I sincerely hope this isn't the last full size prop we see them do, since they are two for two with winners so far.

Place MWC's Picks People's Picks Poppies Picks
1st Place Talky Tina Ghost Trap Ghost Trap
2nd Place Ghost Trap Reveal Lightsaber
Chalice of Kali
3rd Place Green Lantern Ring Chalice of Kali X-wing Helmet/Reveal Saber/Talky Tina

Best Block Figure

If this category were about the best construction sets, I don't think there would even be a competition. Let's face it, one company dominates. Of course, it also turns out that even if you only consider the block figures that come with their sets, they still dominate!

While the Poppies Judges gave third to four different lines, the readers were more certain about their choice - with 6% of the vote, Playmobil comes in third. I love Playmobil, and put them in third as well. In fact, when you consider the four way tie, the Poppies Judges did too! 2012 should be a very good year for them, with lots of new single packs and some cool new themes, like the spy series.

Minimates took second with 22% of the vote, another very good showing. Both the Poppies panel of judges and I put them in second as well, and they had a very diverse and broad set of releases in 2011, making them relevant once again to far more collectors.

The number 1 spot goes to the most obvious - Lego of course. They took a huge 50% of the vote, crushing everyone else. I'm telling you, it's those cool, creative, inventive but sadly blind packaged singles that has them riding high with this crowd.

It's worth noting that this is one of those very, very rare times when all three spots were agreed on by the readers, the Poppies judges and me - when you add me in there, it makes it a pretty rare thing, since I usually go for some oddball choices.

Place MWC's Picks People's Picks Poppies Picks
1st Place Lego Lego Lego
2nd Place Minimates Minimates
3rd Place Playmobil Playmobil Playmobil/Mez-itz/Kubricks/Megabloks


Best Misc

Speaking of oddball, it's time to hit up the very last - and in some ways, most interesting - category of all.

Monster High got a nice turnout with 14% of the vote. If we were only polling tween girls, they'd crush all comers, which I think speaks to the smarts at Mattel. This was a weird concept, and yet they've managed to market it just right, creating a hit out of something that most people would have said didn't stand a chance.

The unusual yet very cool Bits and Pieces came in second with 15% of the vote. I hope that means that readers snagged this set for their own collection, because it's a really great bunch of accessories.

And with 24% of the vote, the winner is...the first set of Masters of the Universe Classics Accessories by Spy Monkey Creations! That means both the Poppies judges AND the readers felt that this set of extras wasn't just cool, it was cool enough to claim best of the year. I recently reviewed their first new set of 2012, and I hope that we see them in this write up again next year!

Place MWC's Picks People's Picks Poppies Picks
1st Place Monster High MOTUC Accessories MOTUC Accessories
2nd Place Skylanders Bits and Pieces
Monster High/Bits & Pieces
3rd Place Trash Pack Monster High Skylanders

General Comments
There's clearly some interesting results here. No doubt, Hot Toys dominated, but maybe not as much as you might expect. Of the 19 first place Poppie awards this year, 7 went to Hot Toys. With the readers, the 18 awards (remember, there was one first place tie in the Poppies), Hot Toys took 8, snagging that extra win with the Ghost Rider Bike. Still, that left more than half of each of the awards for everyone else.

Some companies are notably missing - McFarlane and Medicom are probably most noticable for me, but the lack of Dr. Who has been noted by many. Remember, it's the 140 judges that did the nominating, and if they didn't see anything all year from a company that knocked their socks off, it got passed over. If you want to be sure something you loved is on the ballot next year, make some noise with the judges, especially those in the media section.

Some companies, even though they did get some nominations, didn't get much in the way of wins. Companies like NECA, Sideshow and Mezco did good work, but didn't do anything that wowed anyone quite much as their competition. They all have some very good 2012 releases scheduled, so I'd expect them to get back in the gold territory next year.

A few companies came back and did much better than I had expected. Most notable is DC Direct and Diamond Select, who both snagged a number of top three spots including a couple wins between them.

And perhaps best, there were some small, new companies that not only grabbed top three spots, but gold medal wins, like the Spy Monkey accessories, or the Bits and Pieces accesories from Shrunken Heads. Seeing the Four Horsemen get some recognition is nice as well, and I'm hoping that means they'll get even more notice with their 2012 releases.

That's it for another year end awards wrap up. Thanks to all the readers that took the time to vote, and thanks for your patronage to the site all year long!


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