The Poppies results for 2011!

Welcome to the Poppies for 2011 - the only industry awards for pop culture collectibles! Each year a panel of judges from the industry - companies, media, artists, retailers and collectors - assemble to nominate and then vote on the very best collectibles in 18 categories. This year there were 139 judges on the panel, and they debated and nominated and voted, then I tallied! The results are now final, the awards complete, but I'm sure the discussion has just begun.

I've also done my own set of bests and worsts of the year for comparison, and don't forget that we also have the People's Picks awards, where readers vote on the same ballot as the Poppies judges. I compare the results of the two awards in that write up as well, coming later this week.

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

Feel free to disagree with the judges - that's kind of a big part of doing these lists and reading them. If you feel strongly enough, let me know by emailing me.  Enough of the jibber jabber - let's get to the winners!

Best Overall Company

I think most people figure this category is a done deal. And they'd be right. But a couple companies did spark the judge's fancy for second and third place.

In third place, with 10% of the vote, is Lego. I was a bit surprised by this, as they usually don't do that well in this category. But I suppose the many new offerings this year, along with the cool mini-figure singles, gave them more recognition with this crowd. On top of that, they're a company generally known for treating their own people and their customers well, something that speaks to those in the industry.

Coming in second is an old standby - Hasbro. They edged out Lego with 13% of the vote, and I'd have to say that it's the very strong Star Wars brand that did it for them. They continue to move the bar up on sculpting and articulation, and somehow manage to make a license with almost 35 years on it seem fresh.

And the big winner, with 34% of the votes...drum roll please...I bet the anticipation is killing you...yes, it's Hot Toys! Once again they produced amazing collectibles in multiple formats and many licenses, hitting on pretty much all cylinders. They've been a huge juggernaut for the past three years, and 2012 is already looking good.


Best Overall Line - High End

Hot Toys tends to dominate here as well, but I was very happy to see a little guy slip into the third place spot.

That would be World War Robot, from 3A Toys. They grabbed 11% of the vote. Jeff has done several guest reviews on these figures, and they are always amazing. It's nice to see them starting to get enough press and exposure that more people are taking notice.

Hot Toys took second with my favorite series of the year, their Marvel Movie figures. This line just squeaked past WWR with 14% of the vote.

Hot Toys also took first this year, with one of their most popular lines over the last three years - Iron Man. Of course, this is really Iron Man 2 at this point, but it's not solely the second movie that's selling these. It's the exceptional engineering and attention to detail. Any other company would be giving us either pre-posed statues, or figures with very limited articulation, throwing up their hands and surrendering to the complexities created by the unwieldy armor. Not Hot Toys - they've given us actual action figures that look fantastic AND are highly poseable.


Best Overall Line - Low End

The judges slipped in an interesting choice this year, rewarding a new line with one of these spots.

Third place isn't a new line though, but a regular favorite with fans and collectors. The judges gave Hasbro's G.I. Joe line 10% of the vote, enough for it to snag that 3rd place position.

Second place is a new line, and one that has done well both as a video game and as an action figure series. Arkham Asylum from DC Direct has been one of their bigger hits in the last few years, and it's nice to see them as contenders again in the action figure market. They pulled 14% of the vote.

The big winner, with 16% of the vote (you can see how close this one was), is Masters of the Universe Classics from Mattel. I suspect that even with all the problems that Mattel has had fulfilling orders, it was the strong end of year finish that put them over the top. With the Windraider, Swift Wind, Icarius and Snout Spout, they ended strong, always good for awards like these.


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.

I was a little surprised by the results of this one. Not a lot, just a little, but a little nonetheless.

The third place winner was the first surprise - Scarabus, from the Four Horsemen. I wasn't surprised because I didn't think he deserves it - he does. In fact, I picked him as my favorite male figure in the 5 - 11" category. But the Horsemen have had a hard time getting the recognition they deserve for the exceptional work on the FANtastic Exclusives, and it was refreshing to see them finally getting noticed.

It wasn't a surprise that the guy in second was in the top three - I just expected him to win. With 25% of the votes, Captain Jack Sparrow from Hot Toys landed the silver. I had him in my top spot, because I think the realism is just uncanny.

But he was edged out by another excellent Hot Toys figure - the Chris Reeve Superman. I'm talking barely edged out too, as Supes took 26% of the vote.


Best Male Figure 12 - 18"

If you're expecting any surprises here, you'll probably be disappointed. The problem is, this was a very crowded category this year, and it was tough for figures like the cool 1/4 scale T-800 from Enterbay or the Blitzway Scarface to get noticed. Hot Toys took all three spots, and those three figures took more than 60% of the vote.

In third place with 12% of the vote is the Mark V version of Iron Man. Even though this is just another Iron Man variation, people really responded to the quality of the work.

It was a big debate for me, and a difficult decision as to whether the Sparrow or the Reeve Superman should be in first, and which should be in second. It clearly wasn't that hard of a decision for the other judges. With 16% of the votes, the DX06 Captain Jack Sparrow took second, and the Chris Reeve Superman crushed the competition with 33% of the vote.

I personally think it's not just the excellent work that Hot Toys did on Superman that got them the win, but the care and reverance with which they handled the license. Nothing about it seemed exploitative or cheap, and it was clear that the people involved were huge fans of both the character and the man.


Best Male Figure  5 - 11"

I'm happy to see that all three figures in this category come from companies that haven't seen as much success in these awards in recent years.

The third place winner, with 10% of the vote, is the Marvel Select Juggernaut from DST. DST has done some consistently solid work all year, but they've done it quietly. Their Marvel Select line had several excellent releases, but I think Juggie was one of the best.

Taking second with 12% of the vote is the Joker from Arkham Asylum. It's been awhile since DC Direct had a figure in the top three of any category, but it's nice to see. The sculpt and paint set this one apart, although I don't think this is the last time we'll see an Arkham Asylum figure place in these awards.

The big winner was a shock to me, an even bigger shock than when he pulled third in the Eddie Wires Award. Yep, with 18% of the vote, Scarabus from the Four Horsemen takes the gold! It's great to see them getting the sort of recognition they deserve for such exceptional work.


Best Male Figure under 5"

This was a highly divided category this year, with lots of folks going off in different directions.

With 11% of the vote, the new Chewbacca from Hasbro takes bronze. I think there were a lot of strong Star Wars figures in 2011, but clearly the updated Chewie hit a note with the judges.

Just barely edging him out was a figure not on my radar - Doc Strange from the Marvel Universe series. I gotta admit, he is a great looking figure on the pegs. When I say he barely edged out Chewie, I mean it - he got 12% of the vote.

The winner took 16% of the vote, showing you just how spread this field was. Lots of entries got a few votes, with no one figure dominating. But Hasbro's new Low-Light from PoC grabbed the gold with his cool accessories and great sculpt. (Special thanks to for the use of the photo).


Best Female Figure over 11"

It's probably no surprise that Hot Toys swept this category, even less so than the male over 11" category since the pickin's were a bit slimmer. There was still a bit of a battle for the top spot, however.

Third place was taken with 13% of the vote by the BSA version of Jill Valentine. Lots of great accessories made her a favorite of the judges.

Hot Toys took second as well with a whopping 39% of the votes going to their Battle Suit version of Jill Valentine. She's got a bit more of that sci-fi hotness going on, beating out her slightly more demure earlier BSA version and almost beating the number 1 choice.

But with 41% of the votes, Alice takes the top spot. It just so happens that I also put up a guest review of her tonight from Jeff Parker, so you can check out all her sexy Resident Evil goodness!

Best Female Figure 5" - 11"
One of the reasons we were able to break up the ladies into three categories this year is because of all the terrific choices in this middle scale. It was tough for me to pick one, but it looks like the other judges had less trouble.

In third place with 10% of the votes is the lovely Mera from DC Direct. That means they take two of the three slots in this category, and huge step up for them.

Mattel takes the number 2 spot with their excellent Masters of the Universe Queen Marlena. I think it's that Marlena was really two figures in one that put her past the other MOTUC females this year, and she took 13% of the votes.

The top spot goes to the very sexy Arkham Asylum rendition of Harley Quinn. She snagged a decisive 34% of the votes, plus the Joker thinks she's da bomb. This is another DC Direct figure, and the Arkham Asylum series is a likely hit through 2012 for them.


Best Female Figure under 5"

With so few picks to choose from, three figures dominated the results. However, between the three, things were awfully close.

With 21% of the votes, the nifty little Wonder Woman from the Action League series took third. These cartoony figures aren't everyone's cup of tea, but they do have a very loyal following.

I thought Hasbro did a great job on their latest Ashoka figure, and 26% of the judges agreed with me, giving her second. Hasbro really owns this scale, even with the ladies.

Having said that, it should be no surprise that the winner is also a Hasbro figure - Zarana from G.I. Joe. She grabbed 29% of the votes, and it must be her sexy bad girl attitude that won them over. (photo courtesy General Joes)


Best Build a Figure

The list of BAF's was pretty long this year, and with Marvel Legends coming back in 2012, I suspect it will be quite extensive again next year.

Third place goes to a super friend who's a Super Friend - Apache Chief! Series 18 of the DC Universe Classics was sort of a Super Friends set, so having him as the BAF made excellent sense. He garnered 14% of the judge's votes.

The judges gave 19% to the second place winner - Bane. I was a bit surprised by this one, since he came out sooo long ago, right at the cusp between 2010 and 2011. Often, figures released early in the year are forgotten by the time voting rolls around, but lucky for Bane he was impressive enough to remain in their minds.

The winner was a surprise, since I just assumed it would go to one of the many Mattel choices. Merely by sheer volume it seemed the odds were in their favor, but the judges gave 22% of the votes to a dark horse - the Electric Chair from the Munsters! As I mentioned elsewhere, not only is it a great sculpt and paint, but it was nice that it was easy to get all three pieces. That seems so rare these days...


Best Vehicle or Playset

We're already twelve awards in, and we haven't had a tie - til now.

It's for third place, where two vehicles received 12% of the votes - Ghost Rider's Bike from Hot Toys, and the Space Shuttle and Tower from Imaginext! These two items couldn't be too much more different, but when you have a category broad enough to handle any vehicle, diorama or playset, you'll get some variation!

No ties for second - the Masters of the Universe Classics Windraider took it easily with 14% of the vote. Yep, it's one of the best MOTUC vehicles so far (counting Panthor, Swift Wind and Battlecat as well), and just an all around really fun toy.

The top spot goes to a 'vehicle' that's also a 'diorama' of sorts. Some of you might even argue it's just a statue, although that speaks more to it's lack of articulation than it's ultimate purpose. Sideshow's huge sixth scale Dewback might very well be a statue, but without a few troopers around him, with at least one riding him, he's not very impressive. And once you stick a trooper on his back, he's a vehicle as far as I'm concerned. The other judges clearly agreed, giving him 18% of the vote and the gold.



Best Statue

The winners in this category really ARE statues, through and through. Nobody is getting on their backs...

I was pretty shocked by the third place winner - with 9% of the vote, Qmx's Bad Robot takes the spot. I really love the little guy, but I hadn't expected anyone to share my enthusiasm.

There was a tie for third in this category as well, and my personal favorite took another 9% of the vote - the Bishoujo Wonder Woman from Kotobukiya. Oh yea!

The second place winner barely slipped past those two with just 10% of the vote share. This spot goes to Lion-O from Pop Culture Shock. The Thundercats are all the rage this year (did you notice Sheldon's t-shirt last week?), and this is one of the best classic representations.

The winner is another lovely lady, this time from Gentle Giant. Baby Doll gets 17% of the vote to take the gold home, and represents a new potential area of success for the company. (photo courtesy Cool Toy Review)


Best Bust

We have another tie, but this time it's a bit more unusual...

No tie for third, with the Professor Snape bust from Gentle Giant taking it with 9% of the vote. While this wasn't my favorite of their Harry Potter busts this year, I can see why it made it in.

Second place isn't a tie either, with 12% of the vote giving the spot to Titan's Dr. Who bust of the 4th Doctor. Gotta love the classics Dr. Who! It's nice to see another relative new comer getting noticed, and Dr. Who never does get enough mentions.

The reason the tie is unusual is that it's for first place - which means I have to get two plaques for this category instead of just one *grumble*. Both busts had the exact same number of votes, getting 26% each. As you might guess, there's the Hot Toys Iron Man Mark V, propelled to first by a cool design and nifty light up feature. But he couldn't beat out the LSB of the Predator from Sideshow. This is an amazing version of the classic character, and well worth the big price tag and required shelf space.


Best Designer/Vinyl

This category is designed for the unique, small run designer figures, and other figures in that same sort of funky art style.

Third place was a surprise to me, and I'm a fan of the character. The Pop vinyl figure of Boba Fett snagged 12% of the votes, taking the bronze medal. I gotta admit that all the Funko Pop figures are damn cute, and I've *almost* succommended to their Simpsons line. I'm still resisting, but it's getting tougher and tougher.

Second place goes to a real dark hourse -  OMFG, or Outlandish Mini Figure Guys. I had a guest review of them awhile back, but I'm starting to see more and more coverage across the net. They grabbed 20% of the judge's votes. The love is starting to spread!

The judges picked another Hot Toys release for the win - their Rango vinyl figure. Like the movie, the figure is a bit on the quirky side, but they certainly captured the on screen look extremely well.

Best Prop Replica
This was one of the few categories this year where one item crushed the competition, leaving them behind when it comes to the judge's votes.

This is also where we had a rare three way tie for third place. Getting 10% of the votes each was Luke X-Wing Pilot Helmet from eFX, the Luke 'reveal' lightsaber from eFX, and the very cool Talky Tina doll by Bif Bang Pow. The competition was obviously tough this year, and as prop replicas become more and more common, I'm betting it gets even tougher in 2012.

Second place was owned by only one, but with just 11% of the vote, it just barely beat out the three close contenders. It's the Chalice of Kali from Sideshow, another great addition to the Indiana Jones replicas. No, you can't easily drink out of it, but do you really want to press your luck like that?

The first place winner dominated, as I mentioned earlier, taking a whopping 43% of the vote. It's probably no surprise that the judges responded extremely well to Mattel's Ghostbusters Ghost Trap. With lights, sounds, and movement, they've managed to produce one of the coolest and most iconic props from any 80's movie, and do it for a fairly reasonable price.

Best Block Figure

Here's another of the few categories this year that was really a blow out - one company ate the competition. Remember though, this isn't a construction toy category - this is a block figure category. As it so happens, some of the best block figures come with construction sets, but the sets weren't what was being judged. I'd also like to admit that I screwed up - actually, all the judges did, since it's everyone's job to ensure the nominees are correct. Somehow - don't ask me how - all of 140 of us forgot to nominate Kid Robot. I'm not sure how that happened, but it did - sorry!

If you thought a three way tie was surprising, how about a 4 way tie? Yep, with 5% of the vote each, Playmobil, Mez-itz, Kubricks and Megabloks all took third. That's a split vote!

Minimates grabbed second with 15% of the vote, a very good showing. They had a big year, with lots of figures and even a few cool vehicles.

The top pick is the most obvious - Lego of course. I think it's really the release of the cool single packed mini-figures that has set them apart this year, although I hate the whole blind bagged marketing ploy. Still, you can't argue with all the creativity and innovation in their small figures.


Best Misc

We're down to our last category, and out of all of them I think I'm happiest about the outcome here.

Third place was won with 10% of the vote, and it was won by those cool Skylanders. Plenty of other companies have tried to have a succesful toy/game tie-in, but it looks like this one has really hit the mark. My son has never been interested before, but he's loving the figures and the game, and the interaction between the two actually adds to the positive feelings about both.

Second place is another tie. Two choices grabbed 14% of the vote - Monster High, and Bits and Pieces. Everyone is familiar with Monster High, and I have to say that I think Mattel has done a fantastic job with the rather oddball series. But fewer people know about Bits and Pieces, the cool zombie accessory pack from Shrunken Head Productions. It's particularly cool when a small outfit like this gets major recognition from other people in the industry - bravo!

Which makes the winner of this also a terrific surprise - it's the first set of Masters of the Universe Classics Accessories by Spy Monkey Creations! These extras work great with a wide variety of figures, and since their release Spy Monkey has produced their first 'armory series', which I recently reviewed. Spy Monkey has more great extras planned for 2012, and it looks like they've definitely caught the eye of the rest of the industry.

General Comments
And so goes the Poppies for another year. I was very happy to see smaller companies getting a ton of recognition this year, but of course we also saw Hot Toys dominate in some key areas.

This year we're actually doing awards, rather than just certificates. I'll be getting those made up this week, so winners should see them showing up the second or third week of February. Congratulations to all the winners!

Next up is the People's Picks, and I'll have that ready for reading mid-week. I'll also be comparing the results between the awards, since both the Poppies and the People's Picks used the same ballot of nominees, making the comparison always interesting! 


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