The People's Pick for Best/Worst of 2003

Yep, I changed the name.  Too many people seemed confused.  What can I say.

I've tallied the votes, but no accountants were involved.  There's no envelopes either.  Just a lot of votes - almost 1000 this year once I cleaned up the duplicates and blank emails - so it took a little longer, even with a relatively smooth system.

As I go through each category, I'll include links to various pictures and reviews.  Also, I'll include some comparisons with my picks for this year and your picks from last year, to give some context to the whole shebang.  Remember, I didn't post my picks until the voting had been closed, so I didn't influence your opinions by making mine known.

And if you're impatient, or just want to see the winners in one clear table, jump to the end of the article where I have them all wrapped up.


The Best Overall Company
There were 30 choices this year in the company list, not counting write ins.  Of the 30 choices, 25 of them got at least one vote.  The top three combined for 60% of the votes however, so there was little doubt as to who the favorites were.

I picked Palisades on top, followed by Mcfarlane and Sideshow.  I was pretty close to the sentiments of the masses.  Third place went to Mcfarlane, with 14% of the vote.  Second place was not on my list - Toybiz.  I can certainly understand it though with both the Lord of the Rings and Marvel Legends lines being so popular.  They had 20% of the vote.  And first place was Palisades with 26% of the vote!

These are also the same three companies you picked last year, although not in the same order.

Best Overall Line
This year there were a whopping 52 lines to choose from, not including write ins.  Of the 52 choices, 46 got votes.  When that happens, the voting tends to get very spread out, with a clear winner tough to find.  But that's not the case here.

The Best Company and Best Line tend to be like the Best Picture/Best Director awards - they almost always go hand in hand.  For me, the top three were Muppets in first, with the Original Star Trek and Movie Maniacs 6 taking up the next two spots.  Readers only matched me on one of these three.

You picked two clear top winners, but number three was closer to the pack.  Your third place winner was Masters of the Universe, but the percentage was only five.  They barely edged out quite a few other lines to make third place.

But second place went to Marvel Legends, with a commanding 22% of the vote.  There's no doubt about the popularity of these figures!  Since Toybiz took second as Best Company, this wasn't surprising.

Likewise, with Palisades taking best company, it should be no surprise that the Muppets line took first place with 25% of the votes.

Two of these lines were your favorites last year - Muppets and Marvel Legends.  But World of Springfield was in there too, and their drop off the map is indicative of the lackluster performance of the line overall this year.

Clearly, we have lots of Muppets, Mcfarlane and Toybiz fans voting - how will that effect the other categories?

Best Male Figure
I took a lot of flack for my picks this year.  I chose Zipline Batman as number one, and everyone seemed to have something to say about that, so I was quite surprised by the voting results.  I also picked Koozebane Kermit and Pinhead, in that order.

You had 48 choices in this category, and of those, 44 recieved at least one vote.  Remember when I said that often meant the voting was widely spread?  I was right this time.  The amount of diversity in what people liked was pretty amazing, especially since they had made it so clear which lines and companies they liked.  It wasn't a one to one match with their picks in this category.

I want to include two honorable mentions in this category, since the voting was so close.  Both Stephen Hawking from the Simpsons line, and the 10th Anniversary Spawn had 5% of the votes, tying for fourth place.  I was surprised by Hawkings reception, since the line overall was being ignored.

Third place went to the DC Direct Modern Age Supes.  When he came out, people talked about how terrific he was, so it's not surprising they remembered.  He garnered slightly more than 5%, just edging out Hawking and Spawn.

Second place went to my favorite, Zipline Batman, with 8% of the vote.  Neener - told you so!  Okay, I'll stop now.

And first place, getting almost 10% of the vote, was Colossus.  Congrats to the big guy!

I thought it was interesting that although there were plenty of Mcfarlane and Palisades fans voting, neither company had a male figure in the top three.


Best Female Figure
There are always fewer females to choose from, and the best and worst female categories this year proved to have the oddest results.  There were 20 figures to pick from, and everyone of them got 3 or more votes.

I selected Aurora, Eowyn and Princess Kashimir this year, in that order.  You couldn't have disagreed more.  In third place, with about 9% of the vote, was the ultra sexy Princess Leia Unleashed.  Second place was a tie slightly more than 10% each - Dorothy from Oz and Lara Croft.  There's two figures who couldn't have less in common!  And when we get to worst females, we're going to see Dorothy again...

Finally, the top prize goes to Evil-Lyn from the Masters of the Universe.  While the line and male figures didn't do as well, the fans really did love her.


Best Articulation
Once again, there were 30 companies to choose from.  Of those 30, 24 got at least a vote.  But don't be fooled by that - the winner in this category had a major landslide.

My choices this year were Sideshow in third, SOTA in second, and Toybiz in first.  Your choices last year were Sideshow, Palisades and Toybiz.  How'd that change?

Well, third place was once again Sideshow, with 7% of the vote.  Considering you put them in that spot last year, and I put them in that spot as well this year, it's pretty consistent.

Second place went to Palisades again this year, with 12% of the vote.  Looks like things haven't changed much in 12 months!

And to cap it off, once again Toybiz wins in a huge landslide.  Last year they had 43% of the vote, and if you can believe it, that even went up to a whopping 47% of the votes!  Obviously the Marvel Legends line is putting them at the top of this category for the second year in a row.


Best Sculpting
The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Last year, you picked Mcfarlane, Palisades and Sideshow in this category.  This year, I mixed it up slightly by adding NECA in with Sideshow and Mcfarlane.  Ah, but you voters are just so predictable some times...

I bet you can't guess - Sideshow took third (6%), Palisades took second (24%), and Mcfarlane blew them all away with 35%.  Even though 28 of the 30 companies got at least a vote, the top three took in 65% of the overall.


Best Packaging
You had 30 companies to choose from, and it was a tough choice - 26 received votes.  I picked Majestic, Sideshow and Mezco, giving them their due for some great work this year.  But the voters weren't quite as open to new ideas.

Last year, the voters picked Sideshow, Palisades and Mcfarlane, in the exact same order as the previous category.  Maybe by this time the voters are just tired - again this year they picked the same three companies, although they decided to mix up the order a bit.

This time, Palisades was in third (12.5%), but just two votes behind Sideshow (13%).  And the winner was Mcfarlane, with 23%.  Hmmmm, maybe folks like those clamshells a whole lot more than they admit?


Best vehicle/play set
I figured this was one category where we'd see a complete blow out.  I mean, come on - the Chinese renamed 2003 the Year of the Kitchen.  But there was a little surprse.

There were 15 choices.  Amazingly, 14 of them got votes.  I picked the Kitchen as my winner of course, followed up by the Treehouse of Horror 4 and the Alien Queen set.

The voters picked the Alien Queen in third as well, with just under 13% of the votes.  The Sentinal, another winner for Mcfarlane this year, came in second, with just two more votes than the good Queen.  And the winner was the Swedish Chef's Kitchen of course, with 35% of the votes.  The surprise?  That this wasn't an even bigger blow out!


Best New Idea
When it came to new ideas this year, it looks like the voters were thinking small.  My choices were the increased articulation that we got from Playing Mantis, the cool AOME figures and sets, and the use of rotocast once again.

The voters selected AOME as well, in third with 17% of the votes.  They put rotocast in second with 20%, and gave the first place medal to minimates with 29%.  With two of the three winners in the tiny scale, it's clear that overall folks liked that move.


Even though the voters were clearly happiest with Mcfarlane, Palisades, Sideshow and Toybiz this year, that didn't mean other companies were left out in the cold completely.  Hasbro, Mattel, Play Along, Art Asylum and even DC Direct managed to grab a few props.


Worst Overall Company
The same 30 companies were available to choose from as in the 'best' category.  Out of those 30, everyone of them managed to get at least one vote!  Yes, even Mcfarlane, Palisades and Toybiz...

This year I picked Mattel as the worst company, with Toycom and Jakk's following up.  Last year, voters picked N2, Hasbro and Jakk's, in that order.  This year there was a slight change.

Third place went to Jakk's with 11% of the vote.  Without RealScan, I think they'd be completely lost.  Second place went to Hasbro with 12%.  Okay, so second and third place didn't change from last year.

But Mattel took the top spot this year with 18%.  Clearly the fans are pretty fed up with how they've handled both the MOTU and Batman lines, and I couldn't agree more.


Worst Line
I thought there weren't that many to choose from this year, but I was wrong.  I picked Clerks in third, Witchblade in second, and Alias first.  The voters had their own opinions, quite a bit different than mine.  And there was no big winner here - the voting was very spread across the board.

Third place went to the Twisted Land of Oz with 8% of the votes.  Even with Dorothy winning Best Female, the line wasn't as popular.  Second place goes to Underworld (9%).  Lots of folks found the figures lacking, especially those who were a big fan of the film.

And first place, with only 11% of the votes, was the truly awful Indiana Jones line from Disney.  Ugh.  I suspect this won't be the only time the line gets a worst award.

Worst Male Figure
I have to admit, I stacked the deck in this category.  There was a clear loser, er, winner, that I had in the list, and I knew most folks were going to hate him.  My picks included the Fly Fishing Spider-man, Database, and the 12" Marvel Studios Blade.

The voters gave the Movie Hulk 11% of the vote.  Technically, that could be just about any Hulk from that fairly unsuccessful line.  They also gave 13% of their votes to the Indy figure from the previously mentioned Indiana Jones line.  I suppose that's no big surprise.

And the first place winner is no surprise either - Fly Fishing Spider-man.  It still amazes me that anyone ever came up with this idea.

Worst Female
This is the weirdest outcome of all the categories this year - I can't quite explain it.  I gave gold to the awful Marion Ravenwood from the Indy line, with the Mom from Xmas Story and Miss Hoover as runners up.

Voters put that poor Mom in third place with 14% of the vote.  She was just too cartoony to even go with the rest of the series.  They put my number one choice, Marion, in second place with 15% of the votes.  I wasn't surprised by that at all.

I thought Sydney from the Alias line would get the big award.  She was in fourth though, with only 13% of the votes, just behind Xmas Story Mom.  Instead, the second place winner of the Best Female Figure of the year ALSO won Worst Female Figure of the Year - Dorothy.  Clearly you either loved this figure or you hated it - or maybe both!

Worst Articulation
Hmm - with Toybiz such a clear winner in the best of, was there a clear winner here?  Oh yea.  I picked Dusty Trails in first place, with Graphitti and DC Direct following closely behind.  The readers had quite a different perspective.

Third place, with 7% of the vote, went to Hasbro.  While I think that's a little unfair - Star Wars figures have improved their articulation - I'm not too surprised.  Second place went to the other big boy, Mattel, with 8% of the vote.  WIth all the other choices, that's one that does surprise me.  Sure, Mattel isn't perfect, but the articulation isn't non-existent.

First place doesn't surprise me too much - it's Mcfarlane with 35% of the vote.  Now remember, these are the same voters that gave them awards under Best Overall Company, Best Sculpting, Best Packaging, and others, so they aren't biased against the company as a whole.

Worst Sculpting
Here's a category no one wants to win.  Considering how important sculpting has gotten in the industry, everyone is trying their best.  Or they should be.

I picked Jakk's as my winner, with Toycom and 21st Century following their lead.  The voters had three clear favorites, but there was very little separating them.

Third place went to Disney with 11%.  The Indy line was well known across the collecting community for it's awful sculpting.  Second place went to Hasbro, with 13%.  That surprised me a little, since the sculpts have also improved on the 3 3/4" Star Wars line (I will do them a favor and not mention the 12" line).  But you agreed with me on the winner, giving Jakk's 15% of the votes to take home the big prize.


Worst Packaging
Does packaging matter?  It does to the companies, and it does to you whether you realize it or not.  It's not just about content, but about presentation.  Great packaging catches your eye, and suckers you in.  Think you only care about sculpt?  How can you appreciate the sculpt if the package design doesn't show it off?  It matters more than you realize.

My winners, or losers, in this category were Toybiz, NECA and Mattel.  I got a lot of comments from people about my Toybiz choice, and the voters certainly didn't agree with me.

They picked Jakk's as third, with 8% of the vote.  I can't really argue with that I suppose, as they do tend to have extremely boring packages.  They put NECA in second with 9%, and Hasbro in first with 11%.  The rest of the votes were spread out over the other 27 companies, and just about everyone had their fair share of votes.


Worst Vehicle/Playset
The voters had little trouble picking their favorites in this category.  One was a big surprise to me though, since I thought it was one of the better sets this year.

That surprise was the Matrix Chateau set from Mcfarlane.  It got 11% of the vote, a fairly decent size of the votes, and I hadn't expected to see it get hit so hard.  The second place winner made much more sense to me, the Prozone baseball diamonds from Playmates.  At 22% of the vote, it was a solid second place.

You were in complete agreement with me on the first place winner.  You gave the latest Batcave from Mattel 29% of the votes, and considering how many times we've seen this same Batcave over and over, I'm not in the least bit surprised.  You'd think Mattel could go one step better than Hasbro, but alas, it's not yet come to pass.

Worst Idea
You were pretty unanimous in your choices as the worst ideas.  Third place went to those damn 'exclusive' lunch boxes from Toy Fair.  You know what I'm talking about - they package a left over Muppet inside a lunchbox, number it from 1 to 99, and viola - instant collectible!  Ugh.  You know what's the worst part?  I bought them.

Second place went to ever increasing number of convention exclusives.  This idea got 28% of the votes, and it's clearly a topic on everyone's mind.  I bet we see another record year of exclusives at Wizard World shows and SDCC.

The number one pick is the perennial favorite - increasing prices.  Everyone hates them, and we still pay them.  I already predicted that this will get worse, so I won't be surprised next year when this one gets even more than the 32% it did this time.


Here's a quick cheat sheet for those trying to keep score:

Award First Place Second Place Third Place
Best Company Palisades Toybiz Mcfarlane
Best Line Muppets Marvel Legends  MOTU
Best Male Colossus Zipline Batman Modern Superman
Best Female Evil-Lyn Dorothy/Lara Croft Leia Unleashed
Best Articulation Toybiz Palisades Sideshow
Best Sculpting Mcfarlane Palisades Sideshow
Best Packaging Mcfarlane Sideshow Palisades
Best Playset/Vehicle Swedish Chef's Kitchen Sentinal Alien Queen
Best Idea Minimates Rotocast AOME
Worst Company Mattel Hasbro Jakk's
Worst Line Indiana Jones Underworld Twisted Land of Oz
Worst Male Fly Fishing Spidey Indiana Jones Movie Hulk
Worst Female Dorothy Marion Ravenwood Mom from Xmas Story
Worst Articulation Mcfarlane Mattel Hasbro
Worst Sculpting Jakk's Hasbro Disney
Worst Packaging Hasbro NECA Jakk's
Worst Playset/Vehicle Batcave Prozone Diamonds Matrix Chateau
Worst Idea Increasing Prices Con Exclusives Toyfare Lunchboxes
Most Looking Forward Marvel Legends Muppets Hellboy

Thanks to everyone that voted this year!  The prize packs have been mailed out, but don't worry if you didn't win.  I'm going to do my best to have more giveaways this year, so you'll have another chance.  Thanks for reading!

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