The People's Picks for 2013!

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. Now it's time for the results of the 2013 People's Picks!

I've also done my own set of bests and worsts of the year for comparison, and I'm busy working on finishing up the Poppies results as well, which I'll post later this week. Will the People's Picks be to the Poppies what the Golden Globes are to the Oscars? Let's see!

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

My picks:   People's Picks:   Poppies:  
2013 2013 2013
2012 2012 2012
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

Normally, when there's a category with a lot of choices - and you'll see this several times in the results later - the final vote is very dispersed. Everybody has their own idea of what's good, and their love for a particular license or company style can also influence them, making it tough to get real agreement across a large group of collectors.

But even with a lot of companies to choose from, and a lot of them very deserving as well, the choice for Best Overall Company was not a difficult one or a close one.

Let's start with the bronze medalist though, a company that was absent from the top three last year. A strong year in statues, busts and figures helped lift Sideshow back on to the podium with 12% of the vote. They managed to produce a broad range of collectibles on a broad range of licenses, and all of it was top quality.

The second place company was second last year as well, and always hangs around in the top three - NECA. They beat out Sideshow by a smidge, taking 15% of the vote. They had a terrific year overall, but I think it's their work on the Predator and Alien figures that has the collectors really in love. Personally, I'm thrilled with the resurgence of the quarter scale figures, and with the improvements that NECA has incorporated.

I'm betting you know who the big winner is - you probably voted for them, even if you don't buy their products. That sort of reputation is hard to build, but Hot Toys has done it, and they pulled a whopping 42% of the vote. Most of the love is driven by their licensed sixth scale figures, but the introduction of their quarter scale figures, plus a nice assortment of Cosbaby figures and busts, has them riding high with collectors.


Best Overall Line - High End

The results for this category was a big surprise for me. While Hot Toys has generally won over the last few years, other high end lines, like the Bishoujo statues or the Batman Black and White statues, managed to take 2nd and 3rd place spots. Not this year - this year it's a sweep.

Hot Toys takes the third place spot with their work on the Iron Man 3 license. There weren't a ton of releases (other than Iron Man of course), but they had some solid hits, including the Tony Stark Mechanic. This series took 9% of the total vote.

Another popular license remains Batman, and the Hot Toys releases under this banner grabbed the silver with 22% of the vote. Clearly, there's still plenty of Batman fans, and with the combined power of both Superman and Bats in the next Man of Steel film, I'm betting we see some really terrific releases over the next couple years.

The big winner is their most popular license right now - the Avengers. They had lots of great releases - Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Loki, Agent Coulson, the Hulk, etc. - and solidified this series as their current top dog. At least that's what 38% of the voters said!


Best Overall Line - Low End

This is usually a very tight race, with a lot of different fans of different licenses voting their hearts. But not this year - this year the top three dominated, and they are largely new to the list.

The third place winner isn't new - it's Mattel's Masters of the Universe Classics. I'm not surprised that they took bronze, since they did have a very, very solid year, with several excellent releases...but they didn't do anything particularly exceptional (with one exception, but more on that in a later category). Fans still love them, they just aren't the latest craze. Ten percent of the voters went with these old favorites.

NECA gets a second place nod for their terrific work on the Predator and Alien series. I'm thinking it's the Dutch figures that they released this year that really put them over the top, but the aliens of both persuasions were awfully well done too. Fifteen percent of the voters agree.

The big winner was a surprise to me, since I didn't realize collectors had responded quite that well to the line. It's Hasbro's Star Wars Black 6" series, something that collectors and fans have been wanting for years.  Hasbro heard and listened, finally putting out a terrific series of larger scale figures, and voters responded by giving them the win in this category with 22% of the vote.


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.

There were quite a few releases this year that were deserving of such an honor, but these top three really do go above and beyond. Almost 11% of the votes went to the Jungle Disguise Dutch, the mud covered figure that was on the top of my personal list.

The second place winner pulled in 17% of the vote. It's my winner in this category, the Hot Toys Joker 2.0, one of their DX releases for 2013. The amazing paint work on the face and hair is a big seller here, and they did it on not one but multiple portraits.

The winner is a Hot Toys figure that I love as well - the battle damaged T-800, another of their DX releases. I guess that DX designation does make a difference. With 22% of the vote, the Terminator edged out the Joker.


Best Male Figure 18"

This year we saw a resurgence of product in this category, with great stuff coming from NECA, Enterbay and Hot Toys. How long before we see an 18" Daryl from McFarlane? You know they've talked about it.

I wanted to mention that the judges and I screwed up this year, and all of us somehow managed to forget the Enterbay battle damaged T-800. It is an amazing figure, and I suspect it would have done well had we not had some sort of brain freeze. Even with 150 people having the chance to put in their two cents, things do get forgotten.

You would think that it would be tough for the $90 releases from NECA to hold their own against the $300 - $400 releases from Enterbay and Hot Toys, but they did, starting by taking 10% of the vote and snagging third place with their Gypsy Danger figure from Pacific Rim. I've heard nothing but great stuff about this figure, but I haven't had the chance to see it first hand yet.

Second place was our first tie, and it was shared between NECA and Hot Toys. The 89 Batman and Terminator Endoskeleton each took almost 13% of the vote, and with that a second place spot.

The winner stands by himself, with 40% of the vote. The Dark Knight Rises Batman is an amazing piece of work, with a ton of excellent accessories, and the sort of attention to detail that we expect from Hot Toys.


Best Male Figure 12 - 17"

I'm betting that if Hot Toys wins this category - their category if there ever was one - you won't be surprised. Then be prepared to not be surprised.

Unless, like me, you assumed that while Hot Toys would win, other companies would slip in there and fight for the other two spots. 3A Toys, Sideshow, Enterbay, Big Chief and others had some great releases last year - the market is booming right now. And yet, somehow, Hot Toys managed a sweep. That's all the more impressive since there were 12 figures nominated, only 4 of which were from Hot Toys.

They took third with 10% of the vote going to the Iron Man Mark VII. The battle damaged version was awfully cool, and it was the go to figure for the new Iron Man 3 film. It wasn't in my top group, as there were several others I'd put in front of it, but the people have spoken. Or at least ten percent of them.

They also took second, this time with 23% of the vote going to their DX Joker 2.0. This one was my pick, but then I'm a huge Bat-nerd.  While I love this version, I'm hoping that means we're done with the DK Joker releases.

The top spot also goes to Hot Toys, and it's the second award for this figure - the battle damaged T-800. This is a figure I have, but have not reviewed. I'm thinking I ought to give it a whack, what do you think? With not one but two amazing portraits, a light up feature, and a very cool T-1000 accessory (with it's own extra head!), this was a figure well worth the DX designation.


Best Male Figure  5 - 11"

If you've had enough of the wondrousness of Hot Toys, have no fear - the next 5 out of 6 categories are in other parts of the collectibles world.

In this scale, there were a lot of great choices to be made, and it was tough to even limit the nominations as much as we did. But, as with Hot Toys and the categories they play in, you're going to see some consistency here between the choices and companies with some of the other categories.

Third place was won with 12% of the vote. DST snagged the spot with their Marvel Select Venom, one of many nice, big figures in the Marvel Select line up. They've done consistently great work in this series, and 2013 was another solid year.

Second place went to the winner of 15% of the vote, a figure we've seen already get some kudos - the Jungle Disguise Dutch. You could have put any of the new Dutch figures on the ballot and they probably would have done just as well, as each had it's own special features. The paint and accessories were what put this guy on top for me personally.

It's very clear that Star Wars fans are very happy with what Hasbro has done so far with their Star Wars Black series, and the Boba Fett wins this category with 22% of the vote. I liked Greedo better, but the allure of the Boba just can't be ignored.


Best Male Figure under 5"

This might be the first category where there's some actual surprises - not big ones mind you, but at least little ones.

Third place goes to a real dark horse, at least to me. It's D-Arts classic Mega-Man - what a cool looking figure! With 12% of the vote it's obvious a lot of you thought so too.

Second place is a Hasbro figure - makes sense in this category, eh? They still produce some of the finest figures in this scale, but surprisingly, only grab a silver this time around. Their Ultimate Storm Shadow from the G.I. Joe Retaliation series grabbed 22% of the vote.

The winner goes to a company that's been out of the race for far too long - McFarlane. They did a much, much better job with their Walking Dead figures in the last half of 2013, and the collectors and fans truly appreciate it. In fact, they appreciate it so much that 26% voted for Merle, the troublesome brother.


Best Female Figure over 11"

We are back in Hot Toys territory here, and I'm amazed - they've swept this category as well! Both the male and female categories? Unheard of.

The third place release is Ada Wong, a figure we didn't hear a lot about over the course of the year, but which 5% of the voters responded to. Perhaps there were just that many Resident Evil fans.

The lovely lady that takes home the second place trophy is Salina Kyle, better known as Catwoman. This version did have some breakage problems with the mask, but 32% of the voters overlooked that flaw in favor of the portrait, outfit and rooted hair.

I picked the Black Widow from the Avengers as my favorite, and a whopping 52% of the voters did as well. Let's be honest though - she didn't have that much real competition this year. A beautiful sculpt and hair, along with a great costume and accessories makes her pretty much unbeatable.

Best Female Figure 5" - 11"
There were some very nice nominations for this category coming out of 2013, and I think the choices make sense. I don't think a single one matched up with my choices, but what do I know.

About 11% of the voters went with the She-Hulk from Marvel Legends. She is pretty, in that "I can crush you like a bug" sort of way.

The second place spot goes to Hit Girl, from the somewhat disappointing Kick Ass 2. While geeks panned the film, they were able to overlook that (at least 15% of the voters were) and give NECA props for quality of the figure.

The winner is a figure I actually panned, although I never formally reviewed it. Mattel's 1966 Batman television line had some hits and misses, and 21% of the voters thought that Catwoman was definitely one of the hits. While the figure was originally marketed as Julie Newmar, some later claimed it was Lee Merriweather...and the war rages on. There will never be any winner in this Nerd-bate, because it doesn't look like either. Perhaps that's it's strength, since it appeals to fans either way.


Best Female Figure under 5"

Hasbro normally dominates here, just as they normally dominate the male category in this scale. Not this year.

They did get the third place spot with their Padme Amidala from the smaller Star Wars Black series. There weren't a lot of female figures released under this license in 2013, and Padme was clearly a stand out.

Hasbro also took second place, this time with 20% of the vote. It's a different license though - the Avengers. The voters responded to their Black Widow, a character that's been a fan favorite in just about any scale.

But the big winner is a surprise - it's McFarlane with their Michonne from the Walking Dead! I was certainly a fan, as was 44% of the voters, but it will be interesting to see if the Poppies Judges concur.


Best Build a Figure

My favorite BAF of the year didn't quite do as well as I'd hoped with the readers. Only 15% went for the Munsters Stairs and Spot, but that was enough to give it a third place spot.  I really like it because it's a unique idea, and one that fits in really well with the series.

The second place winner belongs to the Marvel Legends, which is no real surprise. They did a great job with the Rocket Raccoon, and 23% picked him as their favorite, granting him the silver.

The big winner is also from a Marvel Legends series - Iron Monger! I wasn't a big fan of the figures in the series, so I never did manage to finish it off, but plenty of collectors did, and they loved the final result. A solid 45% put this guy in first place.


Best Vehicle or Playset

I'm betting that you think you know the winner here. I know I thought I knew it for sure, but I was wrong.

The Hall of Armor from Hot Toys took 9% of the vote, which might not seem like a lot, but was enough to grab that third place spot.  I really wanted to pick up a set, because when you see them on display, it's truly jaw dropping. Sadly, this is a case where the cost was just too much for me to justify.

Easily the best release in this category for me was Castle Grayskull, but for the voters, it wasn't quite enough. That's not completely true -27% of the voters agree with me.  But that wasn't enough for the win, but a very solid second place.  

If you haven't guessed the winner (and you should now that you know it's not the castle), let me help you out - 44% of the voters went for the Hot Toys 1989 Batmobile. I will say it's one of the coolest things I picked up all year, especially when it comes to the Batman license. It won't be as cool as their 1966 Batmobile, but that won't be for awhile yet.  Until then, this is the coolest Batmobile I own.



Best Statue

Usually, the most spread out categories are the action figures - there's a lot of good choices, and fans tend to be spread out as well. But I think this statue category is the most competitive this year, at least when it comes to the general vote. The top three were very, very close in score, and the others were right behind them.

The third place winner made it with just 11% of the vote, but it's a beauty - it's Galactus from Sideshow Collectibles. Sideshow had a great year overall, but it was really in their wide variety of statues over a bunch of licenses. It's nice to see them still cranking out top quality product.

The second place winner was just barely in front with 13%  - it's the Killing Joke Joker from Kotobukiya! I really liked that statue, but I was surprised tht it did that well with the general populace of collectors.

The top winner is just slightly ahead of the pack with 16% of the vote. Sideshow produced some amazing statues in their Mythos series, but Obi-Wan was outstanding.  The voters thought so, and gave him the top spot.


Best Bust

Just when I thought the statue category was a tight race, I tallied up the bust category. Wow!

Everyone got votes and none got a real majority. It was definitely neck and neck!  But third was taken by 11% of the vote, garnered by the Gentle Giant "Magnitude" Ackbar. This guy wasn't done in the traditional Gentle Giant Star Wars style, but the design and quality is terrific.

Second place was grabbed with only a few more votes, with just 12%. Hot Toys gets in here with one of their Iron Man 3 busts. They had several they released, but it was the Mark VII that took the second place position.

The winner took in 13% of the votes, just a few more than the second and third place finishers. But it is a really amazing bust, and life size at that - Sub Zero from Pop Culture Shock Collectibles. I rally liked this bust as well, and agree with the voters completely.


Best Designer/Vinyl
There were several very cool nominees in this category this year, but it looks like the voters remain pretty mainstream in their selections.

The third place spot was the only other tie this year, which is unusual in its own right. We usually see quite a few ties, but not this time around. But we did get two figures - the very cool Monsters Universe Cosbabies, and the equally cool Regular Show Benson. Both received 8% of the vote. I chose the Benson in my list too, because it fits so well with the Funko style.

Second place goes to more Cosbaby figures from Hot Toys, but this time it's for Iron Man 3. These cute little buggers seem to remain mighty popular with the general collectors.

The winner is also from Hot Toys, but it's not a Cosbaby.  It's their vinyl collectible of Mike, Sulley and Archie from Monsters University, and it is gorgeous, I was truly impressed when I first saw it on display at last year's SDCC, and the final result was just as nice.

Best Prop Replica
There were quite a few top quality prop replicas this year, and it seemed like the number of companies producing them increased as well.

But the voters leaned one way, and one way only - superheroes.  In third place, with 9% of the vote, is the DC Collectibles Green Lantern Power Battery and Ring. This bad boy should be on the coffee table in Sheldon's apartment!

The silver winner is from a company most people don't associate with prop replicas...unless you're a Ghostbuster or Batman fan. Mattel's Batman Utility Belt from the 1966 television show is a really cool item, particularly for this price point. I have mine proudly on the wall! The belt took 13% of the vote.

The big winner, with 17% of the vote, is also a Mattel replica - the Ghostbusters Neutrino Wand! This is another replica that I was really impressed with, and which got a lot more exposure than most because it was produced by a mass market toy company.

Best Block Figure

Gee, I wonder who is going to win this award? I'm gong to discuss potential changes to this category next year to widen things out a bit - I'm also open to suggestions.

With just 4% of the vote, the smallest number to get someone into the top three, Megabloks took the bronze.  I think their work with licensed properties this year got them quite a bit more exposure.

A much larger 23% gave Minimates the second place spot. These guys have had a big come back over the last couple years, with a ton of creative licenses and extras, like cool vehicles. While this voting crowd tends toward the superhero, Minimates are also producing a broad range of other licenses, making the appeal even wider.

And then there's the winner. The Lego movie is going to be the best animated movie of 2013, and the Lego mini-figures win the Best Block Figure category for 2013 with a whopping 60% of the vote. Need I say more?


Best Misc

I always like this category - it's such a mish-mash of totally unrelated stuff.

The third place winner is a great example. We had a number of large (around 31") figures released this year, including the Man of Steel Superman, a Clone Trooper, a Power Ranger, and probably a couple more I'm forgetting. But it was the Darth Vader (which also included lights and sounds if you found the right one) that was the real winner. He took 13% of the vote to snag third.

There was one Transformer this year that defied our ability to place it in any one category. The Metroplex was huge, complex, and a ton of fun - but which category best suited it? The judges discussed and decided to go with Misc, and he garnered 14% of the vote and a second place win.

But the winner was pretty clear, at least if you saw one in person.  McFarlane Toys produced another case for a Walking Dead blu-ray release, this time for season 3. The case mimics the 'trophy' wall of zombie heads that the Govenor kept in his private office. It inclues a nifty light up feature, and is one of the coolest blu-ray cases I've ever seen. With just 16% of the vote, it barely edged out the competition to take gold.

General Comments
I noticed some fascinating things with the People's Picks, and it will be interesting to see if the trends continue with the Poppies.

Obviously, Hot Toys dominated. That's not really a surprise, as they've done that consistently over the last several years. But they went beyond dominating this year, with perfect sweeps in three categories! I don't remember them ever pulling off anything like that, and it speaks to the strength of their current licenses.

I was disappointed to see that the DC figures have fallen out of the various smaller scale categories. The Masters of the Universe have really fallen off as well, with little effect on any of their usual categories. NECA has remained strong, and it's nice to see the Star Wars Black series getting some love.

I was quite surprised to see Hasbro not do all that well in the Best Male under 5" line, with only the silver, and only slightly better in the Best Female under 5".  On the flip side, it's great to see McFarlane back in the game with the Walking Dead line.

Overall, there were lots of strong releases, with several of the categories likely to go a different way with the Poppies Judges. I'm going to be very interested in seeing how that turns out - you can expect the results on Thursday night!


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