Monday, September 19, 2011
Top Picks: 2011 Sci-Fi and Superhero Christmas Ornaments
With September here, merchandise for the big three holidays--Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas--is currently flooding the shelves of stores everywhere. As sure as the leaves change color in the fall, this tidal wave of merchandising also includes geek-pandering Christmas ornaments. Highly-detailed and highly-affordable miniatures are like catnip to me, so here are my recommendations for this year's ornaments. While I couldn't find any ornaments to recommend that would fit into the category of horror, there are plenty of others left in the areas of science fiction and superheroes. Read on ...
I've divided my list into two sections: characters and vehicles. All of the items listed here are Hallmark ornaments. Carlton Cards are still making franchised-based ornaments as well, but the only one that I can recommend from this year's set is their Stargate SG-1 ornament (which depicts Colonel Jack O'Neill fighting off some Replicators) and I can't find a good, non-watermarked picture of this noteworthy collectible to include in this post.
When it comes to superhero ornaments, Batman and Spider-Man have become annual mainstays with an occasional Superman ornament showing up from time to time. Not much has changed this year--Batman and Spider-Man have their own ornaments yet again--but there are also Green Lantern and Thor ornaments available as well. While I'm sure that these two ornaments are part of the promotional merchandising campaigns for these heroes' first appearances on the big screen last summer, it's nice to see some variety among the kinds of superheroes you can put on your Christmas tree.
One of this year's biggest collector's item is the limited edition Bossk ornament, which debuted in Hallmark stores last July. If the bounty hunters are among your favorite characters in the Star Wars universe, then you should pick this one up--even though it's a limited edition ornament, it's still available at various online stores. Then again, if you already have the Jango Fett and Boba Fett ornaments and were lucky enough to pick up the Dengar and IG-88 ornaments at last summer's Comic Con, then getting a Bossk ornament for your collection is mandatory.
Another must-have for die-hard sci-fi collectors is the new battery-powered Cylon Centurion ornament, which will be released in October. This Centurion is from the original Battlestar Galactica series, and it plays a few Galactica sound clips. If you love robot ornaments, you should probably get this one ASAP--lest it become like the Robby the Robot ornament from 2009, which has since become so rare that it can go from anywhere between $100 to $200.
In keeping with this year's theme of Star Wars bounty hunters, Hallmark has released a battery-powered Slave I ornament that plays lines of dialogue and sound effects from Empire Strikes Back. Hallmark previously released the Slave I in 2002, although that ornament was made out of die-cast metal, it didn't play any sounds, and it featured the vehicle's color scheme from Attack of the Clones.
For Star Trek fans, there's the Romulan Bird of Prey ornament. This ornament is modeled after the Bird of Prey ship as it was first seen in the original Star Trek TV series, and it features glowing warp nacelles.
There's another Tron ornament out this year, and it's another light cycle. Last year, the Tron ornament was modeled after the light cycle driven by Sam Flynn and it glowed blue; this year, the ornament is modeled after CLU's light cycle and it glows yellow. I was hoping that this year's Tron ornament would be a different kind of vehicle (say, a Recognizer or a Light Runner) yet because this is for a franchise that's been largely dormant for almost three decades, I'll take whatever I can get.
Probably the coolest vehicle ornament from this year's selection is the battery-powered Batmobile. This isn't the first Batmobile Christmas ornament--there have been plenty of those before now--but this one is modeled after the Batmobile from the 1960s Batman TV series and it plays 20 seconds of the series' theme song.