Luke Y. Thompson | Contributor
Forbes: June 11, 2018
With a box office haul that, as of this writing, is $2 million short of making $2 billion worldwide, Avengers: Infinity War seems a sure bet to be the top-grossing movie of 2018. What casual moviegoers might not remember, however, is that it's loosely based on a 1991 comics miniseries that was an instant top ten hit. For San Diego Comic-Con International this year, Entertainment Earth is digging back into the title that started it all, with an exclusive set of 16 stylized wooden Pin Mates from the iconic original storyline that we're pleased to debut right here. Each Pin Mate is individually numbered, and each set is limited to 1500. Buy the box at Comic-Con to get an exclusive Nebula Pin Mate that is only available on-site. Aside from her, the set includes Vision, Quasar, Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Nova, Hulk, Pip the Troll, Adam Warlock), Thor (number G10), Namor, She-Hulk, Drax the Destroyer, Captain America, Spider-Man, Cloak and Thanos.
Due to separate licensing for the X-Men, there will be an additional set of three Marvel Mutants in their 1991 outfits to fit into the storyline--Wolverine, Cyclops, and Scarlet Witch--also limited to 1,500, and sized so they can fit into three empty slots reserved for them in the main box set. If supplies remain after Comic-Con, the main set can be ordered here and the X-Men add-on set here.
Partially inspired by (and mostly compatible with) the Fisher Price minifigs of the '70s and '80s, Pin Mates are Entertainment Earth's latest take on the stylized collectible figure, but also designed to be sturdy and played with by all ages--in addition to licensed figures like superheroes and Star Trek, they plan on branching out into generic real-life heroes like doctors and firefighters. Since debuting the figures in 2016, the company has sold over 350,000 of them.
In an indirect rebuke to bigger companies that have been trying to enhance action figures with technology and apps to make their toys more appealing to video gamers, "our Pin Mate line requires no batteries, assembly, or apps," says Entertainment Earth Director of In-House Brands Scott Neitlich, formerly of Mattel and Jakks Pacific. He adds, "We very specifically went with a 'no app!' message in all our wooden toy lines. As parents ourselves, it's difficult to watch as children turn screens into toys, punching buttons for a dopamine hit instead of experiencing actual imaginative play. We hope that with the reintroduction of Pin Play, children, parents, collectors, and toy fans of all ages will rediscover playtime and bring real, healthy, creative play back into family life."
Whether any adults lucky enough to score this set will actually let their kids play with it...well, that's another story.