Under the Radar’s 2023 Holiday Gift Guide Part 6: Collectibles, Toys, and Geek-Friendly Presents
Action Figures, Statues, Toys, Apparel, and More From Diamond Select Toys, Fun.com, McFarlane Toys, Warner Bros., and More
Dec 19, 2023
Welcome to Part 6 of Under the Radar’s 2023 Holiday Gift Guide, our final gift guide this year. This one centers on collectibles, toys, and other geek-friendly presents. Geek culture continues to be bigger than ever. Whereas in the 1980s and 1990s comic book stores were on the fringes of society and action figures were only intended for children, these days the whole thing is mainstream, with superhero movies routinely topping the box office and it being socially acceptable for adults to collect toys, ones that are crafted for older collectors rather than kids. Below we have a selection of action figures, statues, and other gifts to help you or your giftee embrace their inner geek.
Also check out the other parts of our 2023 Holiday Gift Guide: Part 1 on tabletop and board games, Part 2 on classic films and TV shows on Blu-ray, Part 3 on modern films and TV shows on Blu-ray, Part 4 on video games, and Part 5 on music reissues and vinyl box sets.
The Human Torch Marvel Premier Collection Resin Statue (Diamond Select Toys)
There have been four Fantastic Four movies and none of them have been considered great and some are thought of as downright awful. With the superhero family finally coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with a 2025 movie on the way from WandaVision director Matt Shankman and lots of rumors about who might play the characters (Pedro Pascal is supposedly, maybe, perhaps the current frontrunner to play Reed Richards), it’s a good time to get your hands on some Fantastic Four collectibles. And they don’t get much cooler than this, or hotter. Flame on!
This resin statue of The Human Torch, from Diamond Select Toys’ Marvel Premier Collection, is an impressive site to behold. At 14 inches tall, it towers over most other collectibles. And the thing is heavy. It comes in two pieces that easily fit together. Clayburn Moore hand-sculpted the statue and only 3,000 were made.
Chris Evans memorably played The Human Torch (aka Johnny Storm) in the 2005 and 2007 Fantastic Four movies before becoming Captain America in the MCU. There’s no official word yet on who will play the part in Shankman’s vision. (Buy it here.)
Marvel Select Invisible Woman Collector’s Action Figure (Diamond Select Toys)
Johnny Storm’s older sister is Sue Storm and she too was hit with cosmic rays and given powers. Whereas Johnny can control and make fire, Sue can become invisible and also make force fields, hence the name Invisible Woman. Jessica Alba memorably played her in the 2005 and 2007 movies, whereas Kate Mara took on the role in the poorly received 2015 reboot (I see most major superhero movies in the theater and even I skipped that one, waiting until it was streaming). Vanessa Kirby of the recent Mission: Impossible movies (and currently starring in Napoleon) is rumored to be playing Sue in the next Fantastic Four movie, although nothing has been officially announced.
Diamond Select’s Marvel Select range are deluxe action figures and their Invisible Woman one doesn’t disappoint. While she can’t be made wholly invisible, her legs and hands come with both visible and invisible options. Plus she comes with a force field shield she can hold and a force field stand. Also available are the rest of the team: The Thing, The Human Torch, and her husband Reed Richards (aka Mr. Fantastic). (Buy it here.)
Marvel Legends Retro Collection Firestar Action Figure (Kenner/Hasbro/Fun.com)
RRP: $17.99 (now on sale for $6.99)
The Human Torch isn’t the only fire-based superhero in the Marvel Universe, there’s also Firestar (aka Angelica Jones). Much how Harley Quinn first debuted in Batman the Animated Series, Firestar was created for the Saturday morning cartoon Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends in 1981 when The Human Torch wasn’t available due to rights issues. They wanted a fire-based hero to complement Iceman as Spidey’s other “amazing friend.” The character later made her way into comic cannon.
Firestar joins the Marvel Legends Retro Collection from Kenner and Hasbro. They are 3.75-inch tall figures that are reminiscent of action figures from the 1980s, making Firestar a suitable addition considering that’s the decade of her origin. As of this writing, it’s on sale on Fun.com for 61% off, only $6.99. She will join my Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman figure from the same collection. (Buy it from Fun.com here.)
What If – Captain Carter Gallery Diorama (Diamond Select Toys)
Captain Carter was the breakout character of What If…? season one, an animated Disney+ show that imagines alternate histories in the MCU. In episode one, “What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?,” Peggy Carter got the super soldier serum, so instead of Steve Rogers becoming Captain America, Peggy became Captain Carter. Hayley Atwell voiced the character, after playing Peggy in Captain America: The First Avenger and the ABC TV show Agent Carter. Captain Carter quickly came to live action in the 2022 film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, although her appearance was short lived.
Now Diamond Select Toys has brought Captain Carter to their Gallery Diorama series. It’s based on her appearance in What If…? Paul Harding designed and sculpted the statue, which is 10 inches tall and features Captain Carter running into action. Hopefully Marvel will find a way to bring back Hayley Atwell as Captain Carter in live action. (Buy it here.)
Doctor Octopus Gallery Diorama (Diamond Select Toys)
Doctor Octopus is one of Spider-Man’s most iconic villains and he’s graced the silver screen twice in recent years, but in two different forms. In 2017’s acclaimed, Oscar-winning, animated hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Kathryn Hahn voiced an alternate version of the character, Doctor Olivia “Liv” Octavius. 2021’s mega-hit, Spider-Man: No Way Home, saw Alfred Molina reprise his role as Otto Octavius / Doctor Octopus, 17 years after first portraying him in 2002’s Spider-Man 2. Molina’s version is a more sympathetic monster.
Diamond Select Toys brings the character to their Gallery Diorama series, but doesn’t pull from either film version of the character. Instead the statue is inspired by the original Marvel comics. The PVC sculpture features Doc Ock in a dynamic pose as he topples over a fire hydrant and water spouts out. Caesar designed the Doctor Octopus Gallery Diorama, which was sculpted by Alterton. (Buy it here.)
She-Hulk Animated-Style Statue (Diamond Select Toys)
2022’s Disney+ show, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, got a mixed response from fans, due to the tone being more comedic than most MCU projects, although most appreciated Tatiana Maslany’s performance as the title character. But a funnily take on Hulk’s cousin fits well into Diamond Select Toys’ Animated-Style Statue range.
The adorable statue is five inches tall and is based on variant cover artwork from a Marvel comic book by Skottie Young. Casen Barnard sculpted the limited edition piece. (Buy it here.)
Loki Animated-Style Statue (Diamond Select Toys)
With season two of Loki just finishing on Disney+ last month, awareness for the character is likely at a high, making it a good time to give someone his Animated-Style Statue from Diamond Select Toys. The TV Loki is more of a hero these days, than a god of mischief, but the statue harkens to his comic book origins. The four-inch statue was also inspired by the artwork of Skottie Young and features a younger Loki. He appears to be hovering, ready to get up to no good. (Buy it here.)
Drax Animated-Style Statue (Diamond Select Toys)
There’s been a lot of talk of superhero fatigue this year, as most of the Marvel and DC movies have either underperformed at the box office or out and out flopped. One bright spot was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which successfully balanced pathos and humor. Director James Gunn has since left Marvel to run DC, with hopes of a spectacular relaunch in 2025 with Superman: Legacy. Drax has long been one of the comedic highpoints of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, mainly because the character has no sense of humor and takes everything literally.
Drax joins Diamond Select Toys’ Animated-Style Statue line. His figure is a little wider than some of the others in the range, although he still five inches tall. Casen Barnard sculpted the statue, which is again based on variant cover artwork by Skottie Young. This Drax is green-skinned, like in the comic books, as opposed to his grey-skinned big screen counterpart. (Buy it here.)
Aquaman (Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom) Action Figure (McFarlane Toys)
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom finally comes out this Friday. It’s the sequel to 2018’s Aquaman and fans (and Warner Bros.) hope it can end the DCEU on a high note. It’ll be the last film in the current DC continuity before James Gunn’s reboot changes everything. Even though Aquaman was traditionally the butt of many jokes, surprisingly, the first film was the only DCEU film to crack one billion dollars at the worldwide box office. It was a super fun and colorful movie and a lot of people simply love Jason Momoa in the role. Whether the sequel can achieve similar success remains to be determined, but fans of McFarlane Toys’ extensive DC Multiverse line of action figures will be pleased to know that there are various figures based on the movie.
For starters we, of course, have Aquaman himself, clad in his traditional green and gold costume. The seven-inch figure comes with his trident. (Buy it here.)
Black Manta (Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom) Action Figure (McFarlane Toys)
Black Manta was a secondary villain in Aquaman, but is the main antagonist in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II reprises his role as David Kane / Black Manta, a ruthless modern day pirate who is out for revenge against Aquaman due to the death of his father in the first film. Director James Wan always intended Black Manta to be the main villain in the sequel when he was making the first film. He looks cool as hell in both films, with a comics accurate costume and power set.
Black Manta’s seven-inch McFarlane action figure comes with a stand that allows him to appear to be flying, with two sets of fire you can add to his rocket pack. (Buy it here.)
Storm (Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom) Action Figure (McFarlane Toys)
Storm, Aquaman’s trusty seahorse, is one of the most impressive McFarlane Toys figures we’ve seen. It comes in two parts that easily slot together. The detailed figure is quite large and heavy. Your Aquaman action figure can sit on its saddle and Storm comes with a stand for easy display. (Buy it here.)
DC The Dark Knight Returns Superman vs. Batman 7 Inch Scale Action Figure Set (McFarlane Toys/Fun.com)
RRP: $49.99 (currently on sale for $24.99)
Zack Snyder recently said in an interview that the only way he’d return to making movies for DC was to do a faithful adaptation of Frank Miller’s landmark 1986 graphic novel/comic book series The Dark Knight Returns, in which a rogue 55-year-old Batman fights Superman in a dystopian version of Gotham City. Snyder already borrowed elements of the story for his 2016 film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but it would be cool if in 10 years he brought back Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill to adapt Miller’s opus.
McFarlane Toys have a line of figures directly inspired by The Dark Knight Returns, including a two-figure set that features Superman and an armored Batman ready for battle. It includes a plastic stand replicating a damaged city for the two to stand on in fight poses. The figures are also available separately (although the individual Batman figure isn’t armored). At the time of this writing, the set is on sale for 50% off on Fun.com, only $24.99. (Buy it from Fun.com here.)
DC Build-A Wave 6 Dark Knight Returns Robin 7-Inch Scale Figure (McFarlane Toys/Fun.com)
RRP: $34.99 (currently on sale for $15.99)
The Dark Knight Returns also featured a new Robin who was introduced in the comic book series, Carrie Kelley. She is the first female Robin and hasn’t really had much time in the main DC Comics continuity, meaning she shines mainly in The Dark Knight Returns universe, although she did make her live action debut this year in the CW TV show Gotham Knights, which was cancelled after one season. If you’re going to get the Batman and Superman set, then you also need McFarlane Toys’ Carrie Kelley Robin action figure. She comes equipped with her signature slingshot, which isn’t much use against Superman unless she has Kryptonite rocks. If you get all the Dark Knight Returns action figures, including the Joker and the individual figures of Batman and Superman, you can build a large black horse for Batman to ride on.
At the time of this writing, the Robin figure is on sale for 54% off on Fun.com, only $15.99. (Buy it from Fun.com here.)
Invincible Atom Eve Deluxe Action Figure (Diamond Select Toys)
Let us not forget that DC and Marvel are not the only superhero factories around. Image Comics have been going strong since 1992 and one of their biggest titles is Invincible. Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) created the comic and has written most (if not all) of its issues, stretching from 2003 to 2018. It centers on Mark Grayson, a 17-year-old high school student who is also the son of seemingly the world’s greatest superhero, Omni-Man. With inherited powers, Grayson becomes a superhero in his own right, Invincible, but soon discovers his dad is not all he appears to be. Samantha Eve Wilkins is Atom Eve, a fellow young superhero who is eventually on the Teen Team with Mark and is a love interest to him.
Invincible was adapted into a very adult and violent animated series on Amazon Prime, debuting in 2021. Season two just premiered last month. And in between the two seasons a special episode just devoted to Atom Eve’s origins streamed. Gillian Jacobs (Community, Love) voices Atom Eve and at the start of season two the character has given up crime fighting and is instead using her powers to help people, such as rebuilding parts of a city destroyed by a big superhero battle at the end of season one.
Diamond Select Toys have a series of deluxe action figures based on the Amazon show. Series two features Atom Eve and Robot. Chris Dahlberg sculpted the 7-inch Atom Eve figure, which features over 16 points of articulation and comes with additional parts and accessories in a full-color window box (in case you want to leave your figure in the box as some collector’s like to do, although personally I prefer to display action figures outside their boxes but also keep the boxes in the attic just in case I move and need to transport the figure safely). (Buy it here.)
Legend of Zelda Link Sword (Disguise/Fun.com)
It’s been 37 years since The Legend of Zelda first debuted. The video game further took off the following year, when it came home to the Nintendo Entertainment System. The latest game, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, is one of the most acclaimed games of 2023 and almost 20 million copies have been sold so far. With a live action movie in the works, it seems likely the franchise will only get even bigger in the future.
For those who like to pretend to be Link in the real world, as he once again searches for Princess Zelda, Disguise have made a replica of his sword. The plastic sword is 26 inches long and comes with a Scabbard that is decorated with a Triforce emblem. (Buy it from Fun.com here.)
Nintendo Animal Crossing Character Tile Lunch Tote (Bioworld/Fun.com)
RRP: $19.99 (currently on sale for only $4.99)
Animal Crossing is such a chill and relaxing game that it’s almost like therapy. The Nintendo game is perfect for kids, but also has many adult fans happy to spend some island time with their animal friends. And now you can bring those friends to school or work thanks to Bioworld’s Animal Crossing Character Tile Lunch Tote, perfect for transporting a sandwich or a snack. It features various colorful Animal Crossing characters on the front, includes an outer zip pocket, and has a moisture resistant insulated lining. Plus, as of this writing it’s currently 75% off at Fun.com, only $4.99! (Buy it from Fun.com here.)
Harry Potter Collectible Quidditch Set (Revised Edition) (Warner Bros./Running Press/Hachette Book Group)
Twenty-six years since the release of the first Harry Potter novel, 1997’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and Potter fandom is still going strong. My 10-year-old daughter Rose has different friend groups with divergent interests. Some are gamers, others are dancers or are big into sports. The one thing that unites all of them is a love of Harry Potter. Many of them were jealous when we took Rose to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour just outside London last summer. There you can tour the original sets from the eight Harry Potter films, as well as see many of the props from the films. It’s like a Harry Potter theme park without any rides and it books up months in advance. On the same trip we took her to the play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Staunton, a local town near us in Virginia, has an annual Harry Potter festival where all the downtown streets are shutdown and transformed into the Wizarding World. And at Halloween this year, the costume of choice amongst my daughter’s friends seemed to be something Harry Potter related. With a new Harry Potter TV series from Max in the works, one that readapts the books over the course of many years, it seems like interest in Harry Potter is here to stay for at least another generation.
Running Press has put out this Harry Potter Collectible Quidditch Set. It comes in a keepsake trunk with a latch that’s modeled after the one in the films and includes one Quaffle (2-5/8 inches), two Bludgers (1-5/8 inches), and one removable Golden Snitch (3/4 inch). There’s also a 24-page 5 x 7 inch playbook that includes information about Quidditch along with images from the movies. (Buy it here.)
Harry Potter Ravenclaw Knitted Hat (Fun.com)
Which Hogwarts house are you in? My daughter took one of those quizzes online and came out as Ravenclaw. I did the same and got the same response. That puts us in the same house as Luna Lovegood, Moaning Myrtle, Cho Chang, Filius Flitwick, Sybill Trelawney, Gilderoy Lockhart, and others.
Fun.com has a collection of official and exclusive Harry Potter merch, including hats and scarves for each Hogwarts house. We were sent a Ravenclaw Knitted Hat. It features the school crest prominently sewn onto the front. And of course hats are available for the other houses too. (Buy it from Fun.com here.)
Adult Platform 9 ¾ Harry Potter Christmas Sweater (Fun.com)
RRP: $49.99 (currently on sale for $34.99)
Fun.com are perhaps best known for their ugly Christmas sweaters. Although quite a lot of them are actually quite nice and not exactly ugly. This year we were sent a Harry Potter sweater themed to Platform 9 ¾, the magical train platform at King’s Cross Station in London where students board the Hogwart’s Express. The unisex sweater is 51% acrylic, 46% cotton, 2% polyester, and 1% metallic. It features the Platform 9 ¾ logo against a redbrick background, complete with images of trains, tracks, and, for good measure, snowflakes. It’s the perfect wardrobe for your holiday office party or the ugly Christmas sweater party you might be hosting (ours was last week and my daughter wore this sweater). (Buy it from Fun.com here.)