As an avowed Superman fan, I was excited to receive the January 2017 Loot Crate, Origins, said to contain collectibles devoted to Superman, Captain America, Donkey Kong, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was not disappointed, as the items were high quality, and the theme was so strong that for three of the four franchises, Origins was represented in two different ways. These three pieces represent not only their characters’ roots, they also represent cornerstone moments of their respective entertainment empires. We see Superman in his primacy, and also the defining moment that chose DC Comics’ direction. Similarly, both the Captain America and Donkey Kong pieces depict key imagery from the earliest appearances of these icons, which also turned out to be seminal moments for both Marvel Comics and Nintendo. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as one of the most iconic comic book creations of the last forty years, are also a strong asset to this theme.
Loot Crate’s first shelf-candy of 2017 is not a Funko POP! or a Q-fig, but the finely crafted 1:6 scaled exclusive 1940’s Captain America shield from EFX Collectibles. If you don’t recognize this crusader-styled shield as Captain America’s defensive weapon, that’s because it has rarely been seen in comics since Cap’s first appearance in 1941. If you do recognize it, it’s most likely due to a few minutes of Captain America: The First Avenger. Captain America fans and Marvel trivia fans will undoubtedly recognize it, and they will give you plenty of geek cred for knowing the difference between the original shield and the circular, vibranium, shield of current day Marvel Comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The painted metal shield makes for an attractive display with the included base and stand, but the most beautiful thing about it is that you can’t help but think of Jack Kirby when you look at it. While it isn’t as elaborate as some of the recent Q-Figs, such as the Futurama and Harley Quinn pieces last year, its simplicity makes it more symbolic, and it’s a powerful statement on a shelf.
One of the most reprinted comic books in the U.S. is Action Comics #1, and due to marketing tie-in reissues, the lead story’s inclusion in numerous anthologies and ComiXology, and the famous cover’s appearance in TV series like The Simpsons, it may be the most recognizable comic ever printed. And now, Loot Crate ensured that another generation of cool kids will have a reproduction copy of this awesome comic book–not to mention that this is the most complete reproduction of Action Comics #1 for decades. Also, it can’t be overstated that c.500,000 Looters have a reprint of Action Comics #1, so not only was Action Comics #1 again the best-selling comic in January 2017, 79 years after it first appeared on newsstands, but also Loot Crate put a blueprint of DC Comics’ most iconic character into a great many hands. It will be interesting to see if this has any effect on the sales of Superman or Action Comics in 2017.
Even though I have most of the Action Comics reprints, including the complete reprint that was in Famous First Edition #C28, as a Superman collector, I can never have too many, and I was pleased to get this one. Additionally, this month’s Loot Crate craft was a comic file box not unlike the IKEA cardboard magazine files in design, and it makes a really attractive holder for my sketch covers.
Just as Superman in his earliest pages couldn’t fly or melt tanks with his eyes, Nintendo’s famous plumber, in his Donkey Kong origins, wasn’t yet himself. Not only were fireballs and Tanuki suits over thirty years in the future, but in 1981, he didn’t even know his own name, and was known instead as Jumpman. With time came the rest of the iconic gaming mythology that spread from coin op, to console, to handheld, to Mario Run, in which the emphasis is again on the plumber’s running and jumping feet, just like in his original Donkey Kong adventure. This exclusive “Jumpman” T-shirt shows Mario mid-leap and reads “The Original Since 1981.” I like this shirt very much, mainly for sentimental reasons, as it reminds me of a simpler time when my main concern was how many quarters I could pump into arcade games, and though I preferred Battlezone, Pac-Man, and Asteroids, I went through a Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. period as well.
Loot Crate has included yet another great kitchen/bar item this month, an exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tiki muglet from Beeline Creative’s GeekiTikis label. Pictured you see the Raphael tiki muglet; Looters also received Donatello, Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Shredder. As these ceramic muglets are stackable, it is only natural that some would want to complete a set, and Loot Crate anticipated that by making a limited supply of muglets available at vault.lootcrate.com. It’s a great looking mug that holds somewhere around a jigger shot, and would be perfect for doing shooter shots. So if you do get all five of these, I recommend having your friends over for pizza and tiny black russians (age 21+; drive safely).
This month’s Loot Pin is also Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themed. This is one of the better Loot Pins, as it has a clever design that combines a manhole cover with the classic animated series logo. Your Origins Loot Pin also unlocks five free digital comics—Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1-#5 from IDW Publishing.
Not only do you get one print comic book and five digital comics, you can also add this month’s Origins edition of Loot Crate Magazine to your reading pile. The highlights this month are an interview with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story writer Gary Whitta, “Superman Through the Ages,” “Woman Behind the Shield”–a character history of Peggy Carter, and “Fictional Character Resolutions,” which includes some funny New Year’s Resolutions such as “find underwear” (Superman),”write a front page article about something other than Superman” (Lois Lane), and “Look into how to become Queen Peach” (Princess Peach).
This year’s first Loot Crate was an excellent collection of wonderful items that also closely hewed to the theme of Origins. While orders have closed for Origins, you can now order the February core Loot Crate, Build, which will include Batman, Power Rangers, Lego Dimensions, and Tetris.
Loot Crate sent the review copy.