Friday, May 13, 2016

Subscription Box Round-Up: April (and early May)

While I’ve been focusing on our recent Disneyland trip the last few weeks, subscription boxes have been piling up around the house. (Well, not so much piling up; we have been opening them.) So this week’s post is a marathon subscription box round-up.

First up: the latest Marvel Collector Corps box, featuring items from the recently-released film, Captain America: Civil War.

This may be one of the largest boxes from this subscription to date, easily rivaling, if not exceeding, the Guardians of the Galaxy box in size. I photographed it next to a bottle of Angry Orchard apple cider to give some sense of the scale.

Inside the lid were the customary pin and patch. 

It’s nice to see Crossbones represented somewhere, even if only on a patch, but the real prize for me is the Black Panther pin. Black Panther is a character I’ve only recently become a fan of, and I love that he’s getting a chance to shine. He’s a fantastic character, not just a physically strong fighter, but also a scientist and leader. Chadwick Boseman does a fantastic job bringing him to life in the movie, and I hope his solo feature helps make the character a household name.

This month, Funko has included a card detailing the stuff in the box. Unlike a lot of subscription box content cards, this has some cool information, like production art and concept and design sketches. However, it’s a bit frustrating when they detail plans that didn’t pan out for this box, like originally intending to include a Falcon Captain America Pop and an introduction to a new line from Funko. What’s actually in the box is pretty cool, but that stuff would have been maybe even more awesome.

Beneath the card lay the rest of the contents with the T-shirt on top.

Unsurprisingly, this month’s shirt is a Pop-ized version of Civil War. I love these shirts, because they’re a nice twist on the traditional imagery we get for these franchises. I wore this shirt to the movie on opening day. (My wife wore the one she received from the FanMail box, as detailed in her blog.)

The exclusive comic variant cover is a Pop version of Black Panther #1. I had already read this comic when it was released digitally, but I’m happy to own a physical copy. If you haven’t read it, it’s a great introduction to the character and his world, and sets up a really intriguing story of politics, techno-thriller, and African mysticism. And the art is gorgeous. I recommend reading it, with or without the Funko Pop cover.

Of course, I couldn’t resist taking a picture both the comic and Morticia, our own Black Panther.

Because this box launches the second year of the Marvel Collector Corps, they included a new Civil War-themed lanyard. This is good, because my one from the first year was getting full of pins.

While I had originally felt that they were redundant, as yet another line of cute plastic figures following the Pop line, I am gradually warming up to the Dorbz line of toys.This exclusive figure, featuring an unmasked Iron Man, totally lives up to its name, and is completely adorable. As far as what I purchase, my main focus will probably remain buying Pop versions of my favorite characters, but I don’t mind receiving the occasional Dorbz. 

Speaking of Pops, the big item this month is this exclusive two-pack of both Captain America and Iron Man. These poses, I believe, are exclusive to the Collector Corps. This is actually my first Iron Man Pop, and it’s neat that—like last month’s leaping Deadpool—this is mounted on a stand so it looks like he is hovering.

Once again, the Marvel Collector Corps comes through with some cool items, although the packing card really makes me wonder what might have been. Oh, well; we’ll find out soon enough. In the meantime, I got a nice compliment on my Collector Corps villains shirt, which I wore to Free Comic Book Day at my local store, and I saw someone wearing a Deadpool shirt from February’s box at the theater when we went to see Civil War. So it’s not just me who appreciates the merchandise from this box.

The next box to arrive in April was the Nerd Block. Actually, though a confusing renewal email, we accidentally ordered/paid for/received two of this month’s box. Fortunately, the Nerd Block folks were kind enough to let us know that we could return one for a refund if we wanted.

As usual, the box itself is fairly unremarkable, basically the same design as it is every month. However, if not spending money on a new box design every month saves us a few dollars, that’s fine.

Inside, everything is just kind of packed in willy-nilly. Last month’s box said that Weird Al Yankovich will be “taking over” this month’s Block. I’m not sure if that means he curated this box, but he certainly has a visible presence here.  That begins with an “exclusive paint variant” of the Simpsons 25th Anniversary “Weird Al” Action Figure. 

I’m not sure what makes this a variant. My guess, from the picture on the package, is that the colors on the shirt were reversed on the original, and the original also had a mustache. If anyone has the original version of the figure, please let me know.

This month’s T-shirt is another exclusive, also featuring Weird Al. We love Weird Al in our household, so I’m happy to add this to my t-shirt collection/rotation. (The only live concert my wife and I have been to together was Weird Al.)

The last Weird Al item included is a paperback copy of his book, described as an exclusive. I’m pretty sure that the library has this book in hardcover. This is either a straight paperback or an abridged version in paperback. Regardless, I’ll be happy to read it, and it’s nice to have it in our collection.

This month’s print is a nice Spaceballs print, from the Mel Brooks movie. I received a Dark Helmet print. It’s a nice graphic; I just lack the space to display all these prints, and the motivation and energy to frame and hang all of them.

I don’t actually watch Archer, but my wife does, so we’ll get some use out of the Archer ice cube tray.

This month’s “do not care” item is a Family Guy Koozie, which is a can cozy. I watched Family Guy when it first came on, and I can honestly say it is not for me. If any of my loyal readers (I use the plural optimistically) is interested in taking this off my hands, please let me know in the comments, or via Facebook if we’re friends there. First come first served.

Next up: April’s Gentleman’s Box! This month, in honor of the critically-reviled, box-office failure that I haven’t seen, the box honors “Our Favorite Superhero,” which is non-legally-actionably unnamed but obviously Superman. In their description, they describe their honoree as “strong, knows how to collaborate with others, has a great sense of morality, and shows never-ending compassion toward others,” which pretty much sums up the Superman that I have admired since I was a kid.

As usual, this is one of the classiest boxes I receive each month. The exterior of the box is nice, the description of the contents is in a detailed booklet, and the contents are wrapped nicely in paper.  

Continuing to justify our suspending our Sock Fancy subscription, this month comes with a pair of socks from Wolf Clothing Co. They fit nicely, they are soft and comfy, and it’s a combination of colors and patterns that I like, but might not have chosen to purchase for myself.

The box also includes a 12-pack of Fashion Anchor disposable collar stays. I had been using the Wurkin Stiff magnetic collar stays until I received some wooden collar stays in the March Gentleman’s Box. I liked those, except they broke, so I went back to the metal ones from Wurkin Stiff. Honestly, I haven’t even opened the envelope of these Fashion Anchor ones. Maybe they’re nice, but I don’t see the point of the disposable ones on a day to day basis. Perhaps they are a better alternative for when we travel, so I don’t have to worry about using my nice expensive metal ones. The description also suggests using them as a replacement for a missing button, so that’s certainly something to keep in mind.

This month’s tie is a polka dot one from Knot Society. It’s an exclusive pattern of “mini dots placed carefully over a navy micro-fiber ground.” I haven’t had the opportunity to wear it yet, but it looks nice.

The tie should look especially nice with the Gentleman’s Box eye glass tie clip. I like the idea of a tie clip with a little bit of personality to it, so I will almost certainly give this a try.

The final item in the box is a little unusual: a sample bottle of FREY detergent for men. Honestly, I had never worried about my laundry not smelling masculine enough. Apparently, however, this detergent has “a scent inspired by the top men’s colognes to add a slight yet distinct masculine fragrance to the powerful detergent.” The detergent itself smells nice, and gets my clothes clean. However, while I suppose my clothes don’t smell like our usual detergent (from the Honest Company), the FREY detergent doesn’t impart too much of its scent to the clothes. The sample bottle contains enough for two loads; whether or not I purchase a full bottle depends pretty much on the price.

So this month’s box mostly contains stuff I’ll use right away or eventually. The only item I have any real questions about are the disposable collar stays, but I’ll try to bring them along on my next trip to see how they work.

Moving into May, we received the May Kitnip Box, which the kitties were very excited about. Gizmo could hardly wait for me to open it.

As soon as I did he offered to help me unwrap it.

This month’s offerings include several catnip toys, starting with the Safemade Ladybug.

Also, the OurPets mouse in sheep’s clothing, which is a little sheepskin mouse.

Of slightly more interest to Gizmo was the wrestler toy from ThinkCat. Still filled with catnip, it was at least a different shape from the other catnip toys.

We also received a seagrass disc from Ocala. This had Gizmo’s attention until I removed it from its packaging.

Perhaps the most popular toys were these two plastic play-n-treat balls from OurPets. They are plastic balls intended to be filled with food or treats, but Giz was playing with them even when they were empty.

The final item was a pack of jerky treats from Prime Taste Treats. We haven’t opened these yet, so I don’t know how popular they will be.

Honestly, the most popular toy seemed to be the empty box.

As usual, it’s a nice set of toys, but I think we are going to be suspending our Kitnip Box subscription for the time being. Our cats have so many toys at this point, we don’t need a monthly shipment of more toys for some time. What we’ve been getting are cute, but as far as the cats are concerned, they’re just little pillows filled with catnip, or things to bat around the room, so we’re going to take a break from this box for a while.

We also received the Try the World box of foods from around the world, this month featuring Portugal. However, since we haven’t actually tried any of these foods, I don’t really have anything interesting to say about them.

So that’s it for this month’s subscription boxes, except for the latest Haunted Mansion Ghost Relations Department Ghost Post box. That has so many interactive components, it really deserves its own post. So keep an eye out for that soon! 

In the meantime, please let me know about any subscription boxes you get, or any thoughts about what I’ve written here. And if you are interested in the Family Guy can cozy, absolutely let me know.

See you next week!

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