Saturday, August 27, 2016

What's In the Box?!? Subscription Box Round-Up: August Gentleman's Box, Marvel Collector Corps, and Nerd Block

Time once again for Subscription Box Round-Up, featuring the subscription boxes I’ve received since my last subscription box blog. 

First up: the August Gentleman’s Box, featuring exactly the same box as every month (so no photo of it this month).

This month’s box honors “Our Favorite Artist Formerly Known As,” aka Prince. So I expected a lot of purple this month, and I was not disappointed.

This month included a pair of purple socks. I like purple, I only have one pair of purple socks, so I’m happy with this. The socks are from West End Socks, and this style has a name: “The Hunter.” This is only my second pair of socks with a name, the other being The Franklin, although I would have to go back through my earlier entries to remember which socks those are.

I also received a purple tie from Filthy Etiquette, described in the booklet as a newer brand out of the southern United States. It’s 100% cotton, and feels nice. The booklet recommends wearing it with a white shirt, or even light grey. I don’t wear ties that often, but I like the color.

The third purple item is a pocket square from Four Fifty Five. Also 100% cotton, I like the pattern, and the fact that I don’t have to fold it up.

The box also included a bottle of eye serum from Crusader for Men. Unfortunately, I already use a nighttime eye cleaning/skin repair product that my wife bought me, from Paula’s Choice for Men, so I don’t know if I’m going to substitute this for that part of the regimen. Still, as an apparently $32 value, this is a nice inclusion.

The big ticket item this month is a pair of mirrored sunglasses from Sunny Rebel. I really like the woodgrain print and the color of the reflective lenses. Unfortunately, I wear prescription sunglasses, and these won’t really do me any good. Unless I’m just trying to look cool and don’t have to be able to see anything particularly well.

Overall, this feels like a less impressive box than others, but I’ll definitely wear the socks. The tie and pocket square won’t be used regularly, but are definite possibilities for “suit days.” The eye serum is nice, but I already use a similar product that I’m happy with. And the sunglasses are useless for me, which is a shame, because they seem to be of pretty high quality.

Also fairly useless, but amusing is this page from the booklet about how to ward this month’s items.

While I appreciate being shown that the socks go on the feet, the tie around the neck, and the pocket square in your pocket, it doesn’t show where I’m supposed to put the sunglasses. So, no help at all.

I also received the new Marvel Collector Corps box featuring one of my all-time favorite super-heroes, Spider-Man. As usual, the box is designed specifically for this month’s theme, both inside and out.

This month’s pin is a fairly straightforward Spider-Man logo. At first, I was a little disappointed, because I like all the others that feature the character’s face, but it has grown on me.

The patch is a nice face shot of Spider-Man, so that kind of makes up for the pin, except that I’m more likely to wear the pin.

Inside, the first thing we see is the now-customary info card, revealing next month’s theme: Doctor Strange! I’m a HUGE fan of Doctor Strange, so I’m excited about this (almost as much as I’m excited about his upcoming movie).

On the reverse of the card is all the info about the contents of this month’s box. I’ll show that card at the end, after we’ve gone through everything.

This month’s exclusive comic is the latest issue of Amazing Spider-Man, #16, which just came out the other week. It’s got a nice Funko Pop! cover, which I always get a kick out of. I’d already read the comic, which kicks off a prelude to the big upcoming Clone Conspiracy story in Spider-Man. I’ve been enjoying the book for a while, and this cover is a nice bonus.

This month’s exclusive Pop! is a posed, leaping Spider-Man in his classic costume. I don’t have any Spider-Man Pop!’s at all, so this is a great addition to my collection. And I like the detailing on it. As you can see in the following photo, Gizmo is also a fan.

The box also includes an exclusive Spider-Man Fabrikation, which was apparently held back from the original line for this box. I believe the only other Fabrikation I own is the Rocket Raccoon one. It’s a line that I find to be super-cute, but we have a lot of plush toys in our house, and only so much room to store or display them. However, getting this as part of this box is a nice treat for me. It’s adorable and fuzzy, and I think it’s pretty neat.

The final item is yet another Pop! Top, just like in the last Collector Corps box and the last Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty box. And, just like in those boxes, I like the patch on the hat but I hate the hat itself. The shape of the hat is awkward bordering on ugly, and it would be uncomfortable to wear if I wore hats. The card says that Marvel Pop! Tops will only be available through Marvel Collector Corps, which is frustrating, because it makes it sound as if we’ll be getting more hats. I much prefer the T-shirts that used to come with the boxes, and love wearing those. A steady influx of these stupid hats isn’t enough to make me want to drop the box, but it’s not something to look forward to, either.

And that’s it for this box. Here, as promised, is the contents information card.

I had read another review of this box online that was disappointed that we just got a variant Spider-Man Pop! and the Spider-Man Fabrikation. They wanted to see less Spider-Man proper, and more Spider-Man related characters. Also less Fabrikations and more Dorbz and other Funko lines instead, because apparently that’s what collectors want, not scarves or mugs or Fabrikations. I’m not sure I completely agree; it almost sounds like they want more stuff like the Hobgoblin Pop! that came in the anniversary box that is now selling for big money on eBay.

Me, I believe that with these subscription boxes, you pays your money and takes your chances, and Funko is providing a lot of exclusive items across their entire product lines. If you don’t want some of those product lines, I get that, but I don’t think it’s fair to complain that Funko is including those products in their boxes along with the Pop!s. I don’t believe it was ever advertised that the boxes would contain only Pop!s—I am totally making up the plural version of Pop! here—and every box has included at least one Pop!

I also don’t mind that we got a couple of items that were just Spider-Man, since I don’t have much merchandise with him. Having said that, a Mary Jane or Black Cat or Silk Pop! would have been cool. Maybe down the line, like when the next movie comes out.
For those who were looking forward to a Black Cat Pop! in this month's box...

(The same review also did not like the excessive quantity of ugly, uncomfortable hats that have been coming with the Funko boxes, and I completely agree with him there.)

Finally, just in time for this blog, we received this month’s Nerd Block. As you may remember, I was not a particularly big fan of last month’s Block. Was I happier this time around? Let’s see!

Inside the same box as every month is the pile of stuff. Immediately apparent were two of this month’s exclusives, so let’s start with those.

The Lord of the Rings Eye of Sauron snow globe is pretty cool. (Red snow? Whatever.) That’ll be going on my desk for sure.

Also cool: the Labyrinth t-shirt from Shirtpunch, featuring the late, great David Bowie. My wife is jealous of this.

Another cool exclusive? This Back to the Future time circuit luggage tag. We’re taking a trip soon, and I need a new luggage tag. The time circuit stuff is rubber that is glued on, not just a printed piece of plastic. I’m very happy with this.

Another exclusive is the Ghostbusters art print. I’ve made no secret of my Ghostbusters fan leanings, so I will probably make an effort to figure out how to display this. It looks really nice!

The final exclusive is a set of Masters of the Universe figures from a line called M.U.S.C.L.E., made by a company called Super7. I’m not familiar with this line at all. Apparently, the exclusive element is the color, which is kind of a lavender. I got Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, and Castle Greyskull. They look nicely sculpted, with a very retro feel to the proportions, which I suppose is appropriate for a property like this.

The thing is, I was never a big Masters of the Universe fan. I was too old when the cartoon came out to not think it was pretty lame, and nothing has changed my opinion since. Still, they’re small, and they look okay.

The final item in the Block is a Simpsons book, C. Montgomery Burns’ Handbook of World Domination. I was a faithful Simpsons viewer for quite a few years, but got tired of it and stopped watching some time ago. Even when I was a fan, I wasn’t a Mr. Burns fan. So this isn’t particularly exciting to me, but maybe it will rekindle some of that old Simpsons enthusiasm.

Regardless, most of the items this month were things that I liked, and there wasn’t any additional crap that felt like Nerd Block was just clearing out their warehouse. 

Next month’s Nerd Block looks like it’ll include stuff from a bunch of things I’m a fan of, plus Attack on Titan, which I’ve never seen. So, we’ll see.

So, that’s it for this month’s boxes to date. Any thoughts?

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