Friday, April 29, 2011

"American Superman."

Don't ask why they're in front of Castle Greyskull.

This was knocked out in about an hour and a half, as to better strike while the bandwagon's hot...

I haven't read Action Comics #900 yet; just the head's up on Superman's citizenship status from Bleeding Cool. Who also points out Fox News' commentators on the subject.

This next part is going to be tough to say, since I try ever so hard not to swear here, but ugh, Fox News...does a pretty good job of getting a bunch of people to get worked up and parrot the party line. People who didn't read or care about comics before, until they heard they were 'un-American.' And who won't care afterwards. (Well, there will probably be at least one 'lifelong Superman fan' that'll get worked up to the point of selling his collection to cash in quick prove a point.)

But, ooh, in the meantime, Fox readers and such will shake their fists and pound their keyboards about how Superman's a pinko commie terrorist (or worse, with fouler language and more typos) for maybe half a news cycle. Just like Fox News readers threw a hissy fit about Wonder Woman changing her costume. (Probably more commentators on that one, than actual purchasers of said comic...) And they've thrown a couple tantrums about Captain America on the Marvel side, as well.

The weird thing is, I thought maybe if Superman renounces his American citizenship, he would go back to his earliest characterization, way back in the Siegal and Shuster days; when he was a bit more radical, more of a rabble-rouser, less a voice of the establishment. Which would just be weird, since Supes is as of now still owned by the establishment of Warner Brothers, which is in no hurry to give him back to the rabble-rousing estate of Siegal and Shuster...

Well, even if this turns out to be a throwaway line (some at Topless Robot have already pointed out that Superman doesn't necessarily have a paying job or social security number or anything, and that Clark Kent doesn't appear to be giving up his citizenship) or a complete debacle, it's already more interesting than the whole of Superman-walking-across-America; isn't it?

And if you can't give up the notion of American Superman, well, you probably won't like this. (And Supe's opening? Swiped from here.)

(The downside to trying to knock a post like this out fast is I miss stuff: I was going to mention JLA/Avengers, where for a good chunk of the story Supes and Cap instinctively dislike and distrust each other. I also wanted to give Cap a line like "I can't believe I let you use my shield and Thor's hammer." Thor is pretty much here to undermine Cap: back in the fifteen minutes he spent as Nomad, Cap tried a cape, and damn near broke his neck. And the Captain America movie will be released as the First Avenger in some foreign markets: all the better to cash in overseas, which is just as reasonable a reason for Superman's declaration as any.)
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Low content week: Goat-Man?

From Golden Books Masters of the Universe: Secret of the Dragon's Egg, written by Jack C. Harris, illustrated by Luis Eduardo Barreto. Cobbled together this image from a two-page spread, since it wouldn't fit in my scanner. What's up with Beast-Man's lackey Goat-Man? Was he intended for the toy line but never made? I don't recognize him, anyway. How much would it suck to be the lackey's lackey? I leave you with these unanswered questions.

I got this kid's book from a yard sale a couple years back, with another MOTU book, a Fantastic Four, and an Inhumanoids that looks surprisingly creepy, with weird cultists who are tricked into worshipping a giant underground monster, then tricked into betraying said monster to worship trees. Man, it's not as cool as I'm making it sound, but Inhumanoids needs to make a comeback like yesterday.

Low content week ends early! New strip tomorrow morning, pulled from the headlines!...of comic websites. But headlines nonetheless!
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Low content week: Star Wars: Boba Fett: Twin Engines of Destruction

From 1997, Star Wars: Boba Fett: Twin Engines of Destruction, written by Andy Mangels, pencils by John Nadeau, inks by Jordi Ensign.

Long-time readers here know this is Random Happenstance here, not Timely Happenstance; since we mentioned this when the K-Mart exclusive Jodo Kast figure came out. Kast, using a set of Mandalorian battle armor, passes himself off as Boba Fett in order to cash in on Fett's rep and score the big bounties...until a run-in with Dengar puts the real deal on Kast's tail.

It's a fun little romp, reprinted from Star Wars Galaxy magazine #5-8, and it's almost over too soon.
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ooh, didn't do the research on this one:

Ah, I didn't realize Meggan was back already! I knew she had been lost in hell in or around House of M, and thought she still was. Oops.

Anyway, I got the Excalibur Minimates box set a couple weeks back: I don't get a lot of Minimates lately, but couldn't pass on this one. It would be nice if it was the full team, with Rachel and Kitty...instead of Juggernaut, who only appeared in the book in issue #3. Although, that was a fun appearance. I'm not a big fan of Juggernaut, but oddly, this is the second time I've got a figure of him packaged with Nightcrawler--no, the third! They were packed together twice for Superhero Squad.

This is Meggan's first action figure, period; making her the underrepresented member of Excalibur. While Rachel hasn't received a figure in her spiky red leather ensemble that she wore for a lot of that book, and Kitty is in a more X-Men-centric uniform; the core team is almost there in Marvel Legends.

Man, I've kind of been missing that book lately, even if a lot of it wasn't very good.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Low Content Week: X-Men/Micronauts #1

I've mentioned this one before: X-Men and the Micronauts #1, "First Encounter" Written by Chris Claremont and Bill Mantlo, pencils by Butch Guice, inks by Bob Wiacek. From back in the day when there was only one X-Men book! (Well, and this limited, the first Magik limited series, a reprint book, an annual, and New Mutants that month.)

I was going to say, man, that is a pared-down X-Men roster, but yeah, the New Mutants show up too. Still, I love this opening, and think it would look just amazing animated: an armada of grim, grey warships flying into battle...led by a kinetic, limb-flailing, brightly-colored Bioship. Singing a classic earth folk song. Ah, comics. There's some spotty bits that haven't aged as well in this one, like body-swapping, heroes turned to the dark side, Professor X going evil for I believe the second time at that point...but the good stuff makes up for it.
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Monday, April 25, 2011

Low content week: Punisher War Zone #7

From Punisher: War Zone #7, "Mugger's Picnic" Written by Chuck Dixon, pencils by John Romita Jr, inks by Klaus Janson and Mike Manley. A "Carnival of Killers" story, where new mob boss Rosalie Carbone consolidates her power, and plans on getting revenge on the Punisher for betraying her. Meanwhile, Frank's taking a little break, which for him involves an evening shooting criminals in Central Park.

This storyline read far better getting an issue every month or so, rather than in one sitting; partially because a friend of mine started every issue by solemnly announcing: "Last time, on Punisher: War Zone..." Also, if you read it all at once, you'll notice John Romita Jr. didn't draw the whole arc; but Mike Harris, Mike Manley, and J.J. Birch do a good job of keeping the same style throughout.

The cop in the scan is Lynn Michaels, who would for a time take the title of the Punisher. I had to look her up, because I thought she was swept under the rug like Frank's stint as an angel; but Lynn actually appeared recently. Good for her.
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Friday, April 22, 2011

The JLA may quit, but not me!

Yeah, they're just taking a break, and so am I! Low content all next week, sorry. (Like I've been grinding it out this week...) We'll probably have a page or a panel a day and call it good. Like today!

From JLA: Incarnations #4, "Balance" Written by John Ostrander, pencils by Val Semeiks, inks by Prentis Rollins and Kevin Conrad. It's a tale I'm not sure was ever told before, or told this way: the end of the satellite era of the Justice League of America.

As the Leaguers' lives get more and more complex, several members find themselves with less and less time to devote to the team, and clues are missed to an upcoming alien invasion. Batman resigns, saying the team isn't doing the job. Aquaman suggests everyone reconsider their commitment to the League, and Black Canary more or less tells him to cram it. (Her mom had just died...which would be a hair early, since I thought she was in Seattle with Ollie then.)

The alien invasion, by a band of interplanetary refugees called the Debris, detonates "mind mines" that incapacitate the entire planet. Only J'onn, Arthur, Ralph, and Zatanna remain (and the point-of-view character, reporter Tully Reed) are left to save the, Arthur calls the team out for winning on pure luck, and after Hal, Barry, and Dinah refuse to resign, Aquaman is forced to disband the JLA. (He and J'onn put it back together, twenty minutes later, with the Detroit team. Firestorm and Red Tornado also don't make the cut, for whatever reason.)

I wasn't going to write this much on this one...this is probably what "Low-content" week is gonna look like, but have a good weekend!
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

I tried, guys, really:

I had high hopes when I pulled a full run of Marvel's 1984 Beauty and the Beast limited series. In fact, I was considering blogging an issue of it a week, to fill the Thursday slot when I was finally done with "The Draco." And although I'm not a huge fan of either Dazzler or the Beast, when I saw Ann Nocenti wrote it, my hopes were raised even more than by the Bill Sienkiewicz covers.

Then I read it...yow. Dazzler and Beast become a couple, for no real apparent reason, except to justify the title. They spend a good chunk of the book either running towards or away from one another, in the best romantic tradition. There some leftover supporting characters from the cancelled Spider-Woman, there's a mutant theatre that'll make you long for the restrained, understated subtlety of the Morlocks, and there's the possible illegitimate son of Dr. Doom. (That bit is just weird, since it seems pretty obvious he's not, but Doom puts a lot of time, effort, and robots into watching him.) It's a bunch of seemingly unrelated ingredients that never turn into an edible dish; so yeah, we won't be going month long on this one.
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Of course I call him, "Frostilicus."

I've been doing a pretty good job of avoiding three-and-three-quarter inch figures lately. I haven't even picked up any of the new Thor figures yet, and some of them look not too shabby. Then It'sAllTrue.Net walked all over my resolve, with their review of the Marvel Universe Loki/Savage Frost Giant two-pack. It's a great review, of a pretty good set, and they sold me by pointing out the Frost Giant looks sharp with Marvel Universe scale, Marvel Legends, or even Masters of the Universe figures. (Check out their review, I'll wait.)

NoisyDvl5 mentions an old episode of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, where Loki...does something, and Iceman gets stuck in Asgard somewhere and ends up with a lady frost giant in love with him. (Check out the link here.) Actually, I was thinking of Iceman's guest-spot in Thor #377 and #378: Loki kidnaps Iceman, to use his cold to bring winter to Asgard and strengthen the giants, who grow with power as the chill grows stronger. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the giants go nuts and try to rush Loki, who is actually forced to melt a few of them.

Because his wife Louise was writing X-Factor at the time, the mutant team crosses over with Walt Simonson's Thor more than once. And it doesn't go especially well for them: Thor also appears in the big Mutant Massacre crossover, when Angel loses his wings, in Thor #374. After his guest-spot, Iceman's powers were ramped up to the point where he couldn't ice down, and had to wear a special belt to regulate his cold. A little secret? I'm not a huge fan of the classic X-Men/X-Factor team (with the exception of Jean, whom I don't mind) and would not have minded if they crossed over with Thor every year so something terrible could happen to them. The Beast's hair pink! Cyclops gets eaten by a bear! And so forth.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hey, some stuff I haven't read either!

I am probably coming up on a "low-content" week or two here. Not because of burnout or anything; just some terribleness I have to deal with around here. But I still have a couple weeks of Wednesday's strips already set up, and still have Bastards of the Universe strips going at Poe Ghostal's.

And I did pick up another pile of cheap stuff from Hastings, on another sale: all three issues of Incredible Hulks: Enigma Force, a spin-off from the Hulk books and a stealth-relaunch pilot for the Micronauts. (The ones Marvel still has the rights for, that is.) Is it any good? Not twelve bucks worth, I bet, but quite probably two, which is what I paid for 'em!

Then there's some more Deadpool stuff, another issue of the "Fist of Khonshu" era of Moon Knight, and a Star Trek: Year Four trade! Set right after the Original Series went off the air, I had been considering this one, and when the price dropped to $2.79? Cheaper than an issue? Hell yes!

I'll let you know how this lot turns out later, but we'll have some other stuff between now and then.
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Monday, April 18, 2011

There's a side of Canada you don't see everyday...

So, we've looked the Mutant X figures a few times, but here's a look at the second-to-last regular issue of the series, Mutant X #31, "You Say You Want a Resolution?" Written by Howard Mackie, art by Ron Lim and Andrew Pepoy.

I had mentioned before that the Mutant X universe seemed to have a lot of events go wrong before the Havok of the Marvel Universe ended up there, but that earth seemed to have a lot of problems earlier than I had thought: Storm and later Gambit being turned into vampires, Madelyn Pryor and Warren Worthington possessed by demons and going evil, the defeated Beyonder imprisoned in the earth; and now Canada as "the most militarily aggressive nation on the planet." Weapon X's current batch of super-soldiers has chased Wolverine, his family, and Havok's team across the border; and now World War IV could be the result unless Wolverine goes back.

Unfortunately, that pisses off Captain America, and in the Mutant X tradition of worst-case scenario, he's not Steve Rogers, but a latent mutant that went through what was left of America's Super-Soldier program. (The Director of Weapon X points out that was before Canada killed the inventor and pillaged the program for themselves...) Now with powers off the charts, Cap hulks out, unleashing huge amounts of energy, and destroying all the enemies of America that he can. I haven't read all of this series, but I think this Cap was relatively stable up to this point. Now, he can no longer tell friend from foe, fighting his old teammates, the Avengers. Quickly defeating "Iron Giant Man," Cap kills him, and the others including Hawkeye, Typhoid Mary, and Deathlok? Maybe Mary had a more hero-friendly name there, but she's dead now, so... Havok is forced to put his teammate down, although it appears that the energies they have released may have even damaged the moon, so it's tough to say what's left of America, Canada, or earth; except that after Cap is beaten, the Beyonder pulls his body underground. Havok and what's left of his Six return to their headquarters, where Alex is starting to realize this world has problems beyond what superheroes can deal with, when he promptly gets bitten by Dracula...

I can't tell if this is a typical issue of Mutant X, or if a little more is crammed in this month since the end was near. Frankly, from what I've seen, this was par for the course. Although, now I'm wondering how much of that world was doomed, and how much was wrecked by Havok.
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Retro Toy Week: X-Men vs. Street Fighter Cyclops...really?

The confusion is not what figure this is: it's definitely Cyclops from Toy Biz's X-Men vs. Street Fighter figures (and there were several in that series, but for the love of god don't pay that price for them...) but the question is, why do I have one? Long-time readers here know, I'm not a fan of Cyclops. While I know Mark Waid considers him "Mr. X-Man," it used to be he was the most straight-laced, serious, and dull member of the team. I think he's actually become more of a tool than that in recent years. So, I didn't buy that set for him... And I didn't buy it for M. Bison, either; although I suspect I still have that figure somewhere. I used to play a bit of some version of Street Fighter 2 Hyper Super Ultra Mega OK, but my combo skills are at best, mediocre. So, why did I buy this set? Well, if you looked at the packaged picture...Cyclops had a jacket... And I shrunk the pictures, so click to enlarge! ...which I promptly stole for a Nightcrawler figure! Why should Cyclops be the only one to get a leather jacket? Ah, the 90's. In case you missed it (in which case, don't ask me to buy beer for you...) in those gritty, teeth-gritted times, leather jackets were especially in vogue for team characters. In particular at Marvel, the Avengers and the X-Men had multiple characters rockin' team-specific jackets over perfectly good (or passable) super-hero uniforms. Which I don't have a problem with, if it was cold outside. (And it works for some characters more than others: Cyclops wearing one? Fine. Captain America? Urrrr...I'd prefer not. Thor? Hell, no. I know I still have a Black Widow figure from about this same time, with an Avengers leather jacket, and it's not bad.) This is 1997's Water Wars Nightcrawler, based on his costume change in Excalibur #98. Written by Warren Ellis, art by Carlos Pacheco, although I couldn't be sure Pacheco did the redesign. (Probably.) To gush for a moment: I loved Ellis's run on that book, especially this storyline where against the London branch of the Hellfire Club and British shadowy government agency Black Air, Excalibur steps their game up. Those issues have been recently reprinted, in Excalibur Visionaries volume three, and they're great. The two years of the book after Ellis left, are excrement. Just gets worse and worse, as everything every previous writer did with the characters is rolled back so Kitty, Kurt, and Colossus can be sent back to the X-Men. (Where all three have since spent time dead. Yay!) And the figure, while dated now, was pretty good for it's time. Ball-jointed shoulders, hip and knee joints, cut wrists and ankles and neck. (His tail has a swivel, but isn't bendy.) Kurt came with his tabard and scabbard, a sword, and a giant crossbow-squirt gun thing. (Hence the "Water Wars" name of the series, yes?) It's a big silly gun that'll go in your box with other oddball accessories, but it does squirt quite alright. Toy Biz made so. Very. Many. X-Men characters in the 90's, and before everything was a bit more unified under the Marvel Legends banner, it was a bit of a crapshoot if you were putting together an X-team of any sort. Some would be in one style, with some articulation; and others would be bigger or smaller or not as sculpted or over-sculpted and posed. So, with or without an added jacket, still love this figure. Hate Cyclops. Read more!

Retro Toy Week: Total Justice Aquaman!

Sometimes, you have a figure where you don't mind losing the accessories. Oh, I bet they're in a box somewhere, but we won't be digging them up: from 1996 and Kenner, Total Justice Aquaman!

We mentioned him last year, but we've got Aquaman out for a quick look. Man, this actually makes me a little nostalgic for the first couple of years of Peter David's revamp of the character; particularly since the hook-hand and the costume would get busier and busier as time went on: cybernetic harpoon, water-hand, seashell headband...ugh, that headband sucked.

The Total Justice figures were very posed: Aquaman has five points of articulation (neck, both shoulders, both hips) but is mostly carried by his sculpt. You probably can't tell in my pics (since I didn't focus on it) but my figure has some putty on his feet to keep him standing, which I think I had to do for all the Total Justice figures. He also came with the usual oddball TJ accessories; a spiny sea urchin-like armor piece and oversized launcher thing.

The fun part of Retro Toy Week for me, is seeing figures like this, that were the high end of action figures just fifteen years ago. Compare this one to the DCUC Aquaman, and it's like comparing your computer from 1996 to a new one today. (Mind you, there's been Justice League Unlimited figures of hook-hand Aquaman that have about the same articulation, just a different design aesthetic.) I'm kind of hoping in ten, fifteen years the DCUC Aquaman will look just as antiquated as whatever comes next...!
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Retro Toy Week: Grandizer!

Also known as Grendizer or Goldorak, he'll always be Grandizer to me, since that's how I first saw him, on the Force Five movie cobbled together from like sixty syndicated episodes.

This is a gashopon version of Grandizer, that I guess came from a vending machine, in two surprisingly small boxes. (Some assembly required.) He's a callback to the classic Shogun Warriors figure of the 70's, and while they aren't spring-loaded, his fists do detach for the 'screw-crusher punch!' And the neck articulates back, so he can look up while in the saucer!

A great little figure, that I got on eBay at just the right time, as in before the price spiked up. What this Grandizer would cost now is beyond me, but if you're a fan and can't spring for a two-hundred dollar giant version, he's well worth searching for.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Retro Toy Week: Planet of the Apes Leo Davidson!

What could be better than a Mark Wahlberg action figure? That was a rhetorical question, we don't have anywhere near enough space to cover everything that would be better... I am 90% positive I bought this, just before actually seeing the remake of Planet of the Apes. Fortunately, I'm pretty sure I had an employee discount at the time; or I'd still be feeling burned on that one. Tim Burton, Tim Roth, hell, David Warner's even in there; but sometimes even with the best of ingredients, the souffle just doesn't come out. How the hell this has a 5.5 out of 10 at IMDB, I have no idea, unless it got points for good intentions. Back to the figure of astronaut Leo Davidson: again, it looks like Hasbro had good intentions, then failed on the execution. Or, in deciding whether this figure was intended for kids to play with, or as a collectible; they opted to split the difference. I don't think the head sculpt is too bad, even if Wahlberg is about as convincing as an astronaut as Denise Richards made a nuclear physicist. But he only has seven points of articulation: ball-jointed shoulders, swivel wrists, neck, waist, and only one elbow. Yes, one: the other arm is locked in a stiff-arm, to fire his gun or block a tackle. Nothing below the waist. (Insert Boogie Nights joke yourself, I've never seen it.) Davidson came with a gun (not the one pictured) and a helmet, and an oversized scanner-thingus (some versions had a more accurately sized one) that I'm also not inclined to dig up. Not to complain about getting an OK accessory, but I don't know if that helmet's movie accurate or at all useful without a full-on spacesuit. It makes him seem like a little kid playing spaceman... I got this figure, because I wanted to see the heroic astronaut kick some ape ass. Longtime readers of this blog may remember, I hate me some apes, ever since seeing Beneath the Planet of the Apes when I was 8 or 9. Of course, after the movie tanked you could get most of the figures for a song, but I never bought any of the apes. I hate them so much... Read more!

Retro Toy Week: The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot!

It's funny: for most creators, getting a creation made into a cartoon would be a pretty big feather in their cap. For Frank Miller and Geof Darrow, it feels like a minor work. But then, they only did two oversized issues of the Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, and the cartoon series ran for one season of 26 episodes.

In a nutshell: the Big Guy is earth's last line of defense, a mighty battle robot that's battled aliens, monsters, and evil robots. What few know, is that the Big Guy isn't actually a robot, he's a suit of armor driven by a pilot, basically a big tank. Rusty, the Boy Robot, is a proper robot, with artificial intelligence and nuclear-powered weapons; but without the experience and training he needs. So, the Big Guy is pulled out of retirement to work with and train Rusty; but can't let on that he's really a human inside...

The show was enjoyable, but I don't think it was a huge success. Still, there would be a line of toys, and this one is Talking Big Guy, with light-up eyes, and the little Rusty to sit on his shoulder. There's not a lot of articulation, but nice lines; and the voice chip and light are strong and clear.

After the break: check the Big Guy's voice chip! With the typical professionalism you expect around here, the focus is a bit dicey and you can probably hear me watching Star Trek in the background...
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Retro Toy Week: Legend of the Dragoon Rose!

This particular post took me the better part of ever: Rose was a tough subject to photograph, for some reason, and took more tries than I usually do. (Because usually I do a batch and call it good...) Also, I had to do some research as to who she was and what line she was from, which I did and then promptly lost and forgot. From 2000, Sony, and Blue Box Toys, Rose from the Legend of Dragoon. While I play a fair amount of video games, I'm not a big RPGer; and I don't believe I've as much as seen this game. Feels like I must've seen ads for it in comics, but I for the life of me can't recall any specifically. Rose was purchased on the cheap from a clearance outlet, but she's a striking figure. It's an interesting look, and the bare leg reminds of me of a costume from classic Star Trek. Rose's sword is likewise an intriguing piece, but a bit heavy: her right elbow is a swivel-cut, and sometimes the weight of the sword will be more than it can support. I particularly like the shoulder-pads: they are held on by a rubber band (maybe? Maybe not rubber, since it hasn't deteriorated any.) of just the right strength and consistency to allow for full range of motion in the ball-jointed shoulders. The neck is just a swivel, though; and while Rose has a waist swivel, she only has hip joints, so standing her is a bit tricky. (The ankles look like they should have something there, but they don't.) As of the last time I looked, I didn't find a Rose on Amazon, although you can take a peek at the other figures from the line. There were six figures in the line, and I rather wish I had built the whole party; since it looks like prices range from reasonable to gouging.

A quick program note: as of right now, I think we have five more entries for Retro Toy Week, including two more later today. Next week may be a little slack in comparison, and I have a feeling the week after I may be forced into low-content mode. Best enjoy the toys now, then!
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Retro Toy Week: Kaneda's Motorcycle!

What's probably the most iconic fictional motorcycle, and sold without his rider? From 2000, McFarlane Toys and Katsuhiro Otomo's classic manga and anime Akira, Kaneda's motorcycle! There are a couple cons to the bike: it's not 100% accurate. There's a few stickers missing from the front, for example. I'm not positive it's totally to scale, either. The packaging pictures a scene with Kaneda posed on the bike, but the sold-separately Kandea from that series wasn't articulated enough to get anywhere near sitting on it. A later boxed set would fix that, if you didn't mind buying them again. (As usual, the Amazon links are only for reference, and I strongly encourage shopping around!) The front section opens up a little, and the wheels roll, but it doesn't turn at all. It's a tough call, though, if steering could've been added without wrecking the look of the cycle. And it probably doesn't matter, since it's more of a display piece than a toy; little kids shouldn't be watching Akira or playing with the cycle no matter how cool they are.
And make no mistake: Kaneda's bike is super-cool. An old friend once described Akira as including "forty minutes of riding motorcycles and screaming 'TETTTTT-SSSSSUO!'" And he still loved it! If you haven't seen it, or didn't get your own Bike action figure, well, maybe the American version will get, that's like hoping you'll get sent to the hospital because you'd really like some jello.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Retro Toy Week: DC Direct Star Sapphire!

This is just a bit of a cheat, since I was getting this figure out from the back of the shelves for a future homemade strip, but as long as she's here we'll take a quick look: from 2001, DC Direct's Star Sapphire! Oh...can I recap Star Sapphire's history, off the top of my head? Carol Ferris--of Ferris Airlines, Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan's boss and sometimes love interest--when possessed by the purple gem of the Zamarons, would become the villainess Star Sapphire. Her level of evil varied pretty wildly, from harmlessly trying to get GL's attention, to murdering Katma Tui. (I'm used to her being the later, extra evil; and to Hal not being in any particular hurry to have her back as Carol.) Maybe that's been retconned: there have been a few different Star Sapphires, even before the creation of an entire corp devoted to "the violet light of love." Or the Pink Lantern Corps, it's all girls in...ok, kind of hot outfits. Man, for the eightieth time, I don't have a problem with the Zamarons or the Controllers or whoever having their own pseudo-Green Lantern Corps, but I didn't think everybody needed their own damn rings. What's that? Merchandising? T-shirts? Yeah, ok. I liked it just fine when the Star Sapphire girls wore their gems on little bonnets, and the Controllers' recruits got Darkstar uniforms that offered about as much protection as an extra pair of socks.

By the way, also probably retconned: Carol is like the second or third female DC Comics character that got magically pregnant in the nineties with some alien/evil/unconventional baby, that is never going to be brought up again. Power Girl too, and you could probably count Donna Troy on that one too. Oh, comics. OK, the actual figure: shoulders, hips, glove-top wrists, and neck. The latter is a bit restricted by the combination of the giant hair and huge collar, but that's not uncommon for female figures to this day. Star Sapphire Classic also came with a gem base. Comparing her to the brand-new DCUC Star Sapphire...hmm. New Star's hair is just as restrictive on the neck joint as the Classic. New has reams more articulation, but it does break up the sculpt a bit, she doesn't have the same weight to her, and Classic's head sculpt has so much more life. Classic seems like she's having way more fun; while New looks pretty unenthusiastic about being a superhero. Maybe it's the outfit. (I don't read the Green Lantern books a ton lately, but Carol just seems like she would rather be doing anything else.)

I'm kind of liking Classic more right now, but we'll see if that sticks after I do more photos with them both. Read more!

Retro Toy Week: The Simpsons' Comic Book Guy! I am eating a burrito as I write this. Correction: I am messily eating a burrito as I write this. I am filled with shame... I've never had a comic book guy like Comic Book Guy. Well, there was one that was a bit more gothy, but I don't think I ever saw kids in that store... CBG (who, I still maintain, totally should've been named Louis Lane) is of course from Playmates The Simpsons line. He came with a playset for his shop, the Android's Dungeon, which I still have around here somewhere; and if you plug CBG into the pegs, the sound chip in the playset will rattle off some lines from the show. There were a couple alternate versions of him as well. His ponytail broke off at some point, but I had it in my accessory box...took me some time to figure out what it was, by itself. I'm not sure, but he might be the biggest Simpsons figure. I still enjoy the Simpsons, even though a chunk of fans consider the show's glory days far behind it. For some, Comic Book Guy is a playful jab at the foibles of fans and collectors; for others he's an unfunny blanket condemnation of our hobbies. Still, he's a fun figure, even if he's got what referred to as the "Springfield Four" for articulation: neck, shoulders, waist. Heck, the neck on my figure might be stuck. Still, he's not going for a ton on, so shop one around if you need the "Worst...figure...ever." Read more!