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I like toys. I'm secure in my maturity (or lack thereof). And toys were meant to played with. So, yes, I open rare and exclusive items, and mess with them, "Toy Story" style. Hard-core toy collectors should probably not read this blog.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Li'l Cap'n America 'n Li'l Wolvie

NotDolls Civil Wah! comic
So, these are definitely different.

I have a friend who is always "looking out for Captain America, in all of his forms" for me.

He found me this two-pack of Captain America and Wolverine wooden toys from Learning Curve's line of Play Town toys.

These things are freaking cute. And they're made of wood (well, except the arms and feet). The craftsmanship is top-notch (for example, the feet are screwed, not just glued, into the wooden torso). The deco (paint) is spot-on, too.

Seriously, they're like benign versions of South Park-ish Americana comic book toys. I didn't even know these things existed.

The comic above is a take-off from Marvel's recent "Civil War" story arc. Seriously, the other two-pack in this series is Spide-Man and The Hulk; if they'd just replaced Green Genes with Luke Cage, my head probably would have exploded.

And I mixed the "Mighty 'Vengers" with "X-Babies".

And I'm making fun of Wolverine's short stature.

Below is the storyboard that spawned this week's comic episode:

NotDolls storyboard for comic featuring Play Town toys of Captain America and Woverine

Here's a detail of the "Li'l Cap'n 'Merica":

NotDolls close-up of Play Town toy of Captain America

Here's a detail of the "Li'l Wolvie":

NotDolls close-up of Play Town toy of Woverine

Front of the toys, in-package:

NotDolls close-up of Play Town packaging (front)

Back of the packaging:

NotDolls close-up of Play Town packaging (back)

I thought this was nifty -- no twist-ties. Just these little locking plastic caps that you twist to unlock the figures from their cardboard and plastic bases. Somebody invented these.

NotDolls close-up of Play Town toy fasteners


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Friday, August 17, 2007

Madman and The Savage Dragon

Comic page featuring Madman and The Savage Dragon; see the bottom of this post for a description for the blind and vision impaired.
I've been looking forward to the Marvel Toys (what was Toy Biz) relaunch of their super-articulated, well-sculpted figures for a while, and they've finally started showing up in Texas area Wal-Marts.

Moving on from their Marvel Legends line (which they sold to Hasbro, and themselves look like they will be improving, starting with Wave 3), Marvel Toys, ironically, is now not doing Marvel comic book figures, instead focusing on independent heroes from the likes of Image, Top Cow, Dark Horse, and 2000 AD.

Dubbed "Legendary Comic Book Heroes", Wave 1 includes two of my favorite indie heroes, Michael Allred's Madman and Erik Larsen's The Savage Dragon.

I was able to pick both up at the same time, both sculpts are fantastic, and true to their titular 2D comic book heroes.

I'm pretty impressed with how much Madman looks like his comic book likeness. I'm not sure I've had a toy that looks so much like it was pulled right from the pages that spawned it. Part of it is the sculpt, part of it is the paint job, and part of it is the dull matte white mold that works really well with dramatic lighting and camera angle variations. And he comes with a retro Snap City ray gun, which is funky.

The Savage Dragon figure has a great thick upper body and trademark disproportionately small legs and feet. The jean and tennis shoes part of the sculpt and paint are spot on, as are the meat-slab giant hands -- which have amazingly articulated fingers and thumbs (so you can have him "wave" at baddies; or hang ten; or thwip his spider webbing; er ...). I've heard complaints of flaccid fins from other collectors, but I think that's a personal problem; my fin is stiff and upright.

There are no guns or other accessories for the Dragon, which kind of bites (couple of .45s would be nice). And this sculpt has a couple of imperfections, the irritating one being a white imperfection inside his mouth line.

And, yes, the sculpt above is wearing his trademark sleeveless T-shirt -- that's right, speculative collector bee-otches -- I've taken yet another variant toy out of its package! (Somewhere, an overweight collector with walls and walls of unopened toys is crying and shaking his fist at me.)

The picture above is inspired by Madman Atomic Comics #3, Michael Allred's latest in the current franchise relaunch. This issue is absolutely brilliant, as Allred continues the character's existential meanderings, and pays tribute to dozens of comic artistic styles through the decades. It's like having a pantheon of historical and contemporary artists do a Madman tribute book, and it's stunning. Frankly, I'm disappointed that everyone who values comic books hasn't rushed out and bought the issue.

And the comic panel above is my paltry play at the series' existentialism. You can read it clockwise ... or counterclockwise! (Lookit me!)


(Oh, and a quick rant about Marvel Toys. Their Website on the Marvel Legends side has been in decline for a long time (probably as early as when the internal decision to sell the line to Hasbro was made), with inconsistent product updates and broken database links the norm. Until recently, there has been no new section for the Legendary Comic Book Heroes line. Even now, there's just a placeholder. A robust online presence is pretty key, and not treating the Website like a service translates into lost pre-sales and mindshare opportunities. Especially since the first two waves of their product are already in the marketplace. Marvel Toys, productize your Web site!)

Updated: Based on request, added full-figure and detail pictures.

Marvel Toys Legendary Comic Book Heroes right three-quarter view of Madman
Marvel Toys Legendary Comic Book Heroes front view of Madman

Marvel Toys Legendary Comic Book Heroes left view of Madman

Marvel Toys Legendary Comic Book Heroes front view of The Savage Dragon

Marvel Toys Legendary Comic Book Heroes left view of The Savage Dragon

Marvel Toys Legendary Comic Book Heroes close-up view of The Savage Dragon's hand

(The following is a description of the picture included in this post for the blind and visually impaired.)

The Savage Dragon holds Madman and says, "Stop thinking out loud!!!" Madman thinks, "I don’t think that’ll be productive." There is a picture of Madman's face being sucked into his gun, and he says, "Can’t suck my brain out of my head." Madman is holding a smaller Madman which is holding an even smaller The Savage Dragon. Madman says, "I think you’re being --" The smaller Madman he is holding says, "-- a bit small..." The smaller The Savage Dragon he is sholding says, "Gnarliness seriously spent." The Savage Dragon is holding Madman's ray gun. Madman is laying down with his hands behind his head. The Savage Dragon says, "Mind if I borrow this?" Madman says, "Knock yourself out." The Savage Dragon holds the ray gun to his head. The Savage Dragon says, "This’ll shut you up." This returns back to Madman thinking, "I don’t think that’ll be productive."

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Sunday, August 5, 2007

Halo ActionClix

Halo ActionClix, page 1
Halo ActionClix, page 2
Halo ActionClix, the new game that's a franchise spinoff from Wizkids HeroClix and HorrorClix games, doesn't hit until September.

Normally a two-pack Target exclusive for pre-ordering Halo 3, the fine folks at WizKids gave me this Spartan and Elite during Comic-Con.

Like their other Clix offerings, these are really nice little sculpts, with a lot of detail and great paint. "E" the "Elite" looks almost life-like lizard like. (And, before I get Emails, yes, I know this is the Arbiter. But there's another joke here.)

I'm looking forward to the game, which promises to be "faster than HeroClix", and implements parts of the video game, like respawning and weapon swapping.

So I present to you what may or may not become the first in an ongoing parodic series:

"Teh ACKSHUN Cliks"
Even the title is rife with humor. And trademark infringement aversion.

And, yes, the last panel is a dig at the folks complaining about what we're "not getting" as far as Halo 3 information. We're getting boatloads o' stuff compared to Halo 2. Stop complaining.

I hadn't done a "I'm a Mac" parody before. Now I have. Look at that.

UPDATED: Forgot to mention why there's a "sniper moment" in the strip (other than they seem to be popular right now). The "Halo Universe" panel at Comic-Con was a little lackluster, but not because of the participants (WizKids' Mark Tuttle, in particular, rocked it as the moderator; dude has energy). No, it was lackluster because there were no Microsoft / Bungie folks in attendance, and the panelists had to be careful not to share anything about Halo 3 they shouldn't. I saw the Bungie guys there -- six rows back in the audience -- ready to figuratively snipe the panelists if someone got out of line. Or was it figuratively? Hmm ...

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