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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sculpt Whore

(NOTE: This post may contain adult content. Mainly, the word "whore", used repeatedly.)

They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

So, here goes ...

(*Ahem ...*)

"Hi, my name's Adam, and ... I'm a Sculpt Whore."


Let me explain.

I like toys. Just like film, animation, comic books, or other pop culture representations, I enjoy and am inspired by toys. I have a separate blog ("NotDolls", because I'm just that clever) where I take toys (even rare, exclusive, or custom items), take them out of their package, and make fun of pop culture tropes or current events. (I actually get nastygrams for the "take them out of their package" bit.)

But what kinds of toys do I collect, and which ones do I eschew?

There are things I just plain like. Iconic figures (Captain America). Weird figures (Deathlok; Beta Ray Bill). Unique, limited run figures (like the Marvel Manga Twist Ems).

And there toys made by particular sculptors that I like. I like stuff from Dave Cortes. I like stuff from the Four Horsemen Studios.

And there are figures on which I'm not real keen. Sorry, not a big DC fan overall. And while I love the Justice League animated look, I can't stand that the toys ... can't stand. And I dislike any toy based on a bad marketing decision leveraged against one of my heroes (if they every make Scarlet Spider or Rob Liefeld Captain America toys, I may buy them just to melt them).

Recently, I've seen this tested, and (forgive me) I've fallen.

It first almost happened with the Hasbro Spider-Man Origins "Iron Spider-Man" costume. A ridiculous modernizing gimmick that fell flat (two weeks ago a watched a 12-year-old rip the concept to Joe Quesada's face; I really respect Quesada, but that was funny to watch), but I so wanted that figure. It is a fantastic, slick sculpt and paint job. I don't know who did the prototype sculpt, and I hate the concept of the Iron Spider-Man. (What did that bullpen session look like? "Hey, we're going have Iron Man give Parker new armor -- kind of jazz him up for the kids today. What should we call it? Never mind, I got it -- Iron Spider-Man!" Yeesh.)

But every time I saw that figure, I almost bought it, being saved merely by outlasting it's run in the retail stores (and being too cheap to pay the premium for aftermarket).

And then at Comic-Con this year, I fell. Hard.

I mean, I went there, thinking about getting the Four Horseman figure the "Gauntlet of Vaskkh" (which my buddy ended up getting me), but before that, I got sucked into the WizKids Halo ActionClix madness, and bought a mongo Scarab. It's not like I was planning on getting into the new game (though with this awesome centerpiece, you better believe I will), but when I saw the sculpt, did a 360 walk around, and saw how well the thing was made? You had me at "Wort wort wort".

And then my buddy got me the "Gauntlet of Vaskkh" figure (a rhino warrior thingy), and I'd already been debating between that and the Ramathhor figure (a elephant warrior thingy), and since he got me the former, I ... bought the latter.

It's the "Seventh Kingdom", for crying out loud! It's a made-up line Four Horseman put together to sell sculpts. There's no history or mythos -- but I bought two of them. And the hippo and warthog warrior thingies are looking so bad-a$$ ...

That's when I realized I'm a Sculpt Whore. Give me a well-sculpted toy (that's decently articulated, so I'm probably safe from most of Todd McFarlane's offerings), and I'm likely to buy it. Even if I don't collect that line or am a fan of the license.

I feel so weak.

But I feel better, having shared this with you.

And I'm thinking nobody's every used "Sculpt Whore" prior to this. So, "Sculpt Whore" (and "sculpt whore", "sculptWhore", "Sculptwhore", and all meaningful derivatives) (c) and provisionally tm Adam Creighton.

(Oh, and Toddy, I really like you. Just don't have much use for your toys. Change my mind on the Halo 3 stuff.)

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Comic-Con: Sunday


This was a short day, and we spent it basically just trying to make the most of the Exhibit floor. I talked to some more companies and individuals, looked for last minute schwag, and tried to help my buddy find some gift for his girls (I was useless).


I took a few quick picts of the new DC toys from Mattel, sculpted by the Four Horseman , and looked longingly at the Hasbro Legends series 3 and 4 stuff one last time.

Other Cool Stuff:

Saw Frank "Thank you for Spider-Woman" Cho, and talked to Steve Lieber about Whiteout. Good for him. Greg Rucka's been super good for comics, and I'm glad to see a guy like Steve on the upside of it.

What Sucked:

Having to leave. Oh, and our Dallas connection getting canceled; but I spun on a dime and got us to Austin ... by way of San Jose. An hour later, but at least we got home.



(Reverse chronology.)

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Comic-Con: Saturday


(Sorry for the delay; been wicked ill; as you were.)

Comic-Con on Saturday (July 28) was (oddly) less crazy than Friday. Maybe we just got used to the crazy.

And Saturday was fun. My buddy and I split up first thing, and he went to the Avatar panel while I hit the Exhibit floor to introduce myself to companies and individuals, meet up with folks I'd only previously known via Email and phone (like Mark Irwin, co-creator behind multi-format property Jack Secret; pitched as "Harry Potter meets Johnny Quest"), talk to a bunch of folks on Artists Row, pick up that Leinil Francis Yu signed Captain America "The Return" poster I'd eyed the day before, and so on.

Panels were great this day, too. The Marvel Spider-Man and Smallville panels, in particular, were what I expect panels to be. Poppy, unexpected, with panelists jumping in and out of conversations, having fun, and knowing their stuff.


I picked up the "Ramathorr" figure from the Four Horseman's Seventh Kingdom, to complement the "Gauntlet of Vaskkh" figure with which I'd been gifted the day before. They guys offered to sign it, and were surprised when I told them I was actually going to take it out of the box for display.

Hasbro also added a bunch of their Marvel Legends series 4 figures to their show floor display case, so I snapped some picts of those, as well as their upcoming Japanese-derivative, 6-inch figures, which nonetheless look cool.


The Marvel Spider-Man panel was a blast. It included writers, editors, and artist Dan Slott, Zeb Wells, Bob Gale, Marc Guggenheim, and Phil Jimenez, with Joe Quesada moderating. The panel was snappy, fun, well-moderated, and the guys are obviously having a blast (and taking seriously) the Spider-Man "One More Day" arc, then 3-times-monthly change-up. Writer Marc Guggenheim and artist Phil Jimenez are now exclusive to Marvel, and I felt bad that Jimenez let slip who makes out alive between Mary Jane and Aunt May.

And Dan Slott? Perhaps one of the funniest panel members I've seen. He was hilarious, punny, and having a lot of fun with the panel, and the absolute thrill ride that writing Amazing Spider-Man affords.

I also attended the GameTap "Re/Visioned" panel, consisting of Jim Lee, Warren Ellis, Peter Chung, Gail Simone, and Brian Pulido, and moderated by GameTap's Ric(k)ardo Sanchez. I'm really liking Simone's down-to-earth take on female empowerment, and it was fun to watch part 1 of Ellis's 3-part arc, at the same time he got to see it.

I also got to chat with Peter Chung and tell him "thank you" for the animated Æon Flux, and give him my voice demo. Very quiet, pleasant person. I was also able to meet the producer behind the Re/Visioned series, and let him know I was impressed with it.

The there was the Warner Bros. Smallville panel. Again, how I think a panel should be -- a lot of back and forth, people jumping in and out, playful, sexy people (Seriously -- Hartley? Vandervoort? Morris? Durance? Gough? Millar? Wow -- wicked sexy, all). The funniest exchange happened during the Q&A when a fan asked Hartley and Durance how they prepare for their steamy scenes -- and both of their spouses (and Hartley's daughter) were in the front row. Good feedback on the professional side of the preparation, though.

This panel was also a great example of how you video summarize an entire series, and tease the next season. Serious kudos to whoever pulled that off.

Other Cool Stuff:

Wow, what wasn't cool?

Talking with Leinil Francis Yu and getting the signed Captain America "The Return" poster?

Meeting writer/creator Mark Irwin in person and being the first to see the new Jack Secret preview art?

Talking with Peter Chung (and saying "thanks" for the animated Æon Flux; and giving him my voice demo)?

Chatting with artists like Chris Batista & Tom Nguyen?

The incredible (and incredibly redeeming) Marvel Spider-Man and Smallville panels?

Getting to meet and say thanks to Scott Porter in person for Friday Night Lights?

What Sucked:

Not having mentally linked clones of myself to run around the exhibit floor and attend all of the panels. Seriously, that's a good use for mentally linked clones.

Oh, and I was stuck in the Smallville line for forty-five minutes with a real-life, unfunny version of The Simpsons Comic Book Guy. Dude seriously hated every comic book arc since 1969, and every comic book TV show or film that didn't have George Reeves. I politely engaged him for 40 of those minutes, and expressed my opinions counter to his, until he started belittling someone in line merely for being born in 1982. I then told him I didn't understand why he was at Comic-Con given that he hated everything, and that we could either talk about something he actually liked about comic books, or something other than comic books. He stopped talking. Very sad, really.



(Reverse chronology.)

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Comic-Con: Friday


Friday (July 27) was the first full-on "crazy day" of Comic-Con. Bodies everywhere. We showed up early again, and rather than wait in line for the exhibit floor, we were trying to find the line to San Diego's Hall H so we could catch the Warner Bros. showcase.

This turned out to be a bad, bad experience.


Because of the "Elite III" staff. Or, as I came to call them, "Those %&*^$#! Red-Shirts". Hey, they were nice and all; just incompetent, and gave very authoritative, contradicting information -- today and throughout the week/end. We were trying to find the line to Hall H, "if it wasn't too long". We got sent back and fourth to the two opposite ends of the Convention center -- two times each -- before I'd had enough. We decided to divide and conquer, and I had my friend wait in line for the Exhibit Hall while I tried to find the fabled "The Line to Hall H" (tip: It's not in the same location as Hall H itself).

This eventually led me outside to a line that wrapped around the entire San Diego Convention Center. I made it two thirds around the building, asking every %&*^$#! Red-Shirt I met if these folks were going to get it in. I finally found a guy who said, "No man. No way. Most of these folks are in line for the second or third show in the Hall. If they're lucky."

So I walked back to the front of the Convention Center, only to find the entry line even for badge holders now snaked off across the convention lawn. So I called my buddy, told him to go do whatever he wanted, and I would sync up with him whenever I got in.

After a half an hour in the sun, I ended up where I'd been an hour before -- just inside the front doors. And as I walked in, soaking wet from sweating (and angry), I was greeted by a smiling %&*^$#! Red-Shirt who said, "Welcome to Comic-Con! Can I help you with anything?"

He was so lucky I was out of hair gel.

That said, I'm a glass - is - half - full - and - how - do - I - fill - the - other - half kind of guy, so I quickly spun through the Exhibit Show Floor and met with people and companies that were on my list. As you can see from my Twitterings below, I was a machine, and really enjoyed touching base with these neat folks and companies with whom I'd really like to work.


In my "go this way, go that way" crisscross of the San Diego Convention Center, I did pick up my Comic-Con exclusive "Vanishing Bugs Bunny" from DC Direct. This was the "official" Comic-Con exclusive for the show, and I'd paid for it when registering for the conference. It's a slick, well-done little sculpt, but I'm debating what to do with it, as it doesn't really fit into my collection, per se.

I also picked up some Shockinis from Shocker Toys (a custom and the Wizard World skeleton exclusive), and talked to the guys about using their toys for my stop-motion efforts. They were really nice, and very supportive of me using their toys, carte blanche. Which is better than some other toy companies have been with me.

My buddy sneaked away and got me the Four Horseman figure "Gauntlet of Vaskkh", which is a bad-a$$ looking rhinoceros warrior action figure, and part of the Four Horseman's own "Seventh Kingdom" line of toys. This is a perfect gift for me, and another Comic-Con exclusive. And it makes me want the Four Horseman to do figures from the Hip Flask universe.


Mattel / DC Comics:

We attended the Mattel / DC Comics panel, which was fun, and way more upbeat and jovial than Thursday's Hasbro panel. They showed a lot of stuff from the Justice League animated series, and copped to the poor design that makes them top-heavy and tough to display. They also announced new six-inch figures (with build-a-figure components) from none other than Four Horseman Studios. Orion and Etrigan, in particular, look pretty cool.

I can't help but wonder if the fan support for Mattel is due to where they are with the license. They're comparatively in the initial stages, and haven't hit the over-under arc where the trade-off for collector and mass-market hits the fan, which is what I think was the tension under the Marvel / Hasbro panel.

Joel Silver: Return to House on Haunted Hill and Moonlight:

I only caught the last half of the "Joel Silver: Return to House on Haunted Hill and Moonlight" (the Moonlight part), which was a bummer. I'm not a gore fan, but I wanted to see the innovative "Navigational Cinema" stuff they're allegedly putting on the Blu-ray and HD DVD versions of the film. I'd like to see someone do something with the new technology.

Moonlight looks and sounds compelling, but it's going to need to work to stay out of Angel's shadow, and Blade's (the TV series) curse. This was my first time hearing Joel Silver speak, and he's pretty interesting.

Halo Universe:

I was semi looking forward to this panel, and semi expecting it to be a disappointment. Brian Michale Bendis doesn't disappoint, and he was talking about the new comic book series (I took picts, but I'm not going to post stuff before the series goes to retail), so that was good.

WizKids Brand Manager Mark Tuttle did a great emcee job, which was good, given his company had done the big Halo reveal the day before. The Topps trading card discussion was pretty mheh, and Eric Nylund, while a great author, was (like everyone) hamstrung by what he couldn't say. Since there were no Bungie or Microsoft folks on the panel, not much Halo 3 stuff was going to be revealed. (I did see them in the audience, about six rows in; with sniper rifles, I'm sure, should any of the panelists revealed too much.)

Warner Bros. Animation: The Batman / Legion of Super-Heroes:

This was a great panel, if for no other reason than Phil Morris, voice and on-camera actor, and comic fan; and Andrea Romano, single handedly responsible for casting some of my favorite voices in Batman: The Animated Series; Animaniacs; Pinky and the Brain; Superman; and Justice League. The next seasons of both The Batman and Legion of Super-Heroes looks to up the ante, get a little darker, and build on the intensity and team dynamics. I'm looking forward to it.

I even got to run alongside Ms. Romano as she headed to the Warner Bros. booth for a signing, so I could say "thank you" for her work on things like Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, and for the extras stuff she shares on her craft on many of the DVD extra features.

Ray Harryhausen and 20 Million Miles to Earth: 50th Anniversary Edition:

Ray Harryhausen is a hero of mine. I've seen his films. I read his coffee-table crushing book. I was inspired to do my own stop-motion as a device for getting my voice out there. And 20 Million Miles to Earth was a film he'd wanted to do in color, but didn't have the budget to do so. 50 years later, we were able to watch the newly colorized version of the film -- for the same first time as Mr. Harryhausen -- and have him give live commentary on the film, his processes, and his views on fiction and criticism. He will probably not do this again.

From a Biz perspective, I arguably "should" have been at the Doctor Strange premiere, trying to connect with Craig Kyle, Marvel's senior VP of creative development animation.

But this film, with Ray Harryhausen, was historical. It was being there for a guy that informed a part of my creativity.

Other Cool Stuff:

I spoke with Leinil Francis Yu, mainly to say thanks for his work on New Avengers in general, and issue #22 in particular. Really pleasant, talented guy. I also noticed he had forward-thinking, hopeful "Captain America: The Return" print that I thought I wanted, but needed to think about.

The Four Horseman "Gauntlet of Vaskkh" gift from my buddy absolutely rocks, and hit me in a soft spot.

And the 20 Million Miles to Earth screening was a piece of history, and getting to attend it with a friend who gets it as much or more than me? Awesome.

What Sucked:

Those %&*^$#! Red-Shirts. And not having hair gel.



(Reverse chronology.)

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Comic-Con: Thursday


Thursday (July 26) was the first full-day of Comic-Con. We showed up early, and waited in line for an hour and a half to get into the exhibit floor. The plan was to get to the Hasbro booth to get tickets that let you get in line to buy stuff. Like convention exclusives.

That didn't happen, because they let the folks registering for one-day Thursday badges in before all of us that had already shelled out for four-day badges. That was poor, and it could have made for a frustrating day. That is, if I hadn't been willing to pay folks (and my buddy hadn't been willing to front me the cash) who did have tickets to buy exclusives they weren't going to buy for themselves. Like the super hero My Little Pony. (What? I'm a sensitive guy.)

The exhibit floor was better than on preview night, because people were split between attending the panels and the show floor. that was an improvement.

And I totally blended in with my fellow geeks, as airport security had confiscated my gel (I suspect they thought I would use it to make deadly hair spikes and gore fellow passengers), and I was breaking out like a teenager (probably from the stress of them blocking my goal of goring fellow passengers). Nice.

Thursday was ostensibly about toys and Halo.


There were a whole bunch of new things at the Hasbro booth that hadn't been out the night before, including three things for which I've been waiting.

First up was Marvel Heroscape. I like the craft and extensibility of the existing Heroscape, but it's this comic-book themed release for which I'm been waiting since it was announced in January -- of 2006. So, 1.5 years later, it was nice to see in person, and since it's finally going to retail, I didn't worry about purchasing it.

Next up was Marvel Legends. Hasbro took over the fan-favorite line from Toy Biz, and promptly unfan-favorited it. Seriously, the sculpts for series 1 and 2 were poor in quality, appropriate articulation, and likeness. But I've said before, series 3 looks to improve upon the formula, with a 1940s Captain America, and a Hydra soldier (and variant) that look like they'll nicely complement my Baron Von Strucker Face-Off variant. (Or compliment Von Strucker: "Ja, Herr Strucker, you look wery nice!"). And series 4, announced at the panel, look even better.

Then there were the additions to the Marvel Super Hero Squad, a semi-super-deformed offering that I dig. Made for kids, the series has found new life with collectors and fanboys. There are a ton of new offerings, and I'm interested in the upcoming new Mega Packs, which add the likes of to-scale(ish) Galactus and Sentinels, and (revealed at the show) Apocalypse and Ultimate Giant Man.

I wasn't so gung-ho on the Hasbro Comic-Con exclusives of Marvel Legends renditions of Stan Lee and She-Hulk (picts below). I'm glad Stan's getting an action figure, but the whole changing him out of actual clothes makes him a little too ... doll-like to me. I fight that battle enough as is. The good news is (as of right now) those two exclusives are still in stock on

Halo Action Clix:

Yeah, this gets its own section, both because -- just by impact relative to their size and scope -- WizKids owned the show floor Thursday. And because they owned a big chunk of my afternoon as well.

I was there for big reveal of the Comic-Con exclusive version of the Halo ActionClix scarab (it was one of the big things to which I was looking forward at the con). This is a battle-damaged, limited edition (500 total) version of the largest, playable clix-type figure WizKids makes. It is stunning and brilliant, and that plus the fast-paced version of the Halo entry, over the already stellar HeroClix, has got be pretty stoked. And, since I won a ticket that allowed me to purchase one of the limited edition monsters ... I did. And I spent a ton of time in line, or checking the booth to see if I'd won, when I could buy, when I could give them my shipping info (thing's a freaking monster), and whether I won an on-the-spot version (didn't).

I'm still weighing the purchase, but for me, things are bought to be used and played with -- not resold at markup. Besides, I'm a community kind of guy, and if I have the scarab, that helps me draw and center Halo ActionClix tourneys.

And the WizKids folks? Top-notch, every one of them. Brand Manager Mark is a machine, and Rae and Jenny (both of whom I'd known earlier only via Email) are phenomenal, and super-community and super-business minded. I made sure to introduce myself to all of the WizKids folks, who were all kind and helpful.

And (without me asking) they hooked me up with a Target exclusive two-pack of the Master Chief and Arbiter. Normally you only get this by pre-ordering Halo 3 from Target. Look for that to show up on my toy blog soon.

And a guy in full Spartan armor was there throughout the day. Just for effect.


Just two panels for the day -- the "Hasbro Marvel" panel and the "DC Group Therapy" panel.


The Hasbro panel was a bit ugly. We missed the first few minutes of it, but there were some angry folks inside for some reason. It might be due to some folks being upset about the Hasbro take on Marvel Legends (kinda understandable), but there were some (2) vehement folks in the room. It felt more like they were mad because they're completests(ists?), and things like chase variant figures make it hard to be a completest. My thought is (a) don't be a completest, and / or (b) realize that if we didn't have at least the figures as chase, we wouldn't have them at all.

I think collectors need to realize that Toy Biz version of legends catered to the collector, but Hasbro is all about the mass market. There are trade-offs there. More on that when I talk about Friday's Mattel / DC panel.

Hasbro did reveal some really cool stuff, like the Marvel Legends Wave 4, which seem to even more improve on the line, and includes first-appearance Daredevil (and red-suited variant), Black Bolt (and blue-suited variant, but I wish he was yelling), Punisher (with Crossbones variant). Wal-Mart will be getting two-pack exclusives of Cannonball & Domino and Cable & Marvel Girl, and on the Icons side we'll be seeing red suited Daredevil (with a first-appearance variant), Phoenix (with Dark Phoenix variant), Colossus, and Nightcrawler. In the case I also saw what looked like an Astonishing X-Men Cyclops Marvel Icon.

There are also going to Marvel Legends of Tigra, Nova, and Astonishing X-Men Beast, probably before December.

I also met writer / columnist Troy from, who was knowledgeable and very pleasant.

DC Group Therapy:

This was a fun panel, and while I'm not a huge DC fan, per se, I really like Dan Didio, and all of the panelists -- Geoff Johns, Sean McKeever, Gail Simone, Tony Bedard, Eddie Berganza, Mike Marts, Mike Siglain, and (especially) Dwayne McDuffie.

Other Cool Stuff:

I missed the Marvel / MAXUM Games "Demons of Mercy" panel, which I really wanted to attend to check out the comic book / video game interaction. But I was in the room a couple of panels after that, and found that someone had left their Comic-Con Demons of Mercy comic. So, score!

And I got to meet a ton of cool people, and connect with folks I hadn't seen for a while. The Cartoon Network MMO folks in particular, are a great group of folks, and were very helpful in letting me try out the "alpha" version of the game answer questions, hook me up with a prelude comic, and just generally have fun. I also talked to several game and animation companies on the voice acting front, and they were much more helpful and responsive than I've experienced (sadly) in Austin.

What Sucked:

We had big plans to see the Superman Doomsday premiere that night, and the panel following that would include Bruce Timm, Gregory Noveck, Brandon Vietti, Lauren Mongomery, and Duane Capizzi.

But remember the lines I complained about? This night, we were victims. After waiting in line for an hour, we were the first people not allowed into the ballroom. We're talking they literally stopped us at the door, we could see in, and they wouldn't let the two of us inside. And then things got ugly. People who allegedly had been inside couldn't get back inside. People who had friends inside that were saving seats couldn't get inside. Then the fire marshal was doing a sweep, said there were too many people, and they were going to eject more. After about a half an hour of this ugliness, we left, bummed to have missed the premiere and the panel with one of our mutual idols.

The silver lining? The fine folks at Microsoft made the panel available for download over Xbox Live. Score again!



(Reverse chronology.)

  • "Linear Men are time, Monitors are MultiVerse. Two different things." from web
    (This is the END of the "DC Group Thereapy" panel coverage.)
    (Didio said this like it was common knowledge. Funny.)
  • Not having characters get together in DCU likened to avoiding "last season of 'Moonlighting'." from web
  • While I'm not a from web
    (Noticed m.twitter started truncating posts. Should have read, "While I'm not DC fan, per se, I'm a fan of these creatives, and the process is cool.")
  • Wow, some fans are incredibly brave asking questions. They look almost out-of-there skin nervous in public ... from web
  • Didio on the spot for leaking "52" ending ... from web
  • Creators share there 2 favorite character / interactions to write (Hal Jordan & Batman for McDuffie, etc..). from web
  • Brief derailment on classic ("Lightning Lad") versus modernizing ("LiveWire") debate ... from web
  • Perception is everyone's killing everyone on the DC team books ... from web
  • Wolfman / Perez Outsiders may be making a return. More on Sat.... from web
  • Dwayne McDuffie joining the DC panel ... from web
    Interesting to hear DC's Didio cop to Marvel's market dominance ... from web
  • Live Blogging the DC group therapy panel at Comic-Con ... from web
  • Listening to DC's Geoff Johns, Sean McKeever, Gail Simone, Tony Bedard, Dan Didio, Eddie Berganza, Mike Marts, Mike Siglain ... from web
    (This is the START of the "DC Group Thereapy" panel coverage.)
  • Seeing Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) ... from web
  • Watching someone really pull off a Black Cat costume ... from web
  • Spider-man 6" _and_ build a figure coming from Hasbro this fall! from web
    (This is the END of the Hasbro Comic-Con panel coverage.)
  • Attending the Hasbro Comic-Con panel ... from web
    (This is the START of the Hasbro Comic-Con panel coverage.)
  • In line to purchase a Halo Action Clix. Feeling a little insane ... from web
  • Getting ready for Wizkids Comic-Con reveal. See my video gaming blog ... from web
  • Taking a bath on Comic-Con exclusives ... from web
  • Breaking out like a teenager. must be Comic-Con sympathies ... from web

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Countdown to Comic-Con 2007!

A week from today, I will be in San Diego for Comic-Con -- the grand-daddy mecca of all things comic- and toy-related.

I'll be there for all four days (plus the preview night on Wednesday), and am totally stoked, inspired, and ready to maximize the experience.

I'll be hitting the week from a bunch of fronts:

Comic & Cartoon Book Fan:

I'm a reader and collector, so I'll be there to get what I can from artists, creators, the indie scene, and I'll see what I can do to patch some holes in my collection. And there'll be a bunch o' animated (and anime) stuff to soak in.

Toy Collector:

Do you read my toy blog? Why not? I'm a collector, and I play with (and make fun of) my toys. Comic-Con has "convention exclusives" -- toys that are only available at the convention. I've got my eyes on some Hasbro, Four Horseman (why don't they do Hip Flask toys?), STIKFAS, Shocker Toys LLP, Toynami, and Wizkids stuff (at least). And I'm still looking for Dragon Man ...

Video Games:

Oh, there will be video game announcements next week. Oh, yes ...

Voice & Film Actor:

This is a huge chance for me to meet other voice and moCap actors, studio and sound folks, and catch up with Biz folks and coaches I know around the nation, but don't get to see very often. There are current and potential clients, casting directors, and general creatives who I really like and respect, and with whom I'm excited to collaborate on future projects.

Toy job:

OK, this isn't about toys, per se, this is about my big-gun, non-acting persona, where I lead worldwide teams and initiatives. I'm always looking for the next step in my career, and that melding of my leadership, technical, and creative skills in one place (if such a place exists, I should find it at Comic-Con, no?).


I'm not going to Comic-Con solo. I'm heading there with my mentor and fellow comic / cartoon / movie geek buddy, and we're going to rock San Diego like it's 1999. Until we get kicked in the teeth by the time zone change, then we'll likely kick it like it's 2007 (and hit snooze). I'm looking forward to sharing this experience with someone who gets all of this as much as I do.

Call me!

Are you going to be at Comic-Con? Want to meet for Biz or fun? It's going to be wicked crazy, but get a hold of me, and let's see what we can shake out.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

It is a good moment ...

I was just struck by what a good moment right now is.

I'm sitting here at my desk. To my left is my MXL-990 microphone, because I just finished and sent off a voice audition for a 1940s style voice over sci-fi piece.

To my right is a stack of comic books from which I'm pulling monologues. To the right of that is a light box and kit, set up to finish some stop-motion animation work through which I'm about two thirds complete.

I'm surrounded by amazing toy sculptures, and inspired by my recent brown-costumed Wolverine winning (and since I've finished the VO audition), I'm being "bad" and having a brewskie (funny, in college, the origin of Bane from Batman inspired me to get into a practice of doing a thousand sit-ups and a thousand push-ups; Wolverine makes me drink; this says something about the positive influence of villains versus heroes).

On the couch is a 10 page script I'm memorizing. Next to that is binder of dozens of pages of character descriptions, ideas, and scripts for 28 episodes of "Project X", the trailer for which I'm editing right now on the computer in front of me.

I've been chatting off an on all night with guys about video game stuff.

I'm about to send a resume and cover letter off to a video game company.

I'm looking at a note from Neil Gaiman sitting in my in-mail.

The dog that's still with me is asleep in the hallway, breathing deeply.

The house is totally quiet.

It's not huge. It's not earth shattering. And it's probably more than a bit selfish.

But right now feels like a really, really good moment ...

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Monday, April 23, 2007

An Ode to the 80s ...

I am a child of the 80s. Sometimes that comes out it in … unique ways.

Below is an Email conversation a comic book buddy and I had, after I overheard two girls playing with My Little Pony’s in an … unexpected way:

ME: Since everything old is new again -- and 80s stuff is pretty hot right now – I thought I’d share this.

I overhead two girls playing with a wealth of My Little Ponies, and the residents of "Unicornia" were evidently (in the girls' created world) at odds with the residents of "Ponyville." More specifically, the unicorn MLP's were in the midst of a raid on Ponyville.

A raid that was (apparently) not going well. That is, until the unicorns had had enough, and one of the girls belted out:
"Unicorns! Transform!"
And I now have an idea for an MMO ...

HIM: Awesome!

As for the MMO, I claim leadership of the Shetland Janissaries.

ME: Yeah, well watch out for my cross-bred, multi-colored Smurf / MLP centaur folk.

They will seriously rip you a new smurf.

I was at Toys "R" Us the other day, looking at stuff for me, and saw something a little odd:

"My Little Pony Wysteria as the Crystal Bride."

Bride of whom, may I ask?

Seriously, I think all of the MLPs are mares, right? So who's she mare-y-ing? Or is this a My Little Progressive Pony kind of thing?

Which got me to thinking about another gender lopsided franchise.

The Smurfs.

Which is all dudes (I try not to think about Smurfette; that whole thing creeps me out).

So, should the Ponies and three-apple-high blue men hook up?

How would Papa Smurf serenade Madame Wysteria?

"I'm down with MLP (yeah, you know me)."

What kind of freaky, multi-colored centaurish things would that make? And would Hasbro license them? (Probably.)

I'm spending way too much time thinking about this...

And Jem sings their rock anthem ...

HIM: Jem I can handle. It's those blasted Holograms that I fear.

Did I fail to mention that The Shetland Janissaries are led into battle by none other than Teddy Ruxpin? My Buddy wasn't available and those accursed Monchichis have turned pacifist.
=( They shall rue the day...

Remind me again why we don't have our own development company?

ME: Excellent question. We would so own the world. Or destroy it.

Speaking of which, I'm off to have Smurftaurs trample the Cabbage Patches, and I've got a Garbage Pail Kids mutiny to quell -- they're threatening to ditch their pooper scoopers, and I need someone to clean up after those narcoleptic Pound Puppies since I fired Strawberry Shortcake and her tart friends for taking on-the-job joyrides in KIIT -- Hasslehoff knows no boundaries...

Why don’t we have our own development company, indeed ...

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Meisner and stop-motion animation ...

This is a stop-motion animation I created as an "activity" for my Meisner acting process training (rendered after the class).

Basically, at this stage of my training in Meisner, we're doing exercises where one person is at the "door", and one person is doing an "activity". Both people have goals. Both people are being blocked. Both people are supposed to honor the rule of improve, "Love your partner and believe everything they say."

The "activity" should be physically (or tactile-y) demandingand require extreme focus. I have a time limit. I have an extreme urgency to complete the task. The person at the door is interrupting me, potentially causing me to fail. I can't ignore them.

Stop-motion animation totally fit the bill.

That night's class wasn't that good (I wasn't bought into my urgency), but I learned important, applicable stuff about myself and my this process. So that was good.

Obviously, this is not normally the way to do stop-motion animation, and it's not the way I normally do it (no light box or tripod, the room wasn't light controlled, I didn't have my storyboards with me, I wasn't able to totally focus on the effort, etc.).

But because it required focus to do it right, it made for a good Meisner activity (though ended up with a horribly result).

Rather than just let the effort die, I compiled the thing real quick and posted in on YouTube for folks' viewing pleasure. And republished it here.


The Tools:

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Monday, February 19, 2007

When robots and dolls collide ...

We've established that I like toys. I'm also a creative type, so I appreciate other creative types.

And when the two are merged? Get outta town.

Anyway, I recently discovered Steve Strawn's Splut photography. Seriously good stuff.

In particular, I like his "robots" display, and his dolls display (though it could probably be named "robots versus dolls (robots are winning)". My favorites in this latter set are either "Victory" (a la Full Metal Alchemist) or "Freedom" (seriously cracked me up).

From his Gawker profile:

"Steve Strawn decided to take the things of his childhood, specifically robots and dolls, and combine them with his current sensibilities. His photographs not only emphasize the coolness of robots, or illustrate the creepiness of dolls, but also the awesomeness of the combination of the two."

"Primarily a photographer, he has recently branched out from attempting to capture the perfect shattering wine glass to a wider exploration of the underlying pathos of a boy that had younger sisters."

Wisdom, that.

But what really struck me is Steve's "About" non-bio. Authentic stuff about being stuck in the technical aspects that keep us from transcending. I really get that.

So, check out Where else outside of a daycare (and maybe Japan) are you going to see robots wreaking mass havoc on dolls?

Oh, and as an FYI, I like Flickr, but it's gotten so huge it's hard to find the gems, so I constrain myself to "known" folks. Like Schneeman's photos -- another source of regular inspiration. And I find pointers to good stuff in Flickr from other sources (like Gawker).

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Web heartburn and updates

Regular visitors and subscribers to my Web site and related feeds probably saw an obscene amount of weirdness and activity on my site this weekend.

First and worse, the site was down for most of Saturday, thanks to an outage from my Web hosting company that made my site and domain-related Email unavailable.

This really sucks, because the Saturday after I send out my traditional Biz Valentine's cards is usually a huge traffic day for me. So, thanks, Earthlink -- you cost me marketing opportunity.

The other craziness is I finally built out my sitemaps (XML and HTML) and formally loaded them into Yahoo and Google. They've got some great tools for Web administrators.

Speaking of great tools, I found a free sitemap generator that rocks. It's not perfect, but it's free, and once I figured out a few of the idiosyncrasies, it saved me a ton of time. Click the icon below to check it out yourself.

Sitemap Generator

Doing sitemaps right isn't trivial. I spent a ton of timing cleaning up dead links, republish blog entries that weren't migrated correctly by Google when they purchased and upgraded, making sure annoying stuff (spacer images, etc.) weren't included in the sitemap, etc. This meant there was a lot of republishing of blog entries and related RSS, atom, etc. news blasts. Sorry.

Finally, I added my new blog about toys to the right side "I'm [whatevering]" sidebar, "Blogs" sub listings, and Feed pages.

Oh, and I updated my copyright to 2007. Like you care.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I've got a new blog ...

I evidently don't have enough blogs, so I've created a new one, dedicated to toys.

Check it out:

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cute anti-heroes ...

Picture of Hasbro Hero Squad toys The Punisher and Ghost Rider
I'm pretty sure by definition, anti-heroes aren't supposed to be cute.

Don't tell Hasbro, whose second wave in their Marvel Super Hero Squad toys includes Marvel's arguably #1 and #2 antiheroes -- Punisher and Ghost Rider (yeah, wave #1 had Wolverine, but Punisher puts the "anti" in "anti-hero", and Ghost Rider's powers are, um, hell-based).

I pick up toys for a bunch of reasons. Toys that are disjoint tend to catch my eye. So does smart marketing. Ghost Rider's got a movie this February, and not only did the Thomas Jane Punisher movie somewhat take the bad taste out of the 1989 Dolph Lundgren version, but (in theory) there's a sequel slated for this year (though it may not happen or go direct to DVD in a year that has Spider-Man 3, Ghost Rider, Transformers, Shrek the Third, The 300, etc.), and Marvel's recently relaunched the Punisher War Journal comic (in tandem with their Civil War arc).

I likes me toys and funny books ...

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