Monday, August 8, 2016

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Transformers: The Movie - The Marvel Comics Adaptation

Five years ago, I wrote a post celebrating the 25th anniversary of The Transformers: The Movie. Since that was a retrospective post, everything I wrote there is just as valid for this, the 30th anniversary, so while I want to say something different today, I also want to refer you to that post.

It's no secret that I'm partial to the Marvel Comics interpretation of the original Transformers franchise of the 1980s, and I'm proud to say that I have every issue of Transformers-branded content they ever released. That said, the three issues of the mini-series adapting the movie were the last pieces I gathered for that collection. This is probably because, being an adaptation of a cartoon-continuity work, I originally never considered it a part of the comic book continuity I cared most about. However, due to the efforts of UK scribe Simon Furman (who, a couple of years later, was tapped to write for the US comic, as well), the events of the movie are considered part of the comic continuity, as well, and so it really wasn't fair to exclude these issues.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Racingcarbot (Trainbots/Raiden Knock-Off - 200?)

Probably for as long as there have been toys, there have been people seeking to make the same toy that someone else created, only a bit cheaper. Today, we tend to call such toys "knock offs." Knock offs are usually of inferior quality, and are, at best, of questionable legality. Yet they somehow manage to be rather ubiquitous. This poses a problem for the serious collector, to whom the legitimacy of an item is important, and to whom counterfeits pose a threat to the value of the originals.

So, yes, I own a knock off version of Raiden. Whatever that says about how serious a collector I am is up for debate. For the most part, I'll talk about the original toys, but there should be no confusion here: I do not own the originals, only this counterfeit version, which I paid far too much for in the early 2000s, only to find the same items available just a few months later for five-to-ten dollars for the whole set. If you consider that poetic justice, so be it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Onyx Primal (BotCon 1996 Exclusive)

With the recent revelation that now-former BotCon organizer Fun Publications will retain the license to run the official G.I. Joe convention (but not BotCon) for at least two more years, discussion has reignited as to whether Fun Publications' tenure with BotCon has been a net positive or a net negative. While I have tended to come down on the "net positive" side, I have always acknowledged that their tenure with the convention has long been marked by controversy. It is perhaps important to note that, whatever Fun Publications' faults, the end of their time with BotCon marks the end of an unprecedented tenure of stability for the convention, lasting 12 years. The early years of BotCon had their share of controversy, as well, without any guarantees of stability. Indeed, the first three BotCons were each organized by different people, and the difficulties surrounding BotCon 1996 were arguably the worst of them all....

Perhaps the most positive aspect of BotCon 1996 was the exclusive toy that year, a repaint of the first Beast Wars Optimus Primal toy named Onyx Primal. But even Onyx's story is far from serene.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Television Game Show - The Early Years

Beat the Clock 1958As I've pointed out in the past, I'm a huge fan of game shows. Easily my favorite genre of television. I was extremely pleased to learn last year, while I was between jobs, that BUZZR, a new free over-the-air broadcast station (i.e., not cable or satellite, which I would have to pay for) dedicated to classic game shows, was beginning to air in my area. BUZZR just celebrated its first anniversary earlier this month, but I'm more interested in another anniversary, which I also learned about through BUZZR: Friday, July 1st, marks the 75th anniversary of the television game show!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Masterpiece Exhaust (2015)

Repaints have been an economic fact of life for most Transformers lines, and the Masterpiece line is no exception. For some molds, such as the one shared by Prowl and Bluestreak, the repaint options are immediately obvious.* But, for molds created to depict a character that had no mold reuse within the original Transformers line, the Masterpiece creators have had to look elsewhere for inspiration if they want to recoup the costs of creating the mold. Arguably the most frequent source of such inspiration has been the Diaclone line which created the molds for the original Transformers toys in the first place. Thus, it was fairly intuitive that the Masterpiece Wheeljack mold (released in 2014) could be used to represent the "Marlboor" variant, widely known in collector circles as an obscure pre-Transformers use of the Lancia Stratos mold.

If only things could be so easy....

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

BotCon 2007 Springer

BotCon 2007 was a turning point in the early history of Fun Publications' tenure with the convention. It not only featured the first box set to completely sell out even before the convention started, but BotCon 2007 was arguably the first time that the convention-exclusive toys were an intentional extension of the line of toys then-currently (or, at least, very recently) sold at retail. Especially because of the controversial inclusion of the Seeker jets, BotCon 2007 exclusives were touted as a way to "complete" one's Classics collection (as the revisited Generation One characters that came out in 2006 were more-or-less officially called, if not on the actual packaging of the time).

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Masterpiece Bluestreak (2015)

One of the most persistent myths of the Transformers franchise was the existence of a "blue Bluestreak" among the original Transformers toys in 1984. Between a combination of Bluestreak's color-suggestive name, his box art, and the promotional images of the toy in Bluestreak's original instruction book and the catalog that came with that first run of toys (both of which used a Diaclone toy instead of the version eventually used for Transformers production), many fans were convinced that the original Bluestreak toy was indeed blue rather than the silver and red color scheme that was actually used (which, it should be noted, had no precise Diaclone equivalent, the closest Diaclone example having a black hood and top that the original Transformers version lacks). I myself remember seeing the silver-and-red toy in the '80s and thinking that the blue version used with all those packaging materials must have reflected some earlier variation that I had simply missed in the earliest days of the franchise. But, to this day, no legitimate sample of the toy in blue has ever surfaced in Transformers packaging.