Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Grapple (1985/2004 Reissue)

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, or if you're otherwise simply well-versed in Transformers history, then you already know that pretty much all of the toys that were a part of the Transformers line when it began back in the 1980's reused molds from other toylines, most notably Diaclone in Japan. This was true for the first couple of years of the franchise's history. Moreover, many of these molds were used multiple times to create different Transformers characters. Thus far, Grapple is no exception, having seen a previous life (with a few changes) as Diaclone toy #20, the "Truck Crane."

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Robots in Disguise Ratbat and Sandsting (2016)

Ratbat and Sandsting ArtMini-Cons are (perhaps paradoxically) big again.

The concept, first introduced in 2002 with the beginning of the Armada franchise, became a major addition to the Transformers mythos for a few years, but fell into only intermittent use in the years after the so-called "Unicron Trilogy" (of which Armada was the first part) ended. They have returned in the past couple of years as a significant feature of the 2015 Robots in Disguise line (Henceforth abbreviated as RiD. This line is still current, but I mention the year it started to set it apart from the original Robots in Disguise line of 2001).

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Transformers Collectors' Club Skyfall (2005)

As 2016 draws to a close, so does the tenure of Fun Publications' stewardship of the Official Transformers Collectors' Club. Although a few pre-ordered toys remain to be sent to club members in the next month or so, the club officially ends on December 31st. In recognition of this passing, let's go back to the year 2005 (one that has long had significance in Transformers lore) and have a look at the very first Fun Publications Transformer exclusive: Skyfall.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

BotCon 2014 Dread Pirate Crew

Dread Pirate Crew ArtBack before BotCon 2014 started, I reviewed the original Pounce and Wingspan, and shared my thoughts about the then-rumored remakes of the Decepticon clones as BotCon exclusives. Long story short, I wasn't thrilled with the idea. As it turned out, we did get exactly the toys that were rumored (full disclosure: while I try to be careful to continue to treat rumors as rumors until toys are officially revealed, Transformers fans have gotten pretty good at figuring out which rumors are reliable and which ones aren't over the years), but the characterization given to the toys turned out to be something of a surprise.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

BotCon Japan 1998 Barbearian/Grizzly-1

Grizzly-1 ArtWhile BotCon originated in America in 1994, there have always been Transformers fans in other countries, as well. Naturally, these fans like to attend conventions a bit closer to home. Thus, in 1998, the first "international" BotCon was held when BotCon Japan became a reality. Like its American cousin, BotCon Japan 1998 offered exclusive toys officially produced (in this case, by Takara). Unlike American BotCon exclusives (at least, at that point in time), the BotCon Japan exclusives utilized concepts previously intended for production, but which had been significantly changed by the time the molds actually made it to the shelves. Thus, the mold that saw wide release in 1996 as the polar bear named "Polar Claw" was finally released as the brown bear it was originally intended to be.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Revisiting the Lex Luthor Presidency

Before I begin, a disclaimer: It was always my intention to revisit the phenomenon of Lex Luthor's presidency, which I first wrote about eleven years ago* (before most Americans had even heard of departing President Barack Obama!), now that the real-world presidential election is over. The simple reason for this is that few readers are likely to remember those comments made more than a decade ago. Let me be clear, this is not a commentary on Donald Trump's victory over Hillary Rodham Clinton. I've made such comparisons in the past, during the campaign season, but this is no longer the time for such rhetoric. While I am certainly disappointed in the result, it was (by all accounts) a fair and decisive victory, and I accept the result. This is simply a commentary on the comic book phenomenon, tied to an appropriate moment in the American electoral cycle, and would have been posted regardless of the result.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The 25th Anniversary of the 25th Anniversary of Star Trek

It was an all-day event. One of our local movie theaters was showing a Star Trek movie marathon. All five then-existing Star Trek movies, back-to-back, with a special preview of a few minutes' worth of the then-unreleased sixth Trek movie, The Undiscovered Country. As a not-quite-adult just about to enter my final year of high school, I enjoyed the celebratory event, recognizing the then-25th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise, immensely.

This week, I am forced to recognize that exactly that many years have passed again.

I feel so old.
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