Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Random retail rant.....

Oh for enough money to go to all my local retailers and buy up all the Superman Returns dreck that is clogging the shelves, take it to a secluded location and burn it to ashes!

Since that rubbish hit the shelves and stayed there I haven't seen a new wave of JLU or Marvel Legends and we are falling farther and farther behind with both. Ebay is an expensive way to get toys that I should be able to pick up at my local mall.

Here's to no more stinker superhero movies with crappy mega-merchandising campaigns in the the near future......

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Truth in Advertising

I was gathering up all the rubbish from unpacking my JSA Wave 1 figures to take out to the bin today (and for those who are wondering, no I don't mean the actual figures - I was in a generous mood).

For those who haven't seen it, here's the photo on the back of the card. Can you spot the errors in this pic as quick as I did?

For starters, the figures are pictures as solicited as opposed to what hit the shelves, so we have the original GA Atom headsculpts (still urky but better than what we got) and Hawkgirl without the green stripes on her helment (what are they about anyway??).

That's pretty standard of course. What really caught my eye was the scale of the Atoms in relation to the other figures - nothing to give away the reality of the scale and quality of these figures. In the same manner there was nothing in the solicit photos to point to this.

It makes me think one of two things - either DCD thought what they'd done was great and never thought to show someone who actually knew the character to get a reaction, or DCD knew that we were going to freak over this and kept it to themselves.

What's your call?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

More Celebrity Inspired DCD Fare!

First up, we have "Fat Albert"'s Dumb Donald as the Modern Age Hourman:

Followed by "Rocky Horror" star Tim Curry as the Fin-Headed Golden Age Atom:

Keep them coming DCD!

The Great JSA Debate

Being here on the other side of the Tasman, I generally get my action figures about 18-24 hours after my stateside friends, which means I either have to stay away from the Net for that time or hear the opinions and reactions of others before I pick up my own set. I've come to see it as a double-edged sword. On one hand, it makes it difficult for me to have an unprejudiced first reaction, but it does have advantages as well, like knowing I need to keep an eye out for sloppy paint apps on that character's boots for example. There's often another positive by-product of this delay as well - by the time I make it to my local comic shop, I've often read so many angry, sometimes hysterical rants about what's wrong with what I'm about to buy that what I'm picking up doesn't look that bad by comparison.

That was my initial reaction when I picked up my JSA Wave One set yesterday. These figures have set the online collecting world on fire and I didn't know what to expect. In the package the two things that stood out to me were that the Atoms looked a bit short and that Hourman's headsculpt was nothing short of rotten. Otherwise I was pretty pleased.

This blog isn't about detailed figure reviews - there's enough places to find those already - rather it's about one collector's journey and thoughts - so I'll skip most of the individual figure critique here. Essentially once I had them unpacked and laid out with their mates (you can't really judge them til you get them out there on the shelf), my verdict was this: MA Figures really not that bad, GA Atoms a travesty. Yes, the Hourman headsculpt should never have been approved and the legs for H-man and Mr Terrific are awful, and yes I had to put Hawkgirl in boiling water to make the holes in her back large enough to insert the wings to avoid the breakages others have experienced (!), but the MA JSA I'm building on my shelf doesn't look too shabby. Some of the earlier MA JSA figs are going to look shorter but I'll deal. I did note the irony that the Hawkgirl headsculpt is one of the best female headsculpts we've had in quite a while and it's one you stick a helmet over. Where's the mask for my Alex Ross Justice Zatanna or my Michael Turner Identity Crisis Black Canary??

The disappointment over the Atoms is totally justified. As has been pointed out elsewhere these are quite different from the solicits, are totally out of scale and not at all worth the very long wait. Wretched.

The wash up is that one of the most anticipated DCD Waves in a long time should have been done well and it just wasn't, right down to the packaging which looks lame and very last-minute. For some this seems to be the proverbial straw. Online, folks are talking of ending their DCD collections. Some of the loudest critics I have heard of these figures are people who haven't seen them in person, and they've come under some fire for that. The reality of course is that there's alot under the surface of the reaction to this wave. We are battered and bruised from a long run of solicits ranging from the predictable to the farcical (Armoured Justice anyone?). There are scale issues and less than great paint applications everywhere we turn, and the list goes on.

So what's the deal here? Do we want to much? Are our expectations unreasonable? Do we need to face the fact that a bunch of (mostly) middle aged guys who have actually read the comics and understand the characters are NOT the target audience for these toys (and let's remember, they are toys....) and either shut up for move on?

Sometimes I think this, and then I pick up my AR Plastic Man, my IC Power Girl, or even an older figure like Uncle Sam, which captures the character in every flawless way, and remind myself that DCD can and has done this well, very well, and I believe that it's fair and reasonable to hold them to doing what they do well all the time.

This collector is down but not out and determined to be more vocal. DCD, your quality control and your character selection suck. They suck big time, and this little blogger is going to call you on it, every time. As an incentive, I'm also going to be just as loud about what I think you've done right.
So get going!
Yours in blogging,

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Another Daring, Groundbreaking DCD Wave Announced

Did you know that Green Lantern and Batman were in "TRON"? I'm going to have to go out and rent that flick to work out where they appeared. Thank goodness DC Direct remembers, and they've even produced new figures to commemorate one of the more unusual cross-promotions of its characters. Oh, for some reason Hawkgirl and Scarecrow are in "Tron Wave 1" as well. That's a head scratcher. Ah well, DCD knows best. All I can say is that I hope we get some groovy DC / Tron vehicles, and even though I'm pretty sure that Superman, Wonder Woman and Flash weren't in the film, we might as well get some Tron-ned out versions of them as well just to make up the set. Are you listening DCD? I know we can count on you......

Sunday, January 14, 2007

DC Direct presents Donny Osmond as 13" Nightwing (or What the Heck is with that Dude's Hair??)

Okay, up until now I've been somewhat of a fan of the DC Direct 13" Deluxe Collector Super Special whatever figures. Green Lantern and Aquaman have hit the nail right on the head and while I would have preferred a Silver or Bronze Age Batman the MA version is a decent item. I'll be buying Flash, Shazam and Martian Manhunter but passed on Lex Luthor out of lack of interest and Two-Face because I thought his suit was poorly done. Probably won't go for Catwoman because again I'm not really a fan, but it looks like a good product.

Anyway.... courtesy of Toy News International we have pics of the recently announced 13" Nightwing. Hard to know where to start here, but I'll try. This character selection highlights one of the problems with the 13" scale - to see Nightwing (and Catwoman for that matter) before Wonder Woman or characters like Green Arrow, Hawkman or Black Canary demonstrates that DCD is obviously having trouble making this format work for some of their top tier characters. Brewer has made some reference to this himself. I can understand some villians needing to be done, but getting a character like this before the "Big 7" have been completed doesn't work for me. These issues need to be sorted out, because if it means we see B-listers and endless SuperBat variations instead of the characters we're hankering for, the future of the line looks grim.

Secondly, could DCD have picked a character with a blander, more booooring costume? Why a Modern Age Nightwing when there have been several variations of the costume with more detail and interest? It's probably good for production costs but it doesn't make for much to look at. Blah.

And finally... an early contender for the "What the....?" award for 2007 must be the Donny Osmond-inspired headsculpt. I defy you to find me a (well-drawn) comic where Dick's hair has looked anything like this. It looks more like Ken as Nightwing Barbie-style stuff than the actual character. And perhaps it's all the black in the costume, but the full-body shot makes him look a bit pin headed to me. Particularly frustrating when the MA Nightwing headsculpt has been done quite well with Hush Nightwing. Come on, guys......
That's my rant for today. Want to rant back at me? Your comments are welcome!
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