Captain Action Cat Crossover

Posted on: January 22, 2014

Dark Horse and Dynamite Proudly Announce CAPTAIN ACTION CAT:
 THE TIMESTREAM CATASTROPHE #1, Debuting in April 2014

AWARD-WINNING CREATORS ART BALTAZAR AND FRANCO 
BRING YOU THE CROSSOVER EVENT OF A LIFETIME!



January 21, 2014, Mt. Laurel, NJ: From the Eisner and Harvey award-winning, New York Times best-selling, famous cartoonists Art Baltazar and Franco comes the crossover epic event of a lifetime! Finally, Captain Action Cat meets Action Cat and the characters from Aw Yeah Comics! Also crossing over with Dark Horse Comics characters such as Ghost, X, Captain Midnight, and the Occultist, this series promises the typical zaniness that the creators of Tiny Titansare known for. True story!

In Captain Action Cat: The Timestream CATastrophe #1, there is something evil out there, and Evil Cat is determined to find it . . . even if it means searching throughout the Silver Age to do it! Could this blip on the screen be the one known as Doctor Evil Cat? What will happen when the Silver Age and the “Aw Yeah Age” collide? What does this mean for the timestream? The fate of the comic world may change forever! Plus, a mysterious frozen souvenir from the Golden Age makes a visit! For the first time ever, The Timestream CATastrophe introduces Captain Action Cat, an anthropomorphic action hero based on the classic action figure/adventure toy, Captain Action!

 Captain Action cat will be released on April 16, 2014.  Available at your local comic specialty shop and digital platform Comixology.
Filed under: Articles — admin @ 2:35 pm

Batman and Son coming to Blu-ray and DVD

Posted on: January 21, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to TV Guide, the next DC Animated feature after Justice League: War will be Batman and Son based on the Batman Story arc by Grant Morrison and artist Andy Kubert ( Pre 52 – Batman issues #655-658).  Which tells the story of how Batman finds out that he has a son by Talia.

The voice cast includes Jason O’Mara as Batman/Bruce Wayne  (Batman in Justice League: War).  Stuart Allan as Batman’s son Damian. Morena Baccarin as Talia Ra Ghul, Damian’s mother. Giancarlo Esposito as Ra’s Al Ghul, leader of the League of Assassins and Talia’s father and David McCallum as Alfred Pennyworth.

I enjoy the fact that their is new animation from DC but enough with these solo Superman and Batman features.  I know its a long shot but lets finally see the Teen Titans in a mature animated form.

Batman and Son will be released in the Spring of 2014.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:58 pm

Finally DR.WHO 50 Anniversary figures

Posted on: January 21, 2014

GERONIMO!!!  This just in from Doctorwho.tv comes the first picture of the new figures from Dr.Who.

The figures coming up are: Clara Oswald, 11th Doctor Matt Smith, Zygon, Weeping Angel, Imperial Guard Dalek, Assault Dalek and finally a character fans have been waiting for since he was announced… Peter Capaldi the 12th Doctor.

 

No announced release date yet, stay tuned…

Filed under: Articles — admin @ 3:34 pm

Disney’s Superior Spiderman

Posted on: January 21, 2014

Diamond Select and Disney have done it again with their next Superior offering, The Superior Spiderman action figure.  Based on the famous comic hero, this version is the Otto Octavious Spiderman that is currently in the body of Peter Parker.

Available this week from MarvelStore.com and DisneyStore.com  This 7 inch figure features 16 points of articulation and is sculpted by Sam Greenwell.

Will be available soon at brick and mortar Disney stores.

Filed under: Articles — admin @ 3:19 pm

ToyMasters have the Power

Posted on: January 21, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In comics everyone knows Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the Marvel Universe, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman but in the male action figure industry no one really knows who created the best selling male figure in the 80’s He-man and the Masters of the Universe. Two filmmakers, Roger Lay Jr. and Corey Landis who are lifelong fans of the citizens of Eternia decided to explore this mystery among toy collectors with their documentary Toy Masters.

At the heart of this documentary are two retired Mattel employees that both claim that they are the creator of He-man, Roger Sweet and Mark Taylor.  However many creators have had their input into who exactly He-man and the Masters of the Universe are and ToyMasters seeks to solve the question of who created He-man once and for all.  I had the pleasure to speak with creators Roger Lay Jr. and Corey Landis about their experience in trying to solve this mystery.

 

Toy-Lines: Where did the idea come from originally?

 

Rover Lay Jr.: Well, Corey and I have both been lifelong Masters of the Universe fans. We’re around the same age so we both grew up with the action figures and the cartoon and all that stuff.

Corey Landis: Roger and I came up with it together. We were working on some scripts together, hanging out, and we got to talking about just stuff that we were into when we were kids, just shared stuff that we still enjoy that we liked when we were kids, and we talked about Star Wars and comics and this and that, and He-Man came up and Roger told me to read Roger Sweet’s book, which I wasn’t familiar with, and so I read it and I knew that Roger Lay had experience with documentaries and everything and we were trying to figure out something to do together. So I just suggested that if nobody has tackled this topic, I thought the book was interesting and it seemed like a good subject for us. So we just kind of hashed it all together.

TL: Who was your favorite character?

RL: I love He-Man. I love — I even love Gwildor from the movie. So I love all these characters. There’s things you love about a character, there’s other things you love about another character, so — especially when it comes to the figures. There’s certain things you love about the characters, but there’s some figures that even though the character may be stupid, the figure is so cool that you just love it. So there’s different elements to why you love a Masters figure, but yeah, so we both loved the show, loved the cartoon, but we especially also loved the artwork. If you remember the packaging, they looked very much like they had been made by Frank Frazetta or something like that.

CL: My pat answer is I really, for whatever reason, love — well, I like the villains a little bit more, but I really like the look of Hordak a lot. So he’s one of my sort of, not one of the pat answers for everybody else, I guess. Maybe it’s not He-Man, Skeletor, or whatever, but I really like Hordak.

 

TL: It was something no one had seen before on children’s packaging.

RL: They painted — they were good at just painting, Rudy Obrero, who started it, he was really good at just creating these scenes. So you would see the packaging and there was no way in hell you could leave the store without whatever the toy was, because you were so mesmerized by the imagery. So I think we both went through that as kids and then when we met — we met a few years ago, more than a few years ago, I think we met like in 2007 — I was producing a science fiction film with Ray Bradbury, who was the author of The Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way Comes, probably one of our greatest science fiction writers ever.

Unfortunately, he passed away, so he’s no longer with us, but I did two films with him back-to-back before he passed and developed a great relationship with him and he sort of became a mentor and a dear friend. So I cast Corey in one of those films, in a movie called Chrysalis, that we produced and … released it a few years ago. So, when we were doing Chrysalis between takes, just lunch break or whatever, I got to spend a little bit of time with my actors and Corey was one of them that I just really clicked with right away because we had the same frame of reference when it came to pop culture, books, films, everything we loved, because we were the same age.

 

RL: So then after the movie wrapped, we just stayed in touch, and we’d go catch a movie or have drinks every now and then, and one of the things that would always come up is how much we loved Masters. And Corey had no idea that there was this whole kind of battle for years and years between Mark Taylor and Roger Sweet. And I remember at the time Roger’s book ‘Mastering the Universe’ had just come out and Corey had no idea that the book even existed. He had no clue who Roger was or any of that. So I said, “You have to read this. How come you don’t know this?” So I gave him the book and he read it and a few days later he just called me and he was blown away by it. And I think he also, I don’t know if I gave it to him or he saw it online, but he also read Mark Taylor’s interview with Action Figure Digest with … Martino, the one where he basically just says how he came up with everything and he shows those really early designs he made on his own time for his fantasy action ideas. So I kind of briefed him on all that and I just said to him, “Wouldn’t it be cool if — .” Because, you know, what’s interesting is that all the other great kind of franchises have been documented really well, but no one had done anything with Masters. No one had done like an overall look and everything especially focusing on who created He-Man.  Because I was a filmmaker and Corey was a really talented actor and a writer, I just thought we’re fans, but we’re in a position where we could make something like this, so why don’t we just do it? So I think I was still in postproduction on the sci-fi film, on Chrysalis, and then as we were in post, I was taking time with Corey to go and start interviewing all these people and try and make a documentary out of it. And we didn’t really know. It was a big project. I think in my mind, more than making a film out of it, I just wanted to meet these people because I wanted to figure out what really was the story behind who created He-Man, and obviously I admired the people who worked on the TV show, the people who worked on the 2002 version, the people who made the actual toy, so I just wanted to get to meet them. I figured I’m a filmmaker, that’s a great excuse to meet all these people. And we did. And then we started filming and filming and we got to a point where we had over a hundred hours of footage and we’re like what the hell do we do with this?

TL: You interviewed everyone from Donald Glut to Lou Scheimer and everyone in between; editing must have been difficult?

RL: Oh, cutting it was a nightmare. Not in the sense that it wasn’t compelling or interesting, it’s just there was so much. But so much with so many variations, because I’ve done tons of documentaries before. I did, for HBO I did 95 Miles to Go, which was the Ray Romano HBO stand-up tour documentary. It was a hybrid concert film and documentary film about Ray. When we finished Everybody Knows Raymond, Ray wanted to go back to doing standup, so I followed Ray around and we filmed 250 hours on that. But that had a story, because it’s just Ray going back to do comedy. It’s a very specific thing. It’s like what is it like when you become the number one actor in television, this guy who made kind of TV history, and now you go back to doing standup, which was your initial, your first love. So there was a very clear story on that. So even though you’ve got 250 hours, you know exactly how you’re going to use everything.

 

RL: In Toy Masters, we had less footage, we had about 100 hours, but there were so many tangents that you could take with the story because there was the whole history of what was happening in the ’80s with the use of TV shows to sell product, like Mattel was doing, and Hasbro, and all these companies were doing with things like GI Joe and Transformers and Masters and Silver Hawks and Thundercats. There was the whole thing of the FCC regulating and then the whole thing of the Action for Children’s Television around how these things were just violent, and then the story of the battle over credit, and then the story of making the movie and how it was the end of the toy line and it was all crashing financially and they were resting all their hopes on the single-feature film. And then there was the 2002 reboot, Cartoon Network, and then in the middle of all that was She-Ra and the animated movie. So there were so many … how do you do it–

(Michael Halperin, Roger Lay Jr. and Corey Landis)

 

TL: What was actually cut that didn’t make it to the final print?

RL: It’s all there. It’s pretty much all there. What drives it is the story of Mark and Roger. So it opens with them. It really doesn’t open with them anymore. Now it opens with Corey and I. Because we were thinking, what is the thread that’s going to connect all this, because there’s so many different stories. And we figured the only real thread here is our journey, the fact that here we are as two fans of this thing who grew up loving it and we’re on a journey to find out who created it, because we know George Lucas created Stars Wars. We know Stan Lee is responsible for most of the Marvel Universe. We know Bob Kane and Bill  Finger are responsible for Batman. We know Schuster and Siegel are responsible for Superman. So we know all these things we love, we know who created them, but with Masters it was this … basically.  So it’s the whole journey of us trying to find out. So as we’re exploring the animated show, the movie, the toy line, the Empowered tour, as we’re exploring everything, we always come back to Corey and I spending time with Mark and Roger over a period of two years almost, and seeing how not only everything happened back then but also how we can reconcile that now and who really created it. So that’s kind of the driving thread. But everything is in there. Recently we had a huge like 30-minute sequence — not 30, I would say maybe 15, 20 minutes — dealing with a bunch of what we call secondary elements, like She-Ra and the animated film and things like that. And unfortunately, we had to drop that because it just felt like it didn’t fit into the narrative. It just felt like it was too long a tangent. And then we couldn’t really do it in a minute or two, because once you introduce it, if you don’t really answer everything regarding that, it just feels like it’s been shoved in there. We cut that out and we have the sequence built, so when we got to Blu-ray or DVD, that could be a special feature.

 (Roger Lay Jr. and Corey Landis)

TL: That was my next question. Will all that stuff that was cut be an extra on the DVD/Blu-Ray?

 

RL: Yeah, I don’t see why not. I love everything I’ve done. I mean, I put a truckload of extras. One of the last, most recent things I’ve been doing is I’ve been producing the hi-def, remastered Blu-rays for Star Trek: The Next Generation. I directed the cast reunion special and I did those theatrical events. So if you see those Blu-ray sets, some of them have six hours of bonus content. So I cram everything into every title I produce, so I will do the same for Toy Masters.

 

TL: Will Toy Masters actually answer who created He-Man or do you believe it’s a bunch of people just combined?

RL: Both — that hypothesis of one person and the one of a bunch of people, both are presented in the film, and at the end you kind of have all the evidence and you as the viewer will make up your mind. But you will see how Corey and I went through the whole thing of oh, it was Mark, or no, it was Roger, or no, it was this other guy. Oh, it was Joe Morrison. Oh, it was Paul Cleveland. Or no, it was really all of them. So you see that journey of how in the end both Corey and I realized that it was just a bunch of people, that you needed that machinery, you needed that structure, that infrastructure, that a toy company like Mattel and all of its resources and employees allow and help to create something like this. Because it’s not just who made the first prototype figure, it’s how do you market it? How do you package it? How do you come up with a price point? How do you stylize the figure? So all of them had different contributions, and that’s what he and I discovered by the end of the film. But, again, I think each person in the audience will see it and feel that maybe one person had more to do with it. But honestly, we’ve been through this for so many years now, through this whole process of watching and editing and meeting with the people again, and now kind of establishing a relationship with them and seeing them every year at Power-Con and seeing them at Comic-Con and catching up and having lunch and dinner and even off camera when we have these conversations and these kind of opportunities to socialize with them, we’re still going it wasn’t one guy. They all had a part in it.

 

TL: Has there been an established release date yet on the DVD?

RL: No. There’s no official release date yet. And I don’t think we’ll go to DVD first. I think the idea now is to go to festivals early next year and then see if we can kind of get maybe a limited release or anything like that, and then yes, eventually it will live on DVD and Blu-ray, but I think you may be able to see it elsewhere before that. That’s the plan.

 

TL: Awesome I know I’ll be looking forward to that.  Is there a date scheduled for any of that yet, or you’re just going to do shows first?

RL: Well, we’re working now — the film is edited, we’ve just got to do all the graphics and just kind of like basically all the glossy stuff, record the music score and all that, but our goal is that by, I mean, ideally by later this year, like October or so, we’d get the agents a copy that they can start dealing with festivals. Because ideally January, February, March [2014] we can be in some festivals.

(Roger Lay Jr.)

TL: During your interview process, was it easy to get interviews and meet these people? Were they willing to talk or was there any secretive stuff behind the scenes that anyone didn’t want to reveal?

 

CL: No, it was surprisingly easy to get people to talk. Even some of the people we thought we were going to have a difficult time either getting in contact with or agreeing to speak on the record, we got about everybody that we wanted to talk to. There were just a couple people who were just sort of adamant about not participating, but for the most part we got everybody that we wanted to talk to.

 

TL: Is there any surprises in the movie, do you think, like between Roger Sweet and Mark Taylor?

RL: Oh my god, there’s plenty.

CL: Yeah. I would hope even people who are well versed in the back story are going to find some surprises in this and for sure the people who don’t know a lot about what went on in the creation, backstage as it were, I think there are going to be plenty of surprises. Not necessarily just factual ones, but more in the way that certain people act at certain times. I think that will be the biggest surprise for people.

(Roger Sweet)

RL: Yeah, I think that’s the most surprising thing. It’s not, I mean, yeah — there are elements that are surprising in terms of the mythology of the urban myth of … how it was created, but I think it’s mostly the behavior of the people and, in some cases, what they’ve done with their lives post-Mattel and maybe how it’s consumed, how this whole thing, how this whole battle to get credit for creating something has consumed a big part of their life. To an audience, I think that’s going to be kind of fascinating to watch. And again, surprising even to us, because there were times where we’d leave an interview and we were like really? Did that just happen? I mean, I guess the last time we interviewed Roger Sweet — we did multiple interviews with him — and the last time, right Corey, when we left that interview, we were kind of, we’d seen it all after that.

 

CL: Yeah. He was always an interesting person to deal with and it escalated to the point where yeah, we were just completely just shocked as to the state that everything was sort of left in.

 

RL: Without telling you what happens, just like Corey’s saying, the state but also the level of, I don’t want to say importance, but the level of — I don’t know. It’s like you really go —

CL: There’s still fuel in there.

 

RL: Yeah. The fire’s still raging.

 

CL: Yeah.

 (Mark Taylor)

TL: What was your favorite part of this whole experience? You met some interesting people, I’m sure.

 

CL: Yeah, for me that was the most interesting part of it was just — well, one, it was fun to actually put together a documentary, something I’ve never done before and I don’t know whether I’ll get to do again, actually creating a story out of all of these different pieces in the edit room and everything, so that was fun. But the biggest thing was pretty much what you just said, was meeting all of these different creative, interesting people from different aspects of different industries. Special effect guys, world-class artists, voice people, creators of theme parks. We just sort of met genius after genius in all of these different fields and I loved being around legitimately creative people, so it was awesome to get to meet all those different people.

 

TL: And you, Roger?

 

RL: Yeah, I think the same. I think that’s kind of what I was, when we first started chatting I think, when you asked me why we did this, I think, like I said, a part of that was because this was always just an experiment. We didn’t know if we really would get anything out of it, if we’d have enough to piece anything together, but we always thought well, look, if we never make a movie out of this, at least we met the guy who created He-Man, or the guys who made the movie, or the guys who wrote the animated show. So that was the cool thing, that this little kind of pet project developed into the opportunity to meet all these people and develop some relationships with them. Ruined others, like Roger Sweet, who will not talk to us anymore.

 TL: He seems from the trailer that he is still angry.

RL: But it was fascinating. It’s always fascinating to meet new people, especially people who have interesting stories to tell, and interesting journeys. There’s certainly a lot of interesting journeys when it comes to the people behind Masters.

TL: Thank you gentlemen for your time and I look forward to seeing Toy Masters on the big screen.

 

T. Romero

 

Filed under: Articles — admin @ 1:05 am

It’s time for another trip down memory lane with Mr. Nostalgia in…Web shooters…

Posted on: January 20, 2014

Spider-man has to be the coolest superhero when you get to it. His powers are great, climbing walls, the speed, strength and agility of a spider, and spider sense? Come on; tell me these wouldn’t come in useful in life. He also has those great web shooters that he made.  If you’re a Spider-man fan, you’ve no doubt dreamt of swinging like Spider-man on one of his webs.

As a kid I wanted web shooters. What I got instead was a Spider-man water pistol. Now, don’t ask me why ( cause I honestly don’t know why I did this), but one time my aunt and uncle were picking my brother, sister, mother and myself up to spend a week with them. They live an hour away and they drove to NJ to get us. It was the summer in the early 1980’s. Back then, before seat belts became a law and young kids were allowed to sit in the front, you could get away with clown car-ing a ton of people into one car. You could also sit them in the front. (I remember my grandparents picking  my sister and I up to go to their house, and as my grandfather drove us back to their place, my sister and I were sitting in the front with them, no seatbelt, windows down, with me as a kid sitting on my grandmother’s lap. That was safe.)

There had to be 9 of us in the car that day, the four of us plus my aunt, uncle and my three cousins. We were stuck in traffic on a bridge, inching along with the windows open. For some strange reason as we sat there in traffic I got the idea to throw my Spider-man water pistol out the window. My uncle said don’t do it. I said I would. He said if I did he wasn’t stopping to get it. I threw it out the window anyway. He never stopped. Thus went my Spider-man water pistol.

While I had that toy, my brother had a Spider-man web shooter. Or at least a toy one. Created in the late 70’s, the Amazing Spider-man Web Shooter was a small plastic web shooter that you could actually wear under a long sleeve shirt and people wouldn’t know it was there. Compared to the web shooters a kid gets today, where the shooter itself is a large piece of plastic velcroed to their wrist and the web is a can of silly string, kids just can’t walk out of their house with that strapped under their sleeves and look for Doctor Octopus.

(Web shooter of today)

The one I grew up with you could. The shooter itself was a flat piece of plastic colored blue. Spider-man’s face was on a flat piece of plastic in red, and the shooter was attached to your wrist and flat, hidden under your sleeve. The web is a plastic “dart” with a suction cup on the end with several feet of string. You’d put the dart into the shooter, and trigger the web shooter sending the dart flying out. When you weren’t shooting it you could wrap the string several times around the shooter, only, if you did this the string would get tangled and usually a knot would form.

(Vintage web shooter)

I remember my brother having this but then losing it. For years the one thing he wanted from a convention was the web shooter he had when he was a kid. We were at a horror movie convention one year when I was in high school and he actually found one at a table for ten dollars. Needless to say he bought it then and there.

Of course, whenever he wasn’t home, I’d give it a try. Pretty cool toy. Just don’t tell him I was the one who got the string all knotted, OK?

Mr. Nostalgia

Filed under: Blogs — admin @ 11:36 pm

Review of JADA TOYS ROBOCOP 3.0

Posted on: January 20, 2014

Hey Toy Collectors this is a review of Jada Toys Robocop 3.0….

Based on the rebooted Robocop movie that will be in theaters this February Jada toys has released a six inch figure as well as other figures in the line but more on that in a moment.

 

The figure comes in a Blister card and Bubble packaging. On this particular figure has a light up option that when you press a button on his chest his visor lights up.  On the backside of the card gives a little history of who Robocop 3.0 is in the new movie.  The card also shows other figures in this line.  Robocop 1.0 (Silver), Police cruiser with Robocop, Radio controlled police cruiser and Talking Robocop 3.0.

 

Outside of the package Robocop 3.0 is a six inch figure and is mostly all black and his suit is rubber looking just like the movie.  The paint is standard flat black and the paint on his face and hand drown out any detail.

The figure has an action feature that when you press a button on his chest his visor lights up.  The battery to this figure can be replaced if after long term use dies out.  Simply unscrew his back and remove and replace the 2 LR4 button cell batteries.  This is Robocop’s only action feature.

 

Robocop comes with two accessories, his guns that are used in the feature film.  They fit perfectly on both of his hands.

Disappointingly Robocop only has 9 points of articulation, he’s almost like a statue at 6 inches.  His head has limited movement (probably because of the light up feature) his shoulders have very limited range and his elbows are articulated but really does not contribute anything to the figure.  His legs and knees are also limited and do not bend well.

The detail on his Black Armor is very nice but with the limited articulation it’s hard to enjoy the amount of detail.

Playability is limited because of the stiff articulation, all he really is good for is to hold and point his gun and light up in the dark.

You may find this review to be a bit bias because I do not believe in reboots and I thought that the Original Robocop Feature was perfect and a reboot to the franchise is an insult to the original.  I believe they should have continued the story of Alex Murphy instead of restarting the whole thing over again.  (I’m sure Frank Miller has some new ideas.)  With that said after speaking with some people (Mr. Nostalgia) I will give this new Robocop reboot a fair and honest try.  Now on to the figure…

This six inch rendition is very disappointing.  The limited articulation damages not only the playability for kids but limits the adult collector to try and place him in some different poses.  I guess the adult collector will have to shell out some big bucks for the Gentle Giant version.

The light up feature is a nice touch but it really doesn’t add anything to the figure, its just a cheap gimmick to catch kids attention.  I like how Jada tried to make an affordable 6 inch line for this movie but they failed in their execution.  Less gimmicks and more figure movement is what I would suggest.

My suggestion wait until the movie comes out, if you enjoy it by all means make yourself happy and get  it.  If you are looking for a gift for a child, I would suggest something else.  Who knows if the movie is successful, then maybe Jada will release a more articulated figure for the adult collector.  Look how long it took for the original figure to get the Adult Collector treatment.  If you are feeling nostalgic about the original Robocop may I suggest the ‘Neca’ Robocop figure or if you can find it on E-bay the ‘Mcfarlane Toys’ Robocop (My favorite).

Happy Collecting

 

Filed under: Reviews — admin @ 6:10 pm

Toy-Lines Reviews DC TOTAL HEROES SUPERMAN

Posted on: January 20, 2014

To fill the hole that Club Infinite Earths has left, Mattel has released DC total Heroes, a 6 inch line of figures that are aimed towards younger children.  Available at specialty shops and retail along with a quarterly offering from MattyCollector.com

The Packaging is a basic card and bubble.  The back of the card gives basic information about the character and shows other figures in the Total Heroes Line.

 

This Superman figure is based on his New 52 design.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall.  The paint on the figure is good using just the straight colors and no shadowing. His cape is made out of cloth and the cut is really fine so you can pose the cape in many ways but you’ll have to clip in on something to hold the form.  If you want to use a fan to get that wind effect this is the perfect cape to do so.

The sculpt is very blocky almost like a Young Justice League figure only taller.

 The figure has about 14 points of articulation.  Head, shoulders,elbows,hands, waist,legs,knees and feet.  You could probably get him into some decent posing but the block style of his arms can sometimes hinder movement.  Have I mentioned that the cape if my favorite part of this figure?  As a difference to the hard/soft plastic this is a nice change.

 

 

The playability is great for kids even with the articulation limits.  He does not come with any accessories but you should warn them when playing with the cape that it could easily come off.

 

This is Mattel’s answer to ending Club Infinite Earths so if the line does well it will be interesting to see what other DC Characters they would have in store.  This line was also suppose to appeal to adults as well as children, unfortunately as an adult collector this figure does not appeal to me.  However this line is perfect for children, with a $10.00 per figure retail price and at the height and articulation you get a lot for what you’re paying.

The shared buck plan that they are using for this line is ideal and I applaud Mattel for bringing back 6 inch figures for kids at a great price.

If you have a child I would recommend this line to him and maybe get him or her into reading comics.  As an Adult collector I’ll just wait and see if Mattel comes up with another way of bringing my favorite DC Characters from page to plastic.

Filed under: Reviews — admin @ 5:02 pm

Mr. Nostalgia: Interview with Polaris Banks, director of Casey Jones: The Movie…

Posted on: January 20, 2014

Toy Lines – Hi Polaris, and thank you for agreeing to the interview. It’s a real honor to be      able to speak to you about what I feel is one of THE best “fan films” ever made. I was extremely impressed by everything I saw in it and couldn’t wait to interview you. I really hesitate to call it a “fan film”, because I honestly think of it more along the lines of an Independent Short Film that IFC would be showing.

Polaris Banks – Why, thank you! I kind of hate the term “fan film,” sounds amatuer. I prefer “unauthorized,” like those meaty biographies.

TL – So, why Casey Jones? What made you want to make a short film about him? How did the idea come about?

PB – It’s strange, I just concocted a movie based on who was around. At the time, my roommates were Oliver Luke and Chris Frasier. Oliver was a special effects expert I’d known from high school theater, and my even longer friend Chris was a tremendous physical performer and nunchuck master. The idea of a Casey Jones project appeared only after realizing how much my brother resembled the character though. I visualized Hilarion with the long hair and hockey stick, and the entire production instantaneously formed in my head: Hilarion the lead, the Turtle suit made by Oliver, Frasier the perfect Michelangelo, and me filling in wherever I could help. At first I mentioned it to them as a funny “what if,” but then I couldn’t stop fantasizing about how it would turn out. Once an idea gets stuck in my head, no matter how ridiculous, I have to make it. It became an obsession, but I don’t think they actually took me seriously until the first shipment of moldmaking chemicals arrived.

TL – One thing I liked was how this film could really be the origin story of Casey Jones that leads into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie from 1990. Were you a fan of the film? You captured the feel of that film in yours, as well adding slight nods to the cartoon series like having April O’Niel wearing the yellow jump suit and being a news reporter for Channel 6 news and having Krang in it

PBAny kid growing up in the early 90s HAD to be a fan of the Ninja Turtles. I practically memorized the live action movies and cartoons, but I really never considered myself more into it than other children. Everyone loved them, much like the inescapable popularity of Star Wars for youths in the late 70s. When adapting a popular property, I try to keep the elements fans already love in tact. It’s important not to fix something that isn’t broken, but to rather add your own stamp to the areas that need improvement. That’s why my movie is so reminiscent of the first 1990 film. I thought they got so much right. I also took many aspects from the 80s cartoon, Mirage comics, and even the new animated series, but the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live action film is still my favorite interpretation hands down.

TL – How much research went into this film in regards to Casey Jones? Did you reference the Mirage comic books? The addition of the Purple Dragons was great, and then to see the Foot Clan show, you had lots of surprises to keep turtle fans happy.

PB – I got my hands on every single issue or episode that even mentioned Casey. I’d have been mortified to come across something I wanted to include after my movie was finished. So I was beyond thorough, and because of that the movie is riddled with dozens and dozens of references, mostly from the comics. Some are so obscure only a single fan notices. It makes me really happy when someone calls out one of those. I make sure to try not to alienate people who’ve never heard of the Turtles too. I think any movie, even if it’s part of a series, should be fully enjoyable without prior knowledge.

TL – Where you a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan growing up? A Casey Jones fan? Were you a fan of the Mirage books?

PB – I actually became a much bigger fan as an adult while doing research for the movie. I hadn’t read any of the original Mirage comics before, and those gave me a more intimate love of the material. Those first issues are so special. Unlike so much TMNT content, those comics aren’t affected by popularity. No one pressured them to be more mainstream or kid friendly yet. They’re the only opportunity to see the creators’ vision uncompromised.

TL – Reading the credits I see a lot of the names come up again and again from those that acted in the film to helping out with behind the scenes needs. Are you all friends?

PB – Absolutely, nearly all of the cast and crew were close friends or family. I’m lucky to know so many reliable and talented people. When I was ready to shoot again, I’d call everyone in town to see who was willing to help. It was balancing favors, getting everything I could out of one person, then giving them a break as soon as I sensed they were getting fed up. We had an unbelievably good time though. The hours were long, but what could be more fun than playing Ninja Turtles with your best friends? The crew was always different. Sometimes I’d have plenty of assistants. Sometimes it was just Hilarion and I running everything. My most consistent helpers were those I’d donated my time to in the past. It paid off in the end.

TL – So, Hilarion Banks is your brother, how was it working with him? I must say, he looked and sounded very much like a young Elias Koteas from the 90’s film, and he captured the spirit of Casey perfectly from his comedic timing to his fighting.

PBYou know, it’s funny. Hilarion didn’t intentionally imitate Elias Koteas. He and I wanted to build the character from scratch, and after working the lines and reviewing the source material, the performance we came up with resembled Koteas’s take on Casey quite a bit. That’s natural though. There’s something inherent in the character that Hilarion and Koteas both picked up on, the same way most portrayals of Stanley Kowalski resemble Brando’s. It’s just in the text. Ideally an actor eventually “gets” a character. He comes to an instinctual understanding, like autopilot. Hilarion was slow to take him on in rehearsals. I was even a bit concerned the first day of shooting, but as soon as action was called, something clicked inside Hilarion. He played the part just as I’d hoped, and he barely needed any character guidance after that. Chris similarly “got” Michelangelo. Directing the scenes between the two of them was wonderful.

TL – I really liked the reference to North Hampton in the film. Any turtles fan should recognize that name and know why it makes a great “Easter Egg” as well as some of the lines that were in the first film you quoted in this. What made you add these?

PBI wanted my movie to exist in a kind of “Ninja Turtles Omniverse,” acknowledging all the greatest contributions from every version. Another example of this would be the Turtles in Time Super Nintendo game. It used characters and designs from the cartoon, movies, comics, and even toy lines. I feel like there’s no single definitive take on the Turtles. They exists in an accessible thoughtform, but no one artist has wholly articulated it. There are several literary creations like this: Batman, Dracula, Bond, Romeo and Juliet. Their identity to us is an amalgamated pop culture icon. So it felt natural to drop in quotes from other sources to tether them together.

TL – Can you tell us a bit about your filmmaking background? What made you get started in films and where did you go to school for it?

PB – I have no formal film education. I took the little college money set aside for me and started shooting. I’ve wanted to be a director as far back as 7 years old. Movies transport people to a different world. What other job do you get to make worlds?

TL – You were heavily involved in the making of this film. Just watching the credits I was amazed to see how many times I saw your name. Do you enjoy being so involved in your films?

PB – I love every step of the process. I only delegate jobs to other people when I have to, and even then I remain very involved. To me a film needs a cohesive vision, and the more people you cut in, the more the vision is confused and diluted. Ideally a finished movie is a diagram of the inside of the filmmaker’s head. After answering every question on a psychological evaluation, the therapist has a portrait of the patient’s psyche. Only a director’s tests are “who to cast?” “what lens to use?” “what color to paint the walls?”.

TL – Everything from the Cinematography in the film to the sets, lighting and props was just excellent. How much time went into scouting locations before you began filming?

PB – I spent weeks looking for the right locations, and once I found the perfect spot, I couldn’t settle for anywhere else. I was willing to pay whatever it took, and if someone refused, I’d break in and film while they were gone. Locations were very important to me, especially when I had so little money for art design. Sure, I came close to getting arrested on several occasions, but the cops were usually pretty reasonable. I mean, I am just trying to make art after all.

TL – How much casting did you need to do?

PB – I didn’t do much casting, mostly the female roles. April O’Neil, Mrs. Jones, and the Mugging Victim were paid actresses. The rest of the parts I selected from who I knew. The Hockey Coach is my dad, Dragon Face my brother in law. The Tagger, Car Jacker, and Pizza Man are my best friends. I happen to come from a family of actors. So that helped. The rest of the cast were volunteers off Craigslist, many just thrilled at the opportunity to play a Foot Ninja from their childhood. The only specialty performer I sought out was a trick martial artist for Michelangelo’s more complicated stunts. The TX Trickers lead me to Victor Zorilla, and that guy was incredible. It was a shame to cover him in that heavy creature suit. He’s three times as fast without it.

TL – Did everyone perform their own stunts? Are you and your brother martial artists?

PB – Yes, we all did our own stunts, and no, Hilarion and I have no martial arts training. We’ve just play fought each other enough growing up to be convincing I guess. We had almost zero safety measures, just a single mattress for the falls. We can be pretty reckless, but very few people got hurt. Mostly just me. I had a similar enough build to pass for Hilarion, and the Foot uniforms were all identical. So I made sure to do the ridiculously stupid stunts myself, the most dangerous being running on a ledge next to a three story drop. My sister was sure I was going to die that day.

TL – Where did you film the short and from start to finish how long did it take you to make?

PB – The first half of the movie is in Dallas, the second half Austin. I’m from Texas, and I much prefer to film there. I’m currently living in New York City, and there is no way I could have shot the movie here. The people just aren’t accommodating enough. We usually filmed during Hilarion’s quarterly breaks from UCLA, which slowed us down, but I paid for the movie myself. So we often waited months for me to save up enough to rent generators and feed the extras. All in all, it took about three years picking at it to complete it. Post production was particularly lengthy. The entire second half of the movie needed to be dubbed and foleyed.

TL – The fight scenes were extremely well choreographed, for instance, in the beginning when Casey spins around and hits Sid in the face with his hockey stick. It was a great shot and looked so real. Since your brother was playing the role of Casey and you played Sid, where you scared at all during that take or was it just trusting in your brother that he knew what he was doing?

PB – I think stunt fighting is kind of like comedy. Kids unintentionally pick it up. I don’t think it can even be taught. Similarly, stunt fighting is based on rhythm and instinct. All the people I know who can pull it off have always had a knack for it. Hilarion, Frasier, and I grew up fake fighting in the backyard. So that particular hockey stick hit wasn’t even rehearsed. We just did it, and with a real stick too. Yes, stunts involve a lot of trust, but it’s mostly about trusting yourself. If you sense something going wrong in the move, pull back. Giving the other person all the responsibility is how accidents happen.

TL – Your short shows the truth about what it would truly be like when a man goes out with his weapons of hockey sticks, baseball bats, golf clubs, a cricket stick and polo mallet (the sledge hammer took me totally by surprise) to take on crime. While there is violence and blood, I don’t feel it was just for violence’s sake, and you were making a point as to the realism of such a situation. What’re your thoughts?

PB – Well if you don’t show the real effects of violence, the audience still thinks about what the consequences would be. How many times have you watched a PG-rated movie where a bowling ball drops on a guy’s head, and all he does is cross his eyes and shake his head. As an audience member, you still immediately think “Uh no, that’s murder.” Unrealistic consequences take you out of the illusion, and that’s the purpose of a movie right, to let the audience lose themselves in the illusion. I sometimes have the same problem with over exaggerated violence. If an otherwise realistic film has a character launch his victim across the room just by shooting him with a handgun, my brain checks out for a moment. That’s why I respect James Cameron’s action direction. Even a motion picture as extreme as Terminator 2 never pushes its violence past what’s physically possible. It’s all about relatability. I’m fine if the whole movie has outlandish action though, as long as it’s consistently cartoonish. A movie has to stick to the world it creates. I’m glad you liked the sledgehammer. Casey actually uses a sledgehammer against one of Krang’s robots in the 80s series. So once I saw there was a precedent for him including a sledge in the golf bag, I had to work it in.
TL – I have to ask, how did you film the scene where Casey shoves the man’s face into the fire? Because that take looked so real, even the second time I watched the movie it made me wonder how you did that.

PB – At the low budget level, the best special effect is guts. If you find yourself thinking “How did they do that without really doing it?”, well chances are they just really did it. The barrel had real fire burning in it suspended at the surface by wire mesh. I cut an area out of the mesh about the size of the actor’s head to make a clear spot, then asking him to plunge his face in as long as he could. It really wasn’t that risky. All I needed was a second for editing. The only barrier was mental. Good thing the actor doing the stunt, Andrew Varenhorst, had guts. Funny thing is, I rarely warn my actors that I might ask them to do something dangerous. I prefer to put them on the spot and see if they go for it. I’ve actually had very few people back out with this method. The adrenaline is released, and the moment takes over. The more time you give someone to consider something, the more time they have to psych themselves out.

TL – The training montage of Casey working out was great, especially in the junk yard. When he is on top of the junk piles and using his bats is a really great and impressive scene. What made you think of the idea of having him train in a junk yard?

PB – To me, junkyards are permanently part of the Ninja Turtles aesthetic. They’ve been featured consistently in the comics and films, most memorably in Secret of the Ooze. We actually didn’t get permission to climb to the top of that scrap pile. So we did that setup last. The owner kicked us out of course, but we had what we needed. I couldn’t have lived without that shot.

TLNormally in the comics Casey teams up with Raphael. What made you use Michelangelo for this?

PB – Understandably I get this question a lot. There are several reasons, but mainly I wanted to break new ground. There have already been notable pairings between Casey and Raphael, April, Donatello, and Splinter, but never with Michelangelo or Leonardo. Michelangelo is both the most signature Turtle to the general public and also the best foil for Casey, especially in a story from Casey’s point of view. In the original first meeting between Casey and Raphael, Raph was in a gentler mood after a fight with Leonardo about losing control, but my movie wouldn’t include that explanation. So I needed to use a Turtle who was naturally light and fun to contrast Casey’s aggression. I also wanted to utilize Mikey’s nunchucks in the fight choreography. Even in the computer generated feature, Michelangelo never gets to really showcase his weapons in combat.

TL – One of the great things about this film is you got the original film voice of Michelangelo, Robbie Rist, to reprise his role. How did that come about? (You even got him to say, “I love being a turtle!”. That was truly great.)

PB – A voice actor named Josh Yawn heard about my production and, being a huge Ninja Turtles fan, asked if he could voice one of the Turtles. I ended up casting him as Leonardo, and he suggested I get in touch with Rist to return as Michelangelo. I didn’t have to do much begging. I offered him industry standard pay, and he liked what he saw from the trailer. The only hard part was scheduling. Robbie Rist was fantastic to work with though. He’ll always be the quintessential Mikey to me. It was a dream come true.

TL – Let’s talk about the turtle suit. We know that Jim Henson’s Creature Shop made the ones for the first film. Who did you hire to make yours and how did they go about creating it? Did you get to keep it?

PB – As I said earlier, my roommate Oliver Luke was very experienced in practical effects. Without having him onboard, I never would have gone through with the idea. Oliver was responsible for the artistic work and main construction. Hilarion, Frasier, myself, and Oliver’s fellow makeup artist girlfriend Lyn Carver did what we could to take some of the workload. None of us had ever had the chance to make a full creature suit before, including Oliver, and these kinds of projects usually employ a dozen people working in a specialized phacility. We were just a handful of friends scraping a suit together in our livingroom. There were countless failures, but I had an incredible time figuring it all out. By the end of filming though, the suit was completely destroyed. Pieces tore off every night from the martial arts stunts. So there were constant repairs, and after we submerged it in creek water for the sewer scene, it mildewed and fell apart. I just tossed it in a dumpster after that.

TL – Did they also create the Krang puppet?

PB – Oliver coincidentally made that Krang animatronic as a student project while studying at the Tom Savini Special Make-Up Effects School. Since it was ready to go, I couldn’t resist including it, especially since Krang had never appeared in a live action movie before.

TL – Was the sewer shot on a set? Also, what about the scene where Michelangelo swims with the unconscious Casey? How did you film that?

PB – The first sewer location is a real giant storm drain that runs under the city of Austin. I tracked it down using clues I found in Urban Explorers photos. I had to dig up a stranger’s frontyard to open up the manhole, but like I said, people in Texas are very kind and accommodating. The swimming scene was just filmed in a creek. Not only was the suit much too heavy to safely swim in, but we also shot in winter. So I really owe Marty Moreno for enduring that. The outside of the Turtle Lair was shot under a bridge in downtown. That was a particularly disgusting location. The cops later told us that the water under there had Merca.

TL – Zane Effendi’s original score was excellent as was Johnny October’s end credit song “Goongala” (I especially like the part where he clinks the bottles together and says “Purple Dragons come out and play” like the scene from the movie “The Warriors”). How did you go about hiring them to work on the film?

PB – I just put up a post looking to hire a composer, and those two were among the many who contacted me. By then I had some clips cut into a crude trailer. So it was easier to attract professionals. The internet has made connecting like minded artists so much easier. Without craigslist and other job forums, I don’t know how I could’ve ever made this movie happen. Don’t let people discourage you from hiring off the internet. Yes, you often have to sift through a ton of crap, but there are diamonds in the rough. I was lucky enough to snag those two while their careers were in transition. Both have since moved on to bigger and better thing than my little turtle movie, and I’m so grateful to have had the chance to collaborate with such talent. Music is really what creates the magic, what gives you goosebumps in the theater.

TL – I think one iconic moment for me is towards the end when the crooks are eating the pizza around the fire and there in graffiti on the wall is Casey’s hockey mask. It’s very striking visually.

PB – Thanks, it was fun to have a reason to tag an abandoned building. That graffiti is probably still there.

TL – Who drew the art work in the end credits?

PB – You know, I never even met that guy. His name is Berkay Bugdanoglu, and he lives in Istanbul. I saw his porfolio on deviantart.com and asked if I could commission a few pieces. Again, the internet is a marvelous place to connect artists. I never even heard his voice, just emails. Berkay was a great example of hiring someone who’s style perfectly fits your vision. There was no need for direction. Everything he drew I absolutely loved.

TL – Have you entered the short in any film contests?

PB – I don’t have permission from the people who own the rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles characters. So I’m not legally allowed to exhibit Casey Jones at any festivals that charge admission, but the Wasteland Film Festival asked to screen a copy last year. I wasn’t able to make it out to the event, but I hear it won the highest award it was eligible for, Best Action Film. Someday I’ll look up some more free festivals that might show the movie.

TL – How has fan reaction been to the film?

PB – Very positive! They mostly just want to say thank you. This is the darker take on the characters they’ve always wanted to see. So they’re grateful someone went out of their way to do what the mainstream releases won’t. A few fans have commented that the creature suit looked fake, the camera was low grade, etc, but those are just budgetary issues. I really only pay attention to critiques on the storytelling. That I can learn from, and I’m always complemented when someone respects the movie enough to evaluate the technique, not just the content.

TL – Casey Jones was released in 2011. What have you worked on since then and do you plan on ever returning to the world of Casey Jones? I’ve got to be honest, when the half hour was over, I was bummed, I really enjoyed the film and wanted to see more.

PB – I actually took a year off to roughneck on an oil rig. With the money I saved, Hilarion and I bought some high end film equipment and started a production business. That financial independence has freed me up to work on my next feature project, an idea I’ve been kicking around for a while about altruistic criminals called Redeemers. I often consider doing another Casey Jones installment, but it’s a bit of a dead end. Someone else would have to pay for it, and I wouldn’t be able to make their money back. So permission from the current owners would be ideal, but Nickelodeon bought the rights. I doubt a child entertainment company would approve of my skull crushing interpretation. So I’m stuck for the moment. I guess the new Platinum Dunes TMNT movie will decide what direction the franchise is headed. Maybe if they sneak a little more violence in, I can take it from there.

TL – Polaris, we here at Toy-lines wish you the best of luck in your film career and would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with us. It’s been a great honor to be able to speak to you. Keep up the great work!

For those who haven’t see Casey Jones, please click the link to the official site and watch: http://caseyjonesthemovie.com/

The Toy-lines Crew

Filed under: Blogs,Interviews — admin @ 4:24 pm

Transformers new look

Posted on: January 20, 2014

This morning the NY Times released an article with Hasbro’s Chief Executive Brian Goldner who believes that the current Transformers have become too complex to transform.

With the 30th Anniversary of the Transformers this year and a new movie coming out this summer, Goldner challenged his design team to recreate the Transformers with a simpler model or way to transform the robots into their alternate mode.

Hasbro also stated that for Adult Collectors the Transformers will continue to evolve to keep the long time fans happy.

 

Is this truly a way to hook younger children into the transformers franchise?  The last movie Dark Side of the Moon did poorly in Toy sales but I suppose Hasbro has to try something.  However for long time Transformers fans should look into the Masterpiece series of Transformers.  They are bigger, more detailed and animated accurate.  On the downside they are expensive and some of them have to be imported directly from Japan but if you are passionate about Transformers then they are definitely worth it.

MP-09  Masterpiece Rodimus Prime

 

Filed under: Articles — admin @ 4:15 pm

Microman is growing up

Posted on: January 20, 2014

Based on the Microman figures comes an updated look for the characters.  3A Toys will be releasing the figures in a 6 inch scale.  The original Microman characters were 3 3/4 inch scale.

No release date yet.

 

Filed under: Articles — admin @ 3:43 pm

Darth Vader and Son/Daughter get the statue treatment

Posted on: January 20, 2014

From Gentle Giant Studios comes an two adorable statues based on the best selling books from author Jeffrey Brown – Darthe Vader and son and Darth Vader and Daughter.

Pre-Order – Q2 2014 Release

Gentle Giant Ltd. and Chronicle Books are proud to bring this hilarious and sweet comic to life! The artisans at Gentle Giant Studios have captured this hilarious and sweet comic as re-imagining, Darth Vader as a dad like any other-except with all the baggage of being the Dark Lord of the Sith. Traditionally sculpted by the Artisans at Gentle Giant Studios, no detail has been overlooked. A Rebel logo pattern was even added to the tie detail! Based on Jeffrey Brown’s Darth Vader and Son Book; this hand-numbered cold-cast Polystone collectible has a bottom stamp with a matching certificate of authenticity.

Celebrated artist Jeffrey Brown’s delightful illustrations give classic Star Wars® moments a fresh twist, presenting the trials and joys of parenting through the lens of a galaxy far, far away. Life lessons include lightsaber batting practice, using the Force to raid the cookie jar, Take Your Child to Work Day on the Death Star (“Er, he looks just like you, Lord Vader!”), and the special bond shared between any father and son.

Limited Edition, hand-numbered collectible maquette. Comes with an exclusive edition of Darth Vader and Son book.

• 16-page signature with the original black & white concept sketches from Jeffrey Brown! These sketches have not been released to the public until now, and are exclusive to this boxed set.

• A new full color illustration from Jeffrey Brown printed on board and packaged in a vellum sleeve.

• The book cover and spine will be printed with color foil stamps and spot gloss varnish.

 

Limited Time Offer
Pre-Order now until January 31st, 2014 and earn double Reward Points* (Reward Points are awarded after item is shipped.)

 

 

 

Filed under: Articles — admin @ 3:36 pm
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