Monthly Archives: March 2010


Robot 13 #1
Written by Thomas Hall; Illustrated by Daniel Bradford

One of the really neat little perks of the iPhone is all the free stuff. Apps are great and they have one for just about anything, but it’s the oddball free stuff that I really enjoy. Take Robot 13 as an example. I likely would have never discovered this comic without my iPhone. Before I get to the comic itself, I have to give kudos to whomever designed the interface for Robot 13 on the iPhone. It’s a rich reading experience that makes each page feel like a story teller is unfolding it for you. I’ve read a lot of comics on my iPhone but this interface was one of the best. Surprisingly better than many of the efforts by the major publishers.

As for the comic itself, it’s hard not to notice the obvious Mike Mignola homage. Daniel Bradford’s art is very much influenced by Mignola and maybe even a touch of Jack Kirby in there as well. That’s one of the nice parts about the art is that there is a bit of a reminder that this is a new world and a fun one, if not also a dark grim one. Comparisons could be made to Eastman and Laird’s early work on the TMNT comics. All things that draw me in immediately.


There’s obviously not a ton to go off of in the first issue but the genesis seems to be there for something very entertaining. Robot 13 is a robot plucked from the ocean floor. He doesn’t know his past, nor does the crew that find him. He looks like a classic old school robot or a spaceman that died in his suit. Perhaps he’s a bit of both? There doesn’t appear to be a lot of information on just where the title robot gets his power but the skeleton head inside seems to indicate he’s a haunting of some sort.


The story unfolds with great precise panel narrative and again, this really pops on the iPhone. The story gives us just a hint of mystery but doesn’t hit us over the head with it to hammer home the point that this is mysterious. I was reminded a bit of Savage Dragon in that sense. We also get a fight with a giant creature that would make Ray Harryhausen happy. It’s a fun romp and this is exactly the kind of small comic you should be seeking out to read.

I’m very interested in reading more and if you’re into robots, Hellboy or comics that are a little off the beaten path, this is one worth checking out. The actual comics are just $3.99 and the digital copies are a super value at $0.99! Blacklist Studios is currently working on issue #3 with the first two issues still available. Check out Blacklist Studios for more on Robot 13.

Mattel’s “quality control” or lack there of is somewhat legendary around these parts, early last year during DCUC’s first few waves I took them to task saying that these toys were not acceptable. That said, DCUC has improved and the MattyCollector MOTUC stuff has generally been top quality. (My King Greyskull that broke 30 seconds out of the package notwithstanding!)


However, this picture on MattyCollector pretty much says that Mattel still needs to work on this. How so? Pay close attention to Optikk. Notice anything off? Yup, he’s got two right hands. This picture was altered in no fashion. If that’s how the pictures of the toys on the website look, I shudder to think that we might be getting this kind of thing in the mail.


Huge news just breaking that Legendary Pictures (Batman Begins, Clash of the Titans) are working with Toho to bring Godzilla back to the big screen here in the US. Legendary Pictures have officially secured the rights to Godzilla from Japan’s Toho Company. Reports say that Toho will handle release in Japan. Warner Brothers is aiming for a 2012 release date with, of course, early 3D rumors circulating.


Anyone who follows Godzilla, knows that Toho retired Godzilla a few years back but has kept the idea open for another Godzilla film. Most importantly, Toho wanted to do Godzilla in 3D (even before Avatar and other 3D films were hits) and originally had Godzilla versus Hedorah director Yoshimitsu Banno working on “Godzilla 3D to the Max”. No word on if these two projects are related, but obviously Toho feels that 3D and Godzilla are a perfect match.


According to BloodyDisgusting.com, Thomas Tull, Chairman and CEO of Legendary had the following to say on the film…

“Godzilla is one of the world’s most powerful pop culture icons, and we at Legendary are thrilled to be able to create a modern epic based on this long-loved Toho franchise. Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop-culturally relevant for as long as it has.”

I remain carefully optimistic. The last American made Godzilla film had all the makings of a classic. The hype was incredible and the movie made a lot of money off the idea… Unfortunately the movie itself was pretty terrible and uninspired and as a Godzilla film, there was next to nothing that resembled Godzilla. Of course, that was really before Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich had been exposed as the hacks that they are.

3D could be the perfect forum for Godzilla. However it’ll need to resemble the classic Godzilla movies both in scale and scope, not rely too much on CGI and most importantly feature other monsters. The world doesn’t need another Godzilla origin movie.

Fred is back and today he’s looking at the mysterious land known as K-Mart! Back in the 80’s, man K-Mart was the place where I bought all my toys. Well, Children’s Palace, Zaires, Aimes, Woolworths and Toys R Us too… But that’s besides the point. K-Mart used to be the main place I bought figures. In recent years they’ve made a bit of a play to increase their toy awareness. How’s that working out? Well Fred stopped by on the search for clearance specials. Watch and find out:

Don’t forget to visit Fred’s YouTube channel and subscribe to him there. It’s a virtual FredTube of fun. And Fred, be careful video blogging and driving. You gonna kill somebody!

As we head into the final week of March of the Robots month, I’m having issues with the website. Despite all that, I’m working through to continue to provide the content. I hope you keep coming by during this time and continue reading and commenting. We appreciate it, wholeheartedly.


Star Wars Empire Strikes Back Saga Collection
IG-88
3 3/4 Inch Scale
By: Hasbro (Kenner?)
2007
$7.99

Back in 2007, Hasbro was working hard on revamping their Star Wars line with Saga Collection packs that recreated old figures. They went the full gamut with it, offering retro Kenner packaging just as they had in the 1980’s when these figures originally came out. Instead of just repacking the vintage figures, they offered new versions of old classics with better sculpting and articulation. This would actually be the genesis of the 25th Anniversary GI Joe figures.

IG-88 was an assassin droid line designed by Holowan Laboratories. The IG-88 line was a derivative of the IG-100 MagnaGuard droids used as bodyguards by General Grievous and the IG Lancer Droids used by Durge during the Clone Wars. IG-88 later became one of the galaxy’s most infamous bounty hunters. However, the bounty hunting was just a cover for the droid’s grand plan—the Droid Revolution.

Hearing that, you’d think IG-88 was a big character in the original Star Wars trilogy or at least some of the prequels. Nope, instead he was basically just trash propped up in the background for a few shots. Lucas (with a heaping of help form Hasbro) has made sure that anyone who appeared in even a single glancing frame of the Star Wars films has a novel’s worth of backstory. It’s pretty amazing on one hand and utterly lame on the other. IG-88 thankfully retains a lot of his coolness though, since he was one of the early Kenner figures to strike a chord with many people. How is his updated figure?

Packaging:
The more of these old packages I look at, the more I realize how much better packages were in the 1980’s. No twist ties, no rubber bands and great simple designs. I think that’s part of the reason we’re seeing so many toylines do this “retro” packaging in order to recreate the image.


I’ve been sitting on this figure (not literally) since K*B Toys was going out of business a year or two ago. I bought this as they were clearancing their shelves, but at the time you can see they were charging $7.98 for it. Anyway, these came in out protective clam shells. To preserve the integrity of the card and figure underneath.


Presumably you can remove that outer shell without tearing it up, but damned if I could figure it out. I had to hack through it with a pair of scissors. I thought they were just supposed to open? Oh well. The inside card takes you right back to Christmas morning 1982! Well, not me, but some people.


The back isn’t as retro, but it shows off the other figures in the series and the classic figures. It also explains what the purposes of these cards are. Notice that the figure’s peg hole is unpunched as well. Nice touch.

Sculpt:
I’m a fan of the IG designs. I loved the IG-86 figure, I liked the original IG-88 and I have a couple of IG Lancer droids as well. It’s just a neat looking robot. This one is just like the one from Empire Strikes Back. It’s a classic!


If you have the IG-Lancer, this is made of a lot of the same parts. For whatever reason though, the few differences here do make it the superior figure in my view. Maybe it’s just that the design is timeless, but I prefer this figure to the Lancer.


There is a ton of detail on this guy. IG-88 has never looked better. To be completely honest, the original IG-88 was one of Kenner’s better works, so this guy didn’t need an updating as bad as so many others. Still it’s an impressive feat for a figure to look so screen accurate.


The paint work is surprisingly strong, with little bits of rust and flakes painted on. It gives IG the appearance of being battle tested and worn. Maybe a super hardcore purest could find something inaccurate about this figure, but for most of us… This guy is perfect. If you need one IG-88 in your collection, then yeah, this is it.

Articulation:
The original IG-88 didn’t have a lot of articulation. Because of his design it was almost impossible to give him a ton of joints in the 1980’s. Now we’re able to give him quite a bit, though his structural design does still limit him more than many others.


You can create the exact pose from the card art though. That’s pretty nifty.

Accessories:
Surprisingly, IG-88 comes with a fair amount of accessories. First he has both his blaster and his rifle, as well as a belt. In the back of his belt he has a holster and a cool knife blade. I can’t get the guns to fit in the holster, but I assume one should.


It’s enough to stop him from getting kidnapped by Jawas.

Value:
If my match is correct, $7.99 in 2007, before the crash of the American economy works out to about $3,000 now? Something like that. Either way, you can get this guy off of Ebay for about $10 which isn’t bad at all. I don’t know exactly what I paid for him, but I picked up a couple so it must have been cheap. Because I’m a cheapskate and I love robots.


Yeah… We went there, and you like it.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 8
Sculpting – 9
Articulation – 7
Accessories – Rifle, Blaster, Knife, Belt
Value – 8
Overall – 8 out of 10


It’s IG-88 and he’s perfect. What more can you ask for? Whether you’re an old school guy who just thinks IG-88 is a random bounty hunter or if you’re one of the new kids who knows all about IG-88’s hundreds of clones and time as Queen Amidala’s personal massage wand, this is the IG-88 for you. Hasbro did good work with this figure and I can’t imagine they can improve upon it.