I recently sat down with the creator of the Realm of the Underworld toy line, Michael Zolotorow for an interview about his journey in action figure creation. We cover a variety of topics including changes to the line, the success of Wave 1, upcoming figures and potential concepts for the future. I want to thank Micheal for taking the time to speak with us in this Infinite Hollywood exclusive.
1. When we spoke with you back in 2012, Realm of the Underworld was still taking shape (at the time under a different name) and the first figures had not yet rolled out. Since that time, ROTU has launched and appears to be a big success. We here at Infinite Hollywood love the figures and the feedback seems to be pretty good across the board. When the split with your former partners happened, how far did that put ROTU behind and ultimately, did it result in a positive change of direction?
I want to say thank you for the support and kind words my friend. This has been over 3 years in the making, as in 2009, we sought to create a 5 3/4″ retro style action figure series. There have been bumps along the way. We have a great many things planned for the property. The series has been embraced worldwide and we are ready to release Wave Two. Our fans are the reason why Realm Of the Underworld and Zoloworld are in existence today and we are appreciative to all that have followed us through our journey.
2. One of the big changes was a shift in character decos, names and backstories. Personally, I love the more mythological take on things. Was this a necessary change or was it something done to just give the product a different feel?
I am a huge follower of Mythology and combining it with fantasy creates something surprising. The direction of the story can go anywhere, while Individuals can relate to the characters in figure form. Hercules is like the Michael Jordan of the Hero World, in that he is interpreted worldwide to be the most powerful hero to grace the earth. The surprise is where we combine him with our own characters to create a dynamic story. This is the roots of Realm Of The Underworld and was necessary to bring a new level of understanding to the series.
3. As Wave 2 begins to ramp up to enter into the marketplace, is there anything that you would say you’ve learned from Wave 1’s release?
There are a few things that I have addressed from Wave 1 that we will see improved in WAVE 2, not to say they were even remotely a problem. Wave 1 came out fantastic and there were small items that will be changed like the card stock being a bit thicker. The figures will be the same quality from Wave 1. They are built very solid.
4. One of the more interesting concepts you guys have mentioned on Facebook is the potential to add more articulation to the figures via some expansion packs. Is this something that is still in the works and can you detail this a bit more for our readers?
This is still in the works. Our goal was always to expand the line into something “Neo” with forward and backwards compatibility. The Adaptability pack (Arms and Legs) will allow the adventurer to add an extra two inches to the action figure with new style articulation, thus allowing you to display them with modern figures.
5. We’re seeing some great characters who possess the ability to use magic, but you know we’re going to ask… Will we see some traditional style wizards? I’m talking long cloth robes, beards, staffs and such.
Yes, one thing to note is that Acromancer was once a wizard. There will be other wizards as well; what is fantasy without wizards and skeletons?! Continue reading
Iron Man Mark 42
6 Inch Scale
As much as I enjoyed Iron Man 3, the toys have really been a disappointment. The figures which launched in February had lame sculpts and even lamer articulation. On top of that, it was limited to only Iron Man and War Machine/Iron Patriot variants. A superhero toyline without villains is a sin, if you ask me. Diamond has shown off some Marvel Select figures of Iron Man Mark 42 and War Machine (with an Iron Patriot repaint also in the works), but despite being originally solicited for April release, they will apparently not reach stores until June. Only now are the movie based 6” Iron Man Legends figures reaching stores, so far limited to the Mark 42 armor and Iron Patriot. I have been waiting for a good action figure to represent the movie, so let’s open up Iron Man Mark 42 and see if he can fill the void in my heart… er… I mean, my collection. Continue reading
5 3/4 Inch scale
Today the second wave of Realm of the Underworld goes on sale at UnderworldFigures.com for preorders shipping this summer. While you can not only preorder the next wave, you can also pick up this wave on sale in case you missed out. Yes, it’s our final Realm of the Underworld figure review for this week and it’s the devious Acromancer!
Acromancer is the main villain in Wave 1 and appears to be the main villain of the entire series. This dude is a dark warlock who marched into the pits of hell, wearing his stolen Helmet of Hades and attempted to use it to take over the underworld and unleash it upon the Earth. Thankfully Hercules is here to stop him! In the first mini comic, we also learn that Acromancer is responsible for creating Hercules’ sword of Heroes.
Using his wicked helmet, Acromancer is able to control the Archfiends, which are traditionally Hades own personal servants. You know you’re a bad dude when you’re stealing from Satan! As for the figure himself? Well he’s quite cool. Boasting some of the neatest elements of the Realm of the Underworld line to date. Continue reading
Archfiend “Ultimate Evil” Edition
5 3/4 Inch scale
Yesterday we took a look at the regular version of the Archfiend and today we’re looking at the “Ultimate Evil” version of this figure. While on the surface the two skeleton figures are identical, they have a few differences that set them apart. The story for this version appears to be that they’re more powerful in this color scheme.
These skeletal minions are slaves to HADES – the king of the underworld. Each entity are drones to serve the dark leader, but also can be commanded by the one who wears the HELMET OF HADES. These skeletons are surrounded by an aura of dark magic. Without it, they can not exist on the world of man. This aura emanates from the underworld and empowers these dark minions. Once the gates to the underworld has opened, their power increases and they become more difficult to defeat.
Is there any reason to buy this figure over the basic version? We’ll do a complete breakdown, including an unholy image you can’t erase from your mind, behind the cut. Step into the Underworld with me, won’t you? Continue reading
I had debated writing something about this, but wasn’t sure if I would or not. Ultimately I decided to do so because I have a platform here, might as well use it. Some of you who follow me on Twitter (@NewtonGimmick) may have seen my somewhat profanity laced tirade about this, but I figured I’d try to string together some thoughts that are a little bit more coherent. What am I rambling about? The recent changes to Flickr!
Flickr was founded in 2004 and quickly grew to the most recognizable photo sharing site on the web. Eventually they lost that title, but remained a staple for people who took photography serious. While they were never the place to go for hosting random photos, they were the place where you could build up a “portfolio” and almost instantly they attracted legitimate photographers to their website. What Flickr also built up, was a huge collection of hobbyists who weren’t “pros” necessarily, but who were interested in photography, art, composition and all the things that make taking photos great.
Soon Flickr implemented many social media aspects, long before they were commonplace on the internet. Yet despite these changes and somewhat highbrow content, Flickr never went too far outside the box. Flickr became something rare, a community. What was great about Flickr was that people with $2,000 cameras could share photos with those who had much simpler point and shoots, while developing a common bond and interest in the medium.
The layout was simple and at the crux of the design was the ability to upgrade to Pro status for $25 or so a year. This gave you unlimited storage. The other nice element of Flickr is that if you let your Pro lapse, your photos didn’t disappear. You couldn’t access them directly anymore, but Flickr never deleted them. They were there waiting for you should become Pro again, likewise they remained in any groups or other content you placed them in.
But all that changed this week when the new Flickr rolled out. Flickr has been owned by Yahoo for a few years and fresh off their purchase of Tumblr, they decided to reinvent Flickr as a new “hip” photo site. Flickr has never been about being cool. It might have been a trend briefly after it’s creation, but it soon settled into being a site that had fantastic, but basic functionality.
Yahoo’s new vision of Flickr is to try and be a cool site like Tumblr and Instagram. Yahoo is furious that Instagram has so much of the market share. What Yahoo failed to realize is that Flickr doesn’t share the same market with Instagram. Flickr wasn’t ever about posting the latest photos from your iPhone. And no, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t people who did that. Flickr welcomed those people with open arms. They were part of the community, but they weren’t the basis of it. Continue reading