Posted October 25, 2005 at 2:00 am
Check out that third panel, folks. And that thumb. It's on the wrong side! I CAUGHT YOU, LYNN JOHNSTON! ARE YOU OH SO HIGH AND MIGHTY NOW?! IN YOUR FACE! IN YOUR FACE!!!

Damn Canadians. Every once in a while, they'll screw up, jus' so's we can put them back in their place.
Posted October 24, 2005 at 11:09 pm
You know the drill. So I got Leobreaker last week. And I'm all "Dude I should write a review on him!" And then the next day I was all "Yeah, I should write about Leobreaker." And the day after that I was all "Huh, yeah, review. I guess."

I need to pump these out while they're fresh.

Graham had found his Leobreaker about a week earlier, and he did not sing his praises. I mean, yeah, I know, Graham rarely sings anybody's praises, but even though Graham hates everything, his one soft spot tends to be Transformers. So I was pretty much set up for disappointment.

We found him at a Media Play, of all places. I spent the car ride home yanking him out of the box, cursing at my lack of fingernail clippers to aid me. These were some tough-ass twist ties. His lion mode is standard enough. He does have jaw articulation, but it's frustratingly narrow and requires tough pressing of the button on his forehead. (Later, after adding batteries, I discovered that the roar sound effects that accompany this are adorable. Possibly his best feature. Um.) His robot mode, though, I do like a lot. He's got enough articulation, and the way his paws convert to hands is interesting. I'm sorta bored with tail-whip weapons, though.

Now, uh, the "Savage Claw mode," where he attaches to Optimus Prime's shoulder as an arm... that's definitely a squint-and-pretend thing. On the show, fingers poof out of nowhere and glow into existence. On the toy, there is no hand to speak of. A random assortment of lion parts assembles a four-thingied claw. ("Four-thingied" versus "four-fingered," because these are in no way fingers.)

Oddly enough, the early pre-production version of Leobreaker, as seen at Comic-Con, DOES have fingers. Hell, check out the thumb sticking out of the hind leg on that prototype. Actually, forget the thumb, check out the truck-chest. Freaky. Anyway, I wonder what happened to all that stuff.

Oh well.
Posted October 21, 2005 at 2:48 am
I think I've settled on a new coloring style for Shortpacked! Ever since I left the painted look and tried some It's Walky!ish coloring, I've been sorta experiementing a little. I've decided that I want to emphasize the line-art more (which I want to spend more time on) and so de-emphasize the colors. I sort of miss the black-and-white days. Those could sometimes look pretty sharp. So I've softened the colors, using a less bold palette, and the shadows won't be so overwhelming anymore. Besides, these guys are under retail store lighting all day, not harsh sunlight. I'm pretty happy.

The other day, I sold another page of original strip art. Hurrah! And this one wasn't of Batman or somebody half-dressed. I feel legitimate. The awesome person who bought it also wanted to have a printed copy of the final strip, which I obliged. Which makes me wonder -- is this something other people would want? You know, the printing out of favorite strips for a price? Ugly Hill and a few others do it, so I figger there's a market out there. Just wondering what youse guys thoughts were on the idea.

Also, my super friends Graham and Jenni got engaged. I don't think it's quite sunk in yet. I've known the two for 8 years, which is about 2 months longer than they've been dating. Eight years ago we were all wacky IRC buddies. I remember calling up Jenni (who I had never spoken to before) at the behest of Graham to ask her if she was mad at him. Apparently he wasn't sure. Man, and I had the biggest phobia of phone conversations back then, so that was a big deal. But I believed in these guys, so you gotta do what you gotta do. They're my best pals in the world; they're why I moved to Columbus, after all. So I guess "Congratulations" is kind of a subpar word to use. "Wiigii"? I dunno.

Man, everyone around here's growing up.
Posted October 20, 2005 at 3:18 am
If you read the front page, you'll find Blank Label Comics has adopted a new sticker. Yeah, revered Schlock Mercenary has joined forces in our battle against evil, so this time we promise it's not scratch-and-sniff. (Though Ugly Hill's sticker would counteract with potpourri.)

I am super excited. And honored! Howard Taylor is like the super awesomest guy on the planet. (Though I hear he's not bald anymore. That's a bummer. Give me my oldskool Taylor, I say.) True story: At Comic-Con 2002, Josh Phillips and I were stranded hotel-less on that last meandering Sunday night. And he calls up and is all like, "Dude, you should totally come over. Balls." Okay, he didn't say balls, but he did say "Free of charge." Holy crap, this man is unimaginably generous. Now that's a man. If he had invoked balls, I'm certain they would have been manly.

And, sure, he's not just nice. He's one of the smartest, most level-headed nyucks there is. His business acumen is Level 10. His balls, when invoked, are not only manly, but filled with a gooey know-how center. And huge. You could play basketball with them.

Seriously, I totally look up to the guy. If I'm ever half the man he is, I'll be pretty satisfied. And I've never seen his family, but I'll assume for the sake of this post that his wife is hot and his kids are outstanding. Outstanding and filled with genes from, you guessed it, Howard's legendary balls. Ha ha, and we snatched him! Nuts to you, losers!

Just remember, when you talk to him, his face is up there.
Posted October 17, 2005 at 2:10 am
So I found Mudflap today. Why didn't anyone tell me he was awesome? He rocks. His colors are beautiful. His transformation is interesting, and everything pegs together nicely in both modes. He's got a weapon that's taller than most Transformers -- I'm talking Unicron-sized.

Mudflap's dubbed with a French-Canadian* accent in the cartoon. You know. Because he's a traitor. Mudflap is all "Sacre bleu, dees Autobots make no sense to me, I weel leave zhem to form my own eendependent state. Weeth Starscream." (And, no, I didn't mean for that to sound as homoerotic as it sounded.) So, yeah. Way to go, Vancouver ADR. You continue making that subversive political commentary, or something. Ah-heh.

*To my unworldly ear, he just sounds French. Maybe Cajun, because they also sound French. However, I'm told it's specifically French-Canadian. Transformers have been voice-cast in Canada for the past ten years, so it's kind of surprising it's taken this long.
Posted October 14, 2005 at 1:14 am

Clockwise, starting at top: The original Beast Wars Buzzclaw, Dirge, two Virulent Clones, and Buzzclaw.

Buzzclaw, Dirge, and the clone two-pack are all redecos of Buzzclaw. The first two were part of the 7-figure box set, and the last two could be purchased separately. Now, these guys are neat. Again, we see Yet More Black, but since Buzzclaw and Dirge are meant to evoke the classic Insecticon color scheme (black, purple, and gold, with red trim), I don't see how they'd get around that. And, frankly, the colors are vibrant enough that it doesn't bother me that much.

As you can see, the original Buzzclaw was bright little sucker. (The one shown is my pal Graham's. I sold mine a few years ago when I was short on cash.) He's also a Fuzor, which in this case means he's half lizard and half mantis. Oddly enough, the lizard half didn't keep him from being made into four Insecticons. Thankfully, the black replacing the green obscures his scales and lizard wrinkles nicely. (Another reason I don't mind so much.)

It's hard for me to decide whether I like Buzzclaw or Dirge more; it doesn't help that the only difference between the two is that their purple and gold are reversed. Dirge's translucent yellow is very pretty, but Buzzclaw's colors are a little more striking. But hey, if having to choose between which exclusive is the best is the worst thing about these guys... Hell, it's like old times again.

On the problem side of things, all four guys have an assembly error. Their mandibles are put in upside-down. Since this aligns the piece downward at a different angle, this gives the mandibles the appearance of a bandito mustache. Some people have managed to disassemble the head to flip it over, but other than removing the screw, there's also a rivet inside and the head halves are glued together. So, uh, I don't think I'm going to try. Hasbro is using the Buzzclaw toy later in the year (redecoed to be Repugnus), and the one on display in the cases at BotCon also had the mandibles upside-down. Well, I guess we can look forward to that.
Posted October 12, 2005 at 2:30 am
So we were checking out one of the local Tuesday Morning stores for cheap-ass clearance toys, like $8 Transformers reissues. (Man, and to think Stepper/Ricochet used to go for hundreds of dollars on eBay back when he was an obscure Japanese exclusive. Eight bucks! Take that, secondary market!) And Steve-o wanted to drop by the Asian supermarket that was in the same strip mall.

I was already prepared to pick up some KOALA NO MARCH chocolate-filled cookie marsupials when I stumbled upon MEN'S POCKY. Dude. Pocky. For MEN. Now, that's the kind of stuff my hairy man-chest demands. This market need was FILLED.

None of that sissy Pocky from now on. Just the man stuff for me.
Posted October 9, 2005 at 1:48 am

I picked up one of the new JLU three-packs at Target yesterday. I picked up the one with Black Canary in it, 'cuz, hey, chances are she'll be a leeeeetle harder to find than the others. You know. GURL.

I like the sculpt and paint job more than I thought I would. She actually looks very nice, and the paint is very cleanly applied. She comes with Green Arrow and Superman, which makes Superman #30 and Green Arrow #2 that I own, but three-packing is how Mattel can justify putting toys of girls in the toy aisle, so I can't complain too much.

Black Canary's ability to stand has eluded me so far. Though Mattel was so kind as to fill in plastic between the toes of her shoes and the very high heels so there's more surface area to balance on, I have yet to find a middle ground between falling forwards and falling backwards. So until then, she gets to lean against stuff. She's sculpted to be holding her hand on her hip, but when you swivel her arm up at the shoulder, she also looks like she's cupping her hand around the side of her mouth for one of her trademark Super Screams (or whatever she calls them). That's cool.

The three-packs also now come with copies of the Justice League Adventures comic books. That's also a bonus I like, though they all come with the same one. Bummer.

Also, I got the next issue of the Transformers Fan Club magazine in the mail. Keep on giving us those Universe-style bios, fellas. Those are the good stuffs.