I'm going back toC2E2 for its second year this coming weekend (March 18-20), and I'm bringing some pals. You can find me sharing a table with Danielle Corsetto (Girls with Slingshots), Randy Milholland (Something Positive), and Joel Watson (Hijinks Ensue). It looks like we're in booth 862, which is a corner booth in the back of the hall facing Artists Alley and the Webcomics Pavilion.
I found this out, like, sixty seconds ago, so this is not exactly going to be a prepared statement, but apparently Dwayne McDuffie passed away for reasons that aren't known just yet. This is terrible! I know him best, personally, for creating and overseeing the vast majority of, y'know, the Justice League cartoon. I know! Seriously! He is not allowed to die! I don't think he was, like, old, either. He was still relatively young and spry! (Not that anywhere seems to list his birthdate to confirm.)
He's also known for creating Static, who most folks will recognize best as the hero of the cartoon Static Shock, and McDuffie was also well-known as being a crusader for writing non-white people in comic books as not horrible stereotypes. And he wrote the script to the animated version of All-Star Superman, which I just friggin' watched this friggin' morning. He is one of the best things to happen to the world, and I guess now he's gone, and this sucks so bad.
Man, what the hell.
EDIT: Since I first babbled out this post, Wikipedia has added his birthdate and we know the cause of his death. He was 49 and he died of complications due to surgery. Neither information makes me feel particularly better. Maggie and I watched some Justice League Unlimited episodes tonight. She's really been getting into them this past month -- I've shown her episodes before, but this month it's really clicked and it's become her newest obsession. (It and Young Justice.) It broke her (and my) heart to learn that the writer of "The Great Brain Robbery" is dead far ahead of his time. What an awesome dude he was. What a sad day this is.
This is the last year for Mattel's Justice League Unlimited line.
I'm not sure whether that's surprising to hear or not. The line has long, long, LONG surpassed the lifespan it had any right to have. On the other hand, it's lasted so long, that it felt like a permanent fixture. It's like George Burns. It shouldn't have surprised me to learn that he died, but it did. (y'know, 15 years ago) I mean, dude was 100 years ago! That's borrowed time! But, well, you got the feeling that he was immortal all the same. Justice League Unlimited is just like that. Except, like, George Burns was better at not falling over on his face all the time.
But at least it's not goin' out without giving me what I want! And what I wanted was a fucking Vandal Savage. Dude was in three multi-part episodes! That's technically seven episodes, all around! That's a lot of episodes to be the villain if you're not Lex Luthor! That's high profile. A-list. Meanwhile, I have a toy of the friggin' Key. He opened a door once with his giant key prop. That's it.
You might remind me that Vandal Savage isn't very interesting-looking to kids. He's a dude with a beard in a suit. And then I will remind you that I once bought a set (AT RETAIL) that had an old balding white man in a suit and an old fat black lady in a suit. There should not be a world in which we get General Eiling and Amanda Waller but not friggin' Vandal Savage.
But anyway, this is being rectified. He comes with a normal Batman and a figure that I hadn't even considered the possibility of... bearded future-traveler Superman. Which is also pretty damn awesome, if you ask me. David Willis is pleased.
There's some other interesting guys coming out this year before the line ends. There's Killer Frost, the sorta-obviously-absent STRIPE, Mongul, and most of the rest of the Batman Beyond-era Justice League (including friggin' STATIC, woo!). And at the end of the year, to close out the line, there's planned to be a huge multi-pack set of guys who haven't been made yet. Reports seem to imply these are seven heroes. I don't think I can name more than one who hasn't been made yet, off the top of my head (Phantom Stranger). Am I forgetting anyone? I can't remember if I have a Gypsy yet or not.
Most importantly, now that Justice League is definitely coming to a close, I'll finally be able to round up all of my extraneous Batmen and Supermen and see how big a pile they make.
This set, one bought online from the MattyCollector site, was a pleasant surprise. I am thoroughly in love with it, even though, going in, I wasn't terribly excited about it.
I was buying it for Kalibak, who was a character introduced to me in the Superman: The Animated Series episode, "Father's Day." In it, Kalibak attacks during (surprise) Fathers Day, and Pa Kent is trapped under a collapsed building. What made me hate the episode was how it was executed. Superman knows his father is on the brink of death, buried under tons of rubble. But yet Superman takes his friggin' sweet time while fighting Kalibak. I'm not talking just about the fighting itself. Whenever Kalibak gets knocked out temporarily, Superman sorta brushes his hands together, turns around, and starts walking as slowly as he can back to where he last saw his dad. Why? Because this episode has 22 minutes to fill, by gum! It was excruciating.
It wasn't the best foot to start out with, regarding Kalibak. I mean, otherwise, he's all right. I mean, he looks nothing like his purported father, Darkseid, but I never really understood the genetics of Apokolips to begin with. And he sounds like I. M. Weasel, just like Worf does! How can you go wrong.
But what brought me around to loving this set were the toys themselves. Kalibak's sculpt is gorgeous. The ones that Mattel takes the time to sculpt uniquely always tend to be, but Kalibak is one of my favorites. I think it's his asymmetrical expression. One side of his mouth is a grin and the other side tucks into a grimace. Facial expressions can make a toy, and this is a great example of that. It's also nice that he's as wide as he is tall. He's a big block of plastic. He's only got shoulder articulation, with both his hips and neck fused into the sculpt, but who the hell cares. He oozes personality just through his face.
When I ordered the set, to me Darkseid was just the guy who came with the character I didn't already have. I have a couple Darkseids already, so while it was nice that this was the Brainiac-infused version from the very last episode, it wasn't a "must have" figure. I mean, hey, if I display this new version of Darkseid, does that mean I have to put away my Brainiac toy? I don't think they can coexist!
But getting him in-hand, my feelings changed abruptly. This Darkseid toy is kick ass. It makes the vanilla Darkseid look stupid and boring. Brainiacked Darkseid has lots of contrast and color vibrancy. The best part, however, are his new sculpted parts. He's got a new shoulderpad piece that fits over his head and torso, plus he has new forearms. The new forearms are what especially tickle me. You see that right hand of his that's sculpted into a "I will crush you" pose? It's fucking awesome. It's the best handsculpt in the world. The neutral open-palmed fist sculpts of the older version are very good, but what replaces them is amazing.
So now I need to figure out if I still get to display Brainiac. I guess it'd kind of help if I didn't, what with all these new army builder figures and space arrangements being what they are, but, let's face it, that's a losing battle.
Also, I discovered a few days later that Darkseid is way better at holding the Matrix than either of the two Transformers it comes with. So enjoy an extra photo I tacked on.
I'm on a boat right now, safely out of the country during the fallout from that Christmas Eve strip. I am a shrewd man who values his life.
Last Monday I talked about my Manhunter Robots JLU set and how I was still on the lookout for the counterpart 3-pack that included Despero. Well, I found him the next day! And this is me writing about him that night, but in a post scheduled for... the future!!! Technology is grand.
(I always wonder, dude, what if I suddenly die? How weird will it be for these updates to continue popping up after I'm gone? Well, just in case, ooooOOOoooOOoooo speaking from beeyoonnd the graaaaveee...)
Anyway, check out this Despero. Man, he sure is Despero! Like the Manhunter episode, I didn't particularly care for Despero's episode either. Which is weird, because the second season of Justice League was pretty great. But at least Despero sounds like Goliath! I kept expecting him to tell people about how one thousand years ago, superstition and the sword ruled.
Despero the figure is kind of a disappointment because of his size. Why did they use the Green Lantern body? That's the shortest of bodies! Even Katma Tui casts a shadow over him.
Speaking of Katma Tui, man, what kind of friggin' name is Katma Tui? It sounds like a Jawa war cry or someone spitting or something. Anyway, it's nice to have her in her real skin color, rather than that brownish hue her original toy was. I was also surprised to discover, after putting both Katma Tuis together, that their uniforms are different. And I did some Internet sleuthing and learned that Brown Katma is based on her brief appearance in a later episode, where she has a more-revealing Green Lantern outfit and appears to have darker skin. That was nice to learn. I'd previously worried that Mattel made her black just because John Stewart should only be dating other black chicks. No, they were just following an errant screenshot.
No screenshot can fix that receding hairline of hers, though. Yikes.
In conclusion, the spell is broken, and Despero lives again.
I'm gone, but that doesn't mean I can't load up some toy talk into the queue ahead of time!
First of all, let me get out of the way that I didn't realize the Unfortunate Implications of the photograph until, well, whoops. Anyway.
Check out these "Manhunter Robots"! This is to distinguish them, I imagine, from the non-robot Martian Manhunter. Lots of hunting of men in the DC universe. In theory. See, it's weird, because I don' t think Martian Manhunter even really ever hunted men. (He hunted that lost little girl once, I guess?) The Manhunter Robots, however, seem to better deserve the description. We've seen them hunt dudes! It was just John Stewart and it was in a terribly boring episode I never want to see again, but it happened.
Man, I hate that episode.
So, of course, I spent $15.99 plus tax (oh my god how did it come to this) to own characters from an episode I didn't even like. This is completism, folks. Don't let this happen to you. A decade ago I had to work myself up towards even buying a friggin' Batman and maybe a Joker, which took a lot of justifying at the time, and yet here I am now buying Manhunter Robots. What the fuck.
They come with Green Lantern. They also come with these little sticks. I had to look at a screencap or two to find out which end they hold the sticks by. I'm still not entirely sure.
But at least they're pretty appealing-looking. Big and angular and glossy. And new sculpts! They are very nice toys from an episode I couldn't care less about.
Somewhere out there is the other new 3-pack from this wave which includes Despero and Green Lantern again and that girl Green Lantern he banged who Mattel won't deco as her actual skin color for some reason. Maybe I've found it by the time this post publishes! Probably not.
Hey, look, it's Justice League Unlimited Parademons! They come in packs of two. So why do I have four? Well, let me tell you. On Hell Matty Ordering Day, I ordered myself one set of Parademons and one Peter Venkman. That box arrived, easy as you please, and I was reasonably happy.
Then another identical box arrived two days later.
Did I get charged twice? Did I get a free duplicate order? I haven't actually investigated. All I know is that the Matty ordering system is carrraaaaaaazy fucked up, yo. And I decided to keep the extra set of Parademons because, hey, troop builders, and MattyCollector's been hinting that the JL line needs all the love it can get if it's going to continue. I can't return these! That's the opposite direction that I want for the line!
I am, however, selling the hell out of that Venkman, which will probably recover any lost funds if it turns out I got charged twice.
So, hey, Parademons. They each have three points of articulation, with two at the shoulders and one at the neck. They're, uh, pretty simple. Which is fine. Maybe I can have one of them hang out with Deadshot, Bane, and Harley as part of a scaled-down Secret Six. (C'mon, Mattel, you're just a Batman redeco away from a Catman toy! I don't care if he didn't look like that in DCUAnimated continuity!)