So, last week I asked you to submit some questions so that I could start a Bill Simmons-like weekly “mailbag” column. Well, hardly anyone asked anything, but I don’t care because I want to try this and dammit, I’m sticking to it. So I’m going to take the few questions I got, throw them together with a few comments from the past week I want to respond to, make some crap up if I have to, and hope that you guys get the gist of what I’m trying to do and submit some better questions next time. (I considered calling this feature “Poe’s Sack”.)
Oh, and to keep the surprise of it all, please try to submit them directly to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, not in the comments. It’s more fun that way. That said, I will respond to comments, tweets, and questions on the PGPoA Facebook page. And ask about anything, not just toys. I figure most of them will be about toys, but you’ve got the option.
Okay, so technically I don’t think this was sent in response to my request for questions, but it showed up around the same time so I’ll answer it anyway.
Sure, that’s cute.
Though my inner (inner? sorry, surface) geek immediately starting wondering why Krang chose the right boob. I didn’t think Optimus was a European truck. Or lorry, or whatever.
What’s the most important “feature” of a figure line? Sculpt? Paint? Articulation? Nostalgia?
Greg didn’t specify whether he was asking what the most important feature of a figure line was to me, or if he wanted me to comment on the concept in a Platonic ideal sort of way. I would be absolutely terrified to do the latter and risk a flame war so I’ll just stick with the former.
I don’t think there has ever been a time that sculpt was of prominent importance to me. I do want figures to have good sculpts, and for anything movie-based I value an accurate sculpt highly, but it still comes in at #2 to articulation. I’ve always loved articulation. Action figures that had extra bits of articulation here and there were always very memorable to me, like Power Lords or certain random Transformers.
As for your other two aspects, paint and nostalgia…paint is probably the thing I’m most willing to forgive. It’s rare that a paint job is so atrocious as to really disappoint me (but it does happen occasionally). Nostalgia is obviously very important, but it varies by line. I’m collecting the Ultraman Ultra-Act line right now but only recently got into the property; and my mid-’00s obsession, Hellboy, was brand-new for me at the time.
Why do you collect what you collect?
I kind of thought people would ask something like, “What are your thoughts on the Battle Beasts revival?” or “Doesn’t it seem like a cosmic injustice that there are now more Clubber Lang action figures than Mr. T action figures?” @almostahermit’s question is one I could literally spend a week answering in multiple posts.
But I appreciate the question. I’m afraid I can only offer very brief responses in this format, though. So, real quick:
- S.H.MonsterArts: Because I love Godzilla. He has been a part of my life since I was barely able to walk and has been involved in no less than two pivotal points in my life: he helped me get into college, and we watched a Godzilla movie the night I met my wife. There’s more to both stories but I’m saving them for something else.
- Ultraman Ultra-Act: I got into this line – and franchise – primarily because part of me thought it would be cool to have them if Bandai ever started making Showa-era S.H.MonsterArts, because they would be roughly in scale and I love, absolutely love, crossovers (yes, one of the lowest genres of geekdom is one of my favorite things in the world). That said, the figures and franchise are actually pretty cool and have kept me coming. (And yes, I realize the ridiculousness of the fact that I haven’t reviewed either of these lines yet. They are coming. In a big, big way.)
- Masters of the Universe Classics: Because I don’t know how to stop. Seriously. But there’s just…so…much. When 2-3 figures are coming your way every month, it just sort of sneaks up on you, and before you know it you have a Faceless One and a Chief Carnivus and a Mo-Larr and a Sir Laser-Lot and you’re looking at this Cy-Chop guy and thinking what the hell is this? Did I take a powerful hallucinogenic drug by accident? (In this scenario, you’re the type of person who leaves powerful hallucinogenic drugs lying around so that it’s possible to ingest them unknowingly.)
- Batman: Because he’s the goddamned Batman, that’s why.
- Random Stuff: I’ll pick up the random Alien, Predator, Robocop, Mars Attacks, Terminator, and other toys just because I like the franchises, or I like the toy.
Have you ever listened to the DVD commentary? It’s amazing.
This was actually in response to a tweet I put out that I was watching the Weird Al cult classic UHF, but you guys didn’t send in enough questions and dammit, I am going to make this thing work! Anyway, I don’t own UHF on DVD (yet – hint hint!) so no, I haven’t listened to the commentary. But damn if that isn’t a really fun movie. And one I apparently watched dozens of times as a kid, because I remembered nearly every line. “Supplies!” Hahaha, racism.
No, it’s quite good and interesting. Even has a sense of humor. A bit weird, but a weird I enjoyed.
This was a response Bill Corbett (Crow T. Robot on MST3K) tweeted to me when I asked him what he thought of the Finnish Christmas-Meets-Lovecraft movie Rare Exports (i.e., whether it sucked). I’m posting it here only because Bill Corbett is one of my heroes and him replying to me made my day.
Yesterday I posted a link to a blog post by Rob Bricken of io9 about the miseries of toy collecting, and asked for your thoughts. Poester Steve had a lot to say, and I think his comments were dead on, so I wanted to re-post and respond to them, piece by piece.
I think like any hobby, you have your ups and downs. And I have to be honest, PGPoA has been contributing to the downer feelings for the past year or so. Before I continue, let me thank you for all you’ve done and please take this as constructive criticism.
I get it, Steve. I understand the sense that I’m a downer lately. I’m mentally prepared for your criticism; go.
The various posts about a lack of desire to write about toys, the state of the union addresses where we find out you were inches away from blowing up the site, the decline of MOTUC, DC content all have made this a sad place to visit as of late. I come to toy sites to read news, commentaries and reviews and possibly a heads up on an online deal.
I’m going to stop the state-of-the-union addresses (okay, not entirely, because some possibly big things might be happening, but the mopey ones are going away). The MOTUC/DC declines are something I will address but, as I’ve mentioned before, the truth of the matter is that I am quite faddish. I always have been and I suspect I always will be, to some degree. However, some of that can be addressed by contributors, as you mention below.
I hit up itsalltrue.net every day because I know Noisy will have something new I’ll enjoy.
IAT is a fantastic site and some of the stuff they do, I can only look at them and wish I had their energy. I think my site has retained a bit more of a singular personality (which is one reason I’ve gone back and forth on whether to bring in more contributors), but there’s no question IAT does all the right stuff, keeping their focus on MOTUC and DC strong and tight and offering plenty of great content regularly.
I know you post every day, but a BBTS newsletter and a pic of a day isn’t what I’m looking for.
Amen. Forgive me for I have sinned. (I love my sponsors, but letting them stand as the only content for any given day is inexcusable.) But I reserve the right to post Odds ‘n Ends as filler whenever I’m too lazy to do anything else. Just like Bill Simmons when he started writing mailbag posts to avoid columns, and then started doing podcasts to avoid mailbags, and then started doing TV to avoid podcasts.
Have you thought of incorporating more contributors to the site? Maybe a podcast if the writing is a chore?
See above regarding contributors. As for podcasts – or videos, for that matter – well, time is one factor, equipment is another.
You’ve mentioned you’re fickle and have moved into Godzilla and S.H. Figure arts. I’d love to learn about these things. Tell us about your Godzilla collection, explain what SH Figure arts does.
This is coming.
Collector Dash has made a huge debut, are you a member and what’s your opinion on the site?
I just haven’t had the time to spend much time with DASH yet; I intend to. I am a member.
We used to have a Toys for Tots give away every year, is it still happening?
It is! Talking to both Geeks for Tots and Infinite Toys for Tots now.
As for Rob’s issue, how about an article on how to avoid the “action figure blues” ? (Also a great toy site) Talk about budgeting for your favorite lines, about setting up proper displays and rotating collections in/out.
That’s an interesting idea. I’m not sure I have the answers, but I can give it a shot.
Again, thank you for all that you do. I loved when this site was at full tilt during the MOTUC height. If you’re ready to call it quits, understood. But I think the site needs something to get back on track.
I agree. And I think you’ll like what you’ll see over the next few months. Well, maybe…I don’t know your tastes.
Anyway, back the questions!
I am a huge DIEHARD Fan/Collector/Historian of the beloved Universal Monsters and have been since the age of 3…I just finished reading the review of the Metaluna Mutant from both you and the sculptor Jean St. Jean….all I have to say is Diamond Select is totally out of their minds if series 4 of the Universal Monster figures are to consist of The Hunchback, The Mole Man & the Karloff version of Dr. Jekyll As Mr. Hyde….really? Have they lost there MINDS??? Who makes this decision a dead cat? Except the Hunchback the rest are not even considered Universal Monsters…I have 2 sets each of the first 3 series’s but if DST are even considering the A&C (Karloff) Meet Dr. Jekyll as Mr. Hyde and The Mole Man….DST just lost a customer and I know a lot more DIEHARD Universal Monster collectors that will be seriously disappointed with the choice of their next wave of figures when there’s other Universal Monster Characters that would be 100,000,000 times more collectible than what DST is considering. Good Lord We need/want a Tom Tyler as “THE MUMMY’S HAND” figure (which has NEVER been done), A Chaney Jr. version of the MUMMY (which also has never been done), The Werewolf of London, Chaney Jr. as ” Man Made Monster (Which has also NEVER been done) David Bruce as “The Mad Ghoul”, A Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive), The Creature in “The Creature Walks Among Us”, A Version of “The Revenge of the Creature”, Even a Dr. Pretorius would be cooler than the Mole Man or Karloff’s Mr. Hyde from A&C Meet Dr. Jekyll….Hell even a Oliver Reed version of his Werewolf as in “Curse of the Werewolf” would be awesome! DST has their heads right up where the sun DOES NOT SHINE….they need to FIRE whomever is making these decision’s!!! I starting to wonder if they even know what’s considered a real UNIVERSAL MONSTER…and if they do put out the wave 4 as mentioned by sculptor Jean St. Jean it WILL FLOP and sales will fall like a wet bag of cement!!!
Is there anyway you can pass along this message to DST or Jean St. Jean so they can avoid probably the biggest mistake in Universal Monster History???? or let me contact Mr. Jean St. Jean to avoid the ruin of DST’s line of Universal Monsters? I BEG YOU…..DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN!!! Even this last set of Universal Monsters was poorly done The Phantom with his mask sculpted on???HELLO??? The Metaluna Mutant before any of the other characters I mentioned? AGAIN HELLO??? The best one was the Invisible Man. I guess DST’s factory’s lights are on but no one’s home!!! A Very unhappy collector.
–The Wolf Man
Wow. Well, uh, WM, all I can say is I imagine DST is choosing the characters they think will sell the best. I’d assume, or at least hope, they’ve done some market research before making their choices for Series 4. And I have to say, part of me thinks a monster like the Mole Man will always sell better than an action figure of a normal human like Dr. Pretorius.
In any event, WM, consider your message passed along!
Personally I’m kind of excited for the Mole Man. But as with the Metaluna Mutant, I’m only aware of the film he’s from (The Mole People) because of the film’s use in Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Why do you need to buy the same Ninja Turtles over and over?
–Love, Dr. Mrs. Poe
Oh, you don’t get action figures at all. They’re different. They’re…newer.
What are your favorite non-traditional Christmas movies?
–PG from Boston
(Okay, so I wrote that question myself. But see! This is the kind of thing you can ask about! Go wild!)
This changes for me every so often, but lately I’d have to say the flick I always make an effort to see is Ernest Saves Christmas. I have no excuse for this. Something about that movie just nails everything I loved about 1980s Christmases – well, that and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (which is practically a traditional Christmas movie, at this point).
Most of the Ernest movies are dreadful,* but Ernest Saves Christmas is redeemed by its heart. It’s got some of the cheesy 1980s special effects I love – magical holiday glowing things.** Most of the actors in the film are just cashing a check and couldn’t care less, but Jim Varney puts his heart and soul into his performance. I respect him for that. And the anecdote where he describes imagining Santa “oozing through the vent covers” always cracks me up. And here’s someone who went and found the filming locations for Ernest Saves Christmas 24 years later, because…I can’t think of a reason why you would do that, actually.
Of course, the classic non-traditional Christmas movie is Die Hard. Just to mix things up, I started watching Die Hard 2 a couple years back as well. It’s not as good, but has the benefit of my not having seen it a hundred times. Also, re-watching it inspired me to write this.
What’s the best brand of plastic tubing for restraining someone of about 65 kilos? Hypothetically speaking.
I’m not sure you understand how to use the phrase “hypothetically speaking,” Doc. Police are on their way.
*Ernest Goes to Jail is the other decent one – it’s actually pretty funny.
**It’s the same reason I can just stomach watching Santa Claus: The Movie, if I include some beer in the process.