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Pic of the Day > The Joker – The Dark Knight (TDKR) – Batman – Play Arts Kai by sir_winger

The Joker - The Dark Knight (TDKR) - Batman - Play Arts Kai

The Joker – The Dark Knight (TDKR) – Batman – Play Arts Kai by sir_winger

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Pic of the Day > Christmas With the Joker by MCcustoms

Christmas With the Joker

Christmas With the Joker by MCcustoms, on Flickr

Bat-Week | Review > Joker, Batman, Gray Ghost (JLU, Mattel)

One of my favorite episodes of Batman: The Animated Series (B:TAS) is “Beware the Gray Ghost.” It features Adam West as an aging actor who once played Bruce Wayne’s favorite television hero, the costumed avenger known as “the Gray Ghost.” There’s a wonderful paradoxical quality to the idea of the animated 1990s Batman being inspired by an ersatz 1960s Batman. The show also slyly replaced the aging cliché of Zorro having served as part of Bruce’s inspiration; kids in the early 1990s barely had any idea who Zorro was, and even the Antonio Banderas remake was years away.

Of course, while casting Adam West in the role of aging Gray Ghost actor Simon Trent was a coup, the Gray Ghost wasn’t just a tribute to the 1960s TV show. His distinctive appearance represents a tribute to other early pulp heroes such as the Shadow, the Spirit, the Spider and Sandman. (As you may have noticed, the redesign of PGPoA owes more than a little to the Gray Ghost as well as B:TAS.)

Mattel released an exclusive, single-carded version of the Gray Ghost as their 2010 holiday card. Unlike Holiday Hal Jordan, however, he was always intended for a retail release, which came in a three-pack with B:TAS-inspired repaints of Batman and the Joker.

Bat-Week | Review > The Joker (Arkham Asylum, DC Direct)

Much like his arch-nemesis Batman, the Joker’s longstanding popularity is partly due to how easily he lends himself to reinvention. He can be everything from a harmless jester to a murderous psychotic, and everything in between. On screen he’s been played by such disparate thespians as Caesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill and Heath Ledger, and each made a memorable version that was wholly their own.

Given Heath Ledger’s bravura performance the previous year, Rocksteady Studios had to be make sure the Joker they created for Batman: Arkham Asylum was equally engaging. As with many aspects of the game, they chose to walk a line between reality and comic book fantasy, creating a Joker whose appearance and murderous behavior is in line with The Dark Knight and the darker corners of the Batman comics mythos, while casting Hamill as the voice actor. Hamill played the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, which memorably balanced the murderous Joker of the 1940s and 1970s with the laughing prankster of the 1950s and 1960s. While the Joker of Arkham Asylum never balks at a senseless murder, he’s also much quicker with a joke than Ledger’s Clown Prince of Crime.

As I mentioned in my Batman review, DC Direct seems to have pulled out all the stops for their Arkham Asylum figures. This is somewhat interesting, since two other companies (Mattel and Square Enix) are also making figures based on the games, yet DCD isn’t just trying to make a quick buck as they have with some other their other videogame lines (i.e., anything except World of Warcraft).

Pic of the Day > Cicero… by Clarkent78


Doc Thomas Probes > Most Wanted

These days, we collectors have a lot to be thankful for – the shift in quality of action figures over the past two decades has turned once-small, barely recognizable, barely moveable plastic playthings into fully articulated, awesomely detailed, instantly identifiable works of art that we’re glad to have displayed in our kitchen, to be briefly admired by last night’s mistake before we kick her out of the apartment. Yes, toys have come a long way, and with the expansion of the market has come a bigger range of great properties picked up and plasticized for our collecting pleasure.

If you’re anything like me, and I know I am, you can look in front of you right now and see an amazing range of amazing toys including Bender from Futurama, the Heath Ledger Joker from The Dark Knight, several Daleks, the amazing Masterpiece Grimlock, WALL-E, at least a dozen different Skeletors, Big Daddy holding a Little Sister’s hand, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cobra Commander, an entire shelf of friggin’ Muppets, and Richard Nixon’s head. That is range, my friends. The sheer mass of different characters that have been made into great toys is amazing and wonderful – and yet, there are still plenty of favourites that are yet to be immortalised in plastic. These are


5 Questions With > Rustin Parr

Today we have an interview with a good friend of mine, Rustin Parr of OAFE. Rustin and I first met through OAFE in the early 1990s, and despite living on separate coasts, we’ve met in person many times since then. An passionate if idiosyncratic movie buff, Haunted Mansion enthusiast, and King Leonidas look-alike (well, maybe not the abs, but the face, anyway), Rustin has agreed to bare just a bit of his soul to us here at PGPoA.

338381890_lCode name: Scott McEachen, alias Rustin Parr, alias Gunstas von Artlefuasdensein, D.D.S.
Specialty: Dreaming Big and Accomplishing Small
Base of Operations: Monterey, CA
History: Began the adventure in gorgeous Hermosa Beach, California, whence an egregious lust for action figuring took hold. A lack of sculpting ability and painting prowess propelled him into the world of Motion Picture production whose frivolities spat the man into the cutting edge of Neuro Marketing during which a healthy imbibing of toys and movies keeps the life juices flowing. It was a hot and sunny day when a close personal friend, the self-titled Lord of the Nazgul, brought together Rustin with Yo Go Re and Poe Ghostal, all posters at the formerly awesome and important/relevant spawn.com message boards, the latter two being founding members of oafe.net. After one particularly long and laugh-riddled evening in which Rustin performed his then-constant desperate rage upon the unprepared Yo’n’Poe towards falsely accused inept waitresses and rightfully, if not righteously accused George Lucas and his modern films, Poe’n’Yo dragged the Froce’o’da’nature into the fold at OAFE where on Rustin continues to this day to be less entertaining than that first eve and less consistent in producing reviews than his editor would prefer. Rustin is survived by his collection projected to consist of over 2,000 individual action figures, 500 hundred vehicle and location replicas 9in varying scales) and hundreds of plus-sized and resin collectibles, not to mention a DVD collection of some 1200 discs.

Toy review roundup (via Fanmode)

fanmode-copy Jeff Parker reviews the Hot Toys Predator Major Alan “Dutch” Schaeffer and Private Billy Sole 1/6-scale figures. Excerpt: “Well, once again we are in the territory of ‘Dallas and Kane’ where one actor/agent/lawyer has given permission to use his likeness and the other hasn’t …”

Newton Gimmick reviews the Playmates TMNT Mini-Mutants Exoskeleton Shredder figure. Excerpt: “… while it’s obviously inspired by Exo-Squad it has tons of little traits that definitely make it TMNT.”

Dave Van Domelen reviews the Hasbro Transformers Revenge of the Fallen Scout class Rollbar, Dead End, Knock Out, Dirt Boss, Depthcharge and Ransack figures. Excerpt: “… it seems like they used a much more brittle plastic in most of these than the designs would have worked best with.” (See also: 1, 2, 3, 4.)

Toy review roundup (via Fanmode)

fanmode-copy Artemis reviews the Diamond Select Toys Battlestar Galactica Razor Kendra Shaw figure. Excerpt: “I don’t forgive her anything because of affection for the character, but her technical quality alone makes me quite fond of her.”

Updatedude reviews the Bandai Motion Revive Series (MRS) Kamen Rider Special Best Selection Kamen Rider Kabuto trading figure.

Dave Van Domelen reviews the Hasbro Star Wars Transformers Crossovers Shock Trooper to V-Wing Starfighter figure. Excerpt: “Making the arm joints more useful and adding pegs to keep them together in vehicle mode would have made this toy a LOT better.”

Toy news roundup, 2/13/09

Happy Friday the 13th! Don’t walk under any ladders today, or go to any summer camps. Let’s see what’s in the news today…

  • Topless Robot had a few things to say about the Jason X-like look of the movie Cobra Commander (spoilers, I guess). I kind of see what they’re going for–the plate-face Cobra Commander look, instead of the hooded one–but it doesn’t work.
  • Toy Fair 2009 starts tomorrow. We know there won’t be much, if any, Mattel news…anyone know if NECA will be there?
  • Does every single toy website have something going on with the new Mezco Jason figure this week? Was Mezco was shipping out review samples like crazy? If so, how about a little love for Poe? Heck, they even gave some to a museum. Oh, and be sure to hit this RTM contest for a chance to win your own Jason.
  • Vote on future Marvel Universe figures (Hasbro)
  • Mattel has posted most of the slides from their NYCC presentations on their Facebook page (although not the preview pic of DCUC Joker, in case you were wondering–he’s in this month’s ToyFare).

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