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Guest Post > Interview with Spy Monkey Creations

I recently had the pleasure of talking first hand with the three-headed weapon-making machine known as Spy Monkey Creations, Inc.

Team members Jeremy Sung, Brian Stevenson and Bill Murphy are the minds behind some of the coolest custom-produced weapons and accessory packs for action figure collectors today. And as a fellow collector it’s always a bonus when you can find top-notch items that compliment your figures perfectly. From energy-based accessories to swords and shields, Team SMC has amped up many of our action figure arsenals and have made playing, er, posing that much cooler.

Be sure to check out their store if you haven’t already to pick up some of their current available stock.

Now enough of my rambling, let’s get to the interview!

Poe’s Point > Seriously

In my original plans for this blog, I hoped to be able to offer insight into the action figure industry. I had dreams of insiders dropping me juicy tidbits, behind-the-scenes information, gossip–sort of a Bleeding Cool for the toy industry.

So far, that hasn’t happened. Frankly, I don’t have the contacts for it to happen, plus I have a day job, so I don’t have time to be going to conventions and making contacts and so forth. And apparently I’m not likeable or famous enough for people to just start emailing me tips randomly. Which is fine; I’m OK with me.

Nonetheless, once in a while something industry-related does pop up that seems worth highlighting. In this case, it’s a blog post on Action Figure Insider by Jason Lenzi, a self-described “seasoned television producer” and owner of the Bif Bang Pow toy company.

SDCC 2010 Odds ‘n Ends

This was definitely the year for me to go to SDCC. Shoulda tried harder.I’m terribly jealous of everyone’s who’s there. Crowds, stink and all.

Anyway, the big Mattel fan panel, which will reveal all the new MOTU & Ghostbusters figures, will be at 4pm ET. I’ll have my thoughts up, hopefully w/ pics, soon after.

In the meantime, here’s a list of the things I’ve found interesting that has come out of SDCC so far:

  • Guillermo Del Toro’s first post-Hobbit project is…a Haunted Mansion reboot? Rustin Parr: “Why can’t this man stay away from everything I love?” (Rustin is one of the few people I know who dislikes everything GDT’s done, including Pan’s Labyrinth). Personally I like GDT’s work and am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Mignola will do some design work for it (frankly that’s almost a certainty, if he has the time.) Still, though, has there ever been a reboot of a movie franchise this soon after the previous movie?
  • The Tron Legacy trailer is awesome. I wasn’t quite as amorously invested in it as Rob at TR, but it looks great. I’m starting to think this could be something of a Wizard of Oz for the 3D revival. Anyone not rooting for this movie to be good is a registered Commienazi.
  • Though I haven’t played the game in six months, I can’t wait for NECA’s Claptrap from Borderlands.
  • OK, Mattel…I’ve been iffy on your Ghostbusters stuff lately, but I may have to get that PKE Meter. Then I’m going to walk through the streets of Boston with it prominently held out before me, occasionally stopping near high-traffic public buildings, waving it around, and then rushing off with a worried expression.
  • Lots of Magma Corps on display at the Four Horsemen’s booth, along with the expected Symbiotech and OSM. Scarabus is still looking great…hope we get to own that guy soon.
  • It’s cool that The Walking Dead is getting a TV series, but holy crap, if it’s at all true to the book, that show is going to give Battlestar Galactica a run for its money for Most Depressing Show Depicting Humanity At Its Nadir Lifetime Achievement Award.

Doc Thomas Probes > Essential Accessories, Part II

Following on from last week and the ecstatic response by collectors and non-collectors alike, here is the second part of the two-hundred-and-sixty-seven-part-long series about the action figure accessories that you, the collector, simply must own! This is a special part including additions from the readers that I either neglected to mention, was going to mention later or simply completely forgot in a heroin-induced haze. Over to you!

5. Blades (Thanks, dayraven!)

Yes, guns get mentioned, and so do swords! But swords go part in parcel with butcher knives, switchblades, daggers, ninja swords, axes, swiss-army knives, machetes, scythes, foils, cleavers, and everything in between! Just as for ethnic gangs, bladed weapons are the source of amusement for many of your toys – not just your ninjas and vampire slayers, but also WALL-E!! He loves to cut. Not to mention…

5 Questions With > Jonathan Gray

Earlier this year I did an interview with Professor Henry Jenkins, a professor of communication and media studies who also had a lot to say about toys and their relationship to transmedia. In that interview he mentioned Jonathan Gray, another media studies professor who is even more interested in toys and the points at which they connect with media. Therefore I considered it my sworn duty to bug the very busy Professor Gray for an interview, which he gracefully agreed to. Enjoy! –PG

Real Name: Jonathan Gray
Specialty: Educator
Base of Operations: The Extratextuals
History: Jonathan Gray is an Associate Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at University of Wisconsin, Madison. A Canadian-Brit, he grew up around the world, with Star Wars toys as the constant thing in common between all others and myself. He then fell in love with media studies and wrote a dissertation on parody, intertextuality, and The Simpsons, which later became his first book, Watching with The Simpsons: Television, Parody, and Intertextuality. His second single-authored book is Television Entertainment, and his third is the newly released Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and Other Paratexts, though he’s also edited several books — Fandom: Communities and Identities in a Mediated World; Battleground: The Media; and Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era. He’s an avid media consumer, and as avid a media analyst.

1.) First off, street cred time: what were the toys you enjoyed playing with while growing up, and why?

There were a lot, but the answer must begin and end with Star Wars. My father got these plans from a friend for a massive space station, about 4 foot by 8 foot, standing off the ground, and it took him several months to build. The plan was for it to be our Christmas present, and then two weeks before Christmas, we weren’t allowed to see it, until Christmas Day itself, when we came downstairs and there it was in all its awesome glory, covered in Star Wars toys. It seemed wrong for any other toy to hold as key a place in my heart thereafter, and I still remember the sad moment when as a pre-teen I realized I was meant to stop playing with them. I just loved the Star Wars world, and it helped that everyone my age knew it world-wide, especially since I grew up moving. My father (who, as you can see, was my dealer too) also took frequent trips to Hong Kong, where they were made, and would come back with SW toys before they’d been released elsewhere, so they allowed me special status when I was otherwise doomed to be the awkward, odd foreign kid.

That said, I also had a fair serving of Playmobil when I was really young, then Transformers and GI Joe, but also Marvel and DC action figures, especially when I was a comic book fan. Mask toys were the best thing ever for a few months of my life. And Lego. Lots more that if you put in front of me I’d remember lovingly, but I’m blanking right now.

Pic of the Day > Lightcycle

Lightcycle by The Devil in the Detail

Toy review roundup (via Fanmode)

fanmode-copy Artemis reviews the Playmates Toys Star Trek Warp Collection Cadet McCoy 6-inch figure. Excerpt: “… could pretty much stand for the line as a whole: not bad, but could’ve been plenty better. ”

yo go re reviews the Hasbro Spider-Man Juggernaut figure. Excerpt: “He plays well, give or take a few joints, and he looks very nice.”

NewtonGimmick reviews the Hasbro X-Men Origins Wolverine Cyclops (Comic Series) figure. Excerpt: “I find myself liking Cyclops more because of this figure.”

Toy review roundup (via Fanmode)

fanmode-copy Michael Crawford reviews the Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece Iron Man Mark II 1/6-scale figure. Excerpt: “Recognizing that certain aspects of this figure cost less because of the re-use, they added in more stuff to give you that additional value.”

Jeff Parker reviews the Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece Iron Man Mark II Sideshow exclusive 1/6-scale figure. Excerpt: “As near to perfection as it is possible to get in this scale …”

yo go re reviews the Jakks Pacific WWE Deluxe Build N’ Brawl Sgt. Slaughter figure. Excerpt: “… the toy would be a bit small if he were a Joe release. Other than that, however, the figure blends perfectly.”

Toy review roundup (via Fanmode)


Artemis reviews the Diamond Select Toys Star Trek Deep Space Nine General Martok figure. Excerpt: “Qapla’!”

Updatedude reviews the Hasbro Transformers Animated Deluxe class Waspinator figure. Excerpt: “Unfortunately, Waspinator feels highly fragile and a tad unstable.”

Michael Crawford reviews the Triad Toys Black Wolffe International WITSEC (Witness Security Protection & Relocation) Agent Indigo 1/6-scale figure. Excerpt: “… great for various custom jobs.”

Toy review roundup (via Fanmode)

fanmode-copy MicroBry reviews the Onell Design Glyos System Buildman Ranic Phalanx Set. Excerpt: “… it doesn’t get much more fun than when you have a toy designed to allow you to rebuild it however you want …”

MicroBry reviews the Freeing Sky Girls Sonic Diver Rai-jin set. Excerpt: “With the huge range of posability, interchangeability with other action figures and 3 alternate modes, this is a pretty fun piece to own, marred really only by its delicate construction.”

Michael Crawford reviews the Enterbay 24 Jack Bauer and David Palmer 1/6-scale figures. Excerpt: “I think using the word WOW here is not an overstatement.”

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