Tag: Universal Monsters Page 1 of 4

Ten Good and Bad Action Figure-related Things from SDCC 2013 (by Nemo Eight)

Please welcome a new PoeGhostal.com contributor, the eldritch Nemo Eight!

As a long time attendee of the San Diego Comic Con, Poe has asked me to share my thoughts on some of the major news from the show. Since this is primarily (at least to date) an action figure blog that’s where I’ll focus my attention, and fortunately that won’t be too hard.

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Toy Fair Quick Shots > DST Fully-Articulated Gillman

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Here’s another thing I’m really excited about…a fully-articulated Diamond Select Gillman from Creature from the Black Lagoon. The eyes look much better than the first release, too.

 

Pic of the Day > Diamond Select Universal Monsters – Metaluna Mutant [This Island Earth] by Ed Speir IV

Diamond Select Universal Monsters - Metaluna Mutant [This Island Earth]

Diamond Select Universal Monsters – Metaluna Mutant [This Island Earth] by Ed Speir IV

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Review > Metaluna Mutant (Universal Monsters, Diamond Select) w/ Sculptor’s Commentary

Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, Universal Studios built their reputation on horror films. The “canonical” Universal Monsters are Dracula, Frankenstein(‘s Monster), the Wolf Man, the Mummy, and the Gillman from Creature from the Black Lagoon. However, there are other Universal Monsters who aren’t quite as well known; Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame; the Invisible Man; and the subject of today’s review, the Metaluna Mutant from the 1955 science fiction extravaganza This Island Earth.

I have watched This Island Earth many times – far more times than any other Universal Monsters movie, even Creature. However, I’ve never seen the “official” film – the version I’ve watched is the one found in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. Partly due to the film’s mocking at the hands of the MST3K crew, I have a hard time thinking about it as a good movie, but it’s a fun, colorful film featuring a monster straight out of the pulp comic covers of the era. [Fun fact: the Outer Space Man figure Orbitron was based on the Metaluna Mutant.]

There have been a few Metaluna Mutant toys and model kits over the years – in the Universal Monsters TMNT line, there was even a “Mutant Raphael” figure. But for some time now, the gold standard for the under-12″ scale has been Sideshow Toys’ 8″ figure. Now that Diamond Select Toys (DST) has taken over the Universal Monsters license, there’s a new contender in town.

You can get your Metaluna Mutant in two flavors. There’s the specialty store version (the subject of this review), which includes the “Interocitor” device from the film. It will run you about $19-$20. Then there’s a basic version with no Interocitor that’s available as a Toys R Us exclusive for $16 and comes with a small display stand. Given the meager price difference and the fact that the TRU version doesn’t appear to differ in any other way other than lacking the accessory, you’re certainly better off with the specialty store version.

I’d like to thank sculptor Jean St. Jean for sending along this figure to me, and for agreeing to add his “sculptor’s commentary” to the proceedings. His comments can be found in the blockquotes.

Pic of the Day > Mezco The Wolfman – Wolfman [7 Inch] by Ed Speir IV

Mezco The Wolfman - Wolfman [7 Inch]

Mezco The Wolfman – Wolfman [7 Inch] by Ed Speir IV

Interview > Sculptor Jean St. Jean

Even if you’re only a casual action figure collector, chances are you’ve heard of Jean St. Jean – and you’ve almost certainly seen (and probably own) his work. His career has spanned many companies and toy lines, among them Diamond Select’s Stargate, Battlestar Galactica, The Munsters and Universal Monsters, and Marvel Select toy lines; Mezco’s mega-scale Thundercats figures; and DC Collectible’s World of Warcraft. He’s also an all-around cool guy. –PG

Jean St. Jean

Real Name: Jean St. Jean
Specialty: Sculptor / Musician
Base of Operations: Northern New Jersey
Website: http://blackplague1348.deviantart.com/
History: Jean St. Jean is a musician turned sculptor, who began his career in a small upstate NY toy sculpting studio doing mostly preschool toys and dolls. Five years later he joined McFarlane where he spent almost 7 years helping them develop their hyper realistic style, the last 4 years as Sculpting Supervisor. In 2004, he left McFarlane to start his own company, Jean St. Jean Studios offering sculpting, painting and prototyping services working on such licenses as Diamonds Select’s Stargate SG-1, SG Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica lines, Mezco’s Cinema of Fear, DC Direct’s World of Warcraft and Ame-Comi and Amoktime’s Killer Klowns and Day of the Dead lines. His current projects have been the Lion-o and Mumm-Ra for Mezco’s Mega scale Thundercats line, the Munsters 7” Select line and various Universal monsters for DST including the Metaluna Mutant and Phantom of the Opera as well as contributions to the Marvel Select figure series. He has sculpted more than 30 mini-busts for DC Direct including Heroes of the DCU, Blackest Night and various movie properties.

Poe Ghostal: The new Marvel Select Venom looks fantastic. What was the process for sculpting this figure? What was your inspiration for the sculpt, and how do you approach Marvel Select sculpting in general? For example, do you tend to skew toward the work of a particular artist, or do you try to create a blend of elements, or come up with your own design?

Jean St. Jean: As with all of my DST projects they usually evolve out of extended conversations with Chuck Terceira (DSTChuck on his Art Asylum blog). In the case of Venom, he’s been requested for so long we wanted to do something special and get slightly outside of the usual MS formula and create a Venom with multiple custom options rather than one version with a base. As with all of the Select projects I’ve done, I picked up a bunch of the collected story lines and graphic novels and re- familiarized my self with his history to find what I thought were the coolest incarnations of the Eddie Brock Venom. First of I wanted a totally badass terrifying Venom with tons of teeth and a nasty tongue and a transforming Eddie Brock. So the “Lethal Protector “ storyline inspired me for those two heads and a huge pair of nasty claws. Then there’s been a lot of requests for the crazy multi-armed multi-headed version from the “Madness” story line, and I came up with a pretty interesting way to create that Venom. Last but not least I wanted to do an old school Todd McFarlane Venom with a big grin! The trick was all these permutations had to work on the same body; all the heads are interchangeable and there are multiple hand options.

In terms of Marvel Select in general I try to find the best elements of the character, such as the Marvel Select comic version Hawkeye (Disney exclusive DST Avengers), Nightcrawler, or Anti-Venom. Diamond expects me to bring my interpretation and vibe to the Marvel line, so I essentially get to do exactly what think should be done with the sculpt and paint work. They are the one company that actually utilizes me as an art director/ project manager and sculptor, so I particularly value my years of collaboration with them.

Odds ‘n Ends > AICN, Collector Gene, MOTU Fan Films, SHM Rodan

  • PGPoA was mentioned on Ain’t It Cool News’ AICN Toys section yesterday in regard to my recent post about DCUC. Unfortunately, the quote they attribute to me is actually something I quoted from NoisyDvL5’s editorial on ItsAllTrue. I posted a comment to try and set the record straight.
  • It’s been a banner week for Power Pals. PPP Ben Leach, who comes from a whole family of collectors (toy and otherwise), have opened their own website, the Collector Gene. Here’s how he describes it:  “What separates us from a lot of collecting websites is a.) we own everything that we write about (and if we don’t, we clarify that), and b.) all four of us collect and are going to contribute to the website. Obviously, I’m going to write about the kind of stuff that appeals to your readers, but if your readers like shows like Antiques Roadshow or Pawn Stars, then I think they’ll appreciate everything on there. “
  • I’m not sure how many have heard of this, but there’s a group doing MOTU fan films. I haven’t watched them yet, but here’s their website. I suppose I owe it to you all to look into this further, so I will once I can get through some of my existing backlog.
  • At long last, Diamond Select is giving me the Mego-style Creature of the Black Lagoon I’ve been asking for since they created the line. It will be on my desk at work. Oh yes.
  • I’ve started using the PGPoA Facebook page more – primarily for stuff like recent purchases, random toy-related links, and news bits and other stuff on weekends. If you’re not on Facebook or don’t follow the site you won’t miss anything important, but for those of you jonesing for a more frequent PGPoA fix should keep an eye on it.
  • English page for S.H.MonsterArts Rodan. I’m such a mark for this line.
  • So, what sold out in yesterday’s Mattycollector sale? Thunder Punch He-Man, Tri-Klops, & the Voltron Yellow Lion. As of this posting, Draego-Man, Orko, and other figs are still there. I’m tempted to buy another Orko to see if I can get a Prince Adam without incredibly loose ankles, but does such a thing even exist?
  • This humor in this Saturday morning cartoon parody Starbarians is a bit tasteless, but the animation is well done – and the name and concept kick ass. How did every 1980s toy-and-cartoon producer miss “Starbarians”? This is the decade that created Dinosaucers!
  • Diamond Select had a prototype sculpt of a new Battle Beast grey retailer summit version of Vorin on display at C2E2.
  • Here are some new pics of the Play Arts Kai Mass Effect 3 figures. Now you can create your own ambiguous ending to Shepard’s saga!

Pic of the Day > Dracula vs Conan by Reis O’Brien

Dracula vs Conan

Odds ‘n Ends > Caesar Ape Figure, Art Asylum News, ToyGuru on the Mighty Spector

  • Out of nowhere comes this super-articulated Caesar from Rise of the Planet of the Apes from Hiya Toys. It’s available for preorder at BBTS for $25. He’ll have alternate heads, hands, and other accessories.
  • I was a bit disappointed in Art Asylum’s early Universal Monsters offerings due to their limited articulation, but it looks like they’ll be making up for that with their upcoming Metaluna Mutant and Phantom of the Opera figures. I’m seeing hip hinges there. The Mutant will come with an Interocitor, which will finally allow me to put those MST3K figures I got with my box sets into some sort of a display.
  • In other Art Asylum news, they revealed pics of their Avengers Hulk, and again, he’s looking great and well-articulated. Even better, due to the Hulk’s imprecise size, he’ll fit in perfectly with other Art Asylum figs or your 6″ Hasbro Avengers figures.
  • There’s something interesting cooking up over at Onell Designs…namely, some sort of new vinyl variable hub-system.
  • MOTUCFigures.com has an interview with Scott Neitlich about the Mighty Spector.
  • On a more personal note, PGPoA recently regained the average number of pageviews/visits it had before Poe’s Great Ennui of 2011 began last spring. I want to thank you all for sticking it out during that dull time. I hope you’ve been enjoying the site more as of late – I know I have. And I’ve got some fun stuff planned ahead. Keep reading!

Odds ‘n Ends > Toy Fair Items of Interest & More

  • A few other things that caught my eye at Toy Fair:
  • Mezco’s stylized Universal Monsters figures. OAFE reviewer and occasional PGPoA contributor Rustin Parr could not possible be more excited for these–he’s planning to get two of each. I’m in for the Gillman, of course, as he’s my favorite UM. They’re due out around September (according to at least one site). Pics at Battlegrip.
  • Jay Cochran of TNI seems concerned about the future of Bandai’s ThunderCats toys; there was nothing new at Toy Fair this year, and the staff wouldn’t comment on its future. The cartoon show has been a moderate success and reportedly renewed for a second season, and from my own observation the toys seem to sell decently, so I’m a bit surprised by this.
  • There will be Play Arts Kai Mass Effect figures, starting with Shepard, Ashley and Garrus. Garrus is great, but Shepard is less exciting since everyone creates their own character, and Ashley? Why no Miranda? Miranda was way more interesting. And–ahem–hotter, for a CGI character anyway. BBTS has these up for preorder.
  • Of course there’s also PAK’s upcoming Arkham Asylum figures. I note that Phil Reed of Battlegrip made sure to get an upskirt of Harley Quinn (prediction: that will be my most-clicked link today. You’re welcome, Phil!).
  • I have to admit to being kind of excited by Mezco’s Mars Attacks figure. I just hope it has decent articulation. It appears to have hinged elbows and knees, but the real question is whether the hips/thighs are ball joints. I’m guessing not the thighs at least, since the feet don’t appear to be articulated.
  • TNI has more pics of the classic Turtles, including the packaging, which is wonderfully nostalgic. They’re due in stores in August at about $15 apiece, so it’ll cost you $60 to put together your Fab Four.
  • In non-Toy Fair news, Poester Chris Pearce sent me a note regarding his blog Teachable Moments, which has been running a series of posts called Thrift Store Finds. He’s reviewed a number of vintage MOTU items recently such as children’s books, coloring books and magazines, all of which you can check out using this link.
  • PGPoA art director Mecha-Shiva pointed me to this neat YouTube video of a self-proclaimed “Greatest Toy in the Universe.” It’s created by a UK company called Wow Stuff, and it looks rather like the vintage MOTU toy Spydor. I dislike radio-controlled toys, but I’ll admit that thing is pretty neat.
  • Finally, I just want to thank JediCreeper again for helping out with the Toy Fair coverage this year. Maybe we can get him a real press pass next year…

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