Happy Birthday, George Lucas—you still rule!!
Following in the footsteps of such Star Wars power players as GL himself…
…the irascible Harrison Ford…
…the mighty Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ewan McGregor…
…and even his OWN previous work for Wendy’s…
…Ahmed Best, known to over $1B USD’s worth of ticket buyers across the planet as the beloved and pioneering CGI character Jar Jar Binks, is now appearing on TV and the internet to spread the word about BlackRock’s iShares.com:
I saw this commercial for the first time on Friday night, and before even looking up at the TV, I knew exactly who that distinctive voice belonged to. It’s not as nice as having Ahmed Best voicing characters in the 2 animated Star Wars series that Disney murdered in cold corporate blood, but I guess it’s better than nothing!
Just because it seems like something that could conceivably sell out quickly (is there really a rabid base of flash drive collectors?!? why not!) , I thought I should alert serious Jar Jar fans across the galaxy to this Limited Edition Jar Jar “Mimobot” flash drive. What was initially an April Fool’s Joke in 2012 is now a data-storing reality. I saw this shortly after I woke up and got online, and ordered it kind of without a second thought through bleary, sleep-lidded eyes, even though I don’t really have the 25 bucks to spare. We ARE talking about The Grand Gungan himself, here. Bravo to mimoco.com for actually following through and producing this! I hope he sells out so that other licensees see that Jar Jar is a $$moneymaker$$, so if you’d like one, click the pic to go to mimoco’s order page.
Recently, it’s come out that the future of The Clone Wars is very uncertain. Nobody has said when, where, or if it’s going to air beyond the current season finale, airing this Saturday on the Cartoon Network in the US. Though there’s an online petition to Disney to save the show, those typically aren’t nearly as effective as actual physical correspondence…there’s a huge “effort gulf” between click-click-clicking on a petition, and taking your life into your hands by licking an envelope containing potentially poisonous glue. Wait—-“Licking, Not Clicking!” There’s your slogan.
Anyways, the unstoppable Lazy Padawan at the SWPAS has created a zippy form letter that you can print out, sign your name to, LICK, and send:
Rebel Force Radio offers a voice mail number:
And I would add, if you are a parent or know any parents with kids who love The Clone Wars, encourage them to send a letter on behalf of their kids—Disney knows where their bread is buttered.
As for the “How NOT to Save The Clone Wars” part, I just happened to come across the following letter at the post office—the sender must’ve been in such a rush that he forgot to place it in the envelope (or maybe he was afraid of the glue??), and just left it sitting on the counter near the Priority Mail labels. Upon reading it, I realized that I had to transcribe it word-for-word so that you, the concerned Clone Wars fan, could see how it’s NOT done:
mr. bob iger
500 s. buena vista st.
burbank, ca 91521
wut the fuk dude. ur canseling clone wars???? thats sum total clown shit bro. just wen it wuz gettin good to. i seen most episodes of clone wars and tho sum suked it was fukin rad too see maul chop shit up and bobba fets dad (with teh black sword). asoka wuz anoying @ first but shes kinda cute now lol. is she legal yet lol jk jk dont call hanson on me bro. dude if u cansel clone wars ill never get too see if she and anikin hook up. not kewl. hay wuts with obiwons blond chik. is she dead or wut. she was hawt to. i got sum rad ideas for episodes to if u want too here them. one hole episode shud just b maul choping people up with his saber and the black sword in slo motione. wudnt that be fukin sweet???? liek the matrix dude. anothr episode wud be if teh clones had too torch a hole vilage of thoes lemure people. bbq lemures oh noes lol. and then liek anikin comes and kills evrybody includeng clones and whatevar lemures are left cuz sith rage. at teh end his eyes are glowin yello and hes liek I AM SITH. fukin awsome. dude bak to canseling clone wars. u owe me becuz i am a custumer. ya thats rite i bougt season 4 on blu on blak frieday. im goin too ask seths dad whos a LAYWER if its posibbel for me too sue u sinse the custumer is always rite. bob i dont want too do that but i just had too putt it out there so u kno i am sireous. i do pay part of ur salery. i kno u got lots of shit to wory about liek micky mouse avenger spidey bug bunny and buzz and woody but us fans taek this shit so so sireous. i been on you tube coments teling evrybody wut ur up too and dude sory too say but people r pissed @ u. im frends with sum juggalo fam who watch clone wars and their liek WHO THE FUK IS CANSELING IT. im not makeng a thret im just sayin bob. u evar seen a pissd off juggalo up close????? killa clowns bob. lol. just sayin. so think abt that. lets stay out of cort cuz that shits exspenseve. fuk judje judie. do the rite thing bob and dont cansel clone wars.
…huh, I don’t know why that name sounds so familiar; I’ll have to google it!
So now you know what to do and what not to do—
Save the Cheerleader. Save the World. Save the Clone Wars. LICK, DON’T CLICK!!
Among the many bizarre decisions Hasbro Toys made in their Star Wars product lines last year, putting out multiple releases of the same (previously released) figures in different packaging and different pricing at the same time was the most baffling. The two biggest offenders were Qui-Gon, with three simultaneous releases: QGJ1, QGJ2, QGJ3 …and with a whopping FOUR simultaneous releases, TPM Obi-Wan: OWK1, OWK2, OWK3, OWK4 (there were also multiple Darth Mauls available simultaneously, but at least they were different figures/sculpts). So, in February 2012, you could conceivably walk into your local Walmart and emerge with seven differently-packaged/priced versions of the same two products. Not surprisingly, when I went to Walmart yesterday, on February 12, 2013—over one year later—all three packagings of Qui-Gon were hanging there on the pegs, as were three of the four packagings of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Insane…and yet, what follows is a mostly positive post on a set of Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Darth Maul figures released in 2012!
The “Duel On Naboo” Battle Pack wasn’t even released until Spring of 2012, long after TPM3D had left theaters, and by that time, everybody (even me!) was completely over figures of these three characters…wicked hot synergy, Hasbro. When photos of the set leaked out a couple of months before it was released, there was even more outrage on top of the sense of overkill, since the figures—-though completely brand-new—-had only 5 points of articulation each. If you’re not familiar with the shadowy world of action figures, a “point of articulation” is any joint or moveable part on the figure. Most of the vintage Kenner Star Wars figures from the 70’s and 80’s had 5 points (legs, arms, head), but in the past decade or so, modern Star Wars figures have evolved to a place where they’re expected to have between 12-14 points of articulation (head, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees, ankles). If these three figures had this level of articulation, this artwork on the back of the package wouldn’t have been quite so ridiculous:
huh???? I’m all for artistic license, but in a world where a simple action figure package typically has two warnings on the front telling the consumer the same thing (“Ages 4 and up” and a redundant “WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD Not for Children Under 3 years old”…well duh, that’s what “Ages 4 and up” suggests), aren’t we supposed to conclude that the average consumer is a drooling, mouth-breathing troglodyte? Even with the “PRODUCT SHOWN IN FANTASY SITUATION” in the small print, I would think Hasbro would want to accurately portray this product. This is about as close as you’ll get to posing these figures as they’re seen above:
…and it took a couple of minutes to even get these figures that close to what’s pictured! I guess this wouldn’t strike me as being so odd if the art on the back of the package portrayed the characters in this dynamic scene instead of the figures (which it clearly is supposed to—you can especially see that on the leg joints in the artwork). Hasbro, there’s no shame in using nice, naturalistic photos on your packaging—I feel like it’s worked before:
When it comes down to it, unless Star Wars toys are packaged in the iconic, timeless, and perfectly-designed and just plain perfect black-and-silver Kenner “vintage” style, I’m just going to rip them out of the package anyway—so do all the crazed photoshopping you need to, Hasbro!
If you look at the first picture in this post, you’ll notice the tell-tale Target clearance sticker on this set. Though I found these figures very shortly after they were released last spring, I just couldn’t bring myself to get ANOTHER iteration of these three characters; I was too burned out on them. I knew I’d buy them eventually, and I had counted on “eventually” to be whenever they hit clearance—which they did, last month. I rarely ever “wait for clearance” with Star Wars stuff I want, for a couple of reasons: sometimes, if you don’t buy something at first sight, you won’t see it again until it’s 400% more on eBay; and also, I feel the need to put my money where my mouth is, and do my part to ensure that Star Wars figures continue to be produced…if everybody “waited for clearance” (and a lot of people do), they’d just stop making these things, as Hasbro is a business and not a charity. Luckily, the gamble paid off this time, because I kinda LOVE these figures.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my super-articulated Gamorrean Guards, Bossk, Chewie, Vader, Jar Jar, etc.—-but there’s nothing as appealing to me as the simple charm of actual vintage Kenner Star Wars figures.
As much as I’m loathe to admit to being susceptible to nostalgia, it’s not only that…I just love that those figures were TOYS that could and did take a complete beating over years of play. For me as a kid, the Star Wars movies and Star Wars toys became a circular thing: the movie made me want the toys, the toys made me want to know/experience more about the movie, which made me want more of the toys/figures, etc. I really enjoy looking at pics of people’s Star Wars collections that are filled with Gentle Giant mini-busts, high-end statues, Sideshow 12” figures, and similar items, but for me, it’s always going to be Star Wars toys that I’m fascinated by. The three figures in this Battle Pack, despite their inability to be posed in a million ways, feel like play-with-‘em-in-the-dirt, throw-‘em-off-the-porch, stick-‘em-in-your-pocket toys to me.
If you squint out the much more detailed sculpting and smaller head on the Obi-Wan figure, you would almost think that these figures are from the same era…which, of course, is why the majority of Star Wars collectors hate this set.
This is complete Star Wars collecting treason, but I wish that the main modern Star Wars action figure line had been like this all along. I have a fondness for the “Power of the Force 2” figures of the 1990’s, which had many of the same qualities as the vintage Kenner figures, but their steroid physiques and harsh face sculpts were sort of gross, and now look extremely dated and “90’s”. I’m not wishing all of the superb super-articulated figures of the last decade away at all—I love them, have most of them, and I’m all for things evolving in new directions—I just wish that this “vintage aesthetic” had been continued as the standard action figure line, while super-articulated figures were like a deluxe companion collection (which is kind of how they started out — though if you want to get technical, this came first.)
The retail price on the main Star Wars figure line (most recently “The Vintage Collection”, which uses that impeccable Kenner packaging style, but not the Kenner figure style) has been gradually rising over the past 6 years or so due to a number of things—increased materials costs, rising labor costs in China, increased shipping and freight, LFL licensing fees, and maybe just a pinch of greed—so that what was once a premium price for a specialized sub-collection of figures in 2004 is now the norm. Multiple points of articulation drive the price up; more molds need to be created for each part, more labor is necessary to assemble all the different parts, etc…When the price of figures is that high, parents aren’t going to buy their kids a bunch of them; they’re going to get them one or two, or just pass over a $10 3.75” Star Wars figure in favor of something larger that seems to be “more bang for the buck”. Or, for $5 more, they’ll just walk over to the electronics section in their Toys R Us and grab a $14.99 Wii game, counting on it to keep their kids occupied for hours. When that happens, the whole symbiotic relationship between Star Wars and Star Wars toys falls apart…which is bad for the whole franchise, as I’ve always seen Star Wars action figures, more than anything else, as the entry-level ambassador for Star Wars as a whole: they’re a cheap gateway drug into a much larger world.
This past weekend, the 2013 International Toy Fair began in New York City, and the Hasbro Star Wars presentation revealed that in addition to a $10 “collector”-targeted line of super-articulated Star Wars figures (“The Black Series”), there would now be a line of $5.99 figures, each with only 5 points of articulation, known as “Saga Legends” (a recycled name in the world of Star Wars figures)…and they’re manufactured with the same type of plastic as the vintage Kenner figures! The figure selection for the first wave or two consists of mostly AOTC/ROTS main characters (as its release was going to coincide with the
postponed cancelled AOTC3D/ROTS3D releases)—Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Clonetroopers—but as the line goes on, it’ll include characters from all the movies and The Clone Wars. I don’t understand why Star Wars collectors (hardly a monolithic bunch, but filled with a loud and vocal minority of whiners) can’t see this as the best of both worlds—super-articulated figures as we’ve all grown accustomed to, and a much more affordable line for kids that, if it’s successful, will financially bolster the production budget of more “collector”-quality figures. The only bummer to me is that Hasbro didn’t shift to this model before TPM3D came out, so I could’ve had a chance to get a truly vintage-style Jar Jar figure, and not just a (mostly) great modern Jar Jar figure on a vintage Kenner card. Life would be dull if there was nothing left to hope for!
When super-articulated Star Wars figures were first on the rise, there was a guy on the rebelscum.com forums whose sig line was “SA or GTFO!!”(“super articulated or get the f@$# out!!”)—My wife and I still have a laugh over that line…it’s so over the top, and it’s hard not to take it literally: the image of this guy roughly pushing somebody out of the room if they present him with a Star Wars figure incapable of moving its ankles, or bending its knees, is hilarious to me. I hope that dude accepts that lower-articulated Star Wars figures, like those in this set, aren’t a threat to him and his sweet, sweet SA figures. There’s no need for Kenner-articulated figures to GTFO, they can exist peacefully on the pegs alongside their fancy 14 points-of-articulation brothers and sisters…everybody wins!
In honor of the release of The Phantom Menace 3D one year ago today, I drew this picture of a bemused Captain Tarpals. Why the enigmatic smile, Captain? Sadly, we’ll never know, because he took his secrets to the grave! We’ll never forget you, Cap…OR The Phantom Menace returning ever so briefly to theaters in tastefully understated 3D.
This one goes out to both TPM3D and the dearly departed Captain Tarpals:
Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Kick-ass Kwanzaa! Sweet Solstice! Rockin’ Ramadan! Lovely Life Day! Wicked Winter! (“happy holidays” is lame—better to be ridiculous than generic!)
Star Wars “Fighter Pods”—sure, they’re a supreme rip-off, but sometimes a set is irresistible…like this one:
Ahsoka! Goldie the treacherous Astro Droid! Holographic Leia! Kid Ani! a Naboo Starfighter! SOLD! As for the actual “game”, who cares?! How much of a “rampage” can you really have with a poor man’s cross between Beyblade and Squinkies?? I just want the figures and ships, and it feels like the “game” aspect is what Hasbro uses to justify these being sold for absurdly high prices ($3 USD for 2 tiny figures??? WTF), and preventing them from filling some capsule-toy vending machine at the more reality-based price of 2 for 50¢.
Though it’s kind of a drag to have another Darth Maul instead of a more obscure character from The Phantom Menace, apparently, Hasbro didn’t think that Jira would move too many units. Whatever. Darth Maul, Ani, and the Naboo Starfighter do form a nice little TPM sub-theme.
Though some of the ships in the Fighter Pods line don’t translate so well in these scrunched-up, super-deformed versions, the N-1 Starfighter works great in this style. Anakin fits inside, though opening the ship reveals how it’s basically lower-quality than even a Happy Meal Toy:
Despite the rip-off pricing, I’m glad I got this…I don’t think we’ll see a year like 2012 again, when there have been more Phantom Menace-based toys on shelves than at any time since the semi-innocent days of 1999-2000—and that’s kind of sad. Not that I don’t roll my eyes as I rifle through peg after peg of the over-produced and still omnipresent TPM figures from nearly one year ago—preventing newer Star Wars figures from making it to retail, and causing people to (unfairly) resent TPM even more than they did before—but it’s shame that Hasbro couldn’t have squeezed out a few more interesting items (like an action figure-scaled Bongo) instead of putting out the same Obi-Wan Kenobi figure…in four different packages…all at the same time. It’s official: The Second Golden Age of Phantom Menace Toys is pretty much over. Instead of ending on that bummer note, maybe this group shot of TPM Fighter Pod figures will bring a wan, bittersweet smile to your face:
“Don’t forget us when your fancy Episode VII comes out!!”
BEWARE the ghoulish gallop of the HEADLESS GUNGAN!! Happy Halloween!
How about a speed-round of Phantom Phindz?
Yeah, I’ve covered both of these figures before…but not for half-price! I had gone to Toys R Us about a week and a half ago, and saw a full case of the wave these are part of. Although I knew I wanted additional Vintage Jar Jars, I thought I’d wait for a sale, and my gamble actually paid off for once—two days later, Toys R Us started a “Buy One, Get One Free” sale on Star Wars figures! Sorry, BOGO50% off and BOGO75% off, you’ve been destroyed by a superior bargain. When I made it back to the store the day after the sale started, everything else from the wave was gone but these two. I’m sure most Star Wars “fans” made it into the aisle and slumped their shoulders in rage and bitter despair when they saw that the only thing left was the glorious Gungan, but obviously, not me! $10 bucks for 2 figures is a superb deal these days, and the sale lasts through the beginning of November.
My wife and I were at this weird and huge flea market/antique mall outside of Buffalo, NY last week, and of course this Hungry Hero Jar Jar jumped out at me when I passed the booth he was in. What was annoying was that there was no price on him, and nobody that I could see manning the booth. Though I already have HHJJ , I never had the little green chubas that came with him; when I bought mine at retail in 1999, some chuba thief (ironic, isn’t it?) had robbed Jar Jar of them…but what do you expect when they’re only attached with velcro? After we were almost done, Valerie said that she had second thoughts about passing up a pair of earrings she’d seen, and I waited in the car while she went back in. She came out carrying Jar Jar and the earrings she’d wanted, and right there on the spot, we renewed our wedding vows. Not really, but I would’ve!! It was very sweet of her.
The reason we were in Buffalo to begin with was to check out the Buffalo Comicon, which was apparently super-successful…and super-crowded. There wasn’t a whole lot of what I was looking for there, but when I saw this Anakin soap dish for a measly buck, I wasn’t leaving without it—he goes so well with our Jar Jar soap dispenser that it looks like some haughty European designer renovated our bathroom.I might have to hire an attendant to dispense towels.
Now THIS is soapdishing! (???)
Everything is explained here, by Adam at Nilbog’s Storybook Land:
Now THIS is Podracing!
Only one word can adequately describe Adam’s actions: WIZARD.
Gasgano’s rating: 4 THUMBS UP