Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cancelled Action Figure Cavalcade: James Bond 007

For the most successful film franchise of all time, James Bond has not recieved much in the realm of action figures. Sure Bond might skew a bit older than your average merchandised film but nowadays even The Exorcist and The Godfather have toys. (MEGO did do a toyline for Moonraker but MEGO took on any and every sci-fi license they could get their hands on after they passed on Star Wars. This probably led to their eventual downfall. And Sideshow has done a lot of Bond items but I'd be hard pressed to call their products "toys".)

Last year toy company Corgi announced a line of action figures to coincide with the release of Quantum of Solace in 2008. They unveiled early prototypes and designs at the U.K. Toy Fair in January. Quantum of Solace was released over two weeks ago and we haven't learned anything more about the toyline. There's a rumour that the line has been canned. There's still no official word so there's a possibiliy that Corgi's Bond line will see the the light of day.

It seems Corgi's first range of figures were to based on Casino Royale. They had unveiled prototypes of Bond himself in the pose from the excellent gun barrel sequence as well as the main villain Le Chiffre.

Corgi was also working on sculpts for a Bond in a more casual parkour-ready outfit and his first love Vesper Lynd.

Corgi wasn't going to stop with the Daniel Craig Bond. They planned to cover all eras of Bond. While a George Lazenby action figure seems like a no-brainer they made the interesting decision to first focus on the more obscure actors like Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan.

Let us not forget all the potential figures of classic Bond girls and villains. Corgi had designs for Honey Ryder, Pussy Galore, Oddjob, Scaramanga, Jaws and voodoo priest Baron Samedi, a personal favorite.

Of course Corgi was also planning to release a series based on the newest movie Quantum of Solace. Some of the figures planned to be included in this assortment were M, Mr. White, Camille Montes and Bond wielding his sub-machine with silencer from the scene that closes Casino Royale and opens Quantum of Solace.

For Corgi's sake I hope they can get this line out. A Dame Judi Dench action figure is guaranteed to bring in the big bucks.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Clouds 'n PEZ

There was some pretty bad weather a few days ago. I took a few pictures of the clouds during a brief period when the rain stopped. Of the pictures I took I think the one I posted yesterday was the least impressive but it was the most ominous looking.

Now for no apparent reason, Star Trek PEZ.

I think, for PEZ dispensers, they actually look a little too nice.

I prefer Santa and Snowman PEZ. The Christmas season has officially begun. The PEZ wouldn't lie to us.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

He Said There's A Storm Coming In

I know.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Good luck surviving terrible weather, tryptophan, relatives, holiday shopping and Judgement Day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Dark Knight Exclusive Roundup

The Dark Knight's home video release date is two weeks from today and news of the various retailer exclusive editions are starting to emerge.

T.W.E.C. stores including Suncoast and F.Y.E. will have an exclusive steelbook case. The steelbook will also be available at Future Shop in Canada.

Future Shop will also have a Blu-Ray steebook. Like other Canadian Blu-Ray steelbooks (I Am Legend, Iron Man), don't expect to find this in at any U.S. retailers.

Walmart has had some neat exclusives lately for Hellboy II and Hancock. They're kitschy pack-ins or if you're feeling charitable you could call them prop replicas. Either way I think they're cool. Walmart continues this trend with their exclusive for The Dark Knight with Two-Face's coin. The set also comes with a comic book.

Best Buy is offering one of a choice of two free posters with pre-orders. In addition to this I'm willing to bet they'll also have this giftset listed at Best Buy's Canadian website. A DVD packaged with a minibust is certainly typical of Best Buy's exclusives.

I'll update again when we find out more about other exclusives at other stores. In the meantime check out DVDBeaver's review of the Blu-ray disc complete with a number of Hi-Def screencaps.

Updated 11/29:

Here's a scan of the Best Buy ad for the week of the The Dark Knight's release. Not only will they have the clown mask mini-bust, they're also offering a Batman mask mini-bust. Plus you get a free Joker card with the purchase of any version of the movie. And there will be a pair of statuettes for ten dollars each. That's a lot of stuff.

It's been confirmed that Target will have the DVD and Blu-Ray in collectible Batman mask packaging. No pics yet but presumably it will be the same as the one the U.K. is getting.

Circuit City's exclsuive will include a journal and a unique cover. Seriously? Even Circuit City has an awesome exclusive?

I can honestly say that, as of right now, I have no idea where I'll be shopping this December 9th. All of the exclusives have some merit in my eyes. Or to put it more bluntly, none of them suck. This will be my greatest DVD geek challenge yet.

Updated 11/30: Here's a pic of the Target exclusive Blu-Ray case. The DVD version will likely be identical minus the blue stripe. Good lord, even the outer packaging looks sweet. [Slams head against the keyboard.]

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Whole Lot of Naruto

The quantity of Naruto available in North America is about to undergo a huge uptick.

First up Viz is preparing to repeat their "Naruto Nation" program next February. The last "Naruto Nation" event was to rush their release of the manga to reach volume 28, the beginning of the storyline seen in Naruto Shippūden. Now Viz wishes to catch up to volume 44 by next April. After that their Naruto graphic novels will be released quarterly. This will put the U.S. release only six months behind Japan.

That's a drop in the bucket compared to Viz's plans for the Naruto Shippūden anime. In the first week of 2009 twenty-four subtitled episodes will be available on, then eight more episodes will debut on the website every week until they catch up with the Japanese TV broadcasts. The series will also be viewable on other popular streaming sites like Hulu, Joost, and Crunchyroll.

The situation with Crunchyroll is particularly interesting. Crunchyroll is a YouTube-esque anime site that relied on user generated content. Essentially it was a business that profited off anime series they had no copyrights over which were subtitled by fansubbers that did not benefit from Crunchyroll's success. One would assume the company would be litigated out of existence but instead they have found a number of Japanese companies willing to sponsor them including TV Tokyo, Toei and Gonzo. Soon they will be a completely legitimate streaming site that no longer accepts any fan produced videos.

Why are these Japanese companies so quick to jump on the internet video bandwagon? Ostensibly it's too curb the proliferation of unauthorized fansubbing, but does this really make a significant difference? How much money can they really make off these ventures? I mean I prefer professionally subtitled work, but otherwise I don't see this as being a huge change for fans. They're still watching free anime as soon as it's being made available to them. I think these companies are looking at the big picture. I think they're hoping to slowly draw fans away from anime fansubs until eventually they're rendered largely purposeless.

And in Naruto's case they're also targeting manga scanlations with the "Naruto Nation". Fans want immediate gratification. By minimizing the gap between the Japanese release and the official U.S. release the companies will lessen the need for fan-made translations. They'll be feeding the demand to weaken the level of supply that they don't control.

I'm not sure where I stand in all this, particularly where Naruto is concerned. I perfer to enjoy the series at my leisure. I won't really be able to afford the eleven graphic novels that will be released in a three month span starting in February. I suppose I'll have plenty of time to catch up. The anime is another thing. We don't know about Viz's plans are for a TV broadcast or a DVD release of Naruto Shippūden. I guess I can take comfort in knowing that I'll have the option to watch the series online.

Source: Anime News Network

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

United Batman of Whatever

In February DC Comics is releasing a two-part story "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?" written by Neil Gaiman of Sandman fame. The first part will be published in Batman #686 with the second part being published in Detective Comics #853.

The title alludes to "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" a two-part Superman story written by Alan Moore in 1986. "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" acted as sort of a final send-off for the Silver Age Superman, as the character was receiving a reboot courtesy of John Byrne.

Batman is supposedly about to undergo some changes himself in the currently ongoing storyline Batman R.I.P. by Grant Morrison. Right now no one knows for sure what the outcome of Morrison's story shall be, but there's plenty of speculation. The title of Gaiman's story will certainly add fuel to the fire.

For now here's the cover to Batman #686. It's a peculiar one. Batman's cast of characters are lining up to get inside a bar. There's Joker, Alfred, Damien, Commissioner Gordon and Oracle, Ra's al Ghul but who's that female with a cat head? The outfit is similar to the silver age Catwoman.

There's even more characters in he background like Mr. Freeze, the Riddler and the Mad Hatter. Who's that in the background between the Penguin and Two-Face? Is that..? It is! This cover is now officially ridiculously awesome.

The cover of Detective Comics #853 is just Batman choking a Lakers fan. I guess that still counts as awesome.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tiberius the Menace

Let's see how long until this is taken down.

Update 11/18: Well it's gone. I must say for a bootleg recording posted on YouTube the quality of that video was fairly impeccable. Now you can watch the official trailer on Apple's site.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New Watchmen Trailer

My unsolicited thoughts:

Generally I liked the trailer, even with the slow-mo effects that I had apprehensions about. Someone who's never read the book would now have a better idea of what it's about. There still some details being omitted like the older generation of heroes or the fact that the story takes place in 1985.

Some people have raised concerns about the way some characters' voices sound. Clearly these people have never before seen an adaptation of a book they've read. No boys & girls, they can't replicate all those details that exist only in your head.

The characters are actually referring to themselves as the "Watchmen"?

Where's Captain Metropolis in that group photo? Isn't he the one who formed the Crimebusters? Although I guess they're callng the team the Watchmen now.

That's the music from Koyaanisqatsi. There's no escaping Phillip Glass.

Sauron Is Watching Us

NASA has released what is supposedly the first ever images of a planet found outside our solar system. I think we know better.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Plethora of Bullet Points

How about a throwback to the far off days of 2007 with a blog entry using my earlier, more erratic writing style. It's AFOS Classic.

  • I’ve created a mathematical chart as a reference guide for the filmmakers of the live action Dragon Ball movie. I hope it will be of use to them. You can view it here.

  • Wizkids the producers of the popular miniatures game HeroClix, among others, have ceased operations. I’m not a table top gamer but I do own a few HeroClix pieces I got as promotional freebies and I think they’re neat. I empathize with the game’s fanbase. I can’t imagine what it’d be like to have an interest you invested a lot of time and money into come to an abrupt end. That’s not what’s supposed to happen. Hobbies are only supposed to end when you’ve been driven to poverty or insanity. Whichever comes first.

  • Six new Watchmen character posters were revealed today at six different websites. You can see the Comedian at the LA Times, Ozymandias at Wired, Rorschach at USA Today, Nite-Owl at Access Hollywood, Silk Spectre at MTV, and Doctor Manhattan at Entertainment Weekly. Nice move MTV on being the only site to impose their logo on the poster.

  • There are Simpsons toys at Burger King. Again. These look to be the simplest ones yet, not that that's a bad thing.

  • The new look for Asuka’s Evangelion Unit has been revealed for the Evangelion 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance movie. The only significant difference I can see in the pic is the addition of a horned crest at the top of its head.

  • Takara and Disney have teamed up for a special Transformers action figure in Japan. It’s strange in concept but fantastic in execution. It’s a cartoonish stylized Optimus Prime complete with mouse ears and a Mickey pilot.

  • Joe Johnston has been named the director of First Avenger: Captain America. I'm still not crazy about that title but I'm pleased about this announcement nonetheless. Joe Johnston directed The Rocketeer which besides being an excellent movie, is also the closest thing to a Captain America movie we have and that's including the already existing Captain America movie.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New Watchmen Posters

Here's some more Watchmen posters. Just because. These two are more traditional modern movie posters compared to earlier efforts.

The Rorschach one feels familiar.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Gentleman Ghost!

Gentleman Ghost is a little known character from the DC comics universe. He was given a "blink and you'll miss it" appearance in the Justice League Unlimited animated series. This isn't saying much as there were tons of characters who made similar cameos in that show. But as is often the case with these DC animated series, this gave the long-running character a boost into the spotlight. More importantly it gave him a boost into the realm of merchandising.

Of course the first figure will be from his Justice League Unlimited appearance, but this isn't particularly notable as nearly every hero and villain who showed up on that show gets a toy.

Gentleman Ghost will receive a bigger role in the new cartoon Batman: The Brave and the Bold premiering November 14th. This means he's getting another animated style toy, pictured above alongside Plastic Man. This figure will be done in translucent plastic giving it a nice look.

The pièce de résistance is a classic comic book based Gentleman Ghost recently announced at MattyCollector.Com as part of the eighth wave of DC Universe Classics. It's a great wave all around with two styles of Doctor Fate and the Parademons as well as a Collect and Connect figure of Giganta. Still I find myself just as stoked for good ol' Gentleman Ghost.

That's three action figures coming in 2009. Not too shabby for such an obscure character. Why is Gentlemen Ghost garnering such unexpected attention? I can't say for certain but I'll tell you why I find myself obsessed with him. It's all in the visual design. Even his name perfectly sums up his appearance; Gentleman Ghost. He's so beautifully goofy. He may be a DC comics super villain but he looks like he'd fit right into The Venture Bros. universe. Or heck he could even be a Scooby Doo bad guy.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Crap In a Hat

Michael Crichton passed away yesterday.

He finally succumbed to a long battle with cancer. I had no idea he was sick. He was 66 years old.

If I have to explain to you who Michael Crichton is and why his passing has me bummed out, well first of all you suck. But if you must know he invented murderous robot cowboys, murderous cloned dinosaurs and murderous grey gorillas. 'Nuff said.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Your Patriotic Duty

When you go into the voting booth tomorrow, remember to consider this presidential candidate and running-mate that the so-called mainstream media have been neglecting in their reporting. Thank goodness for the alternative press.

One is a veteran and former POW who was tortured in captivity. He often comes off as gruff and unlikeable but maintains a major leadership role in spite of his advancing age.

The other was a low-ranking female politician with conservative beliefs. Through a series of circumstances she has now been thrust to the center of government, even though her experience has been limited at best.

The sound an awful lot like another pair running for executive office but Roslin and Tigh clearly have the superior platform. Remember a vote that’s not for them is a vote for the Cylons!* So say we all!

*Okay so technically Saul Tigh is a Cylon. And for all we know Laura Roslin might be one too. The same thing could be said for McCain and Palin.