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Topics - Brian

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Jocasta's Reading Room / Opinions on "Splinter of the Mind's Eye"?
« on: December 22, 2008, 04:29 PM »
Another book question, sorry.  Anyways, I know the "Splinter" is pretty well known because it was basically some of the first EU, and - at the time - was somewhat of a "sequel" of sorts to the original movie.  I have been aware of it since I was a kid I think, but have never read it, and thought about picking up the paperback.  It seems like reviews on Amazon vary pretty wildly, with some really liking it, and some thinking it really doesn't hold up now.  Anyways, just wondering if it was worth a read.

The Prequel Trilogy / ROTS: Starting to Get an Unfair/Negative Rep?
« on: December 16, 2008, 10:09 AM »
I wasn't sure exactly how to title this, but recently it seems like I've been reading more and more negative comments about either Revenge of the Sith - or just lumping the entire prequel trilogy together as bad overall.  Granted, most to all of these are usually by different media, but still, it seems unfair.  Although I can definitely see the criticisms of both TPM and AOTC, I felt - and it seems like the majority did as well - that ROTS was a pretty strong film.  Heck, I think it even got pretty favorable reviews for the most part when it came out.  I've noticed recently, whether it is when people are reviewing new episodes of Clone Wars (or the movie) or just general lists (like the "most wanted" blu-ray discussion I read at IGN today, which reminded me of this), it seems like people are lumping in ROTS with the others in being undeniably awful.  Anyways, just something I was thinking about, but it seems like ROTS is getting an unfair reputation/bad rap - even more so lately.  Heck, we've even seen the OT (and Star Wars in general) get this treatment since the release of TPM it seems.

Watto's Junk Yard / Goodbye KB Toys
« on: December 11, 2008, 03:14 PM »
Sounds like they are closing up shop...Linky.

They are filing for bankruptcy and closing all 277 stores that remain.  Our local store closed a year ago, but it is kind of sad to see toy stores go the way of the dodo.  I hope that TRU still does ok, because I think that's kind of a neat thing to a kid (although probably younger now than when we grew up) to see - and I'd like it to be around for our daughter to remember.  I grew up in a small town, and when we went to the "city" and got to visit TRU, it was almost like a vacation.  Anyways, not really surprising to me either.  All the KB Toy stores in our local area were a horrible place to visit usually.  Really crammed, old stuff, usually higher prices, and often a distinct odor.

Watto's Junk Yard / Memories of Christmas Past...
« on: December 5, 2008, 01:24 PM »
I was listening to an older SModcast (Kevin Smith podcast) and they happened to be discussing Christmas presents as they grew up.  This, in combination with talking about various Christmas gifts as we've been shopping for our daughter, nephews/nieces, etc. just got me to thinking about Christmas when I was a kid.  I was wondering if anyone had any memorable Christmas gift stories to share.  Was there a year when you got something like the Falcon, or the U.S.S. Flagg, or something else that was a "large present" or just a memorable present.

Another side of this topic is how Christmas has changed, at least to me, for kids these days.  I never felt like I got the shaft at Christmas by any means, but I never got near the presents (amount or dollar wise) that kids these days get.  It seems like my brother and I (and my friends as a kid) usually got one "big gift", and some other little stuff.  The "big items" I can remember getting as a kid was something like Castle Grayskull, the GI Joe Killer WHALE, or the Jabba w/dais playset.  I also remember getting what I believe were my first Star Wars figures, Obi-Wan and Chewbacca.  Also, after asking for a couple years, I finally got a Nintendo - which was a huge gift at that point (and what a lot of my friends got around that time as well).  These days, it seems like kids are getting something like a new gaming system ($250-$400), in addition to all the other presents.  Its kind of sad to me too, we were shopping for our nephews (6 and 8 years old), and all they want this year is video games.  In the past three years they've gotten Gameboys, a PS2, and this year a Wii.  Maybe I was just a weird kid, but my friends and I were still asking for/playing with action figures at that age - but that's just a sign of the times I guess.  Anyways, just wondering if anyone had any Christmas memories they might want to share.  Its always interesting hearing when people got their AT-AT, or Falcon, or whatever else it might have been at the time.

Star Wars Universe / Newsarama's Cast Off Retro: Star Wars
« on: December 4, 2008, 07:05 PM »
I don't know how much traffic this topic will get here, but Newsarama is continuing its recent casting polls (so far, they've focused on comic book movies), and currently has a poll up starting off a new series of "modern casting" of the Star Wars OT.  Its just for fun, but I thought I'd pass it along here - they are starting off with Obi-Wan Kenobi.  They provide five choices (and name their favorite), and then you can vote if you'd like.  Anyways, just thought I'd pass it along, as it might be interesting to see the various choices.

The Legacy Collection / Do You "Collect 'Em All"?
« on: December 3, 2008, 04:15 PM »
I remember the phrase from a number of toylines as a kid (and still today), urging us to "collect them all" - which was much easier in the days of a SW toyline having 85-ish figures total (instead of in one year, as these days).  Anyways, do you find yourself buying more and more and being closer to "completist".  I'm someone that didn't care at all about that, and rarely had a complete line in previous years.  When I started with POTF2 (and also Episode I), I picked up the "main characters" and branched out from there.  Then, collecting got a little more serious and I started buying a bit more - having most of the POTJ line (still skipping a few in there though).  I skipped some of the action feature/duplicate figures from the SAGA line(s), and even skipped some in the ROTS line.  I still bought more than I skipped, but not all of them.  Now, with this advent of the coin and especially build-a-droid pack ins, I find myself buying figures that I would have skipped in the past.  Have the pack-ins, or just your collecting habits, caused you to become a "completist"?  Again, if it was the days of having 25 to 40 figures in a year, it wouldn't be a big deal - but these days it does make for a lot to keep up with (especially now, with multiple lines).

Other Toy Lines / Good Toy Line Values These Days?
« on: November 25, 2008, 09:46 AM »
I thought I'd post this here, since it doesn't strictly apply to Star Wars.  With the recent talk of possibly price increases on things like the Target UBPs (before they are even technically released), as well as other price hikes in various lines throughout this year - are there any action figure/toylines that you feel are still a good value these days?  Many of us remember the days of $4.99 (or even $4.77) Star Wars figures (in modern collecting anyways), where now we are paying up to $8 each, depending on the retailer.  Thankfully places like Target have come to their senses and are at least in the $7 range now, but that is still nearly double what we paid just a few years ago.  Other lines (Marvel Legends, some DC lines, Joes, Indy, etc.) have seemed to see some price increases this year, some worse than others (and thankfully, some - like $15 Legends - have come back to reality).

I can remember picking up Marvel Legends figures for $6.88 when I was first collecting them, and now they run from $10 to $12 or so.  I guess, with the price increases in the 3 3/4" lines like SW, Indy, and Joe the $10 DCUC or Legends figure doesn't seem that bad these days (although we're still often getting less for more).  Its just a sign of the times I guess with the economy and all that, but are there any lines out there these days where you still feel like you're getting what you pay for?  What is the ideal (realistic) price for a 3 3/4" or 6" action figure?

One line that seems like a decent value, but I know next to nobody here is interested in, is the JLU line.  I don't necessarily actively collect these, but I do have a shoebox-sized rubbermaid full of them as I really enjoyed that show (and the rest of the DCAU for that matter).  For some reason our daughter really likes to play with these, which works out ok since they don't necessarily have accessories (and we've taken them away if they do) and they are fairly simply built and sturdy.  Anyways, we've picked up a couple packs this past year - and when you get the 3 or 6 packs, it comes to just over $3 a figure.  I guess that I would consider a value.  Granted, they are simplistic toys, and not nearly as complex as other lines out there - but I don't have a problem with $3 a figure for those.  When the GI Joe line was first released and came in the $4-5 range at WM, that was also a good value I felt.  Even the Indy line dropped to the mid $5 range doesn't seem bad right now, although I'm not looking for any of those at this point.  I have to admit that I don't mind paying the current SW prices either, but I think that is also because $6-something seems so much better than $8.  Anyways, long post for a short question, is there still a good value out there these days?  What prices would make some of your favorite lines a good value?

The Official Site has a feature up on Vintage Customs that were done (are being done) by Nick Macarty.  Some pretty cool stuff in there, packaging and all.

Other Collectibles / Star Wars Lunchboxes
« on: November 10, 2008, 03:08 PM »
I didn't see a topic for this already, but I apologize if I missed it somewhere.  Does anyone here collect (or maybe already have) the Star Wars lunchboxes.  I guess I'm talking mainly of the vintage ones, although I know there are modern ones as well.  I always wanted one as a kid, although I didn't have one (I had a friend who had a couple though), and picking up one or two is on my "down the road 'to do' list".  Just something about those metal lunchboxes.....good ole' nostalgia.  Anyone else have (or have an interest in) picking up the lunchboxes as collectibles?

Hall of Justice / DC Universe Classics
« on: November 5, 2008, 03:35 PM »
Just read on the Fwoosh that Wave 5 (the WM Exclusive Wave) has now been found at retail.  Meanwhile, the pegs here still have either Orion or Green Lantern, or nothing at all.  I'm getting more tempted to order Series 4 online, and from here on out just rely on the single figure preorders (or wave orders) since those seem to be available for 2009 and beyond.  There's enough "hunting" involved with Star Wars the way it is, so it would be ok to just have to track down any exclusive waves/figures that I might be interested in for this line and not worry about the rest :).

Star Wars Universe / Is There a "Modern Day" Star Wars?
« on: October 29, 2008, 12:43 PM »
It may not even be possible in today's age of multiple movies each week, and up to a dozen "blockbusters" each summer - but do you think there is an equivalent to the Original Star Wars Trilogy in today's group of movies?  A series of movies that really captures not only kids, but adults as well, and becomes somewhat of a phenomenon in the culture in general.  The characters become household names, everyone is at least aware of the movies if not seen at least one or more.  Like I said, its a totally different world than it was in the 70s/80s when Star Wars, Empire, and Jedi were released - and they have changed the movie world so that we see these special effects bonanzas every summer month (Iron Man, Indy, Narnia, Hulk, Hancock, Dark Knight, etc. this summer alone).

I guess the franchises that come to mind for me that might fit this would be Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, any one of the superhero franchises (probably Spidey, X-Men, and Batman in particular right now), or maybe even Pirates of the Caribbean.  For some reason, the superhero/comic movies seem like a little bit of a different bird to me from the sci fi/fantasy realm of Star Wars, but I can see the similarities as well.  Also, maybe the actual modern Star Wars movies - the prequels - are today's Original Trilogy.  Although they certainly don't seem to be as popular overall as the OT, there is a lot of neat stuff to take out of there as well (ROTS in particular), and I really think I'd still be way into them if I was a kid growing up with this trilogy.  Other than that, I think I'd lean most towards Harry Potter - simply because they appeal to a very broad audience, they are counted on to be box office monsters, and they seem to have a really large anticipation towards each new chapter.  Again, not necessarily a "game changer" the way the original Star Wars was in '77, but maybe the most of a cultural phenomenon.  Lord of the Rings is way up there as well, and one of my all time favorites, but maybe not quite as popular with really young children (although you could make that argument with HP with each new movie/book as well).  Anyways, just something I was thinking about, and I was wondering what some of you thought.

Other Toy Lines / What Would Be the Last to Go?
« on: October 21, 2008, 10:31 AM »
It seems like a lot of us around here are looking into ways of cutting back, streamlining, or - in some cases - just all out quitting collecting a lot of things.  With prices going higher and, for a lot of us, space (storage or display) getting smaller, it starts to make you consider each purchase more and more (at least it does me).  Although there are some here who have better self control than others, I think a lot of us over the years have branched out into "other" lines as well.  I know that I went from picking up a few loose vintage figures I didn't have as a kid, to a few POTF2 figures, to basically the majority of the 3 3/4" Star Wars line before branching out into (among other things) Marvel, DC, LOTR, Indy, MOTU, GI Joe, SW Unleashed, SW Galactic Heroes, Transformers, and other things here and there.  When I think about what to cut back, I often tend to "prioritize" things I collect and narrow it down from there.  Sort of a ranking of all the various lines in my head I guess.  Anyways, in that sort of terms, what would be the last line/collection you would drop or let go of?  If you had to cut things down one by one, which would be the last standing?

Although other lines (that are more limited) would likely be the cheaper option, I would probably be entirely unoriginal and cut back to the Star Wars 3 3/4" action figures.  If I went even further, I would probably limit it to just the Original Trilogy figures (and these days, that seems to be a cheaper option anyways).  Another thing I always seem to pick something up here and there is Spider-Man stuff, and I suppose continuing on with his rogues/"world"/etc. would be another option.  The comic (Marvel/DC) stuff is where my primary "other" interests have been aside from SW, and if I cut down those, I'd probably just focus on Spidey and Batman "worlds".  But, overall, I'm guessing it would be down to the Original Trilogy basic figures if I had to cut out everything else.  If they continued with the line, I could probably cut it further to just the VOTC/VTSC figures - although I'd miss out on the "all new" stuff, which would be tougher.  I suppose it would be significantly cheaper this way though.  Its still hard to believe how much things have branched out - at least for me personally - since I first start picking up Star Wars figures again.  I never knew there was (or would be) so much stuff out there, and that I'd be picking some of these things up.  Anyways, what would be the "last line standing" for you?

Other Toy Lines / The Future of Action Figure Lines?
« on: October 17, 2008, 12:39 PM »
It seems like these days there are more lines than ever on the pegs (heck, Star Wars alone has three assortments right now), and there's a lot more competition in the action figure aisles than there was even when I started collecting again in the late 90s.  We're seeing more and more exclusives, and now entire waves as exclusives (like Marvel Legends, and DCU Classics).  It seems like most, if not all, lines are getting more expensive across the board.  We're seeing prices for 3 3/4" stuff like SW, Joes, the upcoming Marvel Universe, Indy, etc. hitting $8 each in some places.  The larger scaled (6") stuff like Legends and DCUC range anywhere from $11 to $15 right now.  Anyways, where do you see the action figure lines headed in the future?  Do you think we'll start seeing less lines overall (and less individual releases within those lines)?  Will we see more of a shift to smaller scale stuff with oil prices (even though they are currently a bit lower) and have less and less 6" and taller scaled lines on the pegs?  Is the competition in the toy aisle going to start to weed out some of the various lines?

It seems to me (and I guess I'm thinking mostly of Star Wars, but it applies to other lines as well) that we're getting more releases than ever in a year (not even counting exclusives), but at the same time prices are getting higher.  Like I said, even ten years ago when I started collecting a little there was just a lot less in the aisle.  Now there are just tons of lines, many of which seem to be aimed more so at collectors, in addition to all of the "kids' lines" (I'm thinking like TMNT, Power Rangers, Ben 10, etc.) 

Anyways, sorry for the long post, but do you see any changes in the action figure lines in the next 1, 5, or 10 years?  In a way, it sort of reminds me of my days as a sports card collector when I was younger.  When I was collecting those (late 80s/early 90s), at the time there was (I'll use baseball as an example) Topps, Fleer, Donruss, Score, and a "new" company called Upper Deck (I might be forgetting a couple).  I can remember (about the time I got out of it), it started branching into more and more lines and sublines, prices went up (and you got less cards per pack), and collecting them got to be more of a chore.  It might have been age, and I don't know how the industry in general did, but it seemed like a lot of my friends and I got out of them almost totally at that point.  The action figure collecting area sort of seems to be heading that way too.  There are more and more lines all the time, prices are getting higher, there are more collectors, and in many cases we're getting less for our money (less accessories, etc.)

The Clone Wars '08-'13 / Clone Wars Animated Series Want/Idea List
« on: October 10, 2008, 11:06 AM »
Updated original post with our ongoing lists, by episode:

Ambush (Episode 1)
King Katuunku and the Toydarians
Yoda's Clonetroopers (Thire, Jek, Rys)

Rising Malevolence (Episode 2)
Plo Koon's Clonetroopers (Sinker, Boost, Wolffe)
Twilight (Anakin's Ship - basically in most episodes and movie)
Pod-hunter (and rocket battle droids)

Shadow of Malevolence (Episode 3)
Y-Wing Bombers
Shadow Squadron (Matchstick, Broadside, etc.)
Plo Koon's new Jedi Starfighter
"Plunk" Droid

Destroy Malevolence (Episode 4)
"Firefighter" Battle Droids
Luminara Unduli (appears as hologram in this episode)
Padme Amidala
Clone "Officers"

Rookies (Episode 5)
Commando Battle Droids
Clones (although they are all in "standard white"), they are named:
-Sergeant O'Niner
-Hevy (with Z-6 rotary cannon)
-Echo (with handprint)
-CT 327 (with macrobinoculars)
Republic Attack Shuttle - Obex
BD 3000 Droid "Bettie Bot" (the DJ)

There's a short list of things we've seen so far.  I'm leaving off the "main" characters (Obi-Wan, Anakin, 3PO, etc.) since we know they are on the way, unless its a significant costume difference (Padme).  I'm sure there is lots that I'm missing here too, but I thought it might be fun to add to the list with each new episode.

Other Collectibles / Star Wars Clothing
« on: October 9, 2008, 04:10 PM »
I didn't see that we already had a thread for this, so I thought I'd start one here.  I don't know how many of you buy/own Star Wars clothing, but I've got a few t-shirts around the house.  Anyways, I was over at the Zazzle site (which has the "customizable" Star Wars shirts at SWShop), and it appears they have a couple new lines of shirts - consisting of "Homeboy" and "Hater" shirts.  The homeboy ones are just various characters " my homeboy" type shirts, and the "hater" section has a few different choices.  Anyways, just thought I'd pass it along for anyone interested.  I kind of like the crashed AT-AT shirt under the Hater section which says "Fail".  Anyways, you can check them out HERE if you are interested.

On the more general topic, like I said I mainly have a few t-shirts that I've picked up over the years.  I usually tend to lean more towards ones that look like the "vintage" shirts that were out with the OT myself, but I've seen a number of newer ones at stores in the past few years as well.  I also noticed that Tina Fey was wearing a Princess Leia for President shirt at the end of SNL a couple of weeks back..."This is our most desperate hour" - which is available at SWShop as well.  Anyways, just thought I'd start a SW clothing topic for anyone interested.

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