Vancouver Fan Expo 2014: Year of the “Meh”

 

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Last year’s Fan Expo was a huge deal for me… I finally made my first costume and hit the Convention Center floor with the rest of the nerds, freaks and geeks as everyone’s favourite Latverian despot… Dr. Doom!  I was in the huge group picture with Stan Lee and even payed to meet the guy and get my pic with him (the man is 92)! It was an amazing time and Marvel fans were abuzz with excitement!  You could almost feel the electricity crackling through the air!

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This year seems to be focusing on Horror Movies, something I’ve never been into, so the likes of Bruce Campbell (Ash) and Robert Englund (Freddy) as well as a few other “big” names like Ray Park (Darth Maul), and Karl Urban (Judge Dredd), really don’t do much for me.  Jon Heder cancelled his appearance this year, so I guess I’ll never get my Napolean Dynamite action figures signed!

Vancouver Fan Expo expanded to 3 days this year, which I really think is excessive… 2 days was more than enough last year, and speaking as a toy-hunter, all the best stuff will be gone after Friday anyways.   I also don’t really feel inspired to cosplay this year, as I didn’t get something new together and didn’t just want to do Dr. Doom again, even though it got such a great reaction last year!

So, this year being so lackluster, I opted for the $20 Friday pass for the more cursory experience. At least the HARDCORE cosplayers will be there on day one (and without a mask I can actually take pictures this year), as well as the fresh booths full of toys (that I can’t really afford).  I have  a few friends with booths this year though, so maybe I will bring my mask and my cape for a few staged shots (nobody needs to know what’s underneath Doom’s cape)!  Next year I would like to cosplay Thanos, so I better start working on that costume now!

See you at Vancouver Fan Expo tomorrow, true believers!

 

 

 

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Marvel Universe: An Infinite Universe of Toys

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Face front, true believers!

When I was 13, I bought my first non-Transformer comic at my local comics store.  It was Infinity Gauntlet #1, and it was the cover that inspired me to pick it up and consider a universe beyond warring robots… the year was 1991.

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The evil visage of Thanos peering out at the reader, The Gauntlet itself, mysterious and obviously powerful.  The worried heroes.  It all grabbed my attention in a way that had never happened before for me in the comic shop.  It was a passport to an entirely new universe (literally) and soon I was buying almost every Marvel title.  These heroes and villains that had I had barely noticed growing up suddenly became incredibly real to me, and I couldn’t wait to follow their exploits every month!

Eventually, as I got older, and deeper into high-school I lost touch with comics, and quit reading altogether.  The allure of grunge-rock, girls and Street Fighter 2 was too great, and it would be years until my interest in Marvel (and even Transformers) was rekindled.

Flash forward 20 years and I find myself reading almost every Marvel title again (since 2005), and what’s worse ( or better?) I have applied my obsession with toys to my love of all things Marvel.

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From Marvel Universe to Legends, Toy-BIz to Hasbro and from MIni-Mates to Super-Hero Squad, there are very few Marvel toys that don’t appeal to me, and my collection reflects that.

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Over the years I have gone from being very character specific (Silver Surfer, Galactus, Venom/Symbiote Spider-Man,Thanos) to being very general!  I love mixing the characters up in interesting ways and going for that  “Handbook of the Marvel Universe” cover style of display, but also still have shrines set up to my original favourites.

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I collect both mint and loose, depending on what I find and what kind of deal I can get! I tend to keep the newer stuff sealed but love finding old Legends, Universe and Mini-Mates to add to the mix! With no shortage of older toys to be found out there, and a steady stream of action figures from Hasbro and  Diamond Select, I don’t expect to ever run out of Marvel to collect!  Excelsior!

Podcasts and Pictures and Toys for Sale! Oh My!

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A burst of energy over the last few days has Robot Hero Toys moving forward and finally getting pictures up for all my stock.  I will be updating stock EVERY DAY until it’s all online and priced, so check back every day for some great deals!

https://www.facebook.com/RobotHeroToys/photos_albums

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Also, I’ve been doing a pretty cool little Podcast with my friends Travis (T-Kutty) and Jonny (J-Bo), none other than the owner and operator of Metropolis Comics and Toys! http://metropolis-comics.com/

The weekly podcast touches on comics, movies, comic-related TV, video games, and yes, occasionally toys! K-Stu in the house! http://fancoredaily.com/category/podcasts/

Transformers G1 Spotlight: Powermaster Optimus Prime

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Ah, Optimus Prime… hero, icon, legendary Autobot leader. John Wayne and Jesus all rolled up into one big red giant robot package!

In 1986, when the Transformers Animated Movie came out, Hasbro killed off almost all of the bots from the 84-85 era, replacing them with newer designs that were more “colorful and durable”.  The older Transformers were too fragile for North American kids, having been based on the already existing Japanese Diaclone line, which were quite prone to breakage.  This was all well and fine, but Hasbro made one fatal miscalculation… they killed Optimus Prime!  His replacement, the brash Hotrod, was magically transformed  into Rodimus Prime by the power of the Matrix.  Rodimus Prime never really jelled as a leader, he was indecisive and ineffective, so in 1988, Hasbro brought back the “true” leader in a new form, albeit still a tractor trailer!

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Although never introduced in the American cartoon series, Powermaster Optimus Prime had his on-screen time in the Japanese series “Transformers Super God Masterforce” , where he was known as Super Ginrai, Ginrai being his human partner that became the Powermaster “engine” for the larger bot (“Hi-Q” in North America)!

Toy wise, Powermaster Optimus Prime was a real winner!  The first of MANY Optimus Primes that combined with his trailer (If you don’t count G1 Ultra Magnus) to make a larger, beefier bot, he absolutely TOWERED over his 1984 version, and had the added playability of turning into a base for smaller figures as well.

The Japanese version also added another upgrade ‘God Bomber”, an additional trailer that became yet MORE armour and weapons for Ginrai as well as  pair of wings, making him “Super God Ginrai!” , but that dear readers, is a blog for another day!

All in all, Powermaster Optimus Prime was one of the great Transformers of the “later” G1 era, a real childhood favourite of mine, and should have a place in any serious Optimus Prime collector’s shelf!

Unfortunate Transformer Names… Part One

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Released in 1993 In Europe under the name “Zap” or “Rush” along with his other Axelerator brothers, someone at Hasbro must have been having a little fun when he was released in North America as “Windbreaker”.  A very unremarkable toy, Windbreaker’s  main gimmick was that his chrome engine block turned into his weapon.  Also, his name evokes farts. 

Bring On The Villains!

So for my first blog, I wanted to go with a villainous theme, namely, Spider-Man’s Amazing Foes!

Spider-Man has always had a rich Rouge’s Gallery to draw upon since his debut in 1962, much like Batman before him!  Often his villains are animal themed as well, (The Vulture, The Rhino, Scorpion, even Kangaroo!) other times he takes on mad doctors or scientists  who also (and inexplicably) have animal themes usually as well (Doctor Octopus, The Jackal, The Lizard).

Perhaps Spidey’s biggest headache over the years has been Norman Osborne, the insane industrialist known as The Green Goblin.  After killing Peter’s Parker’s girlfriend, Gwen Stacey, there could be no doubt as to who would become Peter’s most despised nemesis over the years!

Anyways, on to the figures!

The Sinister Six has always had a rotating membership over the years (sometimes there are even 7 or 12 of them!) but for this blog I wanted to put 3 of the coolest figures I had into the spotlight!

Marvel Select Rhino and Lizard were excellent additions to the steadily growing Spider-Man villains collection.  Marvel Select is a 7 inch line, as opposed to the Toybiz (and later Hasbro) 6 inch line (where Mysterio comes from), but I find the bigger, bulkier figures work with the 6 inch line in terms of relative scale, and work quite nicely together, especially with the much smaller Spider-Man figure from Spider-Man Classics.  Mysterio doesn’t seem out of place with the larger figures either, and casts an imposing shadow himself!

At this point, I need a good 6 inch Dr. Octopus, Vulture, Sandman and Electro to round out the team, as well as perhaps a Kraven The Hunter for good measure!

2014 will bring some great figures our way from Hasbro in the Amazing Spider-Man Legends line, such as Superior (Doc Ock) Spider-Man, Black Cat, Carnage, Boomarang,  The Beetle and a very cool Ultimate Green Goblin build-a-figure that uses a retooled Avengers 6 inch Hulk mold from a few years back.

With Amazing Spider-Man 2 coming out next year and Spider-Man returning to the forefront of popular culture, I’m sure that Hasbro (and hopefully Marvel Select) will have a few more figures up their sleeves!

Bring on the bad guys! 

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SINISTER FOES of SPIDER-MAN by DadaHyena