It’s no secret amongst customizers and toy aficionados alike that Bill Burns looms large above the landscape. A master fabricator, Bill can take a nothing figure and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile. For these reasons, and many others too long to mention here, when Bill recently hit a patch of bad luck all-around good guy Scott "Boneyard" Rogers roped together a motley assortment of toy fans to customize a very special project to show our appreciation of Mr. Burns. Chris Galdieri suggested the theme, and the rest is history!
Being as Bill is a known "Wild West" buff, it seemed fitting that the project would center around a Western themed episode of Justice League Unlimited.
As a way to get the JLU characters into the Old West, the two-part "Once and Future Thing" (the title alone is a nod to T.H White’s time traveling King Arthur bio, ‘The Once And Future King‘) introduced long standing DC villain Chronos to the JLU, who opens a time tunnel that sucks Batman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman into the past. In a nod to DC’s fabled western heroes, part one is titled, "Weird Western Tales" and introduces El Diablo, Pow Wow Smith, and Bat Lash to the JLUniverse. Joining them is Johan Hex, who had already made a previous appearance on BTAS. After defeating "future-enhanced" villain Tobias Manning, the JLU crew then chases Chronos to the future where they team up with Batman Beyond and Static in the second part, "Time Warped". But we’re mainly concentrating on the characters from part one. Screencaps of them are shown below. And thanks to Matt "Iron-Cow" Cauley for the logo!
Bruce Wayne, …John Stewart, …Diana
El Diablo, …Ohiyesa ‘Pow Wow’ Smith, …Chronos
Jonah Hex, …Bat Lash
John Stewart was created as a reluctant Green Lantern who fit the "angry young man" profile of most black characters in pop culture circa 1970. While not a huge part of the DC Universe, he showed up from time to time until the late 1980s, when he became more of a standard character. When creating the JL cartoon, WB Animation thankfully updated the character, making him more of a military leader type and giving him broader depth of character to separate him from fanboy favorite GL Hal Jordan. DC Comics has since followed their lead and matched the comic John to the JLU version.
Created by customizer Extraordinaire Pierre "Airmax" Kalenzaga, Western John Stewart was made from these parts- Head: JLU Green Lantern Body: JLU Green Lantern Arms: Upper – JLU Green Lantern Lower – Batman Beyond Jokerz Gang Leader Hands – JLU Superman (left), JLU Green Lantern (right) Waist/Legs: BTAS Riddler Hat: Wild Wild West Will Smith movie figure Sidearm: Wild Wild West Will Smith movie figure. Click here to see the work-in-progress shots. As you can see from the pics, Airmax is king of the kit-bashed figure! Man, that’s a lot of parts!
Tobias Manning was a minor Superman villain known as Terra-Man. But since he was a western themed character using futuristic weapons, WB Animation cleverly integrated him into this western themed episode, even giving him a winged horse like in the comics! It’s hard not to be amazed at how accessible these cartoons are for the non-fan, yet totally jam packed with in-jokes for the fanboys.
Poor ol’ Jonah Hex has seen many incarnations over the years, but few have seemed to stick around for long. A surly, scar-faced bounty hunter, Hex wanders the plains lookin’ to right wrongs, and occasionally heading into future times. WB Animation seems to like him, seein’ as how he popped up in both BTAS and JLU. Tarnation, but he’s scary. DC has recently decided to push the character again, so we’ll see how this round turns out.
Created by the uber-talented Doubledealer (aka Beauregard Escobar), Jonah has never looked better. Amazingly, Jonah has never yet been made into a real mass market figure. I don’t get it; what kid doesn’t want a horribly scarred Civil War veteran to play with?
A swipe off Maverick, DC’s late 60s character Bat Lash would rather kiss than fight, and rather play than kiss! Although his series didn’t last long, he was well beloved by a small group of fans. And fittingly joins the "old west" crew in JLU.
Created by the astonishing SpyMagician (aka Jeremy Sung) Bat Lash sports Jeremy’s usual trademark: plastic paints that don’t rub off when played with! He was made from these parts- Base: JLU Elongated Man (head carved and resulpted Hat, Vest, and costume details made with Sculpey and Sculpey Superflex. Hands: Undercover Bruce Wayne Gun: Chap Mei figure accessory Gunbelt: Vinyl laces and scrap cape material from Star Wars figures. Click here to see the work-in-progress shots.
Ohiyesa ‘Pow-Wow’ Smith
‘Pow Wow’ Smith was a mighty, mighty, man. In direct contrast to TV and movies of the day (the day being circa 1954) Ohiyesa was one of the only positive Native American heroes around. Clever, cunning, and with high moral fiber, Smith was sheriff of Elkhorn County. Run, bad men, run! Pow Wow Smith is on your trail!
Created by the brilliant "Brian-Man" Stevenson, ‘Pow Wow’ here is sporting the latest in buckskin fashion. He was made from- BTAS Bruce Wayne = The base. Super Sculpey = Hair and Buckskin fringes. Sliced up and glued Jedi cloak = The holsters. Random $1 store military figure = Guns and knife. Testors acrylics = The paint. Click here to see the work-in-progress shots.
Following DC’s then strategy of thinly-disguised swipes, Lazarus Lane put on a Ben Cooper Zorro costume to become…El Diablo! Raised from near death (hence his prophetic name, Lazarus), Lane fought crime in the old west alongside "the Rough Bunch". Who probably never actually spoke that group name out loud.
Created by the Stupendous Fresh Monkey, El Diablo (it means "The Devil", kids!) has his cape, his whip, and a smile. He was made from- Base is JLU Green arrow. Sculpted Gloves & Mask Cape: from a JLU Batman Hat from: a BTAS Machine Gun Joker Whip from: a BTAS Catwoman Guns & belt from: a Chap mei big lots ninja figure. Click here to see the work-in-progress shots.
Wonder Woman has seen a lot over the years, but we’re not talking about Wonder Woman. We’re talking about Diana, who is a real strong chick in western duds (*wink wink*). C’mon, do I really need to tell you all about Wonder Woman, pal?
Created by the Terrific Jack Conway, Diana is a Wonder Woman figure and Magic Sculpt all the way. We even gave you a side view to admire the workmanship. Ahem.
"Call me Bruce". With a dark glint in his eye, this black clad stranger sizes up the evil doers and then he strikes! With a right! and a left! The bad guys go down like ten pins. Who is this"Bruce"? This creature of the night who walks tall and talks less? Can it be we’ve seen him before?
Created by the Outstanding Chris Galdieri, Bruce here is every criminal’s worst nightmare. He is made from- Base is a TNBA Undercover Bruce Wayne; the arms were somewhat straightened and smoothed out with plumber’s putty, the pants and shirt details are also plumber’s putty, and the hat comes from a Trenchcoat Joker with some modifications. The long coat was made from a toothpaste tube.
Flippin’ through time, Chronos has been a thorn in the side of the JLA and the Atom for decades. And now, he is a thorn in the side of the Old West. What a crazy guy. Making his "Old West" version was considered, but since that is just some bearded dude in street clothes it was decided that the more colorful version form part 2 would be more appropriate.
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since.
In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features.
He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced.
In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website www.ActionFigureInsider.com.
Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s
“Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on MSNBC.com,
Wired.com, Fark.com, Boing-Boing, Gizmodo.com, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official
Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many
others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows.
But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.