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Waaaaay back in 1979, Parker Brothers took a chance on a new property/invention and decided to break away from just making board games and dip their toe into boys toys and action figures.  That venture was ROM: The Space Knight.

Marvel Comics also picked up the property for a 75 issue run written by Bill Mantlow (who was also writing the Micronauts comic, in addition to some other projects such as Hulk and Alpha Flight).   Mattel didn’t have much of a back story for Rom, outside of him being a cyborg, so Marvell had a pretty clean slate to work with. 
The primary villains in the Rom comic were the Dire Wraiths.  The wikipedida entry says: " The Dire Wraiths are a fictional extraterrestrial race that is part of the Marvel Comics Universe. They were the main opponents of Rom and his fellow Spaceknights, although they have also appeared in a few other Marvel comic books.

The Wraiths are an offshoot of the Skrulls from the Andromeda Galaxy.
Like the Skrulls, the Wraiths are shape-shifters, able to take the forms of other creatures. Their basic appearance, however, is entirely different. The Wraiths were originally depicted as amorphous, cloudy, vaguely humanoid-shaped beings. However, it was eventually revealed that was a transitional form used for shape-shifting. Their true solid form had obese, reddish bodies with large, pupil-less eyes, small beaks, ‘hands’ that resemble small pincers and tentacles; clawed feet, and thick tails."

There was a Dire Wraith figure sculpted for Toy Biz that has never seen release.  I believe only a small picture of white test shot has ever surfaced in the pages of Toy Fare.   This figure was sculpted by Clayburn Moore as his only work for Toy Biz.  I was to be a 6" scale figure as part of a new Silver Surfer line.   Meegan was also part of that assortment (tentatively to be called "Marvel’s Weirdest Aliens") and that figure did see release.  But the Dire Wraith was lost to time… until Marvel and Toy Biz moved offices nearly a year ago and the prototype was found.   Marvel Legends line manager Jesse Falcon passed it onto Toy Biz prototype painter Eddie Wires.   Eddie painted it up… and now here is your first look at the fully painted prototype of a lost figure….


Dire Wraith- AFI Exclusive 


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Here’s a cool, one of a kind little item I thought you guys would dig.

As you may recall Kid Robot did an extremely limited  run of vinyl figures based on Jamie Hewlett’s designs for the "animated" personas of the band the "Gorillaz."  



Many fans salivated over these, but a lot couldn’t justify the price with sets running about $150.

Well, Toy Biz’s Jesse Falcon bought a set and turned them over to his good friend and prototype painter Eddie Wires, and what he got back… quite simply kicks ass.

Marvel Gorillaz 

2D as Captain America, Little Noodle as Spiderman,  Russel as the Thing and Murdoc as the Punisher.

How’s that for one-of-a-kind? 

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This past Sunday was October 15th.  That was the "Target date" for the JLU Target exclusive 6-pack featuring Doomsday to be released to the public.   More specifically that was the day that most Targets were to have their "Great Gifts under $20" endcap built in the toy section.

In addition to the Doomsday set there is a Superman Returns 3-pack of figures with Clark Kent, Superman and Lex Luthor and the two The Batman 3-packs with an exclusive Poison Ivy and Ventriloquist figures (also available in a TRU Arkham Asylum 6-pack).

Reports of where the endcaps have been found have varied from Target to Target.  Some people have found them on the main aisle, some on the back endcap, and a few not even in the toy section.



This is a "before picture" from a store that hadn’t set the endcap up quite yet:


Here is a shinny new endcap that hadn’t been touched yet:


They are out there now, so if you want one now is the time to start looking.  If your Target hasn’t put them out yet you might ask the Customer Service desk if they can look up the DPCI number for the item.  For the Doomsday set the DPCI number is 087-06-0619.


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Ok.. this is a weird one.  The Suncoast Video in the mall over by my work closed down about 6-8 months ago after that big announcement that they were scuttling over half the stores.   I was sad to see it go because they were one of the last, great alternative sources of specialty market action figures (and now Tower Records are closing their doors too! boooo!)   We lost a lot of Suncoasts in the Los Angeles area.   Most of the ones I used to hit are gone now.  Bummer.



But then… the strangest thing happened….


About two weeks ago I had to go to the mall to grab something for work… and the Suncoast was back…  In the same location?   huh?   I know when most of the Kay Bees closed down a few popped back up right before Christmas last year liquidating old stock, but then holiday season passed and they went away for good.



This was too strange.  I walked in… It looked like it was a "new store" being set up.   Not all the shelves were filled.  There were a lot of boxes everywhere and some new fixtures that hadn’t been set up yet.   I looked around… There were some new toys.  McFarlane military and Dragons, DC Direct New Frontier figures off the top of my head.  


I had no IDEA what kind of bizarro world I was in… But they had a Marx Brothers DVD boxed set on sale, so I had a reason to go up to the counter and investigate.  I asked the clerk… "Say… didn’t you guys like… CLOSE and stuff?"


He said "Yeah, when the company was shrinking and they were doing the consolidation and restructuring of bankruptcy under the new owner it was at the same time their lease was up for this space, so instead of renewing they closed the store and sold everything off.  But the restructuring is over and the space was still available and I think cheaper… so we’re back."



"And you’ll be a fully opperating store again?" I asked.




Wow.   Back from the dead.   Anyone else have something like this happen with their local Suncoasts?


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In the past I have shown you pictures of Marvel Legends prototypes, test shots and paint masters, but you’ve never seen what it takes to make a Marvel Legends figure. The picture to the right is of the steel tools it takes to make one Marvel Legends figure.  Every one of those boxes you see on the pallet makes one small piece of a figure.  Maybe an shoulder, or a calf or a neck.  There are this many, or more of these tools for every Marvel Legends figure.

Cutting the steel tools is one of the most expensive parts of the action figure making process and now you should undestand why.  These tools also have to be painstakingly cataloged and stored so that certain parts can be reused.  You can also see why some paerts may not be available at all times if they are being used for another figure.  It’s not so easy just to pick up and move it to the next figure.

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Today at Toys R Us I saw the new exclusive Mattel 12" Superman and
Batman figures. These figures are enlarged version of their 6" Four
Horsemen sculpted counterparts.  At first glance it looks like the bicept swivel and ankle articulation didn’t make the cut.  These appear to be solid figures like the Marvel Legends Icons line and not rotocast.  Mattel released several versions of a 12" Batman in their original 6" Batman line and these appear to be in that same family.

Both figures come with logo bases and no other accessories.  They are Toys R Us exlusives and are $29.99 each.

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MarxBlog 2006 October