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If you haven’t watched LOST then there may be some spoilers here–  Just warning.

As I sit here watching the 2 hour recap of LOST before the 2 1/2 hour series finale I’m looking back on the past 6 years.   So much emphasis is being put on "will they answer all of our questions?" and I’m sit here pondering that question the answer comes back for me personally -  It doesn’t matter.   Of course I’d LIKE a satisfying resolution to the series, but for me, it’s been such an enjoyable journey it doesn’t really matter. I watch a lot of television, some of it better than others.  I watch dramas, comedies, animated shows. reality shows, sci-fi, shows from the UK… maybe too much TV.    There’s a lot of crap out there, so you really have to look to find the pearls.  I try so seek out SMART TV.  I’m not watching "The Hills" or anything like that.  LOST fits into my wheelhouse.

My favorite shows are always ones that try to surprise me and that’s what LOST has always had in spades.  For six years, six seasons, week after week they blindsided me.   I never watched an episode and at the end thought "yeah.  That’s enough LOST for tonight."  Every time as I was fast-forwarding through the last commercial break week in and week out I would think and sometimes SAY "ah, man.. there’s only 9 minuets left."  There are so many shows that are predictable.  There are so many shows that follow the same formula.  LOST never did.  As soon as you thought you had… may not a handle on it… maybe a thread you could hold onto, they would change it up again.  I always appreciate it.   That’s why some of my favorite shows in recent history are things like: The Wire, The Shield, Battlestar Galactica and LOST.   These were shows where the creative teams were really trying to do something fresh and different.

I know there are lots of people that think it "Jumped the Shark" or that season 4 was bad, but I loved it.  Week in and week out it was something that I looked forward to.   I had this conversion with Jesse Falcon of Marvel/Toy Biz back around series 3 and his theory was that people that grew up reading comic books had an easier time enjoying LOST than for people that didn’t.   LOST was written by people that loved comics as kids, they brought in current comic book writers for several seasons and it followed a very similar format.  Comic book fans can make those leaps of faith that LOST demands – time travel, ghosts, people who talk to dead people.

I loved searching for clues each week.  I loved looking for examples of "the numbers" showing up in each episode. I loved talking about the show with friends.  I loved re-watching episodes as new information was revealed. I loved that they never dumbed the show down as the viewership changed.  

Hatches, Other, Polar Bears, Smoke Monsters, Numbers, Men in Black, Glowy-Caves, Men of Science, Men of Faith, Immortals, Flashbacks, Flashforwards, Flash-sideways.   I loved every second of it.   I’ll enjoy watching it all over again at some point, but I’ll miss it starting next week.

So for me, what is the island?  What does it all mean? I don’t care.  I’ve had such a good time watching that all that will just be the icing on the cake.

Thank you to all the cast and crew of LOST.   It’s been an amazing ride.  So much drama, so much suspense, so much fun. 

Ok… it’s time for the last episode.  I’m going to post this and shut my laptop off so nothing gets spoiled.  See you all in 2 1/2 hours.

 Nameste’

 

 


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It was 30 years ago this past Friday that Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back was released in theaters.   I remember when the first Star Wars movie came out, my folks asking me if I wanted to see "Star Wars."  I was almost 7-years old at the time and I remember saying the words "I don’t want to see a bunch of  STARS having WARS."  Then my mom showed me the news paper ad and showed me that there were robots and spaceships and other things that I’d enjoy.  They eventually talked me into it and we went that night to see the movie that changed my life.   I think a lot of us have that same story.  I was hooked.  I got the early bird set for Christmas that year and begged my parents for everything Star Wars related for the next ten years. I had all of the figures, all of the ships, all of the playsets and had already ordered FIVE of the Boba Fett preview figures in the mail.   I didn’t know who he was, but I had a lot of proofs-of-purchase so I was going to use them!

Cut to thirty years ago this past week the NEXT chapter in the Star Wars saga, The Empire Strikes Back was released in theaters and it was ALL I could focus on.  I HAD to see that movie.  I’m not sure that I even needed to see a movie that bad before or since.  It was imperative.  I had watched the Star Wars Holiday Special and it gave us a little more of that world to tide us over… but it wasn’t quite the same…

I was almost 9-years old at that point and my parents took my brother and I too our first 10:00pm movie- opening day.  We went to the Southroads Twin, which had one of the biggest screens in town and a robust sound system.  We arrived at the theater several hours early my day got tickets and we waited in line.  God bless my folks for agreeing to do that.  I’m sure they could have cared less if they never saw "part 2" of  Star Wars, but they knew how much it meant to me and my brother.  So they waited as the sun went down in a line full of fans.   We were 3rd in line for the 10:00 show.  They bought me the official program (I still have it) and we finally got inside and got some seats.  

You know what happens next: Lights dim, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….", Hoth, Imperial Walkers, Dagobah, Yoda, Cloud City, Boba Fett, Carbonite, Paternity Reveal ,Cliffhanger…   my mind was blown!    I saw it all on opening day.   No spoilers for me on the playground.  But now I had to wait HOW LONG to find out what happens next?   What happens next.. that would be the topic of discussion for the next 2 years.

Thanks mom and dad for helping to fuel the fire.  And thanks to the cast and crew of The Empire Strikes Back.   That was movie magic, the likes of which I have rarely seen again.

 


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I know it’s going to be controversial blog and idea to some, but I think Mattel should merge the Justice League Unlimited and Batman the Brave and the Bold action figure lines.

As I sit here, still in my pajamas on a sunny Southern California morning watching the latest episode from Batman the Brave and the Bold I can’t help but want figures of these characters, but I want them in an adult collector setting and design.   I don’t need plug and play accessories or fractal tech gear or any of that other nonsense.   I just want accurate representations of these characters with accessories that make sense.   Ideally I’d LOVE to have them in a scale that works with some of my other DC animated figures, instead of starting over with an all new scale that fits with nothing.    I’ve dabbled a bit in the current Brave and the Bold line, picking up a few characters here and there.   I have yet to open any of them because they don’t fit in with anything else.   

Then I think about my Justice League Unlimited collection.   I love that line.  I’ve been in it from the beginning and was the first person to post pictures of the figures on the Internet.   This line, despite it’s flaws, will always have a special place in my heart and on my shelves.   But, it’s no secret that the line has struggled in the past 2 year.   The JLU line was set to end with the Grodd Target 6-pack, but like "The Little Engine that Could" these figure keep resurrecting and giving us more JLU plastic goodness.   This blog is just me spit balling and brainstorming  on a Saturday morning, so I might not have all the kinks worked out yet.   I’m just going to put my thoughts down and you guys tell me what you think.

Mattel still views the Brave and the Bold line as a "kids" line, so much so that it’s not even managed by the Boys Action Play team that handles all of the rest of Mattel’s DC properties.  Justice League Unlimited has been a hard sell for years because of a lack of media tie-ins. The B&B line is sold by every major retailer.  JLU is a Target exclusive line.

The Batman Brave and the Bold TV show started off a little stumbly and direction-less as have almost all of the DC animated properties, but has morphed with the help of actual DC Comic writers and previous DC animated property staff into a love letter to classic DC stories and characters.   It’s a great show that is steadily building it’s own universe and continuity.   Brave and the Bold is starting to take on some multi-episode story-lines and their range of characters is only surpassed by JLU.

 Justice League Unlimited is back on Cartoon Network now in reruns, but hasn’t had a first run episode in years.   The DVD sales have done well for Warner Brothers, but the show in it’s original airing was so all over the place was almost impossible to follow.   The final  two seasons featured brilliant story telling and a shining example of how well the DC Universe works in animation.

I think if Mattel started making Batman the Brave and the Bold figures in the same scale as JLU without the "plug in accessory" holes it would really breath new life into BOTH franchises and would open up a whole new roster of characters for us to put on our JLU shelves.   Characters like: Guy Gardner, Mera, Speedy, Aqualad, Ra’ Ah Ghul, Killer Moth, The Challengers of the Unknown and Detective Chip.   It would also get us some key characters in other eras of costumes, and could finally get us a real Hal Jordan with a mask.

We’re already getting some fun and interesting characters in the Brave and the Bold line like the Metal Men  and Black Manta, characters not seen in JLU.  But if the line remains as a "kids property" we will never see the depth of characters put into the line that the show deserves.   We’ve been told not to expect females in the line and anytime a question about Brave and the Bold comes up in the monthly Mattel Q&A’s we are always told that "Brave and the Bold is a kids line.  If Collectors want DC characters bases on DC animation then Justice League Unlimited is the line for them."   Does it REALLY have to be that way?   is there something in the contract that makes them have to be separate?   Is it "that’s just the way it’s always been" thinking holding the line back?

Here’s how I think it can work.   

Separate but similar lines.   We’ve already seen a version of this in action with the similar packaging, but different product both from Mattel in the DCUniverse lines (JLU and Infinite Heroes) and with Hasbro and their Star Wars lines (Legacy, Droid Factory and Clone Wars)   Both  of these examples allow for different styles, but similar product.  Clearly the Star Wars example work as a better example of this than trying to match JLU and Infinite Heroes, but I think you get the concept.   These lines can run along side each other and leverage off of each other to improve the overall health and longevity of both.

You still would need to work on the packaging concept as anyone that has found JLU mixed in with Infinite Heroes or Clone Wars mixed in with Droid Factory figures can tell you.  The people stocking the shelves can’t tell the difference in subtle packaging.   You could do a similar card design, but with a different colored backer for instance.   There just has to be some blatant differance between the cards because just changing the chip or strip at the top doesn’t work.

Of course there will be some other kinks to work out as well.  I know some fans of both properties will be protective of each shows style and not want to mix then on shelves, but it wouldn’t bother me a bit.  
If need be Mattel can keep the 5" kids line running separately, but at this point they are really missing out on capturing a lot more DC fans by embracing Brave and the Bold as an additional collectors line.   It’s like they are leaving a suitcase full of money on the sidewalk and walking away from it.

So what do you all think?   Am I crazy?  A genius?   Somewhere in-between?   Tell me what you guys think!


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This weekend marked the last episode of David Tennant as Dr. Who.    I’m sad to see him go because I REALLY enjoyed his run as the Doctor… but I’m hopeful for the new seasons as I REALLY love everything that new show runner Stephen Moffett has ever written for the show.

As a farewell tribute here is a video that Abby cut together tonight as a send off to Mr. Tennant.

 

Long live the Doctor….


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I was already working on this blog when Cantina Dan posted his on the same topic (with the same name even!)… to tell the truth I started this blog LAST Christmas and never got around finishing it.  

Like Dan my family was of a modest income being the son of two teachers, but they, with the help of Santa, always managed to blow my tiny mind every Christmas.  I didn’t write down the dates of any of these but I know my collecting went from MEGO World’s Greatest Super Heroes, to all things Batman, to Micronauts to Star Wars.  I’ll see if I can do my best to present them in order.

My mom has always been the biggest Christmas cheer-leader in our family.  She always put up our tree on the night of Thanksgiving so we could maximize our celebrating time.   I loved pouring over the department stores holiday catalogs every year and making my lists.   But mostly I LOVED getting toys for Christmas… and that has never changed.  :)

I think this is the earliest picture in the series since this is our old, old house. I’m not sure what it is that I’m holding, but that’s clearly a Batman next to my knee.  My older brother Russell has opened a Lone Ranger figure.

 

I loved all things Batman-  Here I am opening a Batman HALLOWEEN costume on Christmas.  As you can see I didn’t think that was strange at all and put it on immediately and played with the rest of my Christmas loot while still in costume.

 

This would be the next year, the first Christmas in our new house.   You can tell it’s a new house because there’s no other furniture in the living room yet.   The item of note is again by my knee… the first of MANY MEGO Batman figures… and it looks like that package that I’m working on is another MEGO figure. Could it be a Mego Joker?

 

Here’s Russell opening some microscope or something (NERD!) but right there next to him?  The Clown Prince of Crime- my MEGO Joker!

 

There’s me launching my life of ignoring sports equipment in favor of super hero (or villain) awesomeness- The Joker’s Van.   This was not actually made by MEGO, but the MEGO figures fit into it.  This was one of my all time favorite toys.  I SO wish I had that still.  There was also a black "Batman Mobile Crime Lab" version that I got earlier that year for my birthday.

In the next pictures you can see an appearance by Stretch Armstrong.

Joker's Van! 

 

Here’s a couple of shots of Russell opening some Six Million Dollar Man stuff.  The other shot is of Russell opening some kind of robot that I don’t recognize and don’t remember him having.  It sort of looks like a RoboForce character, but this would have been before that.

 

 

This is the same year over at my grandparents house with all the cousins.  Forgiving Great Uncle Ray for being the skinniest Santa in history you will notice my new MEGO Bat-Copter on the floor in both pictures.  *sigh* Wish I still had that one.

There’s a lot more to show for other years… but it’s Christmas so I should get back to my family.   So I’ll make this Part 1.

Merry Christmas and thank you to everyone for reading and supporting AFi this year.   I hope you have a great one!


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This past Saturday I woke up much earlier than I would have liked, and loaded into the "Van of Action" with a couple of AFi’s own Men of Action (SpyMagician,  Fresh Monkey and Scott Rogers) as well as a few other local collector friends (Flash Ah-ahhh!, BrianMan and Randy) and we headed out to that "wretched hive of scum and villainy" know as FRANK and SONS.   Now for those of you that are not familiar with Frank and Sons, in a nutshell it is a warehouse out in the City of Industry, CA that is full of roughly 100 scalper booths with about 10 reputable, legit dealers sprinkled in. Frank and Sons is the reason it’s SO hard to find anything new in the Los Angeles area.  It’s only open Wednesday and Saturday, so the scaplers spend the rest of the week hitting the stores for more fodder to mark up.   If you are a collector in So Cal you will recognize almost every face running each booth from from running into them in stores around time.

 Our main goal was to try to track down DC Universe Classics Wave 11 as we had heard a rumor that some dealers might be getting them in.  As we wandered up and down each aisle we started to loose hope as booth after booth told us the same story:  "Not yet", "Still on the docks waiting to be unloaded" or "Having Veteran’s Day in the middle of the week messed up shipping."

We had all but given up hope of finding them that day… then at the next to the last booth on the VERY LAST ROW….

DCUC 11 at Frank and Sons 

He had five cases of wave 11 including the Deadman variant.  We saw the Super Powers style Steppenwolf, but did not see any of the green version.

And he only wanted $25 a figure!  We looked them over… and we left empty handed.

And the quest continues….


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I guess not much has changed….

Me Then 

Except I have a LOT more toys now.

(and I WISH I still had all that Mego stuff! *sigh*)


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It’s happening again!    Remember a few weeks back when I showed you the picture of the purple carded JLU 3-pack that I found at the Target closest to my house?  Well, it’s not just confined to that Target by my house, not it’s happening at the one closest to work!

Yesterday I went to Target to get some stuff for work. TheTarget I went to is the ONLY one in my area that has confirmed sightings/purchase of the 3 new 3-packs. A friend got me a full set of the 3 newest JLU 3-packs at that store over the weekend. Someone else got the other set of 3 that would be in that case of 6 pieces.

Whoever got the other 3 3-packs must have been sitting on some old stock, because they returned the following 3-packs to that store: Purple carded Ultra Humanite 3-pack, old yellow carded Zatanna, Batman, Shining Knight 3-pack and the Vixen, Dr. Fate, Hawkgirl 3-pack.

So not only does that Target now still have 5 Captain Atom and 2 Question 3-packs on the pegs… now they have even OLDER stock!

It’s amazing we can still find anything new in these parts.

Sorry for the blurry picture.  It was taken with a camera phone while in a hurry.

  


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 As I continute to visit my local Target store waiting on the arrival of the new JLU 3-packs, this morning I walk in to find the new price increase (which I knew about), AND NOW someone has returned their old stock of figures on the Purple Cards.   *sigh*


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