Friday, February 20, 2015

THE ROBOTASTIC SHOCKPOPOCALYPSE!



The breaking of the 80th seal of the Roboplastic Apocalypse unleashes more pops and shocks than a Popple party in an electric chair. Listen in pop and awe as I take you to Shock Pop Comic Con, a brand new pop/horror/comic convention in Fort Lauderdale held Friday the 13th/Valentine's Day weekend 2015. Thrill to the adventures of the Nostrodomatron as I squander fantastic opportunities for in depth interviews with rarely appearing legends in the history of robot based science fiction. Because mostly what happens is I take advantage of fantastic opportunities to waste my time playing free Star Wars pinball all day. How did Gerry Conway feel about writing for licensed toy properties? What is your New York grandma's favorite robot show? How did Mark Ryan sneak the word 'bollocks' into the Transformers movies? What does 'bollocks' even mean? All that and more in this I'LL NEVER WASH MY BUMBLEBEE'S BOLLOCKS AGAIN edition of the podcastalypse!

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See the rest of my Shock Pop pictures at Flickr Macrocrania.


This recording was originally eight solid minutes of me playing Star Wars pinball followed by 30 minutes of me complaining about the prices of Transformers I already have and then one and a half minutes of me talking to Richard Epcar. Then with the con mostly over I realized there was more to life than Jawa pinball and toy complaining, so I started walking around the con floor and going to panels and asking interesting people terrible questions. I decided to keep a little under five minutes of the Star Wars pinball, but I promise it's spread out over the course of the show so it's not as painful as it sounds and you will hopefully experience less discomfort than Richard Epcar did as I talked to him. Hopefully.

Predator, Skeletor, and (since this is South Florida) Cuban Bugs Bunny.


José Delbo and Will Simpson both found themselves drawing Transformers comics for Marvel in the latter half of the 1980s, but on different sides of the planet. I knew a great picture opportunity when I saw one and I captured this, the first time they had ever been in the same room together. Except that they recognized each other because they were both at the Belfast Film and Comic Con late last year. But at least this picture with me is the only picture of them together (well except for the other picture I took with just them together). Well I'm sure it's special and historic anyways. Speaking of which, Gerry Conway is ridiculously better looking than me.


Richard Epcar is my secret wonder twin and we activated our powers to record the most captivating one and a half minutes ever recorded of me telling him how much I loved Robots in Disguise. Miraculously he got a word in edgewise and was able to talk a little about how he liked working on Transformers as a writer and voice actor. But mostly the whole thing was an excuse to trick him into signing my bootleg RiD DVD set made by my old friend John Spangler. It turned out no tricking was required and he told me he wished he had one! But even if he had a set he still couldn't watch it because there's no time off from being the world's busiest voice acting wonder twin of the roboplastic apocalypse.





Harmony Gold VP of Marketing Kevin McKeever was holding Robotech panels all weekend long telling about the future of Robotech licensing and giving progress reports on the upcoming movie. He has an 'ask me anything' policy so I fired away with questions about how he got hired and what it's like being a roboplastic historian working for Harmony Gold. I even asked about that whole Transformers SDCC exclusive Jetfire kerfluffle from a few years back. Now I know people see Harmony Gold as the bitter enemy of mankind and evil Martian oppressors and suppressor of all things Macross but I have never believed that. And I am not just saying that because Kevin gave me a sweet cartoon boobie girl calendar for free. (Okay maybe I am.)



Well I know his name is Simon and he likes to do drawrings! The legendary Simon Bisley signed my old copies of 2000AD and drew Captain America, Judge Dredd, Lobo, and big crowds as he sketched for people all weekend long. I asked for an interview but he couldn't say much about the upcoming Joe Pineapples story in 2000AD he's doing with Pat Mills. We came to the mutual conclusion that it would be in everyone's best interest not to record so as to not compromise the artistic integrity of the project. Actually the truth is he flat out told me no and I cried inside like a little baby. So I am left with only great pictures, fantastic memories of our brief encounter, and some nice scribblings on my tear stained books. Don't worry I'll be okay. No I won't.



During the Transformer panel Mark Ryan played with my Human Alliance Bumblebee, which is really awesome considering the roles he has had in the Michael Bay Transformers movies. I am not sure if he touched it in the bollocks or if my Bumblebee's bollocks were correctly transformed. Over the course of an hour Mr. Ryan and Will Simpson told movie industry stories (which I did not record) and a couple of Transformer ones (which I did). I was the only person in the audience for most of the panel so it was hard to stealthily sneak pictures and record audio from three feet away. But of course I did it anyway because even if I am the only person in the audience, I bring all my fellow Macrocranians with me wherever I go in the digital voice recorder I carry. So in a way there were maybe six people in the audience, five of which were in my pants snuggling my bollocks.




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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Talking Transformers and Drawing Dragons with Will Simpson



It's time to fire up the GoBackaTron 1985thousand and crack open the 79th seal of the Roboplastic Apocalypse with none other than Game of Thrones lead storyboard artist Will Simpson! Yes I got super lucky on the first day of Shock Pop Comic Con 2015 in Fort Lauderdale and was able to sit down with Mr. Simpson for a quick ten minute interview that lasted over an hour. We talked about his career as a comics illustrator working at Marvel UK during the early days of the Transformers and also a little about what he's doing now in television and film. How is hunting Dinobots better than eating cheesy wafers? Why are human characters so important in stories about giant robots? What Michelangelo sculpture is a secret macrocranian? Find out all that and more in this LIFE IS LIKE A BOX OF DRAGONS episode of the podcastalypse!

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This is my absolute favorite panel from UK issue 41. Mr. Simpson explained the monstrous distortion of Soundwave's features is because the story at that point is being told from Circuit Breaker's point of view. That's his signature in purple in the middle.

A couple more scribblings that mean a lot to me. I got the cover to UK 42 signed and now my Titan trade of Time Wars has Furman's, Wildman's, and Simpson's signatures.



Ultra Magnus will always be the character I think of when I think Marvel UK so I brought the Masterpiece toy along for a picture.

These pages are actually from the IDW Marvel Classics UK Transformers vol 2 trade. Mr. Simpson loved looking through this book and was very impressed with the completeness of the contents and all the bonus materials. Looking through it was like taking a trip back in time for him.



This is an uncredited interior story from 2000AD prog 556 that I didn't know Mr. Simpson did until he cracked it open and told me.



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I will need a little time to gather links to as many of the artists and projects referenced during this interview but I promise I will get it done!

Sunday, February 01, 2015

KID STUFF!!



The breaking of the 78th seal of the Roboplastic Apocalypse is a galaxy ranging ride through preproduction materials of the old Kid Stuff book, record and tape sets of the 80s! SEE pictures of my trip to the Bear and Bird Gallery's "Outside the Box" exhibit showcasing old printer's proofs and original art from childhood literary classics like Transformers: When Continentas Collide and Slaves of the Insecticons! HEAR my stunned amazement at the selection of strange and unknowable items from the production process of the read along book sets of my childhood. READ about the shocking unexpected find buried within the pile of papers I bought! What original Pablo Marcos Transformer art was up for grabs? What mysterious José Delbo robot drawing is haunting my every waking minute? And does Siimon Bisley even lift? Find out all that and more in this BEARS, BIRDS, BOTS AND ROBO HORSIES OH MY edition of the podcastalypse!

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NOW HEAR / SEE / READ THIS

If you look on the back of your Transformer books by Kid Stuff you'll see their address listed as 450 N. Park Road, Hollywood, Florida 33021. Well that's just a few zip codes and two city bus rides away from me so I took a picture of the building that is there today, which I imagine was where they made the legendary Transformers adventures When Continents Collide, Satellite of Doom, Storms of Destruction, Jaws of Terror, and Slaves of the Insecticons. I got to meet Pablo Marcos and have him sign some of the Kid Stuff books he illustrated a couple episodes ago so these stories are kind of special to me.

Imagine my surprise then when I was at the comic shop the other day and their upstairs gallery had on display a ton of old Kid Stuff book and tape preproduction materials! Actually you don't have to imagine because this episode was recorded right when I was seeing it all for the first time. There was art from tons of different book and record series including G.I. Joe, Marvel and DC Super Heroes, Masters of the Universe, Barbie, She-Ra, Poochie, Webster, Sesame Street, Muppets, and of course the Transformers. Plus to top it all off, every last bit of it was for sale! The whole exhibit is ongoing through March so you want to check it out before people like me (except with money) buy up everything.
There were easily over a hundred pieces from dozens of licensed properties.

'Satellite of Doom' Composition mock up (above left) and 'Slaves of the Insecticons' printing proof (above right)

I couldn't place the scene of Optimus and Prowl (above left) in any Kid Stuff book I know of but the piece to the right is from 'When Continents Collide'.

More original Pablo Marcos art from 'When Continents Collide'. Not bad at 60-75 bucks a pop.


I don't know what these were but the clear plastic layer on the top had the black line art and the layer beneath it was all the colors.


I don't know anything about He-Man or G.I. Joe Kid Stuff releases but these were cool looking to me.

I kinda wanted to get the printer proof of the Kid Stuff Transformers display (above left) but I'm not really a preproduction collector. However, I could not pass up the chance to buy a bundle of Galaxy Rangers materials (above right) all together for only 20 bucks!


The bulk of what was in the Galaxy Ranger pack was these storyboard style composition mockups. They're not really that interesting but the real treat was yet to come...


The big surprise for me was this set of Galaxy Rangers 35mm film frames! Since the book used animation cels from the second episode of Galaxy Rangers as illustrations, the production materials included clips of 35mm film with frames from the cartoon!

Goose piloting Ranger-2 flying alongside Ranger-1.

The Cybersteeds, or space robo horsies as I call them.

Check out these guns and Niko in a classic 'smack my head' moment.



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Evil King Macrocranios was voted king by the evil peoples of the Kingdom of Macrocrania. They listen to Iron Maiden all day and try to take pictures of ghosts with their webcams.