Saturday, April 18, 2015

ONE LAST BLAST!



The breaking of the 82nd seal of the Roboplastic Apocalypse is the the sound of millions of Bon Jovis and Bruce Speingsteens crying out in terror as the Nostrodomatron invades New Jersey! Yes I hit up East Coast Comic Con 2015 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center and boy did I have a blast talking to the most Robotastic lineup of Marvel comic creators I have ever seen at one convention. Listen in horror as I get Mark Texeira to sign a cover he's always wanted people to know he did while the books I asked Herb Trimpe to sign weren't so lucky. Plus I get in some titanic conversations with the TechSpectacular Bob Budiansky and Darin' Dave Hunt that shake the very foundations of our understanding of life, the universe, toy robot comics, and kangaroos wearing robotic body armor. What happens when you sing showtunes to Larry Hama? What unpublished Marvel Transformers comic art did Dave Hunt have Dwelling in the Depths of his drawings? And did Hasbro keep Bob Budiansky locked in the back and feed him raw meat? Find out all that and more in this HUNT 'N BUD & HERB WITH TEX edition of the podcastalypse!

Or download it directly

See more of my East Coast Comic Con pictures at Flickr Macrocrania.


COMICS CON AMIGOS

I could not have picked a better con for the final convention recorded episode of the Roboplastic Podcastalypse. It had a lineup of legendary comic creators, some of whom I was able to trick into doing a little talky talky while they signed comics and drew sketches and met with their fans. ECCC had that absolutely perfect mix of celebrity and fan interaction that I always hope to get when I go to a show. Above left you'll see someone doing a professional interview with Bob Budiansky with a camera and microphone and everything! Meanwhile, Herb Trimpe was sketching incredibly accurate likenesses of people on the backs of their shirts!



THEY'RE SUCH CARDS!

Legendary professional fan Fred Hembeck was destroying the Marvel Universe way before Ultron made it cool. He brought a binder full of sketch cards that was worth the price of admission to just look through. He gave me the lowdown on why his ROM sketches are so tough to get even though he's constantly eBaying them all the time. I finally got Larry Hama to sign my Bucky O'Hare Christmas cards and I got to prove to him that I, too, had time to see plays. Massive thanks to the Real Life Peter Griffin for helping me with the outro to this episode.



CONVENTION LIKE IT'S 1979!

My favorite dealer of the show award went to the RetroArtBlog.com. They had tons of stuff from the late 70s that blew me away like Micronaut Colorforms, Starbirds galore, metal lunchboxes up the wazoo, and even the super rare Godzilla tabletop game, which they demonstrated to a guy wearing a helmet made of plush puppies. They were even selling the control art for the Shogun Warrior Colorforms background and a crazy Japanese Super Robot Projector set that I'd never seen before in my life. If there's a thirty year old Colorforms set or ViewMaster reel you need, put on your bell bottoms, load up some Bee Gees in the 8 track player of your custom van and go hit them up.



ALL THE WAY TO TEX'ES

Mark Texeira was an absolute firecracker as he always is and he finally settled the question of who penciled the cover to Transformers #3. He also settled the question of what he's doing now by telling me about his Law of Resistance book with PKMM Entertainment, his A Hero's Death Kickstarter project, the recent Ghost Rider cover he did, and his upcoming appearances at Big Wow ComicFest April 17-8, Motor City Comic Con in May, and HeroesCon in June!



THE BEST LOUSY SKETCHER EVER!

It is always a pleasure catching up with my favorite lousy sketcher, Papercutz Editor-In-Chief Mr. Jim Salicrup. I bought a couple lousy sketches and although I didn't record it, we talked about Transformers and Visionaries and that time I interviewed him back at Miami Book Fair 2010. (Well maybe not that last one.) He signed my Transformers #4 and Visionaries #1 (which he wrote) and I asked him if he knew anything about The Night the Transformers Saved Christmas but he didn't know they did. I let him know how awesome those Papercutz Lego Ninjago books sold at my kid's first grade book fairs and I told him he really needs to come down to Florida more often so he can tell us some of his ol' Spidey Super Stories .





DARIN' TO TALK WITH DAVE!

It was a highlight of my convention interviewing life to finally meet Darin' Dave Hunt, the man who inked the majority of Jose Delbo's pencils during their run on Transformers. Mr. Hunt brought several binders of his work to show to fans, including a couple pages of never-before-published Transformers art! He was able to talk a lot about how much work Transformers was and why there were some books that were created but never published. He also explained who that guy was on the cover to People magazine he drew in Transformers #45! Check out his lengthy ComicBookDB.com profile and hit him up on Facebook!




DWELLIN' IN THE DRAWINGS!

The pages above are part of an unpublished Transformers comic from the original Marvel run, whose existence had up to this point not been widely known. Mr. Hunt didn't really understand the magnitude of importance these three pages of unpublished Transformers comics art carried with them. As the artist he didn't really know the characters or the significance of a Transformer story that never made it to print, but I made sure to explain to him what a big deal it was. He did say he thought the characters he inked over Ian Akin's pencils were a noticeable departure from the designs he was used to drawing. That would make sense since these pages were from a story that was adapted from the Transformers cartoon, featuring characters that were never used in the mainstream Budiansky/Furman books. He told me he wished he knew more about Transformers so that he could have understood these things, but I told him he didn't have to know anything about them-he LIVED them for a good many years! He agreed with me and said he may not know much about the mythos, but boy could he draw the heck out of 'em.



UPDATE:
The following sites picked up on the news of these pages' discovery and further commentary can be found at these links:

Seibertron.com-Unpublished Marvel Transformers G1 Comic Art by Ian Akin and David Hunt - Dweller in the Depths

TFormers.com-Unpublished Marvel Comics Adaptation of Dweller In The Depths Revealed By Dave Hunt

The Allspark-Unpublished Marvel G1 comic art for an adaptation of "The Dweller in the Depths"

TFArchive-"Lost" Marvel Issue Art Discovered.

Transmasters UK-Unpublished Comics based on Marvel US cartoon

OzFormers-Unproduced Marvel Gen1 comic story





THERE'S NO OTHER LIKE HIM!

Depending on what time it was, Bob Budiansky was at his table drawing all manner of superheroes, monsters, demons and robots. And some people even came by to get sketches from him, too! Yes I finally got the chance to sit down for a good 20 minutes and talk to the man who killed Optimus Prime about all sorts of stuff from the recent revival of interest in Sleepwalker and Brute Force to that time Hasbro locked him up and fed him raw meat. Unfortunately I did not get to ask him what Leader-1's tech spec motto would be or if the cover to The Interplanetary Wrestling Championship was a metaphor for a man's quest to rid one's self of toy robot addiction, but here's hoping maybe one day down the line he'll accidentally find himself at a 7-11 in Florida where I'm buying lotto tickets, hot dogs, and Tastycake lemon pies and our magical conversation lightning will strike again.




SHOW NOTES OF THE PODCASTALYPSE

Neal Adams sang me the Bucky O'Hare song!



A Hot Pocket for 20 cents is a steal any day of the week.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

THE KING OF ALL MONSTERS!



I never really understood why people wept when movie stars or royalty died. I get it now. Herb Trimpe was my Clint Eastwood of comics and my King Richard of robots. I loved him and his work so much that Colin and I dedicated entire episodes of the Roboplastic Podcastalypse to our disappointment at not being able to see him after last minute cancellations at conventions. And when the stars aligned and I finally did get to meet him, it was glorious.

He was at East Coast Comic Con this past weekend so I made sure to stop by his table and finally get my Robotix #1 signed. I planned on buying a sketch and getting a picture with him but his Saturday commissions list was full. I asked him if he'd be back Sunday and he said yes so I figured I'd get that drawing and picture then. He never showed up Sunday and I guess I figured it wasn't a big deal and we'd meet again somewhere down the road.

Well I won't be getting that chance now but I will cherish forever that conversation we had in episode 73 about why Transformers weren't all that great and why Shogun Warriors were. And of course spending most of our time talking not about robot comic books but about being Air Force Weather observers during two entirely different eras. Thank you so much for keeping such a rigorous convention schedule and giving so many people the chance to meet you, but most of all, goodbye, Mr. Trimpe. Wherever you are I know those kaiju have gotta be running scared from your rocket punches!

THE END OF THE ROAD!

Having a blog and podcast has been an absolute blast, both because of the people I've fooled into talking to me and especially the ones I have fooled into listening to me. I also had a blast this weekend after spending a little bit of time with Mark Texeira, Dave Hunt, and Bob Budiansky. I don't know that I've ever had more fun than I did at East Coast Comic Con.

I came to the realization that there's nothing I could really do to top the soon to be released show 82, plus my impending move from Florida in a few weeks is going to be a big change. Southern Florida was really the heart of the Roboplastic Podcastalypse and it will not be the same without recording here. Plus 84 is a really cool number to end a show about old toy robots on.

So I just wanted to let you, my fellow Macrocranians, know that episode 84 will be the last episode of The Roboplastic Podcastalypse. 82 will be the ECCC show, 83 I would like to do a listener call in type deal and 84 will be kind of a special retrospective. I'd like to release 84 on the 4th of July so I can pretend the fireworks are for me!

I have already written here a little more than I think an announcement about the end of a show with 12 listeners deserves but I figured a bit of an explanation was in order because you guys mean a lot to me.

Friday, March 20, 2015

GoBot or GoLanta!



The cracking of the 81st seal of the Roboplastic Apocalypse unleashes hundreds of action figure people, monsters, and robots blasting off in their little plastic space ships and shuttles for the Marriot Century Center in Atlanta, Georgia! Journey with the Nostrodomatron to the lost continent of JoeLanta where all manner of exotic action figures and people from the last 40 years of toy aisles gathered to buy toys, sell toys, dress up like toys, and drop toys on each others' heads from 15 stories high. Listen to bizarre stories of me talking to exciting new people like 90s Robotech artist Dusty Griffin, reuniting with exciting old people like Radio Free Cybertron's Brian Kilby, and skillfully avoiding katanas to my face while in the presence of Larry Hama. How much fun was it being a teenager drawing a Robotech comic book in the 90s? How much not fun was it missing out on the cool JoeLanta panels? And what happens when you enter a GI Joe convention's cosplay contest dressed in a cardboard GoBot costume? Find out all that and more in this GOing IS HALF THE BATTLE edition of the Podcastalypse!

Or download it directly

See a ton more of my JoeLanta 2015 pictures at Flickr Macrocrania.


SLAY YOUR WALLET AND ALL YOU DESIRE SHALL BE YOURS

It's been a long time since I've been to a convention in a hotel where the focus is purely on toys, and I've never been to one on the magnitude of JoeLanta. JoeLanta is like a Secret Wars world of toys where the Beyonder made a hotel from different 80s toy store aisles and combined them all into one absolutely magical old toy shopping experience. To describe this as a 12 inch G.I. Joe con or even just a hotel toy convention doesn't do it justice. JoeLanta is almost like visiting a Toys R Us that hasn't sold out of anything since 1976. There was every gigantic toy playset from every major toyline going back to the early 80s. I saw the Death Star, Castle Greyskull, Snake Mountain, Fortress Maximus, Defiant Shuttle Complexes, Terrordromes, Boulder Hill, the U.S.S. Flagg, and the GoBot Command Center. About the only notably missing stuff was playsets from lesser known lines like Robo Force, Voltron, and Robotech but they may have been there and I just didn't see them. It was an absolute blast because you never knew what you were going to see as you walked around. Just about every toyline from my late 70s/mid 80s childhood was represented by loose, boxed, or sealed toys or paraphernalia. Ironically I didn't see any Secret Wars toys but at JoeLanta you LIVE the Secret Wars of toys. .


WHEN TOYLINETINENTS COLLIDE

Highlights of the show for me included seeing a loose AND boxed Mattel Godzilla, a Matchbox Robotech Destroid Monster with the Kay Bee clearance price tag of $1.99, the entire first series of carded Rock Lords for 35 bucks each, and the hardcover version of the Kid Stuff read along Transformers book 'When Continents Collide'. (You can see a picture of me buying it here.) I didn't even know the hardcover version existed and I was further floored to find it had extra illustrations not included in the softcover version I grew up with! I will probably be doing a post about that in the future because I did not expect to make such a momentous new-to-me Transformers discovery like that. I was so pumped that I went online to research it and came across this great episode of the Fanholes podcast featuring an in depth exploration of When Continents Collide and also Satellite of Doom. Super huge thanks to Andrea's 80s Toys for selling me the book for five bucks. I haven't been this excited about continental collisions since 1985.


RETURN TO RETURN TO MACROSS

Dusty Griffin was just seventeen years old back in 1996 when he drew and inked the last seven issues of Academy Comics' 'Robotech: Return to Macross'. In the only portion of this episode actually recorded at JoeLanta, we talked about what it was like working for a tiny indie comic studio that somehow landed the international Robotech license. It was fun getting to meet a guy who was living the dream drawing the final seven issues of a Robotech book at an age when my biggest accomplishment was getting a letter printed in the Transformers comic. We hit on what it was like having critics (and how he handled one of his more outspoken ones), working with Harmony Gold, and how he's still drawing robotty stuff all these years later.


THE MOST DANGEROUS CON IN THE WORLD

The Saturday night parachute drop was pretty much my whole reason for attending. People would strap parachutes to their twelve inch tall GI Joes and drop them 15 stories from the top of the hotel onto the grateful heads of the assembled uplookers in the lobby below. Or at least that's what they were supposed to do. The figures whose parachutes successfully deployed weren't in the clear unless they avoided veering into lower floor hallways, getting stuck on the lobby light fixtures, or flying into the dreaded elevator shafts. This insanity is what sets Joelanta apart from your normal toy convention craziness. This insanity is also what separates the Marriot from hotels with working elevators.


Crappy phone pic I took at the Collecting Transformers panel.


Radio Free GoBotron! Scooter hangs with Andrew, Brian, and Rob from RFC.


CHALLENGE OF THE JOEBOT COSTUME

My Scooter costume was in terrible shape after the last time I wore it at Florida Supercon. It was smashed to hell all stuffed into a tiny suitcase, torn and broken with missing pieces, and I don't know what the heck I was thinking making his face eyerolling like that. So I decided what Scooter needed for GoLanta was a complete overhaul including new parts and getting that frown turned upside down. Unfortunately I decided to start working on this at the last minute but that was cool because driving yourself crazy finishing your ridiculous costume is standard practice as I learned from Yaya Han on that Heroes of Cosplay show. So I spent all night Saturday until 5 am Sunday fixing up the thing in the hotel bathroom so as to not disturb my family with the sound of unrolling duct tape and the smell of sharpie marker. Sunday morning once it was go time I realized I had to choose between attending Larry Hama's Silent Interlude panel dressed up as a cardboard robot or just going as a normal weirdo. Since I wanted maximum GoBot costume time and I didn't want to be a distraction at his panel, I chose to suit up and not attend. It was a tough choice but I think it was the right one because any convention where I can leave without getting my ass kicked by Larry Hama is a good one.


CALAMITY AND JOE

Last December I got to meet Larry Hama and he gave me thirty minutes that forever changed my life (or at least an appreciation of Broadway show tunes). This go round was supposed to be the momentous occasion where I introduced him to my kid (and the more momentouser occasion where I'd get my Bucky O' Hare Christmas cards signed). But we're there at his table and my son blanks out like he's never heard of Bucky O' Hare before, making me seem like one of Chuck Dixon's Seven Deadly Fans. Then I forgot to pull out my Bucky O' Hare Christmas cards and to top it all off I'm dressed as a cardboard GoBot. The whole time I get the feeling he was just waiting to plant a katana in my forehead if I gave him a reason to. So I wasn't exactly endearing myself to the man but he did sign my 30th anniversary copy of Silent Interlude, my Peter Porker #1, and my Blinky.


NO GOOD GOBOT COSTUME GOES UNPUNISHED

I was having my delusions of JoeLantean grandeur and gift certificates so I decided to enter the costume contest, which I've never done before despite my history of robot costume ridiculousness. In keeping with my GoBot or Go Home attitude I decided to answer all the emcee's questions in character with my horrendous Frank Welker impersonation which hopefully did not get recorded despite all those bright little red lights I saw floating in the sea of audience darkness. It was pretty trippy when the room exploded in applause after Scooter admitted being made of cardboard and duct tape. It was also pretty weird when the winner was determined by which contestant got the most cheers from the crowd and they cheered the loudest for me! But the most surreal part of the whole experience was when I went to collect my prize expecting to get a gift certificate to the dealer room and they instead gave me my choice of four Monster High dolls. But in the end I was just grateful that the JoeLanta crowd let any ani-GoBot hate go and elected me their king. And I was also grateful nobody showed up dressed as Optimus Prime.



SHOW NOTES OF THE PODCASTALYPSE
 

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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.