Tags: star wars

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Can you dig it?

Shortpacked!: Hahaha, you thought we'd cut to one-shots this week, didn't you?


I noted in my Henkei! Dinobot write-up that he works pretty well, color-wise, with BotCon 2006's pre-Beast Dinobot toy.  I will amend, after actually comparing them under good lighting, that none of their colors are perfect matches, but they still both have the same feel. 

Have a photo of 'em together.  Why?  'Cuz I didn't feel like talking about Animated Dirge today.  Besides, we're entering that Transformers toy drought that pretty much lasts from here until BotCon, when the Revenge of the Fallen toys debut.  Might as well hold on to Dirge for a day or two!

Today I managed to complete (to the best of my knowledge) Optimus Prime's Marvel Comics section, or at least the Generation 1 portion of it.  That was a lot of writing!  It took about a week.  The section just by itself is too big to be its own page, and when you go to edit, it gives you a warning about its enormous size.  

Optimus Prime was in a lot of stuff. 

Of course, it could be worse.
M Sipher guest review

More of the same! More of the same!

Shortpacked!: Relive all your favorite beating-a-dead-horse moments!

Today's comic was put together after reading this interview on Newsarama. Y'know, I was enjoying the new G.I. Joe so far because it was shiny and new, so I hope their creators were lying through their teeth for this interview for the sake of pandering to the old-school fan. Because, dude, I will quit reading it right now if the concept laid forth in the interview turns out accurate.

But onward! Thanks everyone, because Roomies! preorders are shaping up pretty nicely! At last count, I think I need only about 10-15 more preorders and then we've sealed this thing. It's definitely doable! Go team! Just a few more!

BotCon.com has put up preview images of the next 2009 box set figure, Landshark! You can't go wrong with a name like Landshark. Well, you can go a little boring, if we're going by the color scheme. It's pretty conventional, if appreciably decoed with many nibblets of color above and beyond the usual paint operation count. But I still like him bunches. It helps that he's an entirely new character, which we haven't really gotten in a boxset since 2005. He's also a mold I really, really like. Plus he's an old-dude practical jokester! I bet he knocks on the apartment doors of young single women and tells them he's a dolphin. It's a classic.

But 'nuff of that. Settle down for yet another not-by-me review from Greg Sepelak!

Of the three Wal-Mart exclusive Star Wars Comic Packs, the set of Keoulkeech, Machook and Kettch is the one I was looking the most forward to. I do have a certain urge to army build, and when it's a bunch of different-looking guys instead of a ton of the same guy (like Clone Troopers) I'm even happier. Hasbro's been putting out a fairly steady stream of Ewok figures in the last few years in varying levels of "good buy for the money". These three are sort of average value for the money all told. Sometimes you get two Ewoks in a single normal carded release, sometimes only one.

The Ewoks proper are recycled molds, but come with all-new Stormtrooper armor and I think a new stone axe for Kettch. Keoul and Machook are the same body and mostly the same head, but Keoul's noggin is slightly retooled to fold down his ears so he can wear the helmet. Without any headgear on, the ears and the orange coloration give him an uncanny resemblance to Fozzie Bear. I need a tiny polka-dot handkerchief and brown hat for him stat. The helmet, by the way, is severely oversized compared to the normal Stormtooper noggin.

The three blend mostly well into a group of Ewok figures... well, their bodies do. Their headdresses are pretty primary, a stylistic choice Hasbro takes for all of the Comic Packs with old Marvel comic in them. They match the colors in those, which can lead to some funky-weird yet awesome packs. But all in all, it's not too bad and they fit well.

Speaking of Marvel comics, this set comes with "Small Wars", a post-Jedi tale that is really goofy, yet it amuses me greatly. The basic upshot is that Hirog, a cowardly bug-alien in a beret, is sneakily and incompetently attempting to break apart the newly-victorious Rebel Alliance by forcing a war between its two most minor races, the Ewokas and Lashbees, then blowing up the commanders of the Alliance in the confusion. The whole thing is pretty silly, and the art ranges from competent to just odd... and yet, I'm much more pleased by it than the other two in the set. Maybe because it's a self-contained tale with a resolution (again, fuck decompressed storytelling), though I think the main reason is that it doesn't try to be super-serious. It kind of takes the "light science fantasy" of Star Wars a little too far in that direction, but I appreciate that more than going too far the other way.


Hey, it's David again. Ewoks! I remember them. Anyway, I'm totally stoked for Landshark. I'm anticipating him by far the most of this year's BotCon set. (Woulda been Kup, but man that mold choice leaves me cold...)
M Sipher guest review

More alien dudes.

Joyce and Walky!: Part three of the trilogy? (Was this a trilogy?)

Hey, guys! It's another guest review from Greg Sepelak, who is not me.

If you’re buying this set for any reason other than the Amanin, then there’s something grievously wrong with you.

The Amanaman is one of the neater aliens from Return of the Jedi, seen in Jabba’s palace. Hasbro remade the original (and secondary-market-expensive) Kenner figure to much fan rejoicing, in an undersized $10 Deluxe format that in hindsight really wasn’t worth the price tag, despite the Salacious Crumb and desiccated corpse it came with. Hasbro could have easily just used that old figure in the pack, but no. They went whole-hog and made an entirely new sculpt. The new Amanamanaman has the exact same articulation as the Deluxe one, but is just flat-out BIGGER, more wiry-muscled, has clawed feet and facial curves that really make him look menacing. This one also has a bendy tail, but the stiffness of the rubbery plastic doesn’t really let you do much with it. It’s freakish and awesome. The one big downside is that it really doesn’t hold its spear well at all; the big hands just don’t have a place to grip it in any meaningful way.

Lt. Sunber? Well, in all fairness, he’s a little more visually interesting than the myriad other Imperial officers who share this body mold, mostly because he’s in green instead of gray, and coated in “mud” paint applications. Pre-release photos of the toy showed him with a huge red smear of blood on his right pectoral, but I can only assume Wal-Mart didn’t go for that. While this is more visually interesting, it also keeps him from blending into the average “batch of officers” diorama. His “oh no!” pose seen above is about as good as you’re going to get with him, action-wise. The stiff-plastic “skirt” heavily restricts his leg articulation, making his ball-jointed knees and ankles pretty pointless, and preventing him from sitting down. This is a figure made for standing at attention; I don’t know why they even bothered with leg articulation.

I have mixed emotions on the comic. Killer savage Amamnamnamanmanans slaughtering Imperials is a great idea. There is some decent action, solid art, and it is kind of nice to see “modern” Imperials using the Turbo Tanks and AT-TEs that we saw during the Clone Wars. Unfortunately, the real bloody throwdown between the Imperials and Mahnah Mahnahs happens in the next issue. This issue is largely “Lt. Sunber is a good guy at heart and he’s always right”. The dude genuinely believes that the Empire is helping bring order to a chaotic galaxy and stuff. He’s a low-born guy who’s all nice and cares about his lowly Stormtrooper subordinates and is basically the bestest ever. It comes across as heavy-handed even for Star Wars, especially in contrast to his sneering superiors. I actually have another comic that involves him, from the Basso and Mouse set (which also only barely has the toy-guys in it), where there’s implications that some of the Imperials are raping their human slaves, and a later issue Sunber stops someone from doing so… which really. I think I can do without that kind of thing in Star Wars. It feels like forced “maturity” which just gives me the crawlies, and we get the point that Sunber’s not a terrible person just fine without it.

Pack value: questionable. The Amamamamamamamaman is just damn awesome as far as I’m concerned, and, well, I guess he at least has a victim to play with. The comic is definitely better than the Rogue Squadron one, and I don’t mean that in just a “faint praise” manner, but it nonetheless leaves a slightly unpleasant taste in my mouth. Knowing how the rest of Sunber’s story plays out (of COURSE there’s drama and angst!) mitigates it, but taken in isolation, it comes across kinda… apologist-y.
M Sipher guest review

That was a close one.

Shortpacked!: Read down. All the way down!

I feel bad about this strip. It's just cranky, not funny, so feel free to yell at me for it. Maybe I'll come up with something with boobs for tomorrow! That seems to be how I apologize for things.

Meanwhile, enjoy a guest review from Greg Sepelak! I don't get much or any Star Wars to review, so I'm glad that he can fill in that content gap for me.


One of the apparently-successful parts of the Star Wars toyline is the Comic Packs. On paper, it’s a pretty good deal: For $13, you get two figures that are normally $7~$8 a pop, and a comic that’s… uh… $3 or so (I think, I don’t really buy comics anymore). Where it kind of falls apart for me, though, is that they’re usually modern “Expanded Universe” comics, and that aspect of Star Wars is… pretty dire, honestly. I’ve picked up a set or two that piqued my interests figure-wise, and aside from the old 80’s Marvel comics reprints, the comics are a big snooze, reaffirming my decision to leave the EU alone.

Yet when they announced these three Wal-Mart exclusive comic packs, I was all over ‘em. They’re chock full of Return of the Jedi alien goodness, and Jedi is my favorite of the movies, due in no small part to the nonstop stream of aliens that inhabit the film. (That was one thing I always hated about the first movie… as soon as it leaves Tattooine, the galaxy is populated by nothing but white guys.)

Ibtisam the Mon Cal (Admiral “It’s a Trap!” Ackbar’s people) and Nrin Vakil the Quarren (aka “Squid Head” per the 80’s Kenner figure line) add new-sculpt heads, forearms and removable helmets to the pre-existing and pretty damn good super-posable female and male (respectively) X-Wing pilot bodies. They fit in the various vehicles that have been available for the last few years just fine even with those weird leg-straps, and the ability for a pilot figure to sit in a damn vehicle is an important one. (I know that sounds like a “no shit” deal, but a whole lot of Star Wars figures can’t sit properly at all, let alone fit in a vehicle.) Nrin works well with the new parts, and I always loved the Squid Heads as a design. However, the Mon Cal are somewhat bulky aliens, making Ibtisam’s oversized noggin and forearms look incongruous on the thin female pilot body.

The backstory on the packaging talks about how the Mon Cal and Quarren have been basically at each other’s gills forever, yet these two end up bonding in their time as part of the same squadron. Now… imagine these two making out, all moist-like. The tentacles. Horrified? Good, I’ve done my job.

The comic they come with? Rogue Squadron is highly popular with the Star Wars fandom as I gather it. But based on this one issue, I can’t see why. Part of it is the art; the story is mostly an extended aerial scrum which is theoretically exciting, yet there is absolutely zero sense of motion at any given point. The ships just hang in the air, no motion lines or thruster contrails to give one a sense of speed or direction. Plus there are no sound effects in the book at all, which really makes the whole thing feel lifeless. To make matters worse, Ibtisam and Nrin, the figures in the toy set, are only barely in the issue. You don’t even see Nrin, just his word balloons and X-Wing in the distance. Surely there had to be another issue that actually featured the characters in the damn figure set (and maybe one that wasn’t terminally boring). Add in some generic leering Sith magician and a traitorous Bothan (are all Bothans assholes or something? Why is every race “nothing but X” in the EU anyway?) wrapped in some plot line that seems to progress nowhere in a single issue (Christ on a Cone of Tragedy, I despise decompressed storytelling), and as a jumping-in point, the issue makes me want to jump right the hell back out.

Despite the comic, I like the toy set and don’t remotely regret the purchase. They’re solid figures of alien-types I like, presented in a way that actually does feel like they should blend into the movies (unlike a lot of the EU), plus they add a bit more variety to the parade of white guys in the Rebel flight crew. (That picture doesn’t even show all the Rebel pilots they’ve made. I skipped a few, and they’re also white guys.)

Next, green vs. green.


Thanks to everyone who participated in yesterday's Joyce and Walky! sale! It's still before midnight in some parts of the world, so it's not totally too late.

I'm serious about not liking today's strip. It's 8pm at the time I'm writing this, and I have three hours until update, and I'm thinking and thinking if I can come up with something different and finish it in that time.

Well, that's what I did! I feel much better. Since I'm sure you'll all be demanding it anyhow, here is the discarded strip. Sorry, almost ran that.
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Fuck youuuuu!

Shortpacked!: Blue balls.

Hello, folks! I did manage to get the Millennium Falcon home from San Diego, sorta, kinda. We ended up doing the simplest thing. Maggie's mom returned the thing, and I just tried to find one when I got home. It took a few nerve-wracking days, but I found it! Oh, and that complimentary figure set, too, the one with the Luke and Obi-wan.

Anyway, here's a picture of Cyclonus and Ravage and the Millennium Falcon. The thing is huge. And heavy. My dreams of running around the house with it making "woooosh"ing noises is slightly curtailed. It's so damn heavy! Maybe I'll have to schedule some trips to the gym to make this dream come true.

Today is a special date. And not just because it's New Years Eve/Day! You see, back in 1989, Marvel UK featured a story set in the far-flung future year of 2009, on New Years Day! That's right, the future is now. And we all dress like this now.

Enjoy your future silver jumpsuits with embroidered initials. Fuck youuuuuuu!
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A is A. Hurm.

Shortpacked!: God I want this thing so bad.

You may have seen one of these babies Taking up the entire bottom half of an endcap at your local Target. It won't be a very good fit. Its size defies traditional retail shelving organization.

I covet it like nothing else. Sadly, I really have no room for it. It'd be completely irresponsible of me to purchase.

Thankfully, I can console myself with The Question. I doubletook when I was at Target this morning. Can this be? Has it finally come to pass? For years, characters like The Question were seemingly off-limits to Mattel, but with their recent acquisition of a broader DC Comics license, our dreams can now come true.

I was thinking, at first, due to him being a dude in a suit and apparently of a slightly larger scale than the other Justice League Unlimited figures, that he must be an old Kenner/Hasbro Bruce Wayne figure. No, that doesn't seem to be the case. He's actually an entirely new mold guy-in-a-suit who's a little too large for the usual Mattel scale the Mattel Two-Face with new arms, head, and trenchcoat. He's not so large that he stands out terribly, but he stands a head or two over most of the line. Just not... all of it. So pose him next to other tall people! Keep him the hell away from Luthor and Flash.

His new-tooling-ness makes more sense when it was suggested to me that he shares a body with the upcoming Clock King. Of course, that just means Clock King is going to be super-tall too, which is hilarious.

The sculpt itself is great. It's crisp. And he stands! Oh heaven mercy, he stands. (That's another reason I assumed it must have been an old Kenner/Hasbro mold.) Kickass.

After getting home with the toy, I popped in some Justice League Unlimited on DVD to watch while I drew next Tuesday's strip and Maggie folded laundry. "He's awesome! He's like Rorschach!" she exclaimed. Other way around, dear. Other way around.

(Oh, I forgot to mention he comes in a three-pack with Flash and Wonder Woman. Maggie now owns the Flash, because he's reportedly a cutie.)

Mailings of Book 2 continues at a good pace. I'm three-quarters done, and I'm awaiting another shipment of 50 pre-paid Priority Mail envelopes so I can continue mailing out domestic orders. In the meantime, I've dedicated my time to mailing out international orders. We're getting there, folks!
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You came here to die!

Shortpacked!: *shudder*

I'm out to see a movie. I am ashamed to admit it is Clone Wars.

Edit: Man, what's wrong with people? That wasn't terrible at all. All weekend I've gotten email after email about how I just have to destroy it in a strip or something. I don't understand. Animation was awfully wooden, sure, but otherwise the movie was very enjoyable. Hmph.

Do you not realize how nice it is to be able to watch a Star Wars film without retarded dialogue?!
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My apparent failings as a writer.

Shortpacked!@TNI: I just realized now I could have done a Raiders ref. I am a loser.
Shortpacked!: This strip says "screw you!" to conventional reading order.

No, seriously, I mean it. A single case of Wave 3 Indiana Jones being carted slowly through an entire warehouse full of boxes of Waves 1 and 2? It's so obvious. So simple in its beauty. Jesus, me. What the hell is wrong with you?

Here's more pictures from Steve and Vanessa's wedding! You may not know the guy, but I still thought there might be some images of interest.


That's not any ninja. That's Rich Dombeck, the real-life inspiration for Ninja Rick. That's right, this is a genuine Shortpacked! celebrity. It's this guy's face sketched in your Shortpacked! books if you asked for him.


As I mentioned the other day, this was a costume wedding. Show up as something or get kicked out! This image offers a quick look at the range of stuff that was there.


Steve, the groom, is the Han Solo fellow on the left. And, hey, look, his Best Man and their cronies! Just barely peeking into the frame is an elaborate and amazingly geeky Captain Pike costume. Yeah, that box-shaped thing. You may know the specific reference. In the extreme foreground is the back of the father of the groom, Mr. Richardson. He went as Indiana Jones.


And it's the groom and me! Steve spent all day posing for pictures like this. That poor guy. Well, okay, he brought this on himself.


And the special people we're there to see! Vanessa is, of course, Princess Leia in her Handing-Out-Medals-To-Everyone-But-Chewie gown. Her father came as Darth Vader. Yikes. Accurate and sends a message!

(The message is that he will choke you.)