Friday, 29 January 2010

Winging it...

Welcome back to the Friday update.

Lots of great ideas in Monday’s comments section. I really like all the ideas of other collections and additions to the current Marvel Collection.

I personally would love an Indy comics figurine collection. I’d want to get as much Dark Horse and Image characters in as possible. My favourites would be: Hellboy, Savage Dragon, Spawn, Witchblade, Ash (from Evil Dead), Invincible, Rick Grimes from Walking Dead… the list would never end.

At the moment it’s not something we’re planning to do (it’s a little tricky with all the individual character rights) but hey never say never.

I would also love to do at least one Amalgam Comics character but as the comics were a joint Marvel/DC publication the logistics of getting the licence and producing the figures make it highly unlikely.

Unfortunately, the same licence issues raise their ugly heads when looking at other Marvel published work. Micronauts, Rom, Dr. Who, Star Trek and Star Wars were all properties that were licensed by Marvel. Once their agreement came to an end Marvel could no longer use the characters and certainly couldn’t let us use them. This is why some old Marvel comics cannot be easily reprinted.

We had a similar issue with our Shang-Chi magazine. As was pointed out in the magazine, we couldn’t show or even mention that Shang’s father was supposed to be Fu Manchu. This is because Stan Lee licensed Fu from Sax Rohmer’s estate. It also explains why there has never been a collected addition of Master of Kung Fu – Marvel would either have to pay for a licence or remove images and references of Fu Manchu from the comics!

Anyway, just wanted to explain why at the moment certain things can’t be done. This of course doesn’t stop you guys from letting us know what you want added to the collection or what new collections you’d like. If you really want a Shi or Hellboy or Street Fighter figurine collection let us know.

Right so on to this week’s figure update, I present to you the Wasp. We’ve not completely finished this character yet and are actually investigating the use of clear (possibly plastic) wings instead of the ones in this image. What do you think?

Monday, 25 January 2010

Batroc the Leaper

So from the comments over the last couple of weeks I can see that the announcement of Omega Red as potentially the next special is a little controversial.

As I tried to explain on Friday we’re looking at doing a normal sized special after Cloak and Dagger. We’ve done this to keep a balance to the specials coming out this year. So from that standpoint, I looked over the list of specials both here and on the forum and Omega Red seemed to be very high on your agenda. Granted Sasquatch is more often the most requested, I belief we should put the Canadian hairball out as a slightly larger special. He won’t be a mega special but would be significantly bigger (in height and bulk) than the regular specials – akin to the Gorilla Grodd figure from the DC Collection.

I understand that some people are worried that we’re putting out too many X-Men related specials (with the Blob looking to appear at the end of the year) but I am also considering Ronan the Accuser as a normal special for this year.

Neither is guaranteed at the moment but it will definitely be one of the two – perhaps we’ll get both sculpted up and see which you guys prefer. Just an idea at this stage.

As for double packs, we’re still looking at doing them but I’m currently working with the marketing and production sides of our company to make sure they really are viable alternatives to our usual specials. I still love the idea of Aurora and Northstar and I’ll be pushing for that pack. I really also like the idea of Sasquatch and Puck, what do you guys think?

Other good news is that I’ve been told we’re highly likely to get another extension and go up to 180 issues. Nothing is confirmed yet but it is looking good, so get those lists ready again.

There were a few questions about Marvel Girl and Cannonball’s costumes. At the moment we’ve decided to go with the green and yellow modern look for Marvel Girl (without the mask). We’ve not quite decided Cannonball’s, my art editor really wanted to have him in the classic New Mutants costume but I don’t think it’s really popular enough (plus it’s a little boring). Personally I think the most recent costume could look nice.

And lastly here’s a figure update for this week: Batroc the Leaper.

Although it is not completely finished, I think the pose says it all.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Back on Monday

Just a quick note to say sorry, I've been super busy today so won't get the chance to do a proper update until Monday.

Just wanted to let you know Omega Red is not 100% confirmed and that the reason Sasquatch wasn't chosen over Omega is that he's a little too big for a regular special, he's more Gorilla Grodd sized (DC collection special).

I'll explain more and update about the specials on Monday.

Have a good weekend.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Crimson Dynamo

First up is some news on the specials:

Fin Fang Foom is due to go on sale on 25th Feb.

Our special after that will be Cloak and Dagger due sometime in May.

We’re currently looking at who should come after Cloak and Dagger. We want to do a normal priced/sized special so have ruled out a double pack or mega special. At the moment we’re considering doing an Omega Red special.

The reason for this is that he’s always one of (if not) the most popular specials requested. The other option could be to do Odin but with a Thor movie due out next year, it might make sense to wait until then. We’ll definitely not be going for a movie version but at that point I might be able to keep Odin a normal special but convince higher-ups to make him a little more impressive. Don’t worry that doesn’t mean changing the base (we’ll have no repeat of Abomination) it just means we might get his magical spear Gungnir as well as the ravens and make the figure a little bigger.

On to the figurine preview:
As you demanded it (well some of you anyway) here’s the Crimson Dynamo figurine.

We had a number of difficult choices with this figure.

First we needed to decide which armour to go with. As you can see we went for what is technically the Mark III armour but sometimes known as Mark IV. Our reasons for choosing this were that the original armour was a little too bulky to be a normal figure and was only worn for a short period. What is sometimes known as the Mark II armour (and this is what confuses the naming convention) was essentially the same as the first and once again only worn for one issue.

What that really left us with was either the next armour seen in the comics (Mark II) or the one after (Mark III). Most of the costumes after III were very short lived, not very iconic and in some cases not really even crimson.

In the end I decided to go for the Mark III as this armour not only has history, but is also very similar to the armour being used at the moment. I personally think the armour looks modern enough to be standing around our Iron Man and War Machine figures but also retains a classic Soviet Crimson Dynamo look.

The actual pose for the figurine was chosen to emphasise the qualities of the character. We wanted to have him standing in a very hostile/protective pose. The outstretched arm isn’t firing a repulsor beam but is there to say ‘come no further’. I really wanted to get the whole People’s Protectorate feel to the character and have him looking a little anti-West/American. Basically he’s warning (Iron Man) to stay away and backing this up with a clenched fist behind his body.

I hope this makes sense. The character’s motivations have always been a little inconsistent. Most of the time he’s anti-American and frequently in the employment of the Russian government. But sometimes the man under the armour has been anti-communism, fought against Russia or just fought Iron Man for the sake of it. We wanted to keep with the Russian hero/anti-Iron Man feel of the character. Hopefully we’ve succeeded.

That’s your lot for this week, enjoy!

Friday, 8 January 2010

The Snow's brought a visitor

Happy New Year everyone.

I hope you all had a good Christmas/New Year.

What with the break for the holidays and the frosty weather we’ve had in Britain, I’m snowed under with work (and you know… snow) so I’ll keep this update relatively short.

Just one figurine update for you but it’s quite an appropriate one – Snowbird.

Despite having a good number of appearances, the selection of Pose for this character was fairly difficult. Looking back through the comics Snowbird is most often seen flying or transforming into an animal so static standing poses are a little hard to come by. There have been a number of poses with Snowbird extending her arm but I deliberately chose not to go with these, as they would look very similar to Jean Grey’s figurine as well as a few others.

I hope you like the direction we’re going in with this figurine.

While we’re on the subject of poses I thought I’d just address a few comments about pose selections and some being repeated. We do try our best to have each figurine in a unique pose and one that is suited to the character. Obviously sometimes we don’t get this quite right. Some figurines seem to come a lot easier than others. Some characters just have workable natural poses, while others cause a lot of trouble. Although an image may look great on the comic page sometimes it just doesn’t work in 3D. Some reasons for this are that on a comic page an artist can cheat an image to make it look great – they can make the body slightly out of proportion, create slightly un-natural poses or just bleed off parts of the body that don’t quite work. Believe me, full turnarounds of comic characters are fairly rare and are never in great poses. Going from a flat image to a 3D model takes some real skill and it’s nearly impossible to match the image perfectly as it always ends up looking odd.

Another major problem with poses selected from comic pages is that the feet placement is often not shown and when it is the legs are frequently wide apart. Even a simple adjustment of narrowing the gap between the legs changes the entire pose as it moves the whole figure’s skeleton.

As some have mentioned, our collection doesn’t always have the dynamism that our sister publication (DC) does. One of the reasons for this is that when we started the Marvel Collection we were working from scratch, we didn’t know if standard poses or over the top dynamic poses were wanted. As the collection has grown we’ve tried to evolve and encompass more poses while not taking the collection too far from the original 20-30 figurines we made. On the other hand DC launched some time after Marvel and had a clean slate. Both Marvel and DC teams work closely and often duties/team members overlap so with the DC project we were able to learn from Marvel and move forward. We always consult each other on figurine development and I’d like to think both teams can learn from each other.

Now I’m not trying to defend all of the choices we’ve made but I am hoping to give you guys a little understanding of how and why we work the way we do.

I’m always happy to take suggestions for poses so if you find something you like feel free to point us in the right direction. Just remember, not everyone’s going to agree with you ;-)

Have a good weekend everyone.