Sunday, September 25, 2016

Custom Krypto and Streaky

Several years ago, I made a custom Ace, the Bat-hound, using a cheaply acquired, unarticulated plastic toy dog. I'd intended it to be the first of several custom super-pets - at the time, I'd planned on delving a lot further into custom toys (hence the blog geared in that direction).

I soon had bases for both Krypto and Streaky, the pals for Superman and Supergirl, respectfully. I sculpted on capes for them and then...

...Then I was moving cross-country, I was busy with other projects, and Krypto and Streaky got lost and forgotten in the bottom of a plastic tub.

I came across them a few weeks ago.

These are new images: if I ever had truly "before" pictures, I lost them a long time ago. The sculpted capes were done years ago, but the collars on both are new.

I did a full repaint on Krypto. I probably should have on Streaky, too, but I decided what he had was good enough (i.e.: I was lazy). The symbols on the backs of their capes are stickers: the one on Krypto's collar is painted.

Technically, the color scheme on the symbols on their capes is inverted: the 'S' and the outline should be yellow, while the interior should be red. I considered trying to repaint these before applying or even just paint from scratch, but I didn't trust myself to get it right, so I just went with the stickers. Again, lazy.

Krypto's cape is removable; Streaky's is part of him now. I'm generally happy with how these came out. Like with Ace, the fact I'm starting with a figure displaying animal (as opposed to heroic) behavior, leaves them looking more pet than super... and that's what I wanted. It highlights the absurdity of the concept, which is really what I love about these characters.

No promises, but this might not be the last super-pet I make. I'd love to add both Beppo and Comet to the collection, if I can find the time.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Open Letter to Hasbro

Dear Hasbro Executives,

Over the past few years, you've been hit pretty hard over issues of representation in your toy lines. While some of this was a tad exaggerated (I thought you did a decent job on Episode VII), a lot of the criticism was fair. Making Slave Leia the first woman in the Star Wars Black line then waiting years to produce a second is a good example of a serious misstep.

But that's been covered elsewhere - most of your shortcomings have. That's not what this is about.

I'm writing this to draw attention to the fact that, over the past couple of years, you've dramatically improved your assortment of minority and female characters, particularly in your Marvel Legends line, and I don't think we've given you the credit you deserve.

For a few years now, almost every wave I've seen has included at least two female characters (out of six or seven total, for anyone not familiar with these things). There were a few exceptions, but this seems to have become the new default for the line. That's about double what we were getting a few years ago.

The X-Men wave that just hit store shelves contained three women - Rogue, Phoenix, and Kitty Pryde. All of them are awesome.

The fire stand was made by a different company - I just liked the way this photo came out.

More than that, we're seeing some diversity. I just picked up Miles Morales, Silk, and the Ashley Barton Spider-Girl. Half that wave was devoted to characters of color, two of whom were women. As a collector who wants a more diverse collection, these are of course more interesting. Far more importantly, I can only imagine how wonderful it must be for non-white kids to finally find themselves represented in the superhero section.

I wanted to write this because I haven't seen a lot of acknowledgement towards the outstanding work you're doing, and I feel like that's just as important as criticizing what you do poorly. So, thank you. This is fantastic.

Of course, there's more that needs to be done. I'd encourage you to revisit the bodies you're using for female characters - they're much more sexualized than the men (maybe back off the sculpted buttocks and arched backs). And there's still the imbalance over in Star Wars (I'm still waiting for that promised 6-inch New Hope Leia, and I'd love to see an Episode VII General Organa and Maz Kanata, while you're at it).

To be fair, I'm not helping with the pose.

But, setting that aside, I wanted you to know your work's appreciated by a lot of geeks out here. We've been asking for a better assortment of figures for years, and you've clearly been listening. This is a huge step forward.