Friday, August 31, 2012

G. I. Joe Field Manual Volume Two!

So, there's no secret that I've been working on a second volume of the G.I. Joe Field Manual, Volume Two.  As it turns out, now has the book for preorder!  You can see the lovely cover.  As it mentions, we cover season two, though we go beyond that to cover the Sunbow commercial years and even the DiC series.

Preorder your copy today: G.I. JOE: Field Manual Volume 2 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Farscape Geekwatch: Mid season 3

My Geekwatch continues through mid season three, with two ships and two Crichtons.

S03E10, Relativity, features the confrontation between Aeryn and her mother, Xhalax. No real genre references to speak of, though John gets some pop culture references in there.  "We left a trail Stevie Wonder could follow," he remarks of their progress through the woods.  When observing some acidic berries, he quips that they're not something he'd put on his Cocoa Puffs. 

S03E11, Incubator, is a Scorpy-centric episode.  We see his background as he attempts to convince the John remnants inside the Neuro-Chip to help him.  Good episode, minimal geekdom.  Crichton Neuro-Clone asks if he's a ghost, a soul, or 'Holodeck Crichton.'

S03E12, Meltdown, features the crew of Talyn attempting to avoid plunging into a sun.  The real fun is that Talyn's systems are pumping out a gas making everyone a bit exaggerated, with Stark crazier than usual, Crais more controlling, Rygel hungrier, and John & Aeryn horny as hell.

There's plenty here for the sci-fi fan, too.  John tells Crais to "Never say never again, 007," regarding his prospect of returning to the Peacekeepers.  When the alien Mu-Quellis appears on Talyn, John asks him if he just 'beamed in', another of the ubiquitous Trek references.  "Phantom, new tune for the opera," John quips to Stark, a play on his mask. "The Pied Piper's found a new tune," John informs Crais of Mu-Quellis' machinations.

S03E13, Scratch 'N Sniff, is a light-hearted episode told retrospectively by John to Pilot, about a misadventure on a pleasure planet.  Ren & Stimpy get namedropped, but that's about it for the connoisseur of geekiness.  (John calls D'Argo Lassie, and the Clover's song Love Potion Number 9 is mentioned as well, for other pop-culture nods.)

S03E14-15, Infinite Possibilities, kills off our extraneous John.  It really was quite clever, since the one that died was the one who had the more weighty stories, and the one who survived the one who was cracking up a bit.  It really did seem like the 'real' John was the guy who passed away, at least for a little while.  No real geek references in the episodes, though the titles (Icarus Abides, Daedalus Demands) are pulled from geekGreek mythology.  The closest we get is John telling Harvey, "my, grandma, what big teeth you have."

S03E16, Revenging Angel, takes us back to Moya, as the still living John is almost (accidentally) killed by D'Argo and languishes in a coma.

In his head, the environment often takes the form of an animated Looney Toons landscape, specifically the Road Runner cartoons.  This is, itself, a nice geek reference.  I won't attempt to annotate where every cartoon comes from, though they borrow from the various Road Runner (and, to a lesser extent, other Warner cartoons) extensively.  Naturally, they got Trek in there, with John riding around on an animated Enterprise.  I did have to look this one up, though: "I know this guy. Dr. Chuck Jones. Wrote the...Dr. Chuck Jones wrote the book on these situations."  Chuck Jones was one of the animation greats, who directed many an episode of Looney Toons and helped create many memorable characters, including the Coyote and the Road Runner. 

An aside: when I first started watching Farscape, the episodes were in reruns on Sci-Fi.  For some reason, they were all mixed up, so I saw some random 1st season, 4th season, and 3rd season episodes.  Of course, the third season episodes had the two Crichton splits, so even there the crew kept changing.  It was almost impossible to keep track. Somehow I managed to see this episode immediately after Part II of Infinite Possibilities... and instantly dismissed it as some episode from earlier or later in the series.  I still wondered how they'd bring John back. 

Some other geeky highlights include a HILARIOUS exchange between Harvey and John about Kirk/Shatner. John: "Kirk wouldn't stoop that low."  Harvey: "That was a television show, John. And he made Priceline commercials. But if you insist...then look to Kirk the way he really was -- savage when he had to be." Harvey also asks John for reasons for him to stay alive, calling it... The Letterman List. 

Finally, there's a brilliant section chock-a-block with pop culture references wherein an animated fantasy Aeryn shows up.  It must be seen:

References here include various sexy ladies, including a Baywatch babe, Marilyn Monroe, Jessica Rabbit, Cleopatra (crossed with Romeo & Juliet), Dorothy Gale from the frequently referenced Wizard of Oz, and Madonna.  When John pushes it a bit too far, she retreats to Nancy Regan of all people.  Oh, and she ends with a Forrest Gump reference, "Run, Forrest, run!"

And, as John closes out the episode, so shall I close out this segment of the blog: That's all, folks!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

G.I. Joe Field Manual -- Official Reaction Thread

OK, the The G.I. Joe Field Manual: Volume 1 is out today!  That means that I'll be making an official reaction thread here.  Loved it?  Hated it?  Wondering why it's not in color?  Post here and let me know.

Here's the first review of the book that I've found, from Pendragon's Posts:

He gives it three out of three Yo Joes!  "Nothing like reliving the eighties style of cartoons with some files cards thrown in the mix." Sounds like so far I'm one for one!

Here's a nice unboxing.  1:36 in or so he gets to the Field Manual and has some very nice things to say.

G.I. JoeVersity posted some rather kind thoughts on the book.  Here's an excerpt: "It’s a fantastic resource for fans of the toys, the cartoon series, and the comics. It’s wonderfully laid out, and contains just about every design and character sheet for the first season and a half of A Real American Hero." has a couple of five-star reviews!  Some quotes include these gems: "I'll add that this works very well as a 'how to draw G.I. Joe' book - and if I'd had it in the mid-eighties I probably would never have left my little drawing table!" and "The 'G.I. Joe Field Manual' is an absolute joy. It is a behind-the-scenes visual delight of Season 1 (and the pre-Season 1 mini-series) of the 80's G.I. Joe cartoon by Sunbow, and a wish come true for G.I. Joe collectors (especially 'Joe cartoon fans), or even fans of cartoon "bibles" in general." 

Look to The Lottery Party for another in-depth review.  "Tons of interesting research from the two authors, and I look forward to checking out volume two."  Thanks, guys!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Metalhawk's Transform; The Field Manual!

Busy week for me!  I've moved out of Los Angeles... more or less.  Actually, I've only removed my person from the environs, my stuff won't follow me for a few more days.  But I've not headed down to Albuquerque yet, no.  I'm in New York, visiting family in advance of my brother's wedding.  After that, breeze over to New Mexico, close on my new house, and then maybe settle down to some writing.

This week's Addendum is Metalhawk's Transformation.  Martin, you missed this one!  This well and truly DOES finish off my Masterforce Pretender transformations.  Not a bad one to go out on, is he.  Metalhawk is the Cybertron leader for the first part of Masterforce, until Ginrai takes up the mantle.  He's also one of the handful of Japanese exclusive molds to the Masterforce line (along with, from memory, God Bomber, Overlord, Browning, and some new tooling on Ginrai, Grand Maximus, and Black Zarak.)  His die-cast metal bits made him stand out, as these had largely been abandoned by the tail end of 1986.

YO JOE!!!   The G.I. Joe Field Manual: Volume 1 hits stores TOMORROW! Get on down to your local comic book shop and pick up a copy.  I'll post an official reaction thread, and I'd surely love to hear your thoughts.

For those of you who missed it, this is my compilation of G.I. Joe animation models from the 1983-1985 period.  That includes both mini-series as well as season one.  From Ace to Zap, from the A.S.P. to Zartan, it's a more than comprehensive guide to the G.I. Joe cartoon covering the Joe team, Cobra, and plenty of guests.  M.A.S.S. Device? Check!  Weather Dominator? Don't you know it! Honda Lou West?  But of course! Oktober Guard? I'd be remiss otherwise.
en abandoned by the tail end of 1986.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Perceptor's Transform

Hey, y'all!  Sorry I took a week off, moving from LA to Albuquerque is taking up much of my time.  I found the time today, though, to share a fun model sheet... Perceptor's transformation!

Oddly, I don't have too many of the American transformation sheets.  Most of what I had I shared in The Ark, albeit small.  I acquired a few more, when I got the model packs for Webworld and Madman's Paradise.  Perceptor was among these.  (As was Sludge, so expect to see him and no other Dinobot at some point.)

I like step 4... I wonder if it didn't, many years later, inspire the rather excellent Vitruvian Man Perceptor cover to All Hail Megatron 15 by all-around cool guy Casey Coller

Can't neglect my dozens of Farscape fans either, now, can I?  Let's see, where did I leave off?  Oh, yes, early Season Three.  (I'm up to S4 now, so I've got some catching up to do.)  S03E05, Different Destinations, is Farscape's take on time travel.  True to form, the gang just makes things worse and worse, and while things don't wind up at their nadir, they leave history worse than they found it.  One geektastic reference here, when Crichton gives Stark the nickname Astroboy.  Gotta love it.  Other pop-culture references include Scarface ("Woah, Tony Montana") and The Andy Griffith Show, when he calls the peacekeeper hero "Opie."

S03E06, Eat Me, kicks off one of the best storylines in Farscape, bar none... the two Crichton arc.  On board a dying leviathan, the gang encounters a madman who can 'twin' people.  Two copies, both equal and original, though repeated twinning can result in degradation and brain damage.   The biggest geek reference in the ep is John calling the degraded, too-often twinned Peacekeepers "Night of the Living Dead."  Hammer Films is also name-checked.  Other pop-culture references include additional nods to The Wizard of Oz ("ding, dong, the pod is dead") and Kentucky Fried Chicken ("it's finger-lickin' good.")  Oh, and John mentions Abbot & Costello again.
S03E07, Thanks for Sharing, continues the ramifications of two Crichtons running around, and introduces Aeryn's mother Xhalax, as a recurring villain.  The main story, about local intrigue as the gang tries to fix Talyn, falls a bit flat though.  Geek references, there are two.  My favorite is this: "I know it's not as bad as the last time. It's not the Cro-Magnon copy or the Alien Nation reject, but you can tell I'm the original, right?"  Alien Nation, a terrific sci-fi show, was created by Rockne O'Bannon, one of Farscape's creators.  I also enjoy the continuity nod to the last time we had multiple Crichtons running about. The other geek reference was to The Dark Crystal, when John lists the Skeksis among people Crais might have pissed off.  Non geek references include Captain Crunch as a nickname for Crais, the Gotti family as a nickname for the ruling family on the planet in question, and A Few Good men ("you want the truth? you can't handle... aw, let's cut the crap."

S03E08, Green Eyed Monster, starts off the format of the season.  Half the episodes take place on Talyn, with Crichton, Aeryn, Rygel, Stark, and Crais.  Half take place on Moya, with Crichton, D'Argo, Chiana, Jool, and Pilot.  Monster is one of the former, and involves Talyn getting swallowed by a living budong (See Home on the Remains.)  Only one Geek reference, but it's lovely.  "That's no moon... That's a budong!" (If you need me to explain this, then why are you even reading this blog?)  Other less geeky reference include the obligatory bible reference when John calls Crais 'Jonah' and the famous Apollo (mis)quote, "Houston, we have a problem."

S03E09, Losing Time, is a Moya episode. The gang takes on a couple of energy beings who can possess them, and hilarity ensues.  PLENTY of geekdom here, so it's a good one to end on.  One of the incorporeal beings he addresses as Casper.  In a nice Exorcist nod, John argues that he can't be the one possessed, because "If I'm Linda Blair, why am I telling you guys anything?" John also informs a DRD "All right, we don't understand the R2-D2 crap. We're going to use the Star Trek system: one blink for yes, two blinks for no. You understand?"  This is a beautiful Star Trek/Star Wars reference.  One blink for yes, two for no comes from The Menagerie two-parter in the original series of Trek.

Farscape: The Complete Series is available for purchase on Amazon, and needless to say is well worth the money.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Sureshot's Transform (and even more Farscape)

The Ark Addendum marches on!  I'm honestly not sure what I'll bring you next week, but this week I finish off the last of many partial sequences I've been through, the transformations for the Headmaster characters.

Sureshot's our boy this time.  I'd say my favorite image is probably step 1, just showing the car zooming along at high speed.  It's nice that they didn't just reuse the basic car model.  It's a bit odd that they violate the 180 degree rule from that shot to the next one, though.

Farscape Geekwatch also continues!  The wife and I are enjoying plowing through the show as a nice break from my work and her studies.  It's my second, MAYBE third time watching it, her first.  It remains mucho fun, mainly for the rich characterization though the arc episodes are quite well done.

S03E02, Suns and Lovers continues with the Zhaan dying plotline. The gang just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, when some religious zealots target the station they're resupplying at.  The only genre reference of note is Scooby Doo.  John calls the gang's heroism "Scooby time" and then name-drops Scooby snacks.  Non-genre references include John calling D'Argo Heavy D, after a rapper.

S0E03-04, Could'a, Would'a, Should'a, introduces Joolushko Tunai Fenta Hovalis (aka Jool), writes Zhaan out (Virginia Hay was having a bad time with the make-up), and gives us an inside look at Wormholes.  Many fans seem to hate Jool, and I can see why.  My first exposure to her was from mid-S3, when she was a contributing crew member, but in her first few appearances she was annoying as frell.  That was probably a bad choice, and probably why they'd write her out in early S4.

Sci-Fi and geek references include another Trek reference (John to Jool: "Welcome to the Federation Starship SS Buttcrack.) and Aeryn, of all people, asking if a broadcast clip John saw was 'Yoda of Dagobah.'  Also to Jool, he expresses some sympathy as he knows that "this trip to Krugerland was not on your itinerary," a Nightmare on Elm Street references.  Non-genre references include infamous defense attorney F. Lee Bailey ("can it, F.Lee", he quips to Rygel), Adam-12 ("One-Adam-Twelve, guys."  Adam-12 starred frequent Farscape guest star Kent McCord, aka Jack Crichton), and Hogan's Heroes (he calls one of the aliens Colonel Klink.)

Farscape: The Complete Series is available for purchase on Amazon, and if you don't own it, buy it now now now!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Farscape: Geekwatch

Let's finish off season two of  Farscape Geekwatch!  S02E19-21, Liars, Guns and Money (a nod to the Warren Zevon song, Lawyers, Guns and Money) is great episode and a continuity freak's delight.  Stark returns from dispersal (that didn't take long) with a plan to rescue D'Argo's son, who is to be auctioned off in a lot of 10,000 slaves.  His idea is simple... rob a bank!  Not just any bank, a Shadow Depository, where knaves and rogues store their ill-gotten wealth.  Stark's more devious than previously shown.  We find that many of the slaves are his fellow Banicks, and that the guy they are robbing is Scorpius, who of course tortured Stark for months.

What's especially fun is that, when things go south, the gang comes up with a Plan B that involves gathering up villains from previous episodes to help rob the bank.  They gather up the Vorcarion blood trackers from 'Till the Blood Runs Clear, the Sheyang fish men to burn through the walls with their firebreath from PK Tech Girl, gauntlet wielding TavloidsTavleks from Throne for a Loss, and the Zenetian Pirates so they can deploy the Flax to stop any pursuit, from The Flax. Those latter have fallen in with Durka, from PK Tech Girl and Durka Returns, though Rygel dispatches him very casually.  Besides continuity porn, we get to see Scorpius engage in what can only be described as vigerous sex with the bank's proprietor, Natira, complete with his cooling rod popping out at climax.  Oh, my!

But that's not the point of this blog, really.  Let's look at genre references!  Crichton calls Scorpius 'Leatherface' and then even points out where it's from: Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  There are also a couple of Young Frankenstein references thrown in, with Crichton calling Natira 'Frau Bl├╝cher' and Scorpius 'Fronkensteen.'  There's also a 2001: A Space Odyssey nod, when John sings Daisy while slowly going out of his mind right at the end.  Non-genre references include John bluffing his way into the Shadow Depository by claiming that KFC is, "to my knowledge, unique in the universe, and unique is always valuable. Now, we have managed to procure all eleven secret ingredients."  (Note how he echoes Scorpius here.)  John also name drops Baywatch, and quotes the National Enquirer's tagline 'enquiring minds want to know.'

 S02E22, Die Me Dichotomy, finishes off the season.  The Neuro-chip takes over completely, leading to tragic consequences.  The episode ends, in true Farscape fashion, with Aeryn dead and John lying helpless on the operating table, the speech center of his brain destroyed, his surgeon seemingly dead, and Scorpius in possession of the chip.  Minimal references, though.  All I can find is the clone exclaiming "ooo, fireworks!" in a Robin Williams Mork from Orc voice.  (Mork & Mindy, naturally.)

And, hey, since I'm in the mood, S03E01, Season of Death starts things off.  Despite the ominous title, we get the rebirth of Aeryn and the restoration of John, though Scorpius does get away with the chip.  My favorite bit from the episode was Scorpius' torturing of Grunchlk, who was pretty smarmy last episode.  Aeryn's resurrection seems a bit cheap, though drains Zhaan to the point that she will most likely die. 

No genre references to speak of, though Harvy (now just a shadow of his former self with no chip to rely on) quotes the bible and John counters with Shakespeare.
  Harvey: "Death is the only sensible course, John. For everything there is a season, a time to be born, and..."
  John: "A time to die, yes, yes, yes. The Devil quotes scripture."

Farscape: The Complete Series is available for purchase on Amazon, so what are you waiting for?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Farscape: Geekwatch

After a blazingly rich Geekwatch last time, Farscape gives us a bit of a dry spell, at least as far as geek references go.  S02E16, The Locket tells the tale of Aeryn and John growing old together due to a time anomaly.  No geek or pop culture references of note. On the plus side, hey, Stark is back! S02E17, The Ugly Truth, likewise features no references of note.  It does borrow its structure from the classic Rashomon, as each crew member recounts a disastrous meeting between Crais, Talyn, and some arms dealers.  Oh, and Stark buys it!  Easy come, easy go.

S02E18, A Clockwork Nebari (the title, of course, a reference to the Kubrick's amazing sci-fi dystopian tale A Clockwork Orange) features a bit.  The geekiest reference is Crichton asking if his captor's actions violate "the Nebari Prime Directive," which can only be read as a Star Trek reference.  Also notable is the fact that John has named his pulse pistol Winona.  Not sure what that's a reference to, possibly Winona Ryder (great actress, staring in such genre films as Beetlejuice and Alien Resurrection) or Wynonna Judd, singer.  Other pop culture references include Blondie (not only is the villain called "Debroah Harry", but Crichton says she's gonna "getcha-getcha-getcha,") the $100,000 pyramid, Jim Belushi ("you're gonna Belushi out" he tells Rygel") and a pastish of western refereneces, ("I'm bringing Miss Kitty back from the O.K. Corral.  Any word on Aeryn or Doc Rygel?")  Oh, and isn't the Nebari method of drug induction, by a patch on the optic nerve, creepy as hell?

Farscape: The Complete Series is available for purchase on Amazon, and it's amazing.