Galactic Hunter.com's Star Wars Q&A with Adam Pawlus
June 15, 2009
1. My son is starting to get into comics, especially Star Wars. I read the old Marvel when I was a kid and liked a lot of the stories toward the latter part of the run. I figure that he will too. However, the originals seem a bit pricey and I have heard that there are graphic novel collections of the entire series. Is this true? And if so, where is the cheapest places to find them?
There's a 7-volume collection of reprints of almost the entire Marvel line called "A Long Time Ago." Each book came form Dark Horse and is $30, and you'd get all 107 issues plus the 3 annuals-- the 4-issue ROTJ adaptation was not included. $20 per volume is as cheap as I seem to be seeing them in normal channels, but if you get them used on eBay you might get a deal. I got my set at Comic-Con for $5 a book, and consider it one of my most treasured Star Wars collectibles. (Even though I have about 80% of the Marvel originals. Get the collections, you won't feel bad about reading those!)
The Marvel comics are an all-time favorite-- and, along with the Droids cartoon, my #1 and #2 most desirable sources of new figures. My other favorite comic, and one your kid might dig, is Star Wars: Tales, now collected in 6 volumes at a store near anyone who lives near a store. The Dark Horse anthology series skipped around the entire timeline, and features stories from the KOTOR era, one had Ben Skywalker, and there were all sorts of little vignettes from previously untouched time periods-- plus stories about Luke, Han, Chewie, Leia, and so on. I consider Tales to be the best comic series of the modern Star Wars licensing era which started way back in 1991. Check 'em out if you can.
2. In this day and age, would it make sense for Hasbro to update the Crowd Control Stormtrooper and offer it up (i.e. online exclusive, retail)?
Being that it was more of a conceptual toy not tied to pre-existing storylines in the movie, novels or comics, I realize it would be a hard sell. And finding a price point that makes sense in the retail market would be tough. But on the purely cool side, were it to be updated properly, it would be a great figure with potentially awesome accessories. Maybe bundle two or three of them together in some kind of Battle Pack.
Who knows? Maybe we'll see some crowd control troops knocking heads in the live action TV series, for those rare occasions where reckless subjects of the empire actually dare to cause a riot :) For my money, it would have to be somewhere in the Outer Rim Territories.
Stormtrooper? No, not likely. Clone Trooper? Probably.
Right now the bread-and-butter for the Star Wars range seems to be the cartoon guys, specifically, the clones. How many do you see at retail? I don't see many, or any today. There's definitely a big interest in them in any form, and this accessory would probably be about as good as any other. Hasbro could paint a clone pink and beat Suckadelic to the punch and it'd sell 30,000 units, no problem.
As far as I can tell, Hasbro doesn't really want to revisit a lot of its original concepts in Star Wars. While we're seeing the Armored Scout Tank come back, it's one of very, very few original toy concepts to get a second try. The various Mini-Rigs, accessories, jetpacks, and so on never made it back to the line, and I think that's OK. The Crowd Control design is pretty goofy when you get right down to it, it made for a fun toy but I don't think it fits in with the current aesthetic. It felt like a 1980s concept when it was sold in the 1990s, by modern standards, it's just a little too awkward. I'm not saying it's a bad piece-- I still have several and dig 'em plenty-- but I don't see that as being as cool as, say, the Spacetrooper.
3. Are there major differences between the Force Unleashed Rancor and the new target exclusive rancor? Is the luke in this set a repack?
I just picked up a Rancor this week-- it's still in the box. So I might miss a detail or six.
Luke is fundamentally the same as the 2007 single carded release. The flesh wound is on the hand, the saber hilt is tucked in his belt, the boots aren't glossy, and he's got the bone. And still looks something like a gorilla.
The Rancor is so completely different than the Force Unleashed one in appearance it's amazing. Significantly more paint was used to bring out all sorts of details in its skin, the hands are new, and he has a shackle on his arm.
4. A while back, Wal-Mart had two exclusive Cantina themed Galactic Heroes Cinema scenes available however they never seemed to have made it to my area (or they sold extremely well and I just never saw them). I have read reports that some Wal-marts not participating in certain exclusives which is what it looks like to me in this case. Anyway do you think we'll ever see these Galactic Heroes sets re-released anytime in the near future? Hasbro has re-released sets like this before (like the Jabba's palace set), but due to their seeming extremely limited run do you think they have a good shot at seeing shelves again or should I resort to paying a premium on E-bay?
Wal-Mart exclusives vary wildly from store to store-- it's not even "area to area," the same city has stores that are drowning in them, and others that never got any (or they were all sold out the back door.) It's really quite amazing to see how horrible the distribution is on these things at times.
Don't hold your breath for a reissue-- the added electronics and high figure count make it seem unlikely without a price increase. It's possible (and I daresay likely) that some if not all of the figures might see a new release somewhere else in the distant future, but where? When? Nobody can say. I checked the going rates on eBay to see what you might have to pay on them, and it looks like $25 & shipping seems to be the current rate. I suggest you stalk out a few, set up some eBay alerts, and wait it out-- the "premium" prices aren't so bad when you consider these were roughly $20 when released two years ago. If you can get the pair for $50-$60 delivered, consider it a victory. Also keep in mind that some people sell individual figures from the sets quite cheaply, Wuher goes for about $3 shipped. As many of the figures are duplicates, it's possible that getting a few one-by-one might be a cheaper solution for you.
5. My 8 year-old ask why didn't these [Legacy collection Hoth Rebel Troopers] come out in the winter, and that stopped and made me think. Why am I buying these on Memorial Day, the freakin' unofficial beginning of summer? And why did the Scuba Troopers I got last year at midnight madness come out toward the end of summer? The more I thought about it the more questions I had. When I was a kid I remember getting almost all of my GI Joe and Cobra naval forces in the winter time, and getting the Polar Bear w/ a Snowjob one August for my birthday. I got my VTAC Snowtroopers 2 years ago for Fathers Day. I'm sure I could go on, but the big question is does all of Hasbro's marketing plans involve getting product out 2 season to late?
Hasbro's release calendar has little to do with real-world events. Look at the timing of the Force Unleashed toys as an example. Typically, figures come out when the wave is ready, and holiday-specific items don't always arrive on time (I think the Holiday Jawas showed up after Christmas.)
Releasing figures according to weather patterns is... well, I guess it's an interesting idea. That and the climate is different everywhere. I grew up in Phoenix, snow was an alien concept to me up until about six years ago. The items merely ship when they are ready, which seems pretty reasonable. I bought a ton of Christmas Playmobil around March a few years ago, you get it when you can get it.
Lots of goodies hit last week-- the new Mini-Rigs vehicle assortment, the new ARC 170, and even a new batch of Legacy figures. This is great, but the thing that isn't so great is that of the six new figures, a lot of it is retreading new ground. Thankfully the quality is shooting up, with Captain Typho and Obi-Wan Kenobi being high marks for Hasbro's toy engineering. Owen and Beru have excellent costumes, and some of the most iffy heads I've seen in a while. Tarados Gon... well, he wasn't on my wish list. Nor was his name one I knew. But it's a nice enough release. Concept Anakin is pretty fantastic overall, and if I were Hasbro I'd have done more to call it out on the packaging. The 2007 concept figures had specially recolored packaging, and this did wonders to call the product out at retail-- and get bought. It's a good idea to do within a line to draw attention to "special" product, particularly if it might need help against the rest of the line.
Also, my backlog is empty! I have a couple of questions answered in next week's incomplete column. Thanks as always for your support. If you asked a question several months ago and did not get a response, consider this a request for you to ask it again-- as long as it doesn't include Indiana Jones in it, or playsets. Unless it's about how you as a fan can start making your own fan-made mass-produced unofficial space toy playsets. (Have I been thinking a lot about this? Yes.)
Got questions? Sure you do. Email me with "Q&A" somewhere in the subject line and hopefully I'll get to yours in the next column!
Click here to read the previous installment of Galactic Hunter Q&A!