Friday, July 31, 2009

Episode 727

Read the comic here.

Mary Sue's line is a tribute to the best vehicle-falling-from-the-sky sequence ever.

Bilbo's lines could be seen as directed at Fox. Read them as breaking the fourth wall and addressing me as the author for a second level of meaning.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Episode 726

Read the comic here.

The first group of Plot-Travelers return!

My original script just had the Iron Owl appearing and losing power - I decided to poke fun at my recent hiatus when assembling the strip. It retroactively adds a bit of relevance to the Darth Vader strips, don't you think?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Episode 725

Read the comic here.

I like how FoxClone instinctively knows she's in a comic.

The "wide shot" comment is also a tribute to a classic Bloom County cartoon featuring Opus and a bit of airplane wreckage.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Episode 724

Read the comic here.

The R-Bix bot came out of an old Mission to Mars set - he's been sitting on top of my parts rack for years, patiently awaiting his chance at stardom. And what does he do first chance he gets? He runs off panel.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Episode 723

Read the comic here.

I wanted the cloning pod to have links back to the pods on the One-Ringer, so I took the cheap and easy route and rebuilt the wall from the set.

I had a much better crowd shot, but I decided showing the Announcer-Frog was more important than playing the "where'd that mini-figure come from" game here in the blog. You'll see more of the crowd as the strip progresses.

(To save time: In today's cropped shot, from Left to Right: A Herring, Tom Servo, Squidman (Space Police 3), and Hondo and (just a bit of) Turk from 7753 (Clone Wars: Pirate Tank).)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Episode 722

Read the comic here.

Just in case you missed vital information this week, the King sums things up for us. What a nice guy.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Episode 721

Read the comic here.

Today's assassin is based (very) loosely on John Wilkes Booth. The line "Sic semper tyrannis" (Latin for "Thus always to tyrants") has been adapted to point to frogs by way of their Latin family name of Ranidae. (And, yeah, I probably butchered the Latin.)

Slight delay

Comic will be up later this afternoon - technical difficulties. As in: I forgot to finish it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Episode 720

Read the comic here.

I wanted to keep everyone on that fountain-set for a while longer, but the story has dragged them elsewhere. So I had to build a new set.

To me, today's lines are delivered with a wistful feel, even if the subject matter is rather creepy.

The subtle friendship between these two characters surprised me - I had planned for them to be more antagonistic. But it does make sense - they've been working closely together for years now, raising a family of sorts. Sure, it's a psychotic family with a basis of lies and kidnapping, but every family has a few skeletons in the closet.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Episode 719

Read the comic here.

This strip helps clarify the new setting's era - several years after the main cast vanished into "Plot Device" drive. The kidnapped Sour Children* are now teenagers, raised by Scotch's Brother and his Red Herring Army.

*Wash's last name is Sour, as revealed back in Episode 621

Friday, July 17, 2009

Episode 717

Read the comic here.

In the end, I think LEGO finally caught a clue. The Chrome Stormtrooper was issued in just the right way - easy to acquire, reasonably priced.

Now what I'd like to see them do is issue a three-pack of the chrome C-3PO, Vader and the Stormtrooper for $30. Yes, even after I shelled out the $$ for the "collectible" Vader.

Oh, and for those who are wondering, YES, I have the new "Chrome Gold Mini-figure" keychain already. If I wanted to take this rant into week two, he'd have made an appearance.

But I figured some of you would rather see me get back to the main story.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Episode 716

Read the comic here. And remember to read Vader's lines in your best James Earl Jones voice.

This strip was already horribly talkly, so I left out my rant about TRU marking up all their sets 10% over standard market prices.

So, in the end, Chrome Vader probably ran me nearly what it would have cost to just buy him off eBay or Bricklink. But then I wouldn't have had a story to tell.

Thanks again to Jude who, though still recovering from the Swine Flu, was willing to schelp to TRU for me, then argue with the managers to try and get my figure for the advertised price. (I had tried for three 9.99 battle packs. The .03p shortfall prevented TRU's computer systems from spitting out the coupon for the Vader - and the even the manager wouldn't/couldn't override it. She ended up having to buy a me battle tank.)

Of course, I'm not done ranting in-strip *just* yet.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Episode 715

Read the comic here.

Yeah, maybe just a touch of buyer's remorse now that I actually have the Chrome Vader in my possession. Why do you ask?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Episode 714

Read the comic here.

Yes, for those of you who asked, I did indeed finally score a Chrome Vader of my own. Now you get to read all about it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Episode 713

Read the comic here.

Actually, most of the excuses Kent gave are valid. If you read the blog, you know I've been busy at conventions for the past few weeks - where I came down with a terrible case of ConCrud. And then had to go back to work anyway to face all the stuff I'd missed because I was off on vacation. And then the ConCrud won, and I went home sick on Friday, and spent the weekend trying to recover.

In other words: Real Life got in the way.

Despite still being sick, I did get a bit of work done on the strip over the weekend - we should be back to a nearly daily schedule now.

Thanks for your patience, and for those of you who took the time to write nasty blog comments about what I did choose to post? May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Toybox of FAIL: Ice Car Transformer

First time here? Please take a moment and read the Toybox of FAIL Disclaimer. Thanks!

I still haven't made it out to see Transformers 2 in the theater - from the reviews my friends have given me, I'll probably wait until it hits video before I bother with it.

But what, in the meantime, can I use to fill the void of transforming robots in my life? Well, maybe a bootleg will help.

Sounds impressive and Transformer-y, anyway.

Of course, it's NOT.

To appreciate the FAIL of today's bootleg, let me familiarize you with a LEGO set from 2004. It's from the tail end of the Alpha Team theme, when the Agents-Precursors were chillin' in the arctic.

This is set 4742 - Chill Speeder. Like most of the arctic Alpha Team sets, this small vehicle "transforms" into a walking Mech-Suit for the driver. It's a fairly clever set with some decent engineering and play value.

Do you have the product image locked in your mind. Okay. Let's move on with the FAIL.

Number 504 in the Zephyr Knight "oversized impulse item" line, the Snow Surface Transformer is a more-or-less direct copy of the Chill Speeder. The art focuses more on the "Robot mode" of the speeder, but you can see the vehicle mode clearly in the background on the right. It's even in roughly the same pose as the LEGO box art.

I'm sure you noticed it, but it's worth mentioning the duplication of the Transformers Font in the logo art of this bootleg. The more toy lines they can claim kinship to, the more they're stealing from the advertising budgets of others. It just makes good/illegal sense.

The back of the package has the usual "build other versions" photo montage we've come to know and loathe. What's odd is that they don't show the robot mode of the basic assembly as an "alternate version."

If you look, you'll see two little "T" buttons on the back. One reads "T: Amusement" and the other "T: Intelligence". We've seen these before on other Zephyr Knight bootlegs - but strangely the other toys have had a third "T", as seen from this image from The Equation Races Car...

That's right. Apparently even Zephyr Knight wouldn't label this bootleg "Interesting."

The side of the box has some product shots from "upcoming" Zephyr Knight sets:

Note how the box style will apparently be going back to standard-sized impulse with "Snow Surface Prowl Car."

I can hardly wait.

This is the Mini-Figure that comes with the Ice Car Transformer. He's a clone of various LEGO figures - spanning several themes. (An Adventure torso, a Racer head, and an Alpha Team cap) What's cute is that Zephyr Knight tried to copy the style of the Arctic Alpha Team by giving the figure one black and one colored arm. (The one-color-sleeve look was a standard trait of the Alpha team.)

There's not much to say about the toy itself - the brick is cheap, and lacks the printed-brick appeal of the real model.

It does work, more or less, like the LEGO version. So there's almost some play value to this particular bootleg.

That is, until the brittle plastic snaps and embeds itself in someone's eye.

Just sayin'.

As always, many thanks to Joe from The Undiscovered Playthings for sending me this set to review.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fan Art!

While you're waiting for content from me (it's on the way, promise), here's a page of great Fan Art!

From the artist:
One fanart pic isn't enough, and my art has improved. Now I'm into manga (and I now have a scanner) so I couldn't help doing this. Strip #21 from the archives, done in manga style (with the read right to left, too.) Apologies about Whiskey's appearance, but it's hard to convert a LEGO character to manga style (even if the head's based off it) and the bowl cut was impossible to match to the real LEGO piece, as it turned out either to cartoonish or too spiky. The shading was fun to do, even though my scanner doesn't get all of it. (It looks WAY better in real life.)

-Cheers, KS

Well, even if the real thing is better, I'm still quite impressed with this. Click the pic for a larger view! And here's a quick link back to Episode 21 for comparison.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Sorry about those weird posts earlier - I was trying to post from my phone. I got an "all is well" confirmation text back, but apparently the system was lying to me.

In general, just a quick post to say I just got back from closing ceremonies. It's been an amazing convention - I'm going to have to work up a page or two to go over all the amazing.

Some highlights:

  • I brought a bunch of MST3k LEGO to the show.
  • The MST3k guests (Trace, Joel, Frank, and Mary Jo) signed many of them. Trace and I even talked briefly about his childhood collection of LEGO. Yes, I have photos.
  • Two items of non-MST3k art I entered into the art show sold.

And I won the award for "BEST AMATEUR ARTIST."

Yes, this is a huge deal. Yes, there's a swanky trophy. No, I had no idea this was going to happen.

Anyway, more on this after I get back to Detroit on Tuesday sometime.