photographreak


Photographreak!

(Pho-Tawg-Ruh-Freak)


Dingoes Ate My Baby.
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I'm still debating the extent to which I wish to recreate, in Sigma 6 terms, the following universe:

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If I decide to commit further, I might make a dingo, being an anthropomorphic wolf as seen in the upper left corner below:

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I pretty much don't recognize any of the other villains from that corner image, nor do I remember the dame ol' Bravestarr's making out with in the adjacent image. Bravestarr meant a lot more to me than He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, but it never had anything close to the latter's media presence, widespread cultural impact or household recognition, so my memories are precious and few and dim and vague. (For example, I also can't for the life of me remember the episode chronicled in the bottom left-hand image, wherein Bravestarr apparently smokes a fatty blunt.)


Meanwhile, I think I've found a good (and cheap) figure to use for my dingo... McFarlane's Mangler (affectionately known as Wolf Spawn):

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(Sorry I couldn't find a better photo, but I like that he's apparently The Devourer of Crayons; menacing!)


I would of course abandon the clothes and other humanizing touches and let the vicious sculpt speak for itself:

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I may even troop-build 'em; there was a brown variant, so I could have three or four, perhaps.

And incidentally, I recently placed Bravestarr's chest shield and cowboy hat on "Hex," my Bravestarr-inspired Sigma 6 custom. It certainly solidified who he is supposed to be, but what those accessories added in accuracy they took away in coolness, so I think I'll just stick with my loose interpretation. That said, I may put the gear back on and take a photo for ya sometime soon.

Also, I put together a new custom that was (loosely) inspired by Bravestarr's arch-nemesis, Tex-Hex. It takes many, many more liberties than the Bravestarr custom, and indeed it doesn't actually resemble Tex-Hex in the least. But he does look like a vicious little bastard. I'll photograph him this weekend if I find time, and in the meantime, I think I'll call him Hex, and I'll rechristen my Bravestarr custom Shaman, which I think may have been the name of the old Native American dude who served as Bravestarr's Yoda.


I'll keep you informed as my plan for further Sigma 6 Bravestarr reinventions develops.


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Joe Dio A Go-Go!
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From arguably the nerdiest goddamn website on the internet (JoeDios), I present to thee two cool photos each from a pair of my fellow geeks!

First, from vader9900:

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I'm deeply jealous of that backdrop.

Like, poison-vader9900's-dog jealous.


Next up, two fun shots from outrider:

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I'll likely never go back to collecting the wee Joes, but it sure is easier to create a world for them than for Sigmas, 'cause the various wee Joe series boasted many more in-scale vehicles and playsets.

Nice job, fellas!

Toxicity.
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I hope Hasbro fired the person responsible for the white paint on Toxic Zartan's knees:


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You'll sleep better at night knowing I fixed mine, first boil-popping his legs off at the knee so's I could add some black WWE kneepads, then swapping out the admittedly cool day-glow forearms for some subtler Hi-Tech forearms that happened to match those infected-looking green splashes on Zartan's biceps. And because I'm all OCD about doubles of the same dude on ye olde toy shelf, I covered his mug with a Snake Eyes visor.

I call him Virus:


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And of course, there's also Fallout, my previous Toxic Zartan custom:


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Incidentally, in his original 1980s file card, which was soon edited due to complaints aimed at Hasbro, Zartan was described as a paranoid schizophrenic.

The '80s ruled.

Make This Toy: Astro City!
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Did you know that "soon" means "three months later"?

That's right, it's finally time for the debut installment of...

Make This Toy!


Wherein I plead as persuasively as possible for some generous toy company to produce an action figure (or an entire series) that the toy shelves of the world cannot do without!


For the first edition of what is sure to be a wildly popular Geek Creek feature boasting up to four or five comments per installment, I would like to focus on a universe that's filled to bursting with cool, kickass characters:

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Kurt Busiek's Astro City is a glowing, beautiful love letter to the superhero comic books of (mostly) the Silver Age, and while it has already claimed one series of action figures in its name, only two characters were produced. More to the point, they looked like this:

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I don't think I'm out of line in suggesting that an updated and expanded series is in order, with sculpts supplied by the Four Horsemen ('cause in a just world, they would sculpt friggin' everything), and with articulation meeting today's standards; something along the lines of the DC Universe figures or Mattel's slavishly old-school but brilliantly articulated Masters of the Universe Classics series... both sculpted by the Four Horsemen, of course. (Serendipity!)

The first wave would include seven figures.

First off:

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Though he was already released in the initial series of Astro City action figures, The Confessor is Astro City's Batman, so he needs a more menacing representation in the toy aisle.

Accompanying him would be Astro City's answer to Spider-Man:

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The world doesn't need an end to war and starvation.

The world needs a Jack-In-The-Box action figure!


Next up:

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The Hanged Man was the central figure in Astro City #1/2, which was arguably the title's greatest and certainly its most emotionally resonant issue.

Plus, he looks badass.


And to round out the initial wave, some choices that might at first glance seem needlessly obscure, but which as a whole represent a startlingly diverse and iconic assortment of the city's characters. With this odd lot of characters all sharing shelf space together, even non-fans would be intrigued enough to take a look:

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Leo the Lion, the Mock Turtle, Junkman and Steeljack... wow. I'd take that over any DC Universe wave we're likely to see next year.

So please... someone...


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And as a bonus to reward you Geek Creek groupies for all your patience as this new feature gestated ('cause no doubt the anticipation has had you gnashing your teeth and abusing your spouse), I offer a second installment in our Make This Toy! series:

Modulok!


Mattel has paid beautifully-sculpted tribute to its hopelessly cheesy Masters of the Universe characters in statue form already, as well as in two series of new and improved action figures. And yet there has been no new-sculpt goodness for this silly bastard:

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What, you think he's a hopeless case?

Hell, look what the Four Horsemen did with Mosquitor of all characters:

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Look in your hearts, Mattel: Doesn't Modulok deserve a second chance at glory?



...whew. I'm spent.

Guess I'll go read some Astro City.

Speir!
photographreak
On Monday, that no-account bastard Poe Ghostal posted the following wicked photo of that most divisive of Devil's Due villains, Wraith:


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If you couldn't tell already from the distinctive trademark backdrop, the photo is the work of Ed Speir, a standout talent at the very hit-and-miss JoeDios. (Here's his JoeDios archive.)


Meanwhile, I took a digital photography course at the local college last year, mostly because my daughter was attending the college's daycare at the time, and for her to continue to do so, either my wife or I had to be enrolled.

Our professor freed us to pursue any subject and method we liked for our final assignment's shoot. Likewise, we had to write the fourth in a series of photography-related essays, only this time we got to choose the subject ourselves.

Having already analyzed the works of Imogen Cunningham and Richard Avedon, I opted to draw the semester to a close by writing an essay about Ed goddamn Speir.


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Monte Williams
Assignment 4: Ed Speir IV


I very nearly went the self-indulgent, egomaniacal route and wrote my final essay about myself, not because I boast better than average photography skills (I'd rank myself "Gettin' to be pretty good," at best), but simply because I am practically the only photographer I know who specializes in marginally-competent outdoor photos of G.I. Joe Sigma 6 action figures. I have to specify Sigma 6 because, believe it or not, outdoor toy photography is a shockingly popular hobby; outdoor G.I. Joe photography alone is popular enough to justify at least one entire website that I'm aware of (joedios.com.) Alas, most of the photos you'll see there feature the wee 3.75-inch Joe toys from the 1980s (toy enthusiasts are a stunted, obsessively nostalgic lot), whereas my muse comes in the form of the bigass, brilliant "Sigma 6" series of 8-inch action figures that were canceled by Hasbro just a few sad months ago.


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However, in spite of my intense passion for these stupid chunks of plastic, I ultimately decided that I would have more fun writing about someone other than myself, and so I chose arguably the greatest toy photographer I know of: Ed Speir.


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Though at least one fellow geek has suggested that Speir should seek employment in the toy industry, he chooses to remain a mere hobbyist. His web site at pbase (pbase.com/espeiriv) is filled with hundreds of photos of not only G.I. Joe toys, but also Transformers, Spawn figures and assorted specialty items and obscurities that I don't even recognize. It is interesting to note that nearly all of Speir's figures are shot against the same intriguing, industrial-looking backdrop, which turns out to be a piece from a large space shuttle docking station playset from the 80s called the Defiant. The simple blue of the plastic backdrop has been repainted to bring out the intricate details of its sculpt, and the result is a factory-like wall that serves as a convincing diorama for any figure Speir places in front of it. Behold:


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What I like most about Ed Speir's work is that he lends an aura of credibility and attitude to even the most ridiculous subjects. Behold his imposing shot of a delightfully absurd kung-fu monster with the decidedly uninspired name of Dark Ninja Master:


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I had the misfortune to briefly own that goofy toy pictured above, and so I am well equipped to dismiss him as too ridiculous for even such a startlingly eccentric universe as G.I. Joe. Nonetheless, with this photo, Speir has nearly seduced me into seeking out a second Dark Ninja Master action figure for my collection. That's talent.


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The clarity of a given Speir photo is astounding, but while I could wax defensive with all manner of (perhaps inaccurate) suggestions about his no-doubt superior lenses and expensive equipment, all the high-dollar tools in the world won't help you to frame a photo in such a dynamic fashion. Ed Speir simply has an artist's eye, and it is my great fortune that he has chosen to apply it to the world of toys.

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The Man In The Box.
photographreak
Using body parts and accessories from these figures:

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...I whipped together probably my favorite of all my Cowardly Customs. (No sculpting + no painting = cowardly customs.)

He's an original character named Toybox:

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Toybox is an eccentric toy and cartoon enthusiast who also happens to boast a passion for making stuff 'splode; each of those toys you see strapped to his body is also a bomb.

But while I called him an original character, that's only true insofar as there has never been a G.I. Joe character named Toybox, 'cause honestly, Toybox's name and gimmick were in fact blatantly lifted from Alan Moore's inspired Top Ten comic book series.

Moore's version of Toybox is a cute blond, seen below on the far left:


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My version of Toybox, as it happens, looks like Alan Moore:


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And now he's got his own playset!Collapse )


Up next (meaning sometime in the next several months, only maybe not 'cause it'd just end up being something else to place in storage if and when we leave the country next summer): Adventure Team Headquarters! And Souvenir's Trophy Room! And the Ninja Turtles sewer lair!

Christ, you wish you were me.

Idafornia.
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Whenever I post an outdoor toy photo here at Geek Creek or at Sigma 6 Central or JoeDios, people are quick to sing the praises of the southern Idaho countryside. And rightfully so.

Still and all, the countryside was even more glorious in my former home of California. Unfortunately, my photography skills at that time were minimal, at best:

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I wish I could go back, if only for a day.Collapse )


Not only are those photos embarrassingly bad, but I'm tormented by the thought of what might have been; if I could visit that stretch of streams today (the streams for which this blog was named), I like to think I'd do right by them with some vastly improved photos.

Ah, well. At least I know I am a better photographer today.

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Sci-Fi.
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Sci-Fi in the '80s:

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Sci-Fi in the Geek Creek Sigmaverse:

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Kremlin.
photographreak
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Something tells me this dude has got an interesting story, but as of yet I have been too tired and lazy and uninspired to write it.

This photo gives you a better sense of the canyon's height:

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Finally, The Geek Has Come Back To Geek Creek.
photographreak
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(With thanks to TJ and tall_drk_grusum.)

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