Tuesday, September 16, 2008

G.I. JOE Trivia Winner

Of all the entries I received (just under thirty), only two included the correct answer. After asking for, "one of the more popular G.I. JOE characters from the early 1980s," a couple of the attempts were puzzling. I mean, Alaska? Really? Anyway, the answers are as follows:

The city and state where the pictured building is located: Fresno, CA
The character's code name: Storm Shadow
The character's file name (real name): Tommy Arashikage ( or Thomas S. Arashikage)

In issue #26 of Marvel Comics' original G.I. JOE series, Stalker is providing Hawk and Scarlett with details about Snake-Eyes' past. Recounting an incident from their time together in Vietnam, he mentions "Tommy", a "Japanese-American kid out of Fresno. Unpronounceable last name." He then goes on to say that Tommy's last name (Arashikage) translates into Storm Shadow. This was the first city of origin ever given for the character, although file cards from later figure releases would name both San Francisco and St. Louis. The only file card to ever give Fresno as his hometown came with the Tommy Arashikage figure from the comic book three-pack with Stalker and Snake-Eyes, portraying the characters from their tour in 'Nam. The photo in the contest post shows Fresno's City Hall.

Both names were written on scraps of paper, crumpled up, and dropped into a plastic cup (a bowl wasn't even necessary). After pulling a piece of paper from the cup, the winner is: Irid70/Lastbestangryman of New Castle, DE. He will receive two carded Snow Serpent figures from Wave 5 2008 of Hasbro's current G.I. JOE line. I don't have any more Snow Serpents, but because there were only two correct responses, I'd like to do something for the other contestant. So for Eric of Austin, TX, I have a carded Snake-Eyes figure from Wave 3 2008 to send you. Just send over your mailing addresses, and I'll ship the figures to you guys this weekend.

Congratulations, and thanks for entering!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Operation Cold Slither: G.I. JOE Trivia!

Prepare Your Cobra Forces For The Coming Winter!

Happy Labor Day, everyone! It's going to start getting cold in a couple of months; is your Cobra army ready? If not, I have two carded Snow Serpent figures up for grabs, a little something for the hard-working collector on this holiday. The cards aren't flawlessly mint, but they're sealed and perfect for openers, especially army builders. I'll take all the correct answers from the trivia question below, put their names in a bowl, and pick one winner randomly to receive both Snow Serpent figures. This is open to anyone in the U.S. or Canada, and the shipping is on me.

Your Mission

The building pictured here is located in the hometown of one of the more popular G.I. JOE characters from the early 1980s. Conflicting sources have given a few different cities of origin for this particular character, but I'm looking for the first one ever revealed. HINT: Of the various action figure releases, only one file card gave this city as his birthplace.
Name that city!

In order to enter the contest, just send the following to coldslither@compulsivecollector.com:
  1. The city and state where the pictured building is located
  2. The character's code name
  3. The character's file name (real name)
  4. Your first name, city, and state (or province)
If you prefer to have your screen name from a web site posted when I announce the winner, just be sure to include that with your e-mail.

And the prize:
G.I. JOE Snow Serpent figures

Entries must be received by 11:59 PM on Sunday, September 14, 2008. I'll announce the winner here on the Compulsive Collector Blog Monday, September 15.

Good luck!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

There Shall Be Wailing And Gnashing Of Teeth

So there was a pretty major announcement about some policy changes for sellers over at eBay yesterday. The first one of note is a minimum rating of 4.3 on all four of the Detailed Seller Ratings, provided by buyers when they're leaving feedback. These include the accuracy of item description, communication, shipping time, and shipping and handling charges. They'll use the 30-day or 12-month rating, depending on the volume of sales for a particular seller. This is one of those things where it depends on what you sell, but 4.3 could be setting the bar a little high for online junk dealers whose customers get bent out of shape after not reading a clear and accurate description. Of course, it won't bother me. Here's my 30-day DSR as of today:

my 30-day DSR from eBay
The next significant update (and I'm a big fan of this one) is the end of paper payments, meaning that checks and money orders will no longer be acceptable methods. That should have already happened. It's 2008, time to shit or get off the technological pot. If you're not going to pay electronically, go to the flea market, and take your stuff there to sell it if you're not going to accept PayPal. They're also going to integrate sellers' merchant accounts into eBay's checkout, so no more third-party sites to process your payments. These are great ways to improve the site, but there are, of course, plenty of people crying about it all over the internet at this very moment. "But I don't have a credit card!" So, get one? Hell, if you're too irresponsible to trust yourself with a line of credit, get a prepaid debit card. Do something, and join the rest of us in the 21st century. Personally, I wish checks would be banned from all retail transactions, too.

A few sellers are really getting riled up over a third change, the introduction of maximum shipping and handling costs. For now, this only applies to the Media category: books, movies, music, and video games. Have a look at the reason eBay offers:

Buyers have told us that shipping costs on eBay are too high, and this is causing them to make their purchases elsewhere. This is hurting both our sellers and our buyers. Setting maximum shipping and handling costs based on historical date [SIC] of what buyers have told us is reasonable will keep more buyers satisfied and drive more sales for sellers.

I have to wonder if eBay asked these buyers how often they bothered to consider those shipping charges prior to placing bids. These people are adults, and if they can't add cost + shipping = total to figure out if they're getting a good deal, that's their problem. In the long run, buyers will end up paying more, because lower shipping will mean higher opening bids and ending prices. eBay takes a percentage of the final value, but not the shipping costs, which means more fees to be paid. Think that's coming out of the sellers' pockets? Of course not. In business, you always pass along each and every cost to the consumer, and then you charge more so you can earn a profit. Anyone who believes otherwise is a fool, and probably a broke one.

The dollar limits are fair, especially compared to what e-commerce competitors typically charge for shipping.

And many of those "e-commerce competitors", such as Amazon, buy shipping materials in bulk, an advantage over individual sellers. Speaking of Amazon:

We are starting with categories where we believe buyer expectations are particularly heightened to free and reasonable shipping. Our goal over time is to bring reasonable shipping limits to more categories.

You have to spend $25 to get free shipping from Amazon, the model against which eBay obviously believes its sellers need to compete, and they generally take several days to send your orders when you use the Free Super Saver Shipping, never mind the transit time. That's fine with me, and I take advantage of the free shipping, but can you imagine the reaction if all eBay sellers start waiting a week to drop Media Mail packages at the post office? The reality is that increasing fuel costs and rapid inflation have resulted in higher overhead for everyone doing business in today's economy, and eBay sellers are no exception to that. Imposing these limits based on what people whose only interest is to get cheap shit seems more than a bit bush-league. It is contrary to what makes eBay unique, a shopping experience where the market decides what is a fair price. Is listening to the whiner crowd of buyers really a sound method of setting policy? You would think that eBay, of all companies, would realize that these people will just find some new reason to bitch after this policy is implemented.

And on the topic of bitching, eBay sellers have been doing their fair share of that, and then some. They've been violated! Seriously, I've seen the word "rape" associated with eBay and/or PayPal fees at least thirty times today. Some are threatening to take their business elsewhere, while some are pointing out that elsewhere doesn't exist. Others are saying this is the first, "nail in eBay's coffin," while even more are talking of banding together to start a new auction site to add some competition to the mix. You know what? Yahoo already tried that, and it was a miserable failure. If Yahoo can't do it, what makes you think that you could? Hell, the way you're moaning about the fees for selling on eBay, I don't think you'd survive getting an estimate for the rates of the team of attorneys you'd need to hire to pursue such an endeavor.

This just in: eBay ain't going anywhere. You and the other couple hundred crybabies leaving won't be a big deal. Someone else will just come along and replace you, while you go do whatever else it is you think will be a better alternative. In the meantime, eBay will be here long after you're dead and gone, and every time they announce a controversial policy update, another group of people will scream and yell about how, "It's the beginning of the end for eBay!" You are not saying anything new; I've seen it time and time again over the years. You're the latest crowd to perform this song and dance, but it's an old tune.

If I may indulge in a cliché or two, business is kill or be killed, survival of the fittest. Even if eBay doesn't believe the market will regulate itself when it comes to shipping charges, the market will adjust, because smart, savvy sellers will adapt and succeed. The strong will survive, and if you quit the game, new players will emerge. You are not essential to eBay, and you never were. All you are is customer number 7711381982, so suck it up and play through the pain, or stop crying and get off the field. It's as simple as that.

Okay, so that was more than two.

There Shall Be Wailing And Gnashing Of Teeth

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sci-Fi Genre (Durham, NC)

While I was in the Raleigh area over the weekend, I made my way to Sci-Fi Genre in Durham, NC. I've ordered from their online store at www.ScifiGenre.com before, so I wanted to check out their B&M location while I was within a few minutes of the place. They had a pretty good selection of action figures, along with a few statues and busts, but nothing I really needed. I did pick up several new comics, though, which they sell bagged and boarded for just under cover price. I liked that about the shop, especially considering I was traveling with Darby. She's nutty, she's a crazy kind of dog. You get in her way, she'll roll right over you. She's silly like that.

Sci-Fi Genre

So About That Little Batman Movie...

I guess I haven't said anything about it here, huh? It's Nolan's masterpiece, and that means a lot, considering I'd have named Memento as the best movie I'd ever seen if you'd asked me on July 17. He's easily the best filmmaker of our time, and I couldn't be happier about Warner Bros. putting the Bat in his hands. Heath Ledger's performance is everything it's hyped up to be, and then some. Words can't do it justice. He brought so much to the role, and it's a shame he can't be around to enjoy the success. Seriously, Jack who? Yeah, 1989 ain't shit.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Now That's More Like It!

fully stocked pegs
Four cases of wave 7, four cases of wave 9, and several leftover figures from waves 4 and 8. This is how the G.I. JOE pegs should look.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Harley Quinn - Coming Soon From Mattel

So at Mattel's DC Universe panel today in San Diego, it was announced that a new "Gotham Criminals" four-pack of animated style figures would feature some of Batman's Rogues Gallery in their The New Batman Adventures styles (see coverage at ActionFigureInsider.com). The villains chosen? The Clock King, who's never been produced by either Hasbro or Mattel, appears to be based on his appearance in the Suicide Squad (AKA Task Force X) on Justice League Unlimited. Bane & Scarecrow, neither of whom ever saw TNBA treatment from Hasbro, will be in the redesigned looks. And finally, HARLEY QUINN completes the set! I've been bugging the Mattel guys about this for years, and she's finally going to be produced. Yes, Hasbro made Harley, and sure, she's a good looking figure. She's just entirely too tall for the Mattel figures, a line that 1) looks better and 2) covers a much larger selection of DCAU characters. So after all this time, I'm getting Harley! You can see a promotional photo from their presentation at TNI. Although the line has gone exclusive to Target, these figures will be sold through Mattel's new online store, MattyCollector.com (where they will be selling the JLU Giganta figure on Monday after SDCC). Just to show my appreciation for the decision to finally produce a new Harley, I pledge to buy multiple sets.

Harley Quinn - Coming Soon From Mattel

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Dark Knight Joker Figure: I Told You So

Now anyone who knows me also knows how much I hate to say, "I told you so," but remember what I said about The Dark Knight Joker figure back in May? Anyone want to take a guess as to what I bought last night?

carded Movie Master Joker
And not for $40, $100, or $180, but for $11.44 + tax. Not only did I pick up Scarecrow, and not only was I able to get the Joker with the improved paint application that I was hoping we'd see, but one of the stores I visited received seven cases of these figures on yesterday's truck. Seven. Cases. No luck on the Batman Begins chase figure, but there's always tomorrow. And remember, kids, the Joker is scheduled to be two-per-case in the next assortment, which means you have only your own lack of patience to blame if you pay a premium for it. So no more nonsense about Mattel "replacing" the figure (although I doubt we'll see a retraction from anyone on that one), and please knock off the bullshit about Heath Ledger's family "forcing" Mattel to stop selling it. Nothing like that ever happened, so stop suggesting that it did.

carded Movie Master Joker

another site update

So after sorting through my haul from HeroesCon '08, mounting a third bookcase in the living room (using drywall anchors and 2.5" corner braces like this one), installing corner shelves against the side of that, and mounting a hidden-bracket shelf above the couch, I've updated the site with new pics from the living room. These photos basically provide a virtual tour of the room. The books in the first photo and busts in the second one are on shelves in a closet, which is directly in front of you when entering the house. I cleaned out all the stuff that was being stored in there, removed the door, stashed it away, and attached LED lights to both sides of the interior.

There's more of an update than I realized I would have. The page has gone from 27 to 89 photos, most of which are now larger in size.

Friday, June 13, 2008

HeroesCon '08 In One Week

Heroes Aren't Hard To Find revealed the exclusive signed and numbered HeroesCon 2008 Advance Ticket Incentive Print on the HeroesOnline blog today. Darwyn Cooke provided the artwork for this year's print, based on his DC: The New Frontier. Cooke will be at the show this year, so in addition to the print, I'm hoping to get my copy of The New Frontier (both the TPB and the animated DVD based on his work) signed next weekend.
HeroesCon 2008 Darwyn Cooke Print

Friday, June 06, 2008

Two Weeks Until HeroesCon '08

And they just recently debuted this on their blog:

Indie Island HeroesCon shirt
The shirt was drawn by Evan Dorkin and colored by Sarah Dyer. Don't know who they are? You need to beef up on your DCAU knowledge. Check out Evan and Sarah's site.

Monday, June 02, 2008

More Commentary On The Joker Figure

David Willis, who satirizes the hobby of toy collecting in Shortpacked, his online comic strip, focused on the Movie Master Joker topic yesterday with his weekly strip for TNI. You can read it here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Dark Knight Joker Figure

The way people react to internet rumors can be entertaining at times, but it can also be frustrating to watch. A recent one that I find baffling is the idea that Mattel has "dropped" the Joker figure from its new Movie Master line. The idea seems to have started on a web site which claims to provide "news" from the world of "media and technology" with this poorly researched "article" (to use the word liberally). While the entire site strikes me as little more than an amateurish collection of gossip and regurgitated headlines from other sources, this piece in particular is rife with error. The "author" (I'm being even more liberal here, considering his poor command of the language) does begin with a bit of humor, though:

I'm not going to reveal how I know this...

Well, of course he's not going to reveal how he knows it, because what follows is a load of bullshit. Ryan Brookhart, who fancies himself an industry insider (and of multiple industries, no less), claims that shoppers will not be able to find the pictured Joker figure (the Movie Master version) at retail, because Mattel decided it was "too scary for children". He goes on to say that it will be replaced by a, "hybrid animated style Joker roughly an inch smaller and in standard blister-style packaging." The "replacement" he's describing is the figure from the 5" movie line, geared toward kids who will want to play with their toys, and it's the same one that was shown at the NY Toy Fair back in February (although the retail release has a much less impressive paint application). The 6" Movie Master line, however, was created with adult collectors in mind, and is (once again) the same product shown at Toy Fair. Two different figures, in two totally different scales, and from two completely separate lines, were always planned. This isn't a deliberate attempt to deceive people, but rather a very confused individual whose inaccuracies were unfortunately repeated by various bloggers and small media outlets. The version pictured on the page that sparked all this nonsense was never going to be part of the 5" line, despite what some know-nothing wannabe says on the internerd.

With the theatrical release of The Dark Knight still seven weeks away, why would anyone believe Mattel won't be shipping more Movie Master Joker figures to retailers? Of course they will. In fact, they're going to be two-per-case in a future assortment, the same ratio as Batman was packed in the first shipment. But the uninformed still scramble to pay thrice the MSRP for something many of them wouldn't have even wanted if Heath Ledger was still alive. While the macabre attraction to the likeness of a recently deceased celebrity comes as no surprise, the figure itself leaves much to be desired. When the Movie Master line first hit retail, I came across at least fifteen of them. The paint application doesn't do the sculpt justice, so I didn't bother getting one for the $11-and-change price. Even if the figure had been perfect, though, you might as well throw your money in the garbage if you pay $35 (or more) to acquire one. They will be available in Big Box stores again very soon.

The Dark Knight Joker Figure

Thursday, May 22, 2008

29 Days And Counting

HeroesCon 2008
The guest list is phenomenal. Highlights include Ed Brubaker, Cliff Chiang, Darwyn Cooke, Dan Didio, Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, Tommy Lee Edwards, Adam Hughes, Peter Laird, Steve Niles, Greg Rucka, Herb Trimpe, Ethan Van Sciver, Matt Wagner, Mark Waid, and Sarah Wilkinson. Unfortunately, Jamal Igle cancelled.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Gotham Girls Animated Shorts Coming To DVD

Buried in Warner Home Video's press release announcing the first (and only) season of Birds Of Prey will finally be released on DVD was this:

In addition to the entire series, complete with 13 full episodes, Birds of Prey: The Complete Series includes never-before-seen special features such as:
  • Gotham Girls S1-3 – An animated series of shorts starring the Birds of Prey characters.

Well, obviously seasons 1-3 of Gotham Girls have been seen, but only on the internet (season three begins here). It's a part of the DC Animated Universe that fans have wanted for a long time, and even though it's not getting a DVD release proper, it will still be a welcome addition to every DCAU collection.
Gotham Girls

That just leaves The Zeta Project and Static Shock missing from DVD shelves everywhere. What gives? In an e-mail marketing campaign on April 5, 2007, Warner Bros. conducted a survey of animation fans to gauge interest in several of their properties. Included on that list was The Zeta Project, so they are perfectly aware that fans are out there and willing to part with their money. And Static Shock? The show's ratings and popularity say all that needs to be said.

So how 'bout it, Warner Bros.? When can we get full sets of Zeta and Static to complete the DCAU?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Compulsive Collector.com Gets A Facelift

The site had previously been built with an 800x600 resolution in mind, but I spent last night designing and implementing a new layout that's more suited for a higher resolution. I could have gone bigger, especially with the widescreen monitors I use, but I'm happy with where it is. There's also a new color scheme, red and blue, in honor of the Super Bowl XLII champion New York Giants. :-D

So check out the new and improved Compulsive Collector.com, and enjoy.

Monday, February 04, 2008


The title pretty much says it all.