My Friend The Spreadsheet

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Regular comics are great and all, but I do enjoy those promotional mini-comics. I have an article series on my other site that is all about reviewing them, and ones I physically own can be cross-posted to this site if I need it. They’re probably the only part of my comics library that is properly organized. However, they weren’t properly cataloged, and I need to know which mini-comics I own, what I’m looking for, and what I’ve written reviews on, whether I own the actual mini-comic or a scan off of the internet

That’s what I decided to do for this week’s project, to create a spreadsheet to catalog my mini-comics and what I’ve reviewed already. This may seem boring, and we aren’t talking about high impact EXTREME excitement here, but it’s a good way to demonstrate how that unused spreadsheet program in your computer or tablet can benefit a large organizing project like the one I’m doing.

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[VIDEO] Parblo A610 Graphics Tablet (First Impression)

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As I mention in the video below, my dad picked up an Amazon gift card after changing cable companies and invited me to pick something. My choice was getting a new drawing tablet. Why?

Since I took this picture the pile on the right, containing lineart from my daily comic strip, has gotten larger. I’m not sure what to do with it. This comic is not one I can collect since so many punchlines are a product of when they were made. It’s like a political cartoon, except I talk about the storytelling industry, not politics. I try to keep politics out of my work; there’s enough of that out there already. While I still want to do traditional drawing I thought being able to draw directly to the computer, instead of scanning lineart and coloring/lettering on the computer anyway.

My tablet of choice is the A610 from Parblo. In the video below I do an unboxing, and then I’m joined by my friend Sean to try it out, using Clip Studio Paint, my drawing program of choice.

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Transformers Report: Power Core Combiners Searchlight & Backwind

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I’ve noted in the past that I like Combiners. I blame that on growing up with Voltron and Mighty Orbots (anyone remember that show?) as well as seeing the Combiners in the original Transformers cartoon. So you’d think a line of Combiners would get me excited. It really depends on how good the Combiners are. The most recent line, Combiner Wars, was hit or miss with me depending on the figure. Some “cores” ended up with odd proportions in torso mode and the combination is usually clean but not always. There are still some groups I really want though.

But this is not the first time there has been a combination gimmick line. Energon had a two-robot combination feature among the Autobots, but I’m referring to Power Core Combiners, a line in which the “core” led not a group of other Transformers to combine with but non-robot mode drones that would “automorph” into the arms or legs (depending on the drone) to form a larger version of the core. That’s not really what I’m looking for in a Combiner team. I like having five or more robots that combine into one and have their own alternate modes. If you want to know more about them, this episode of Plastic Addict explains the many flaws this line had.

One of the gimmicks was having a core released not with the drones but a Mini-Con partner. And we all know my love of Mini-Cons by now. The team I picked up was the Autobot Searchlight and Mini-Con Backwind. While the duo have been released as part of store promotional sets these toys come from their stand-alone two-pack since I never owned any of the drones or other “Commanders” from the series. This is my lone appearance from Power Core Combiners. So how does this team-up work out?

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Minor Report This Week

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You can’t see it because this is from the big clean-up of this shelf but I did some minor alteration to this shelf so I could put a few things in easy reach. That’s it. Saturday is when I do my weekly clutter project, but between a necessarily long-winded article series for my other site that went longer than usual and poor sleep Friday night that was all I was able to get done. And I may still be moving a couple of things around.

The next Transformers toy review is going to have a lot of images, which means a lot of time transforming, setting up shots, taking the shots, and writing the review. And there are two toys because it’s a set, and I need enough time to do that right. Hopefully we’ll have that next week since it should be a fairly decent week next week. No big plans and the article series (a chapter by chapter review of Seduction Of The Innocent, a book rather famous in comic-collecting circles) is taking a break for another review. So I’ll have a decent report for you next week.

Quick Project: Finding Lost Comics

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I dodged a time bullet on this project. A whole section of my Marvel comics went missing when I got to that section to review for my other site (as well as seeing what I want to keep), and I got concerned. I was going to finally do the final reunification of my comic collection even though I don’t have the time to do it properly. I want to go through some comics during the reorganizing that I’m thinking I don’t want anymore.

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Transformers Report: Animated Jazz

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Transformers Animated is rather different from other Transformers shows. It’s probably the most light and cartoonish of the shows right down to the art style. It’s a sharp contrast to the Michael Bay films that started coming out around this time, but it still managed to bring about good characters while the Autobots took a more superhero role than the traditional defending army or current “police officer” approach. The heroes weren’t trained soldiers but a simple work crew in over their heads and trying to survive on Earth. It’s really a good show and worth checking out.

One of the later characters was the Animated version of Jazz, working not with Optimus Prime but with Ultra Magnus, this version not too sure about humans due to Cybertronians in general having a xenophobic fear of organic beings. Jazz, however, grew to see the humans as just as worth as any Transformer, and the only one of that group to respect them. It’s why I like him, but his cool persona and ninja styling helped. It was around this time that my FIRST hospital stay came about, due to inflammation and where I first learned what Crohn’s Disease was. So a friend on the Transformers newsgroup sent me a bunch of Transformers to make me feel better, and it sure helped. I couldn’t buy my usual “pity Transformer”, which in hindsight is part of the reason my collection is too big today. But where does Animated’s Jazz fit into that?

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Transformers Report: Classics Rodimus (aka Hot Rod)

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I never cared for Rodiums Prime. I won’t go into the details. This isn’t my storytelling review site, but the short version is that Hot Rod was a more interesting character before being given the Matrix Of Leadership, at least to me. So I’m always happy to see Hot Rod being given a new toy, even if Hasbro didn’t have access to the Hot Rod name and had to call him Rodimus, sans Prime. (Toy name trademarks are an odd discussion. As I write this Hasbro is suing Mattel and DC because their DC Super Hero Girls line includes a figure named Bumblebee, even though that was the name of a DC Universe superhero long before the Transformers woke up from their 4,000,000 year dirt nap in 1984.)

So when they released a Hot Rod figure in their Transformers Classics line, I had to pick one up. Cut to 2017 and the question is how do I feel about it now?

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Transformer Report: Transformers Classics Prowl

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Prowl discussing my clutter issues.

Transformers Universe Classics 2.0 Extra Cheese With A Soda…look, it’s the next release of Transformers Classics from the Optimus Prime I reviewed last week. All I know is it isn’t Reveal The Shield and that Hasbro gets confusing with the subline names at times. It’s G1 Prowl with an updated vehicle mode. That’s the important part here.

I feel sorry for Prowl. On the TV show he was part of Optimus’ command team. In the Budiansky-written G1 comics from Marvel he was the logical thinker and strategist, even leading the team for a time in Optimus’ absence. And then Simon Furman came along. If you read my other website, BW Media Spotlight, you know I have a questionable history with Furman’s Transformers stories. Some were really good, some were good in concept but not in execution, and some were just not very good at all, or at least not to my personal taste…and not very good at all. His Prowl was kind of a jerk, stuck to the rules, thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room when Furman’s pet character Grimlock always out thinks him, and IDW added in a willingness to do horrible things to protect the Autobots and Cybertron thinking it has to be the right thing. I grew up with a better Prowl when he didn’t have much of a personality.

I mean, the first toy’s tech spec catchphrase is ““Logic is the ultimate weapon.” Why is he not Shockwave’s arch rival? Being about logic is one of the universal personality traits of Shockwave!

So I picked up the updated version when it came out. How well does it hold up?

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Transformers Report: Classics Optimus Prime

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Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Transformers Classics was an attempt to bring the classic “G1” character into the modern age with updated versions of their classic alternate modes. For example, you’ve probably seen Bumblebee’s Classics form sitting on the Bumblebee shelf in the past. Instead of his classic VW Beetle form he got a more updated compact car mode, mainly due to Volkswagen not wanting to be tied to war toys. Others were given a modern model of the vehicle they were originally based on. To grab names at random, if a car had been a 1980s Ford Taurus or something, this would be a 2008 Taurus. Note that I don’t know if they even made the Ford Taurus in the 1980s. I’m just giving a hypothetical example here.

One of those toys was an update of…naturally, the leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime. (And yes, they did have a Megatron but thanks to modern restrictions on toy guns they made him more like a Nerf weapon than his traditional handgun.) Originally a red flat-nosed semi, Michael Bay gave him a long-nose blue semi with flames because he thought it looked cool. But what does a proper Optimus Prime update look like?

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More Dusting, More Organizing

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I had to finish up the dusting I didn’t finish two weeks ago, and that included the dresser. Dusting the dresser is my opportunity to reorganize the darn thing. This image is from the last time I dusted the dresser, which was a long time ago. For some reason this always gets messy even when I declutter until I dust. I put a few things in different spots and it’s a better looking dresser top.

 

But reorganizing the dresser top got me thinking about the top of my computer desk as well. The little Iron Man figures (which I’ve reviewed) keep falling over even though they’re on little stands, and you can’t tell in this picture but the Donatellos were getting in the way of setting things back up. Also, Scooter’s knees are weak and he has a tendency to fall on his back. So I kept the Silver Centurion Iron Man (although not the cards or even the stands) and put the rest away with the Donatellos. Right now it’s just Silver Centurion, Super Clown, the ships, the Digimon, and VINcent fromĀ The Black Hole, and it looks much better. I want to get in the habit of rotating the displays, maybe just leaving the spaceships and changing everything else around whenever I dust, so it looks different every time and adds some variety.

I may do some more spot-cleaning projects before the next Transformers review set. It all depends on what time allows.

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