Optimus Prime is under no illusions about how dangerous Starscream really is. The Decepticon second-in-command might be a coward, but he's still smart and powerful enough to present a real threat to Earth. The Autobot leader has Human and Autobot agents combing the globe for the hiding air warrior. As soon as they find him, though, it will be Optimus Prime alone who goes in to bring him down.
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As the Leader of the MexiCons, Nachos BelGrande had various special weapons and abilities at his disposal. He would not need all of them to combat this new threat.
Reaching deep into his chassis, Nachos removed the Ancient Artifact and held it aloft.
"Ahora la luz nuestra hora mas oscura!"
The Taco of Leadership glowed from within, releasing a bright, pure cleansing light. It washed over the Ass-09 drones, dispersing the dark cloud that controlled them. Optics grew dim as the drones powered down and collapsed in the sand.
It took mere moments to shut down The Thousand Asses of the Apocalypse.
The Artifact stopped glowing. Nachos BelGrande slumped to the ground; it had taken nearly all of his power to maintain the effect at the level of power needed. He smiled inwardly, relieved that he had saved most of the Dairycons, yet saddened that he could not save his two favorites.
It was all the more distressing when the dark energy reappeared, containing a new menace within.
We were lucky to have again caught up with Fred of Freds Workshop, the VariQuest, and one of the secret members behind the Dairycon convention. After baiting a trap with organic wheat crackers and another new Huffer variant, we managed to convince him to take the time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about Transformers, Conventions, and the state of the world in general.
First of all, thank you for taking the time to sit down for an interview. I understand you usually try to avoid interviews?
You're welcome, and yes; I usually claim shyness.
So why did you agree to sit down and talk with us?
You wouldn't leave (as he munches on a wheat cracker).
OK, so ignoring my methods... what was your first introduction to the world of the Transformers? How did they take ahold of a place in your heart and manage to stay there for so long?
Like most of my 'generation', I grew up watching the Transformers on television... no small feat back in the day, when you have two channels, neither of which comes in clearly. I wonder if there are videophiles who prefer their television transmission thru an antenna, much the way audiophiles prefer their records full of noise over a clear compact disk?
As to why they have remained in my heart for so long, I imagine it was the excellent storyline and the unique 'fiddle factor' that Transformers provided my young mind.
Or else it was the insidious corporate marketing strategy. Either way.
The 2010 Dairycon convention brings back the character of "Uncle Whiskey Breath" to the Dairycon Universe. What was the impetus behind bringing back such a perennial favorite?
Uncle Whiskey Breath was our first convention exclusive. He is by far one of our most popular characters, and really set the tone for future shows. Over the years, many people have asked us if we would ever consider reissuing him - for the 10th Anniversary, it seemed a home run. We're giving fans one more chance to own the figure that started it all.
The original Uncle Whiskey Breath came with his signature Cloak of Cow and the Blizzard Shotgun. What can we expect with the reissue?
The 2010 Uncle Whiskey Breath will come packaged with a number of his original accessories, plus a few surprises. In the storyline, Uncle was usually accompanied by a small friend, a partner. No-one has commented yet, but on the website, the 10th Anniversary version of him is listed as 'Uncle Whiskey Breath with Stormsword Jet'. If you recall, the 2005 Stormsword set was the first 'Multicon Shared Exclusive' (for 2009, it was Ass-09, of course). That's just one of the surprises you can expect with this figure. There will be more revealed at the show.
I think the update to this figure and his weapons will please fans of the original.
The information listed recently has fans VERY excited. There's the Battle for Brew City assortment, which seems to contain a number of characters specific to Dairycon. You've recently introduced the Return of Convoy assortment, which contains Minerva, a Japanese character from the series. Can we assume, by the name of this second series, that something 'Big' is in store for fans?
Oh come on! Nothing?!
Well, I will say this: The Battle for Brew City assortment does contain Dairycon-specific characters; the ones that likely won't be done in any other format. However, with the magnitude of what's coming next, we decided to give it an entirely different theme, that still tied fully into the Dairycon universe (and to celebrate our 10 years in the fandom).
When it's all finally revealed, I can promise that fans won't be disappointed.
There have been allusions, hints really, over the last few years that the 2010 show may be your last. Is there any truth to these rumors?
Hints? What hints? You mean in 2008 when we first introduced, 'The Last Dairycon' in the comic? In the 2009 interview where we said that, 'you'll want to get to the 2010 show, because you won't get another chance'? Or could it be on the website, where the last storyline is titled, 'The true and final End of the Dairycon Universe'?
Or could it be that there are no longer any listings on the site for 'Future/Unproduced Dairycon Exclusives'?
*Ahem* No comment…
More precisely, this question will be answered properly the day of the show. There needs to be a certain... context, I think, that being there, at the time of the announcement, will provide. We spoke of this a bit last year, and I think it might best help to explain: When people start taking the parody too-seriously, it's time to bow out.
I kid you not, we've found knockoffs of the Dairycon exclusives, there's a kid who wants to make some kind of yu-gi-oh game cards of the characters, several attendees have made their own t-shirts... heck, someone at Hassenfeld Brothers inadvertently 'borrowed' a couple of our parodies (FlatFoot and Checkers), and made them into characters. I often wonder who at corporate was so straining for an idea, that they had to slip in some of ours Funny when you think about it. They're in the Kmart Minicon packs. Get-it- MiniCon? Small convention?
It's a good plug... "At least Dairycon doesn't 'OverCharge' for their show!"
It's as we said before: You don't make money off of something like this. Just ask Jon and Karl. We're a pro-deficit organization We do this for fun, not to make money. How do you make money off something you love, and essentially give away?
I believe that when you start to try to make money off this kind of thing, then you've completely missed the point. And *that* is my answer.
How do you think that Dairycon compares to the larger Transformer Conventions, and its role in the ‘big picture’ of the current state of the fandom?
Well, obviously, there needs to be a large organization, such as McBotcon, to do the heavy lifting. And frankly, their business model proves that there's money to be made, or else they wouldn't be doing it. At the same time, I believe there is an obligation to prove the opposite is true; to set out to prove that it's not about the money Quite a tough row to hoe, when you consider it's based on, essentially, one slick and ancient toy-based marketing strategy. I'd like to think we made our point.
That's the essential function of fancons, the one thing they can do that the big shows can't. Fancons aren't about the money. They can't be; if they were, they'd be gobbled up by the big boys. Or morph into a Big Boy themselves. Again, just ask Jon and Karl, and look at what Botcon has become. Can *you* afford to go to Disneyworld? I sure can't. That show is no longer about you, or I. They've lost something essential, something primal, if you'll pardon the pun. They've left the old fandom behind.
Then again, Transformers are about change...
This small 'niche' market, where disillusioned fans and Fancons themselves reside, is where I think the past (and the future) will be. Those that cannot honestly afford (or cannot justify) the high cost of large conventions or toys will always go to the smaller shows, to interact with like-minded people. They make smaller purchases that are more in-line with their budget. It keeps their interest alive, which actually helps to keep the brand alive. These are the folks that the Big Boys have left behind.
That's ok; we still love you
Speaking of the bigger shows, what are your opinions about the current state of affairs of the Fandom itself?
The World of the Transformers is a very different place from when I was a kid. And you know? That's OK. Let another Generation of fans take up the struggle, to find out for themselves.
The perceived sickness that grips our society is mirrored by the fandom. It's very noticeable these days. Every Age has its Laments, and now that we're no longer an agrarian society, fighting just to survive (ie, not starve)... we've gone too-far the other way. We have too-much. Too-much food, too-many toys, too-much stimulus.
The thought that material goods are somehow the way to happiness? They're not. Life, Love, and Family... these are the things that truly matter. But in our increasingly isolated society, we're losing touch with that. Both parents working, folks are talking thru their e-mail... does anyone sit at the dinner table anymore and just talk? What about a phone call to grandmother? What about just taking a walk, and admiring the way your neighbor has landscaped his yard?
This new generation is missing out. I worry about them. -Just as the generation before no-doubt worried about us. You'll see.
Sorry, again, if that was wordy.
The Dairycon Universe is always full of interesting characters and storylines. Do you write these yourself? How do you come up with the ideas for the stories/character bios?
The Dairycon Universe could not exist without the assistance and dedication of the members of the DTF. There are many people who contribute thoughts, ideas, and sometimes characters to the mythos. All are welcome. Obviously, as a parody of an actual show, we're aiming for your funny bone, not your pocketbook. We end up with characters that probably wouldn't be done anywhere else, in any format. Having said that, I'm always waiting for some large nameless corporation to decide that funny is the way to go, steal a couple of our characters, and put them into a minicon 12-pk at Kmart That would make the Dairycon Universe canon, wouldn't it? Or at least, it would make us as legitimate as JaAm....
What can you tell us about the Dairycon characters themselves? Are any based on any “real-life” personalites?
I'm always interested in hearing what Dairycon characters are the fandom's favorite, although there is a bit of a freestanding notion in the core group that each Dairycon character represents a particular fan... There are a number of characters that represent a very real archetype, a personality type that isn't normally seen in the Transformers Universe, yet exists in real life. We find this supremely entertaining, which is why so many of our characters are, literally, oxymorons and alcoholics
Coming up with the characters *could* be considered the easy part. How do you come up with the design for the figures themselves? What kind of work and effort goes into each figure? What is the time frame for developing & creating each years' exclusives?
That information is now available in the Dairycon: 10 Years hardcover that will be available at this year’s convention. All I can tell you is that there's no easy part
What can we expect to see at future Dairycons?
Any more hints you'd like to give out regarding this year? A passing mention of which character we'll see in figure form? Any hints as to what we'll see in the upcoming story arc?
2010 will be the best year ever, with the greatest figures ever. And you'd better attend, because you're not going to get another chance.
*That* is my final answer!
Thank you again for the chance to ask you a few questions. I hope we might be able to shed some light on the Dairycon convention, Life, the Universe, and Everything...
Happy to help! If we've not helped, hopefully we've at least muddied the waters a bit further.
-And Remember, "Freedom is the RIGHT of All Sentient Beings."
What was it that caused one of the Decepticon's most ruthless soldiers to turn his back on the Decepticon army and what is the ancient secret that lies hidden deep within an alien planet? All this and more as the origin of the newest Autobot, Drift, is finally revealed!
In summary, it's a cute novelty and a fun, if flawed figure....
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