As many of you already know, I dig comics. And I also dig Transformers (why else would I be here?). So I was happy with Dreamwave producing new Transformers books. But my real dream came true when Simon Furman was on board to produce a new Transformers mini-series called The War Within! Not only was he writing it, a familiar name popped up. It wasn't Pat Lee or Andrew Wildman... it was Don Figueroa. I recognized his name credited in the "All Optimus Prime," "All Megatron," and "Dinobots vs. Devastator" but I couldn't figure out where I first heard the name. Then it hit me... he use to draw a Transformer fan comic and kitbashes! I was blown away that he stepped up to a professional level and is now working with the legendary Simon Furman. So I set out to find out about the man behind the pencil of the new mini-series...
Supreme Convoy: What's your art background (college, art school, etc.) like?
Don Figueroa: I only took some high school art classes, I could have gone to the Art institute of California but I never finished my portfolio in time. Oh well.
Supreme Convoy: What inspired you to pursue a career in art?
Don Figueroa: Well, I hated my old Job, Unloading trucks is not what I had in mind in terms of career choices, I'd rather do what I like, have fun with it and get paid for it:)
Supreme Convoy: So who's your favorite character?
Don Figueroa: Of all time? it's a toss up between Batman and Superman:) in Transformers? BW Megatron! He's such an Evil Bastard and he kicks ass.
Supreme Convoy: Favorite Transformers moment (either in the show or the comic)?
Don Figueroa: The most best TF moment for me is probably is in BW, when Megatron did that Speech right before he busts a cap on Optimus Prime's head.
Supreme Convoy: What's your favorite toy?
Don Figueroa: I Don't really have a favorite, whatever new toy I get is the one I display and fiddle around, until I get a new one that is.
Supreme Convoy: What did you think of the Robots in Disguise and Armada shows?
Don Figueroa: RID was a bit too kiddified for me, Armada's still new so I'll save my judgment later on, but animation wise, it does look a bit better than RID.
Supreme Convoy: What some people may not know is that you once worked on a fantastic fanfic comic and kitbashes called Macromasters. What inspired you to make the Macromasters comics and toys?
Don Figueroa: I started with the Base-bot named Stronghold for fun and people went nuts when they saw it. it's so big it dwarfs Fortress Maximus! people asked for more so I did, then when I made a Megatron figure, I needed to come up with a story to bring back the Original G1 Megs since it was based on that character and things just fell into place.
Supreme Convoy: What comic books have you been reading lately?
Don Figueroa: Right now, just G1 and Armada. I used to read X-men, Superman, Batman and Spawn but since most of the comic stores around here closed, I don't get to buy them as regularly.
Supreme Convoy: Did you ever think that you would draw comics professionally?
Don Figueroa: Yeah, but I did have some doubts when I keep getting rejection letters from the big companies, I almost gave it up once. It's a good thing I didn't:)
Supreme Convoy: How exactly did you get the job at Dreamwave? Did they see your work on Macromasters?
Don Figueroa: I think Pat saw some of my work online, I got an Email from him asking if I'm interested in doing Box-art for Armada. And of course I said yes!
Later on, I sent him some TF sample pages just for future consideration. I guess they liked it:)
Supreme Convoy: What would you be doing if Pat Lee haven't emailed you?
Don Figueroa: Probably still driving a forklift, unloading trucks.
Supreme Convoy: What Armada boxes have you done?
Don Figueroa: Starscream, Blurr, the Adventure team and Speed team Minicons, Galvatron and Thundercracker.
Supreme Convoy: Do you get samples of new toys?
Don Figueroa: I wish! I would have returned them back afterwards....no, really! ;)
Supreme Convoy: Can you tell us what's The War Within all about?
Don Figueroa: Well, it's basically the start of the Great War, We'll see how Prime evolved to the great leader he is today.
Supreme Convoy: What inspired the character designs for The War Within?
Don Figueroa: It always kinda bothered me why the Transformers have Earth Vehicle parts when they were back in Cybertron Millions of years before they even heard of Earth, I always assumed it's just coincidence.
I wanted to use some of the Alt-modes seen in MTMTE , but I also wanted to give them realistic transformations.
Supreme Convoy: What's it like to work with the Simon Furman?
Don Figueroa: It's great! He's a really cool guy and I'd like to meet him in person one of these days:) his Script's are just awesome, it's like a Movie sceenplay!
I was worried at first, his panel descriptions are so complicated I'm afraid that I won't get to fit everything in that one scene. I'm glad he's cool with everything I've done so far.
Supreme Convoy: When is The War Within suppose to arrive in stores?
Don Figueroa: October, not sure what week though, the Preview should be out now
Supreme Convoy: Did you make any The War Within toys out of scratch as a side project?
Don Figueroa: Not yet:) I just don't have the time right now :P
Supreme Convoy: What do you think of your work in The War Within, is it the best yet?
Don Figueroa: I think so... I'll let the fans decide:) but I AM very proud of it.
Supreme Convoy: Are there any references you use to come up with scenes in the books?
Don Figueroa: Toys, I like having a 3D representation of what I'm Drawing, I also watch movies as I draw, mostly anime and sci-fi.
Supreme Convoy: What's your work schedule like? How long does it take a page?
Don Figueroa: Hectic:) I can do about a page or so per day, Depending on the Scenes. a Splash pages will take about half or full day.
Supreme Convoy: What do you do when you're not drawing?
Don Figueroa: Not...drawing?!! What do you mean... :)
Supreme Convoy: What was your favorite moment with Dreamwave so far?
Don Figueroa: When I finally met them in person down in the San Diego Comic-con, I had a blast! Wish I could have stayed longer, but I was only there for a day.
Supreme Convoy: Have you done any conventions yet as a guest?
Don Figueroa: Nah, DW had to sneak me in the Con:) I didn't get a pro badge then
Supreme Convoy: Any dream book you wish you could work on?
Don Figueroa: Batman and Ghost Rider, maybe even Spawn.
Supreme Convoy: Any comments on the 80s retro phase?
Don Figueroa: I think it's cool to go back to simpler times, even if it's just in paper and Cartoons. Those were the good ol' days.
Supreme Convoy: Do you visit the Transformers message boards?
Don Figueroa: I used to post at Allspark, mostly in the Iacon art forum. Wish I could post more drawings there, just been kinda busy lately.
Supreme Convoy: So what's after The War Within? Any other projects you're working on?
Don Figueroa: I have some artwork on the upcoming TFU Profile book and the TF Genesis Artbook. I'd really like to do TF comics as long as possible. but I'd also would like to do other comics, any comics.
Supreme Convoy: Any plans on continuing Macromasters? You did leave us hanging...
Don Figueroa: I'm hoping to finish the story someday, I'm thinking of pitching the Idea to DW. who knows...
Supreme Convoy: Just out of curiousity, in the "All Optimus Prime" poster, why is Optimus Minor included?
Don Figueroa: Well, he IS an "Optimus" and they wanted an ALL Optimus Poster:)
Supreme Convoy: Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists?
Don Figueroa: Just keep at it! Stick to a medium you're best at, Develop on your own style, keep sending to companies and don't give up.
Supreme Convoy: Anything else you want to say for Transformers fans?
Don Figueroa: Till all are one! :)
I'd like to thank Don for taking the time for the interview. As for me, I can't wait to get my hands on a copy The War Within #1. I'll definitely be at the comic book shop that Wednesday to pick it up... or my new buddy, Don, can hook me up with one... - SC
The webmaster of SEIBERTRON.com would like to thank Supreme Convoy for landing this awesome interview with Don Figueroa and would also like to wish Don good luck with his new career!
From the Associated Press
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- The Transformers, a race of gigantic, shape-shifting robots, invaded planet Earth two decades ago, desperate to find life-giving fuel for their ailing civilization.
Now they're back, this time fueled by the nostalgia of Generation X.
So-named because they could change shape into cars, trucks and jet fighters, Transformers came in the form of die-cast toys, comic books and an after-school cartoon series that, well, transformed them into a billion-dollar pop culture phenomenon.
Over the years, the toys were tossed away or vanished into attic corners while the cartoon show was canceled and forgotten.
But as the children of the 1980s have become financially independent adults, collecting Transformers memorabilia has become a passion.
"They take you back to fourth grade, when you didn't have any problems," said collector Angie Hung, a 25-year-old manager at an Internet service company in Calgary, Canada. "I wish I could go back to the mid-'80s and use the money I have now to buy them all."
In some ways, she's getting her wish.
Rhino Home Video has just released a DVD of the first "Transformers" cartoon season, a new comic book about the famed "robots in disguise" is a best seller, and sales of the vintage toys abound on the Internet, many selling for triple their original value.
A link to childhood
These toys and cartoons are more than just retro kitsch to the people who love them -- they are a powerful link to childhood.
"I wouldn't say the Transformers was the only good thing in my life as a kid, but it was the best thing in my life," said collector Alex Weiner, a counselor for delinquent youths in Philadelphia.
He was 8 when he first encountered the toys and cartoon in 1984 -- the year his parents divorced and he moved to a new town in New Jersey with his mother.
The first new friend he made was playing with Transformers, he recalled.
"They gave me a chance to connect with another kid," Weiner said. "It was definitely an outlet from the other stuff roiling in my head from the divorce."
He remained a fan for several years, often watching the cartoon show twice daily. Then came more upheaval: his mother, who had remarried, was getting another divorce and they were moving again.
While cleaning out his room, he started playing with the Transformers one last time. Then he packed them up in a bag and carried them out to the trash.
Transformers brand still sells
Until relatively recently, Peter Cullen didn't know people like Weiner existed.
But now the veteran voice-over actor, who supplied the voice of heroic Optimus Prime in "The Transformers" cartoon, has met hundreds of admirers and attended a fan convention.
Despite the program's low-production values and cynical marketing purpose (even fans acknowledge it's something of a glorified toy commercial) Cullen said he and other actors took pride in making the stories wholesome.
Prime, who transformed into a big-rig truck, led the good-guy Autobot robots in war against the resource-depleting Decepticons, led by the sinister Megatron, who changed into a massive silver handgun.
"I wanted Optimus Prime to be strong and just and fair," said Cullen, who now plays Eeyore in Disney's "Winnie the Pooh" cartoons. "I saw him like John Wayne, and did a little of that voice. ... I wanted him to be a super-hero, not stupid or off-the-wall. He never yelled or lost his temper. I think the kids appreciated that."
The innovative marketing technique of a half-hour cartoon based on a toy line helped "The Transformers" racked up nearly $1 billion in action-figure sales over eight years in the 1980s.
And there's still more money to be made.
The first issue of the new comic book "Transformers: Generation 1" from publisher Dreamwave Productions has sold nearly 225,000 copies since it debuted April 5, and orders for next month's issue have already reached 165,000.
Meanwhile, bootleg copies of all 98 original cartoon episodes proliferated for years on the Internet, the complete set selling for $70 to $90. Now Rhino Home Video is releasing the program's first 16-episode season on DVD, which retails for about $60. Other seasons will follow.
A day before its April 23 debut, advance sales of that 17-year-old cartoon show ranked No. 7 on the Amazon.com list of best-selling DVDs.
Transformer fans even posted praise for the discs weeks in advance, rejoicing that they no longer had to pirate the episodes.
"No more downloading, encoding and video CD burning for me!" one fan wrote on the Amazon review section. "I want the real thing!"
The same sentiment goes for the toys.
The annual Transformers convention -- known as Botcon -- started in 1994 with 120 people. This year it's being held July 27-27 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and organizers expect a crowd of more than 2,000, representing the most voracious of countless fans across the country.
"They're a singular type of fan. They'll starve themselves and live six people per (hotel) room so they can spend an extra couple of bucks on toys," said Botcon organizer Glen Hallit, 30, of Rochester, New York.
Meanwhile, Hasbro Inc., which abandoned the robots-into-vehicles motif for many years, has returned to the original theme with the new "Robots in Disguise" toy line and cartoon.
'Armada' coming out in fall
Hasbro has another Transformers line called "Armada" coming out in the fall, and executives are considering reissuing some of the toys from the 1980s, something the Takara toy company in Japan, where the Transformers originated, has already done to great success there.
Joel Boblit, who runs the Internet retail site BigBadToystore.com, started his business by selling thousands of dollars worth of the original toys.
"These are really worth something," he said. "I've turned up some big collections that were just hidden away in someone's garage. Die-hard collectors will pay a lot for them, because this time they plan to keep them for life."
Whether it's toys, comic books or cartoons, fans of this sci-fi kids universe from the 1980's are determined not to let it slip away again.
Just for a joke a few years ago, Weiner watched an old tape of the 1986 "Transformers" feature movie with some college friends, but the powerful memories it resurrected turned him back into a collector.
He now co-manages an Internet fan site called Transfandom.com, where he sells the comic book, recruits participants for the Botcon convention and organizes chat room discussions among scores of fans.
He hopes to turn it into a full-time business, and expects the new DVD release will jog enough memories to create a new wave of fans.
"It's just the best feeling when you see something that brought you pleasure as a kid," he said. "You forget what it's like to be 8 years old, but this takes you back like you wouldn't believe."
TRANSFORMERS: ARMADA HAS ARRIVED!
"Integrating a new feature with "Micromaster" like toys called Minicons, the Transformers enter a new level of play with Transformers: Armada. Set in the year 2010, Armada continues what Robots in Disguise began: a vehicular Transformers line for 2002! Armada refers to a ship composed of Minicons that comes to Earth. The Minicons are scattered all over Earth, and the hunt begins to acquire these powerful robots! Takara and Hasbro have come together to generate an amazing new line. The Minicons were a lost faction of the Transformers and they have now returned. Each Minicon enhances the power of a Transformer exponentially."
Small Optimus - "This is one of the figures that is actually cool from Armada. He's actually pretty close to the original Optimus but has a stocky power to him. He looks like he could tear through Megatron's ass in about five seconds. Well, maybe not THAT Megatron."
Megatron - "Hmmm ... BADASS? He looks sweet! I'm quite impressed with this figure."
Starscream - "Screw the little whiny bitch ass from the 80s, this guy is ready to kill! He looks like he's fast, sleak, and he has a BIG sword. Not to mention missiles and a little race car for his Mini-Con."
Red Alert - "That poor little SUV turns into what? Another victim of the "Proud to show my parents that I don't have any hands" club. I don't know what to say about this guy - I'm baffled. He was better off as a repaint the first time around. The "new" Red Alert has a bigger ass than Jennifer Lopez! Where's Sir Mix-a-lot someone?"
Big Prime - "I come from Victory. I'm a Michigan Wolverines fan. I have the ripped off head of Piranacon and made it into a helmet. Might this be the weird Silence Of The Lambs serial killer of the Transformers?"
Perceptor - "There's GoBots that I could have a bigger sentimental attachment to than Perceptor. I don't even know what to say. I got off the couch for this? Someone got paid to design this guy? My four year old nephew has come up with better robots out of his legos with more articulation than this guy. It's a good thing that Michigan has deposits on pop cans because otherwise I wouldn't waste money on this guy."
Hot Shot - "Hello, Mr. Bond. Welcome to the 5th Element! I hope to God the middle of him fits together better than Toyfare's picture."
High Wire - "The same group of people that created the new Megatron had the balls to create a Transformers that looks like a rip off of the Farfiknugen guy? WTF??? Scooter from GoBots had more thought put into him than High Wire. All right guys, I've got a cool idea for a robot: he's a stick with a wheel on his hand and we'll give him a big red spot for a face. Hey, it worked for 7-UP! Wait a minute - I think I've seen this guy before in PlayMobil City Land!"
Grindor - "I hope the guy that designed Grindor got deported. What the hell is he suppose to be? A skateboard? Is this a leftover from the Action Masters??? (Staring in complete bafflement)."
Demolisher - "Look ma! No hands! But I've got guns! You can definetly tell this guy is going to be a pain for the Autobots. But watch out, Demolisher, if you get kicked in the shins - you're going down! Maybe that's what "Skateboard" Grindor is for - the Autobots'll just throw it at his shins!"
Cyclonus - "Straight from Hasbro's Playskool line: Cyclonus. Unicron just turned over in his grave. I don't know what else to say. Hold on, I'm sure I'll think of something after I finish praying to the porcelain god."
Wreckage - "Hello boys n' girls. In this week's Happy Meal you get a piece o' shit figure named Wreckage. This must be from the defunct McDonald's Happy Meal line. Get a hint Hasbro - if McDonald's didn't want to do it, why should you?"
Runway - "I turn into "part" of a sword. I'm not even cool enough to be the whole thing. This is the Gestalt idea gone bad."
Optimus Prime merged with trailer
Optimus & Megatron
Megatron in tank mode
PAWTUCKET, R.I.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 5, 2002-- Celebrating the "birthdays" of two classics, MR. POTATO HEAD and TRIVIAL PURSUIT, Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS) will unveil its 2002 product line-up at the American International Toy Fair in New York City on February 11th. Also among Hasbro's line are new items from this past holiday season's hottest brands including G.I. JOE, HITCLIPS and TRANSFORMERS. Plus, exciting new toys and games that lead today's hottest trends such as music and "wacky" toys, along with the entertainment industry's most popular properties.
Highlights of Hasbro's 2002 toy and games lines include:
50th BIRTHDAY EDITION MR. POTATO HEAD: In 1952, the first toy ever advertised on television encouraged kids to turn a bag of parts and a potato into a "funny face man." Since then, MR. POTATO HEAD'S status as an American icon has been no small potatoes. As he celebrates this "golden" year, MR. POTATO HEAD is more beloved today than ever -- he started as a real potato and grew into a famous toy, movie star, comic strip and so much more. The 50th BIRTHDAY EDITION MR. POTATO HEAD includes all the parts needed to make an original-looking MR. POTATO HEAD! Packaged in a special commemorative storage tin, this MR. POTATO HEAD features retro styling and original-looking parts including a real potato-like body, three pairs of eyes, three noses, three mouths, four ears, three hats and one pair of glasses. (Approximate retail price: $14.99; recommended ages: 2 & up; available in March.)
G.I. JOE: G.I. JOE was one of the 2001 holiday season's hottest toy brands and Hasbro will unveil a new line-up of action figures and vehicles for both kids and collectors at Toy Fair. A new generation of kids has clearly discovered the fantasy and action that only the G.I. JOE brand can offer. The 2002 roster of G.I. JOE action figures and vehicles features the return of the legendary "G.I. JOE vs. COBRA" theme that launched the popular 3-3/4-inch figures in the 1980s; a "COMBAT CONTROL" G.I. JOE figure that can move in ways never seen in a G.I. JOE action figure before; and a line of figures to commemorate D-Day, the Army Rangers, Jimmy Doolittle, and Ernie Pyle, the famous World War II news correspondent. (Approximate retail price: $7.99-29.99; recommended ages: 8 & up; available now-May.)
TRANSFORMERS: There are robots... and then there are ROBOTS IN DISGUISE! When Hasbro introduced the TRANSFORMERS brand in the U.S. nearly 20 years ago, it popularized a unique concept -- vehicles that kids can change to robots and back again. This fall, Hasbro will introduce a new segment called TRANSFORMERS ARMADA. In addition to change and combination, the TRANSFORMERS ARMADA line features a new way to play for the TRANSFORMERS brand -- "integration." The line and television show will feature a new breed of TRANSFORMERS robots called MINI-CON TRANSFORMERS. These MINI-CON TRANSFORMERS robots "plug" into larger TRANSFORMERS robots from the different assortments to enhance battle features and unlock hidden features, bringing more exciting elements of play and discovery for kids and collectors. (Approximate retail price: $6.99-39.99; recommended ages: 5 & up; available in August)
BEYBLADE: Following strong holiday launches in Los Angeles, Chicago and on Toysrus.com, Hasbro has introduced nationally, Japan's highly popular sports entertainment brand -- BEYBLADE. Through d-rights, Inc. and Corus Entertainment's Nelvana, worldwide licensing and merchandising agent(a), Hasbro has the rights to manufacture tops and other toys based on the BEYBLADE brand. Hasbro's BEYBLADE line is all about custom-building high-performance tops that battle against other BEYBLADE tops. Each BEYBLADE top comes unassembled and ready for customization. Kids can interchange parts from various tops in their collection for ultimate performance and battle, then launch them into action in the BEYSTADIUM, a self-contained arena. LET IT RIP! (the ripcord, that is), and the last BEYBLADE top spinning gets the glory. Hasbro's introductory BEYBLADE line includes BEYBLADE Starter Sets, nine different customizable tops, each sold separately; Deluxe Launchers for ultimate spin power and BEYSTADIUMS. BEYSTADIUMS with different slopes will be available later this spring and additional items are slated for fall. (Approximate retail price: $6.99-8.99; recommended ages: 8 & up; available now.)
POWER AIR SURFER RADIO CONTROL (R/C) AIRPLANE: This spring, WowWee takes radio-controlled airplay to new heights with the launch of its radical POWER AIR SURFER RADIO CONTROL (R/C) AIRPLANE. Easy to assemble, you will be ready to take off in no time. Simply snap the parts into place, charge up your battery (included), attach your RC controller antenna and you are ready for lift off! Available in two impressive styles. (Approximate retail price: $60.00; recommended ages: 8 & up; Available: Fall)
WALLY GETSA WEDGIE leads off Tiger's new line of distinct characters with unique, edgy personalities. Wally, the cute but nagging little brother you just "love to hate," has boundless energy and an even faster mouth. His mind races with information and his lips stumble over as he tries to tell you the latest happenings, jokes with punch lines you saw coming from a mile a way, absurd facts and the tallest of stories. In sum, exaggerated nonsense that generally will leave you no choice but to get him to stop the only way you can... WEDGIE!!! The art of yanking the struggling victim's underpants up out of their pants to the point of ripping or in Wally's case, physically suspending him in mid-air. (Ages 6 & up; Approximate retail: $29.99.
QUEASY BAKE: Hungry for some OLDY MOLDY CAKE? How about a few LARVA-LICIOUS COCOON COOKIES? Boys are in for a real treat as Hasbro combines two of their favorite things -- gross stuff and sweets! It's a case of good food gone nasty with the QUEASY BAKE product line. This boy-friendly version of the ever-popular EASY-BAKE OVEN makes its debut allowing boys the chance to create ooey, gooey, gross looking treats that are nothing short of delicious. The QUEASY BAKE product line includes the QUEASY BAKE COOKERATOR, in which kids can make tasty treats such as DIP 'N DROOL DOG BONES, OLDY MOLDY CAKE, LARVA-LICIOUS COCOON COOKIES and MUD 'N CRUD CAKE. In the QUEASY BAKE MIXERATOR, boys can mix up a SWAMP SNACK, BLEND-A-BOOGER DRINK, SEWER SLUDGE SHAKE and FIZZ 'N FOAM ALIEN DRINK. (Approximate retail price: $4.99-$24.99; recommended ages: 8 & up; available fall)
Ready... aim... SPLAT! Watch out, there is a new trend hitting stores -- and walls -- nationwide this spring and it is sure to stick around. SPLAT is a colorful compound that allows you to mold the product into any form or shape, throw it at the accompanying SPLAT MAT and watch it stick! Kids can mold, squeeze and stretch SPLAT into their favorite wacky shape then wind up and fling it at the SPLAT MAT target! Colors include blue, yellow, purple, orange, magenta and green and will be refreshed with four new containers and colors of compound to mold and throw. The DELUXE SPLAT `N SOUND MAT is an electronic target mat that responds with four different reward phrases when hit by Splat compound. (Approximate retail price: $4.99-$9.99; recommended ages: 8 & up; available now.)
HITCLIPS Micro Music System changed the way kids collect and listen to their favorite artists, such as Britney Spears, 'N Sync, Destiny's Child, Backstreet Boys, Dream and more. These postage-stamp sized chips are played on innovative players. HITCLIPS have become the rage and a new lifestyle product for kids and have some impressive facts:
To date over 12 million HITCLIPS have sold.
HITCLIPS consistently ranked number 1, 2 and 3 in unit and dollar sales in the Youth Electronics/Communications category according to NPD TRST Toys Tracking Service results.
Kids can currently choose from an extensive music library with over 70 different songs.
HITCLIPS features 23 out of the top 25 songs aired on Radio Disney.
HITCLIPS are the top selling portable digital music players behind CD's and are the fastest growing music medium in the world.
New for 2002: Hot new music, New HITCLIPS Personal Players, HITCLIPS VIDEO JOCKEY -- Create a short "video" that plays in time with any HITCLIPS Micro Music Clip, HITCLIPS Earbud Player -- This is the HITCLIPS player that you wear on your ear, HITCLIPS Sports Boombox, HITCLIPS Carabiner Player and more! (Ages 5 & up; Approximate retail: $3.99-14.99; Available now-fall)
KIDCLIPS Disney Tunes: Tiger has taken its HITCLIPS technology and created a new music brand for youngsters! Now preschoolers can listen to Disney music with their very own interchangeable music system. Recreate the magic of Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID, BEAUTY & THE BEAST, THE LION KING, JUNGLE BOOK, SNOW WHITE, SLEEPING BEAUTY and more right in your own home.
Tiger's KIDCLIPS Disney Tunes combines the breadth of the Disney music library with enchanting hardware. Each KIDCLIPS Disney Tunes Music Chips contains a 60-second edit of a Disney classic tune that is played on adorable, easy to use players. The line includes KIDCLIPS Disney Tunes Basic Player that is sculpted to look like a retro-radio, has a chunky handle, which is perfect for preschoolers on-the-go; KIDCLIPS Disney Tunes Deluxe Player which looks like a jukebox and is a great desk top player for private listening or for sharing music with friends; and KIDCLIPS Disney Tunes Music Chips which are an assortment of thirty 60-second play classic Disney songs such as "Hakuna Matata" and "Under the Sea." The oversized music chips are perfect for small hands. (Ages 3 & up; Approximate retail: $9.99-14.99; Available in June)
e-kara REAL KARAOKE: Girls who once dreamed of being their favorite pop star brought the fantasy -- and fun -- to life in 2001 when they took center stage with e-kara REAL KARAOKE. The party continues in 2002 with the e-kara PRO HEADSET SYSTEM that allows you to sing and dance like your favorite pop stars, without holding a microphone! Plug the headset into the new, lightweight main e-kara unit that hooks onto your belt or waistband. The e-kara DUET HEADSET allows for group karaoke. Just plug in the e-kara DUET HEADSET into your friend's e-kara PRO HEADSET and you can sing -- and dance -- hands-free. New e-kara HIT MIX ASSORTMENT includes cartridges each with 10 songs made popular my today's hottest singing stars. (Approximate retail price: $19.99-59.99; recommended ages: 6 & up; available in Fall.)
Only FURREAL FRIENDS offer high tech electronics in an amazingly lifelike form. FURREAL FRIENDS is Tiger's magical line of electronic plush cats that, when stimulated by touch, convincingly duplicate and mimic mannerisms unique to a "real" cat through life-like organic movements and sounds. FURREAL FRIENDS have intelligent sensors located on its upper back, lower back, tail, one on each side of the head and one between the ears that detects light and dark. Each of the sensors is strategically placed to induce a natural interaction between owner and cat. FURREAL FRIENDS Cats are animated from top of head to tip of tail, including mouth and neck, and feature three different mood modes: cuddly, playful and irritable. The Cats enter these modes depending on how the owner interacts with them. (Ages 6 and up. Approximate retail: $34.99; Available: Fall)
DAZZLIN' DANCERS are Tiger's new sassy and hip dancing dolls that bust a groove on your command! These girls are decked out to dance their feet off! DAZZLIN' DANCERS are available four different styles and each doll has its own unique style and individual fashion flare. All dolls include three exclusive one-minute songs that each dances to: Hip Hop, Latin, Dance and Pop. DAZZLIN' DANCERS dance to two speeds, fast and normal and with rollers on their feet, they are able to dance on low pile carpet or table top. The best part is that you control their every funky dance move with the included IR controller. (Ages 6 & Up; Approximate retail: $29.99; Available: Fall)
MAX-D5000 and MAX-D6000: Just when you thought they couldn't blast any farther, Larami unleashes one of the longest-launching water soakers on the market. The new MAX-D5000 and MAX-D6000 are the newest additions to OFFICIAL SUPER SOAKER MAX-D (Maximum Distance) line from the Hasbro's Larami division. For serious soakage and a point-and- blast solid stream of water, the new MAX-D5000 is the optimum choice. If you're looking for a more diverse water spray, try the new MAX-D6000, which has four powerful nozzle settings -- so you can go from a light stream to a forceful blast. A Power Gauge tracks your blasting pressure so you can make sure you're ready to go and on the mark. (Ages 5 & Up; Approximate retail: $9.99-14.99; Available now)
NERF VORTEX MIKE PIAZZA POWER HITTER: When it comes to sports toys and activities, the NERF brand name has come to symbolize power and performance. This year, seven-time National League All-Star catcher Mike Piazza adds his name and endorsement to a new line of NERF branded sports toys from Larami. The NERF VORTEX MIKE PIAZZA POWER HITTER PITCHING MACHINE throws fastballs and curveballs to help wanna-be big leaguers be ready for whatever pitch crosses the plate. The POWER HITTER features speed control and adjusts the angle of delivery so it hits the strike zone. Six soft-foam NERF balls are included. (Ages 5 & Up; Approximate retail: $24.99; Available now)
NERF VORTEX FIRE STRIKE: Now, the farthest flying football lights up the sky! From dusk to dawn, you can add excitement to your pick-up football game with the new NERF VORTEX FIRE STRIKE from Larami. Toss the FIRE STRIKE and watch as it lights up in two different hot colors: red and green. The FIRE STRIKE has two light modes: continuous and strobe effect -- you make the call! Its lightweight design, coupled with its patented aerodynamic tail, propels the ball over ultimate distances at maximum speed -- and you won't lose sight of the ball. Endorsed by All-Pro QB Peyton Manning, the VORTEX FIRE STRIKE is the ultimate coaching tool for beginners. (Ages 5 & Up; Approximate retail: $9.99; Available now)
PARKER BROTHERS/MILTON BRADLEY
TRIVIAL PURSUIT 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION: In 1982, the TRIVIAL PURSUIT game started a revolution, creating a phenomenon of adults playing games socially together. Twenty years later, the game that continues to bring adults together celebrates its heritage with the TRIVIAL PURSUIT 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION game that captures subject matter from 1982 to 2002. The 4,800 new questions will be divided into six new categories: Global View, Sound & Screen, News, The Written Word, Innovations and Game Time. The game play remains the same with players vying to collect all six pie wedges and answer the final question first. (Approximate retail price: $39.99; recommended ages: Adult; available in Fall.)
The NU JAM GUITAR electronic game combines kids' two favorite activities -- music and games -- into one all-out, game-play jam session. This stylish guitar-inspired, action-reaction game incorporates real music styles, random sequencing commands, and four game-play options. Each new game creates a unique play experience and a different piece of music. Through sequences of lights and sounds, the game unit directs the next move. Players respond to the game's visual and audio commands by moving the sliding handle, strumming the strum bar or twisting the guitar-shaped neck. As the game progresses, the jamming intensifies, prompting the player to respond quickly and correctly to keep up with the tempo and keep the game -- and the music -- going. (Approximate retail price: $24.99; recommended ages: 7 & up; available in summer.)
The classic nursery rhyme "This Little Piggy Went to Market" is the theme for WEE LITTLE PIGGIES, an engaging, solve-the-sequence, recollection game that builds listening, recall and sequencing skills while providing preschoolers with a fun and familiar play experience. (Ages: 4 to 6; Players: 2 to 4; Approximate retail: $19.99; Available: Now).
WIZARDS OF THE COAST
STAR WARS TRADING CARD GAME: ATTACK OF THE CLONES: This game's innovative game mechanic enhances the rich Star Wars experience by allowing players to plan and execute the high-stakes gambits and intense action of a climactic Star Wars battle. Card sets (one Light side, one Dark side) for the Star Wars TCG will draw content from every Star Wars era, including the Star Wars movies and the Star Wars expanded universe. The first Star Wars trading card game release, which includes content from the highly anticipated Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, is designed by Richard Garfield. (Available:April 23, 2002; Approximate retail: 2-player Starter -- $6.99; 5-card booster - $1.49, Ages: 10 & up)
POKeMON TRADING CARD GAME: CARD-E will deliver a new generation of cards to the millions of POKeMON TRADING CARD GAME players and fans by combining the traditional trading card game play with the handheld technology of GAME BOY advance. The POKeMON TRADING CARD GAME CARD-E game cards maintain their playability in the existing trading card game format, but the cards are revolutionized with electronic strips that give the game an added dimension. With a swipe of a game card, sound effects, graphics or data will appear on the GAME BOY Advance screen. Select cards will produce a simple game when scanned with a series of other cards. A special reader will be available exclusively for the GAME BOY ADVANCE and CARD-E cards, allowing players to experience the added bonus of electronic gaming. CARD-E releases will offer creature game cards featuring familiar and popular POKeMON with brand attacks; new trainer cards, which give players more options in the game; and, a new mechanic called Supporters designed to aid POKeMON. (Available: May 2002; Approximate retail: Starter Set -- $7.99; Booster pack - $2.99; Ages: 9 & up.)
In the HARRY POTTER TRADING CARD GAME: DIAGON ALLEY, players are apprentice wizards and witches as they test their wizardry skills at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Each player tries to win the game by being the first to eliminate his or her opponents cards. The Diagon Alley expansion features a new type of card called Location cards; which illustrate popular settings from Diagon Alley; new magical Item and Character cards; and new game strategies. (Available: March 2002; Approximate retail: Starter Set -- $9.99; Booster -- $3.29, Ages: 8 & up)
Hasbro continues to lead the toy industry with the hottest licensed entertainment properties, including:
STAR WARS: The legendary saga continues when Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones hits the screen on May 16, 2002. Just as it has since Star Wars debuted 25 years ago, Hasbro's Star Wars line is designed to ignite the imaginations of kids and fans everywhere, putting "The Force" right in their hands. On April 23rd, retailers nationwide will introduce Hasbro's exclusive Attack of the Clones product line. Action figures and vehicles equipped with innovative features, and games from hand-held to trading card games are only the beginning of a universe that lets every fan young and old re-live the experience again and again.
DISNEY: Hasbro continues to bring the magic of Disney's classic and new brands into kids' hands through its toy and game line. This year's line-up includes toys and games based on LILO & STITCH, Walt Disney Pictures' summer feature, which will debut on June 21st, and TREASURE PLANET, which premieres on November 27th. In addition, Hasbro will unveil DISNEY WILD RACERS, an all-new line of miniature cars that take on the personalities of favorite Disney and Disney/Pixar's characters such as Buzz Lightyear from TOY STORY and Scar from LION KING. Plus, Hasbro has tapped into Disney and Disney/Pixar's vast collection of endearing classic properties for enchanting product lines based on Disney Princesses and TOY STORY. Every little girl's dream will come true with a magical line of playsets and miniature figures based on CINDERELLA and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.
HARRY POTTER: HARRY POTTER continues to excite fans with the latest magical offerings from Wizards of the Coast - DIAGON ALLEY; ADVENTURES AT HOGWARTS: and CHAMBER OF SECRETS based on the book and MOVIE 2 cards based on the upcoming movie. CAP Candy introduces the highly anticipated HARRY POTTER CHOCOLATE FROGS as well as two new taste sensations of BERTIE BOTT'S EVERY FLAVOR BEANS candy: SPINACH and EARWAX.
BUTT UGLY MARTIANS: Watch out this winter, as Hasbro turns loose its BUTT-UGLY MARTIAN toys. COMMANDER B. BOP, TECH OFFICER 2-T, and CORPORAL DO-WAH have been sent to invade Earth. Instead of conquering the planet, they end up loving the place. Befriending three teenagers, they spend their time saving the planet, as well as enjoying fast food, playing video games, and watching TV! Already a staple on Nickelodeon, the BUTT-UGLY MARTIANS toys will be landing on U.S. store shelves this winter. An assortment of collectible action figures, interactive clip-ons, electronic games, and walkie talkies are just part of the BUTT-UGLY MARTIANS collection.
BOB THE BUILDER: Hasbro will delight fans of the HIT Entertainment Bob the Builder television series with its expanded product line of toys and games designed just for preschoolers. One of NICK JR.'s highest-rated series, the show is now part of CBS's Saturday morning roster. Bob and his crew work together to solve problems and tackle everyday adventures with their can-do attitude and motto: "CAN WE FIX IT? YES, WE CAN!" The PLAYSKOOL line includes all new plush, vehicles and playsets based on the show's popular characters. Highlights include BOB THE BUILDER JACKHAMMERING BOB, BOB THE BUILDER ADVENTURE MUCK and BOB THE BUILDER ADVENTURE BOB CONSTRUCTION SITE . (Recommended Age: 2 & up; Approximate Retail Price: $7.99 - $29.99). In addition, Hasbro Games will introduce the BOB THE BUILDER BRICKLAYING GAME. (Recommended Age: 4 & up; Approximate Retail Price: $12.99 available: June)
Hasbro (NYSE:HAS) is a worldwide leader in children's and family leisure time entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech. Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER, and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world.
Admit it: Pat Lee's renditions of the Transformers has you drooling like you would if the Seibertron: Big Broadcast were held at the Playboy Mansion. Unfortunately for us, such is not the case. So we get Pat Lee's kickass artwork ... but you know what we've noticed here at SEIBERTRON? It sure looks like he's using the Japanese Bon-Bon comic book character designs as cannon for his anime style. We've spent NFL Sunday afternoon gathering various images, cropping, resizing, blah blah blah ... just so you can see what we're talking about. So quit looking at the pictures of Anna (hot, isn't she?) and check out the pictures of the Transformers below. After all, that's why we all check out SEIBERTRON right?
|1 - Blaster has toy face similar to that of his Bon-Bon design.||2 - Astrotrain is colored white or light grey with red decals on his chest. Similar to that of the Japanese figure AND the Bon-Bon design.|
|Bon-Bon Artwork||Pat Lee's Artwork||Bon-Bon Artwork||Pat Lee's Artwork|
|3 - Devastator has eyes instead of the cartoon/comic visor, much more similar in design to his toy.||4 - Grimlock's dinosaur head is identical to the Bon-Bon version, far more detailed than US cartoon or comic.|
|Bon-Bon Artwork||Pat Lee's Artwork||Bon-Bon Artwork||Pat Lee's Artwork|
|5 - Ironhide and Ratchet both have windshield wipers on their chests; a detail left off their designs for US cartoon and comic.||6 - Jazz has the open door look, a slick looking feature of this character which was ignored by US cartoon and comics.|
|Bon-Bon Artwork||Pat Lee's Artwork||Bon-Bon Artwork||Pat Lee's Artwork|
|7 - Superion has his toy look which is identical to that of the Bon-Bon version. No shield on his face this time around!||8 - Ultra Magnus, like Devastator, is missing his visor also. He's given tradtional looking eyes - again, much like the Bon-Bon version.|
|Bon-Bon Artwork||Pat Lee's Artwork||Bon-Bon Artwork||Pat Lee's Artwork|
Representing Dreamwave Productions is Pat Lee.
Question: Of all the Transformers ever, who is your very favorite to draw?
Pat Lee: I would say probably Metroplex.
Question: I've got a question, wheres Snarl?
Pat Lee: Canâ€™t fit ALL the characters on 2 pages my friend, you will see Snarl. Promise.
Question: I've noticed that very few of the Autobots have the Autobot symbol on them in the cover pic...is this because you don't think the symbol needs to be there or just the way you like it?
Pat Lee: That image was not the final image, on the final image for the covers, all the autobot symbols are in place. Who uploaded those image dammit!!!! J
Question: Jazz, Skyfire/Jetfire, Hound, & Snarl aren't on the Autobot cover, are they in the series?
Pat Lee: Yes they are, they are just not on the cover. I almost had a heart attack drawing that cover because I was putting crazy hours into it, so I hope all of you donâ€™t mind that not ALL the characters are on it.
Question: Who are your favorite Autobots and Decepticons? Will you be doing anything special with them eventually?
Pat Lee: My favorite Decepticon would have to be Rumble and my favorite Autobot would have to be Sideswipe.
Question: I've heard that this is only the first G1 mini-series, are there going to be more and if so, will they have a "next episode" kind of feel to them?
Pat Lee: All TF books will have similar feel to them until we no longer have the license.
Question: are u doing the art for the ongoing series too?
Pat Lee: My focus is on G1. There will be other artists who will doing other TF books, G1 is mine.
Question: I was curious about the structure of the Autobot and Decepticon covers. Did you draw all the characters together in one image, or did you draw them seperately and composite them together (which is what it looks like to me). If the second is the case, does that mean you've done a full Omega Supreme you could show us?
Pat Lee: The Omega Supreme was a glimpse, sorry dude, only drew the bottom half. He will appear later on. Also, I layed out all the characters together, not separately.
Question: Anyway, Are there any inter-series crossovers planned, like Spider-man in issue #3 (1984) or the G.I.Joe/Transformers crossovers?
Pat Lee: Not yet.
Question: Are there also any plans to use your work for box art?
Pat Lee: Possibly.
Question: What do you think of that picture (the link)?
Pat Lee: Pretty rad, I appreciate all kinds of TF art.
Question: will Q & A's from Chris Sarracini or Adam Fortier follow soon ?
Pat Lee: I will speak to them about that.
Question: Q2: When will the first piece of Armada Preview art be availble Feb ?
Pat Lee: thatâ€™s an Adam Fortier question.
Question: About a week or so ago I made mention that I would love to see you do a pic of Sideswipe, Sunstreak, Jazz, and Prowl and you replyed saying that you actaully had just finsihed a pic with them in it. I was wondering if there was any chance that we could see that pic soon?
Pat Lee: You guys havenâ€™t seen all my artwork. JUST the covers. I canâ€™t show everything I do or it wouldnâ€™t be exciting! J
Question: any chance we'll be seeing a poster with all the G1 autobot gestalts battling the decepticon gestalts?
Pat Lee: Very soon my lad, very soon.
Question: Will the new character designs in the comic be based off toys, prototypes and the like, as opposed to in-house design control art?
Pat Lee: It will be a mix combination of the cartoon series, toys and designs.
Question: What approach, in general, does the DW staff generally take when modifying a character design from toy to comic?
Pat Lee: James and I try to make the artwork look as close as possible to the toys, although, we find some elements of the cartoon series that we find are better to use, for example: Iron hideâ€™s head and chest, or Bumble Beeâ€™s face.
Question: Along those lines, might we at some point be treated to a glimpse at some sketchbook work? As if the above didn't let you know, I'm very interested in how other artists develop concepts, characters and ideas.
Pat Lee: Definitely, I scan in all my penciled artwork before it gets inked.
Question: I was curious what your using for reference...is it just toys? cartoon? past comics? all of the above?
Pat Lee: All of the above.
Question: Optimus eyes - are they going to stay yellow or are you going to convert them to the original light-blue it was previously?
Pat Lee: I will make a note of that to my colorist.
Question: Will you guys produce an anthology series like Legends of the DC Universe, where you would have rotating rosters of characters with story arcs geared towards them?
Pat Lee: Adam Fortier Question.
Question: What's the deal with distribution, can I get you're stuff through my local comic shop who order via Previews/Diamond?
Pat Lee: Yup!
Question: Have you ever drawn any of the BW characters and if so, can we have a little peek?
Pat Lee: Havenâ€™t drawn them yet. I will soon though.
Question: I'm interested to see how you would draw them. How long is your license with Hasbro? Just curious, since I hear from you guys a lot that you will do stuff as long as the license lasts. Is it a long time or a short time?
Pat Lee: Adam Fortier Question.
Question: Can you tell us ANYTHING About the "Ongoing" (aka Armada) series?
Pat Lee: Nope. Sorry guys, you are just going to have to wait.
Question: Will it be just a comic-version of the cartoon, something going on at the same time as the cartoon, or same concept but completly dffrent like theG1 comics were?
Pat Lee: Adam Fortier question.
Question: Who will be in it? Where will they be? When is it set? Ect. Ect. Ect.
Pat Lee: Adam Fortier question.
Question: How about doing a comic version of Transformers: the Movie? I'd love to see your take on Unicron - a poster perhaps?
Pat Lee: Poster of Unicron has been mentioned to us many times. It sounds like a lot of fun. Iâ€™ll talk to the others about it. I know Adam Fortier loves Unicron J
Question: You said these covers aren't the final versions, what will you be doing for the final cover pictures? Will it be just cosmetics or adding a couple more characters or changing characters? Please answer if you can.
Pat Lee: Cosmetic.
Question: In the Decepticon Groupshot, behind Megatron, a leg is colored to look like Astrotrain's leg, but isn't it actually Devastator's leg (Mixmaster)? Because it looks much like Devs leg.
Pat Lee: Itâ€™s possible that it was an error of colors or colorist.
Question: Since Rumble is your favorite Con, will he have any major bearings on/with Soundwave, more-so than the show or Marvel comic.
Pat Lee: I would like to give every character a fair share in the comic book since everyone has favorites. I love rumble, but he may get just as much attention as lets sayâ€¦ Ratchet.
Question: Can you tell me what you do for planning out and completing a groupshot of characters? Also, how do set the overall compostion and deatails?
Pat Lee: Basically, I draw simple layouts first of all the characters, then go in with detail bit by bit. Like a puzzle.
Question: Do you do "model sheets" of the characters to help you keep things consistant panel-to-panel, issue-to-issue?
Pat Lee: The model sheets I use are from the 2001 book catalogue that has designs and toy shots, which are great visuals when drawing. I sue all kinds of referenceâ€¦ You should see my desk! Itâ€™s a complete mess!! But I love it. I have Transformers strung all over the ceiling, and Transformers artwork all over my office. J
Question: When developing the trading card-art for the upcoming line, what do you wind up working from? Are there any approval/revision processes you have to go with?
Pat Lee: The artwork always needs to be approved. It is important to Dreamwave and Hasbro that we are on the same wave length in terms of scripting and visuals.
Question: Is there much interaction between the artist and writer during the layout phase of things, or do you just take the issue scripts and run with them?
Pat Lee: Chris and I work very tightly. We are always passing the artwork back and forth, trying to figure out whatâ€™s best for the shot. Everyone in the office is very helpful. Some times, Ramil Sunga will pop his head in the room and give us some tips on how to leave more open space for colors etc. Tere is great synergy here.
Question: when you painted your draw of Transformers, what do you want to exprimate? Pat Lee: I always like to try different things with our titles. You will see acrylic style painted artwork, the anime look along with some American style artwork too. I already talked to Micheal Turner this week about doing a Transformers piece for us and he agreed to hook one up for Dreamwave.
Question: your covers with Optimus Prime and "Snake eyes", "Musclor" and "Star lion" has published with the first comics Transformers volume ?
Pat Lee: That piece was done for a Wizard cover so the first real appearance of it will be coming from Wizard Entertainment.
Question: what's the transformers represent for you?
Pat Lee: Itâ€™s a great deal for us here. More like a dream come true actually. We take a lot of pride in drawing such an enormous title.. Feeling a lot of pressure, but thatâ€™s the best part about it. We are just as excited as Transformers fans and we barely get any sleep! Because we want to do a realllly good job!
Question: One day, do you come in France (the lost world ) for a convention, "cartoonist", Festival de la BD d'Angoulem" or for the convention of Annecy ?
Pat Lee: As long as someone can bring me up there, SURE! I would love to go!
Question: i was just wondering about size and scale, i love seeing the big bots in your work actually look frighteningly huge, how big will they get, how did you decide on who would be bigger?
Pat Lee: I look at the designs from Takara and base it from the art I see from them. Sometimes I have to make it up, cause Iâ€™m not sure of the scale. But I judge sometimes from the toy. If itâ€™s a medium toy, then I make him slightly larger than the smaller medium guys â€“ haha! There is such a large scale. Also, I look at if the character transforms in to a car or city.
Question: is metroplex or fortress maximus bigger than omega supreme?
Pat Lee: Well, there is no wrong or right, but the way I would draw it isâ€¦ From smallest to largest: Metroplex, Omega Supreme, Fortress Maximus.
Question: Will any female Autobots be used?
Pat Lee: I definitely hope so. We are definitely going to add RC in the comic book.
Question: Will the series be strictly based on pre-existing characters, or do you have any room to create new characters for the series?
Pat Lee: That has not been fully discussed yet. There are some concerns that we are looking over at the moment with having new characters pop in. I will get back to you on that oneâ€¦
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