Sunday, January 24, 2021

My Disenchantment pitch comic - "Baby Trail Fairy Tale" with Dani Grew

Following up on the previous Disenchantment post, I thought I'd offer up a look at a pitch comic that artist Dani Grew and I made for Comic-Con 2019. My intention was to use this as a pitch to Bongo Comics, which published Simpsons Comics, Futurama Comics, and was overseen (in a broad sense) by Matt Groening.

I knew some folks with the company and I felt pretty good about the quality of the story, but when I got to Comic-Con and made my way to the Bongo booth, I found out that the company in the process of closing up shop, at least for the time being. The lack of a Disenchantment comic is a big oversight in the licensed comic game, and I have to believe that several companies would leap to publish it if it were available. Maybe it'll happen one day!

This comic takes place during the first season, of course, but I think that I got the characters' voices right despite only having a few episodes to work from. I hope you enjoy this Disenchantment comic!

Executive producer Josh Weinstein posted this on Twitter a few days ago. The bottle of mermaid mead was apparently given to some of the folks who worked on the show. Maybe one will (quietly?) show up on eBay one day!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

My Disenchantment fan kit for season three

We're all watching the newest season of Disenchantment on Netflix, right? I love this series and I think that the newly-released season three is really compelling, funny and exciting. For all of the obvious reasons, this show feels like an extension of Futurama, which is one of my all-time favorite programs.

For reasons unknown to me, a marketing company contacted me a few weeks back about sending me a press kit-like "watch party" box in anticipation of the new season. I, of course, hastily accepted, and just a few days ago, a package arrived with a box of Disenchantment-branded items. I thought I'd show them off, with many thanks to ChizComm Media and the folks at the show!

Any collector knows that the box is a big part of any presentation. This one was simple but I really love the logo sticker on the lid. This is why I will be keeping the box forever.

The stuff inside the box was also pretty exciting. Here's how it looked, packed with black and gold confetti.

First up! Here's a fleece throw featuring the demon Luci.

Next, here's a Funko Pop! figure of King Zøg, voiced by John DiMaggio, Futurama's Bender. Zøg goes through some really harrowing stuff this season, and DiMaggio does an absolutely incredible job with his voice, as he wrings every last drop of emotion from this character. He's also the voice of the talking horse!

Next up is a Luci plush figure. These were on sale at Comic-Con in 2019, and it's the only Disenchantment merchandise I didn't buy at the time. Since then, they've jumped quite a bit in value and have been hard to find in general, so getting one here, for free, was a huge treat. 

Next is also an item I saw - and bought - at Comic-Con 2019. It's the Disenchantment "Untold Tales" book. This oversized book is part comic, part activity magazine, and was the last thing put together by the old Bongo Comics team before they unfortunately shut down the imprint. Now I've got a second copy! I'll give it to one of my nephews when they're a little older.

Also in the box was a Disenchantment 2021 calendar!

Lastly, there's a cup - and this might be the only item that isn't available elsewhere. But look! There's something inside the cup:

It's a bag of carmel corn, with a Disenchantment sticker on the front. I'm kind of grateful that there was a small tear in the bag, because it means that I'll have to actually eat it, rather than agonizing about whether I should try and save a bag of popcorn for the rest of my life. I, uh, will keep the bag, but at least one decision was taken out of my hands.

I also...made a video of me taking these things out of the box, and I put it on Twitter! You can watch it here, if you'd like, I guess:
I'm not entirely sure why the folks at the show decided to send me this box, but I'm extremely grateful for it. I would no doubt be watching this show in any case, but I guess it gets me to try and spread the word a little more than I otherwise would have. If you're not watching this show - and especially if you like Futurama - then you absolutely need to! Check it out on Netflix!

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Is this the worst piece of Thing merchandise ever created?

Let me preface this post by saying that any Thing merchandise is good Thing merchandise, because, after all, it is the Thing that is being...merchandised. Let me also say that I have a number of truly horrible Thing bootleg action figures, many from our neighbors in Mexico, that I love unreservedly.

But there's one piece of officially licensed Fantastic Four merchandise that I've long held to be the worst, most horrendous of all, and this year for Christmas, my friend (and yours) Larry got it for me. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, the Fantastic Four Thing lamp:

Now, with one look at this almost obscene item, you might be questioning whether this is actually an officially licensed product, rather than an Etsy project gone terribly wrong. I'm here to tell you that no, this travesty has the official Marvel stamp on it. It is real and it is terrible.

This product came about, as many Fantastic Four items do, in 2005, the year of the first Fox-produced FF movie. The movie itself was okay at best, and that describes many of the scores of products that came out in conjunction.

I've seen this lamp referred to as a "popcorn" lamp because of the plastic bead material that comprises the head sculpt. The head itself is quite pliable and rubbery.

Here's another closer shot with more detail. It reminds me a little bit of the bead art you could make yourself with the unbelievably dangerous use of a clothes iron. Do they still sell those?

In this shot, you can also see the cheap, lifeless stickers used for Mr. Grimm's eyes and mouth. At least they got his blue eyes right, but sheesh, those are both really bad.

The darker brown highlights seem almost haphazard in their placement, although they did manage to highlight the brows, an important component to the Thing.

I mentioned that this product is a decorative lamp that is balanced on a wire stand. It's been over 15 years since it came out - does it still work?

Yes! Somehow, this makes it look even worse.

It's hard to believe that this item got the thumbs up from Marvel on its way down the production line. Even though I'm spending this post discussing how truly awful this item is, I want to thank Larry for getting it for me. I remember seeing it in stores in 2005 and deciding, "well, I guess I don't have to get everything Thing-related that comes out," but I've honestly thought about it ever since and have wondered if I made a mistake by not buying this monstrosity. Now I don't have to wonder if I missed out.

There's one more of these lamps up for sale on eBay right now, and I took some screenshots so we could look at the packaging, which manages to make it look even more terrifying:

It looks like a head in a jar, complete with a pained expression and a wide-eyed stare.

In this shot, you can see the official sticker on the side, complete with imagery from the Ultimate Fantastic Four series.

There were other Marvel lamps in this line, all of which were also bad, but none as bad as the Thing. Here's the Spider-Man lamp: it's still terrible, but the shape of Spidey's head makes it at least a little bit more palatable.

Not to be outdone, Larry got me several other terrible Thing items. These are all products I've been following on eBay for probably at least ten years, but could never bring myself to buy because of their obvious lack of quality. This one is a golf club cover. Has anyone...ever used this?

This small plush toy really caught me off guard, because I've seen - and hated seeing - it on eBay for years and years. It used to be listed with the phrase "Thing bust," one of the phrases I'd use when searching for Thing statues. This is clearly not a statue, though I suppose "bust" does technically apply. Still, I absolutely hated seeing it come up in search results. It almost seemed like it was taunting me from the screen. Well, it appears that I truly am cursed, because now it lives in my house and has infiltrated my collection quite expertly. If I had to guess, this might be a toy you would have found in a claw machine game.

When you've got a big collection of anything, sometimes you've got to scrape the bottom of the barrel to get an item that you didn't previously have. I think it's safe to say that at the very bottom, you'll find the Thing lamp.