And here’s why those little microscopic beasts shouldn’t trouble anyone:
Archive for February, 2010
Hey, remember my post from a couple of days ago when I said that prequel fans are probably on their own when it comes to finding some kinds of merchandise because it’s obvious nobody is interested in making it officially?
I moseyed over to HotTopic.com and not only did I see a few new t-shirts with Vader, Boba, and Chewie, I also saw this.
Pretty cool, huh?
Then I also saw this. Now, since my sense of humor about SW all but disappeared within the past 10 years, are we supposed to find this amusing? Okay, so they’ve done Han In Carbonite shirts before. I bought one back in the ’90s. Okay, so Lucasfilm has a record of cashing in on fanboy tropes, like their Han Shot First tee from a couple of years ago. Okay, so I know some fan made a full-sized Jar Jar in carbonite thingy and Papa George found it so funny, he bought it off the guy and it’s now in Lucasfilm’s offices.
But we get so little bones thrown our way. We want stuff that celebrates these movies; we’ve gotten enough of the anti-Jar Jar thing over the past 10 years. Is that too much to ask, Lucas Licensing?
Star Wars: Clone Wars: Gambit: Stealth (what a mouthful) by Karen Miller is out in bookstores. I had a hard time finding it. My Borders didn’t have it and I had to really look to find it at Barnes & Noble. A fan in Tennessee had a similar problem, searching four stores before finding it in the wrong section.
Topps’ fifth Star Wars Galaxy card set drops on Wednesday. Usually I buy completed sets on eBay; it’s easier and cheaper that way. But if you’re looking for boxes or individual packs, they should be out at your local comics, trading card, hobby, or mass retailer (Wal-Mart, Target) tomorrow! Artist Sean Pence’s Darth Maul sketch cards were posted on Joe Corroney’s Facebook.
The good news is there is plenty of Star Wars stuff in stores and on the internet for folks to buy. Almost five years have passed since ROTS came out, yet you can still find new things all of the time. The multi-billion dollar merchandising machine hasn’t slowed a bit; Star Wars remains the top-selling licensed toy line and the top-selling boys’ line of toys.
If you weren’t around during the so-called Dark Ages of Star Wars fandom (1984-1991), it’s hard to appreciate just how today’s fans are so fortunate. After ROTJ’s release in 1983, it got harder and harder to find Star Wars collectibles, wearables, books, and so forth as interest dwindled. Kenner ended its toy line, Marvel stopped publishing comics, and the official Star Wars fan club shuttered all within a two-year period. Unless you went to Disney’s Star Tours or were among a smallish group of people who went to the 10th anniversary convention, you couldn’t find a new SW tee for love or money between 1987 and 1993.
I think Lucasfilm became interested in merchandising again when it realized it had a largely untapped base of fans who spent years wishing they’d find something new and that it needed to keep the series’ trademarks in use in order to protect them (there’s a legal theory of abandonment in intellectual property, with which I will not bore you). So even with new movies several years away, Lucasfilm started licensing new comics, new books, and new collectibles in the late ’80s and early ’90s. People who work there now have learned the lessons of the post-ROTJ era and have made Star Wars a continually successful brand, even without movies.
The good news is if you like toys, Hasbro has been evenly producing items from all of the movies and Clone Wars. Same goes for LEGO. On the high-end collectibles front, Sideshow, Diamond Select Toys, and Gentle Giant have been showing even-handed attention to all of the films.
But in terms of other collectables and wearables, it’s been pretty dry on the prequel front since ROTS. If you look at the big picture, there seems to be two prongs to merchandising and attention from Lucasfilm: the first set of SW films mostly for teens and adults, Clone Wars for the kids (though I have noticed an uptick in Eps IV-VI stuff for kids as well), along with a little bit aimed at gamers and expanded universe fans. Eps I-III have all but fallen through the cracks. There are dozens of new SW tees for sale now on ShopStarWars.com and not a single one is from Eps I-III. The only CW shirts are for children.
Sure, there is Zazzle.com, a licensee, where you can pick out lots of different images and graphics. But it doesn’t look like it has updated its inventory of images in a long time and frankly, it doesn’t have a lot of what I want. And there’s nothing like the hip/nostalgia stuff you see from Junk Food, Adidas, and other licensees that appeal to up-to-date tastes. Marc Ecko is the only licensee to offer anything from the prequels and that’s only recently. (Good luck finding those in the store…someone was really surprised when she saw my Marc Ecko Darth Maul shirt the other day.)
It’s not just wearable items either. I was really looking forward to the high art book “Star Wars Visions” due out this fall but given that the few leaked pieces are all from the first set of movies, I’m beginning to wonder if the book is going to completely blow off the prequels.
I’m not necessarily asking for prequel-only stuff either. Have you noticed there’s very little that celebrates the saga as a whole? I remember in the ’90s there was a lot of Trek merch that mixed in all of the t.v. shows, for instance a tee with The Women of Trek featuring all of your favorite Trekettes from Uhura to Janeway.
To be honest, I don’t expect things to change any time soon. Maybe as far as Lucasfilm is concerned, the prequel movies are too recent and they just put out a billion metric tons of merch, so why do more? However, it was five years since the last one and 11 years since the first. Long enough, no? I think the main thing is they’re under the perception few people are passionate enough about the prequels to matter. So what are we to do?
I think we’re kind of on our own to solve that problem in the meantime. Back in the ’90s, I complained to a friend it was hard to find any Leia stuff. She took an image from a greeting card, had it transferred onto a t-shirt at one of those mall kiosks, and sent it to me as a surprise. Today, there are plenty of people on Etsy and Café Press who have posted their own designs. Some of them are creative and interesting. A lot of them are stupid crap. There’s definitely room out there for someone with talent to fill in the gaps. Maybe fans can take some inspiration from sites like Teefury.com, a site that offers original artwork on tees available only for 24 hours.
Believe it or not, there’s a Flickr pool called Everybody Loves Kit Fisto, dedicated to the world’s most beloved grinning Nautolan Jedi. Find pictures of posed action figures, cookies, cartoons, and people in Kit-wear among other things.
Right now, you can find Kotobukiya’s lightsaber chopsticks from a variety of retailers but the Japanese company revealed at this week’s Toy Fair that more will be on the way. Along with Luke’s ROTJ lightsaber, you can expect to find Mace Windu’s famous purple lightsaber and Darth Maul’s blade. The coolest thing about the Maul chopsticks is that you can join them together to make one double-bladed chopstick.
Check them out here.
The Official Star Wars.com blog noticed something familiar in a picture of pop star Lady Gaga onstage in England:
Check out the entry to check out the comparison.
James Arnold Taylor, who voices Obi-Wan on Clone Wars (among other characters), posted a link to an “Attack of the Show” promo he recorded with Anna “Satine” Graves a few years ago.
Bryan Young, who writes the Star Wars column at Examiner.com, is penning a rebuttal to that obnoxious 70-minute TPM bashfest on YouTube. You can read part one of it here!
Fanvids are hit or miss. Some are done really well, others look like they just took 3rd rate quality footage, turned down the sound, and cranked up whatever was on their iPod.
This one by the amazing 1jonde1 shows what a great fanvid looks like: