Saturday, September 19, 2015

Projects That Are 86'd Or On Life Support. (Diaclone Transformers Beetras G.I.Joe)

This is not an easy issue to talk about. I don't want to seem like I'm pandering, and I definitely don't want to come off as ungrateful to those who frequent my sites. This is just me coming to a realization that what I want to put out, may not be the most popular thing. Some projects are getting the boot, most are just going into some type of hiatus.

It's been about 6 weeks since I put my Art of Advertising book up for sale. At first I had hoped for about 50 orders, then thought that I'm lucky to get even 5. As of today 14 have sold. It's quite a bit under what I would have hoped to sell, but more than the number I feared it would top off at. I've advertised it here and there, and I feel that if I keep going back to "the well" people will get sick of me. I kinda cooled off on pushing the book, but I may have to re-think that if I want to see new sales. So now both directly and indirectly related to the sale of the AOA book I am taking a second look at projects I had hoped to do. Some I had been iffy on even before doing the AOA book, and some have been in some stage of planning and design for 15+ years.

Art of Advertising Vol 2
Art of Advertising Japanese toy ads Japan toys Sentai chogokin ad rare Diaclone Microman Transformers ミクロマン トランスフォーマー ダイアクロン
The second volume of the Art of Advertising books was going to be comprised of solely Takara toys ads. I have another 190 ads from the 70's, 80's and 90's set up. I also have tons from 2000 to 2013 that I could have used as well. I didn't use anything from 2000 on in the first book, so I was still not sure on this one. All the content for this volume is compiled and edited. I would just need to create the book frame and write the comments. If the first book had sold 50 or more copies I would have continued on with a second. But as it is, this project is now on hold.

Microman Manga
comics manga Microman Transformers ミクロマン トランスフォーマー ダイアクロン
I have been collecting Microman manga for almost 20 years. Some is pretty well known to Micro fans, some is not. The manga that's a bit obscure if of course also pretty pricey. With no collected volumes available, you need to track down individual magazines for each chapter. It's not that I haven't dropped $30-$40 an issue to get only a few pages from it, I've spent up to $70 for a single issue. But to collect several years of a series like that would be a real strain on my wallet. Never mind the time it would take to actually find every one of the issues.  So when it came to this lesser-known Microman series of comics, I've thrown in the towel. I scooped up the 70's era issues and sold them off. I knew I was not going to be able to continue to purchase new chapters, and I figured the time I would need to translate, scan edit the comics would be best used somewhere else. Luckily, the person who bought them will likely be doing with them what I wasn't going to be able to to. At some point you will be able to either see them, or read about them at Bryan Wilkinson’s awesome Microman Club page.

Beetras & Japanese G.I.Joe Comics
comics manga Beetras Transformers Deluxe Insecticons トランスフォーマー Takatokucomics G.I.ジョー g.i.joe manga Takara Japanese Joe ARAH rare foreign
Another project I'm just about to write off and get rid of is translation of the Beetras comic series. I think I still need 1 chapter, and I've not seen it in a few years. The comics are awesome, and I had thought about a character guide including the 2nd series stuff, I just don't think there's much demand for this.

I've been a fan of the Japanese G.I.Joe comics for years. There's few folks who seem to care about them, with only 1 collector I know off hand who actively collects them. I had started translating these some time ago, and was even going to color the scans. But legal issues with putting out a fanzine with these comics kinda holds me back. With the Art of Advertising books I'm safe as they are more critique based "journalistic" work. There's nothing that covers me when translating and offering up manga, more so when it's a U.S. based property. There's a good chance my Japanese Joe manga will also be going up for sale.

Takara G.I.Joe & G.I.Joe Tiger Force
comics G.I.ジョー g.i.joe manga Takara Japanese Joe ARAH rare foreignTiger Force 1988 Euro Tiger comics G.I.ジョー g.i.joe manga Takara Japanese Joe ARAH rare foreign
Like the Beetras manga project, I had hoped to expand on the G.I.Joe manga chapters with a look at Takara's Japanese G.I.Joe toy line from the 80's. There's still good info that hasn't seen print in English either on paper or online. I think. I feel I'd have an easier time, and be more legally safe doing a Japanese Joe guidebook than a manga translation series, but I don't know if anyone really cares about the inside of Takara's line. Joe collectors are generally American issue focused, and second to that, toy-centric. Aside from the Marvel/DD/IDW comics.

Another G.I.Joe project I had dropped some time ago but had hoped to revive was a Tiger Force web site. Given the very polarizing view of the Tiger Force sub-line it was going to be a hard sell to begin with. If you add in the fact that I hadn't actively hunted down Tiger Force toys I needed for over 10 years it made it look even harder. I dropped the web url for the site before, and a few weeks ago began to sell off some of my Tiger Force collection. I have some rare pieces, Foreign variants and such, things that I just didn't need now. I picked out 1 of each toy, and set them aside and will be selling all my duplicates.

Transformers Decoys & Keshi
Takara Hasbro Transformers Decoys Japanese keshi gomu トランスフォーマー decoy rubber
I accumulated what could have been the best Transformers decoy collection there was. I even had Japanese super collector Fumihiko Akiyama impressed with the amount of things I had. And as much as I had loved this collection, I sold it. Not a month goes by where I don't regret this a little bit. At the time I had told myself it was ok, and that I at least had photos of the entire collection. I several days taking photos of each piece before I shipped them off. Then a few months later my computer hard drive crashed. I had at that time only saved and backed up half the photos I took. Now as it stands, any guide to decoys I make will be slightly half-assed. It may appeal to some, but I'd probably never fully appreciate it.

Machine Robo (Gobots) Collectors Book
Machine Robo Men 1982 Bandai Popy comics Gobots Tonka Go Bots manga
I've been tinkering with this for 16 years. I printed out my first working copy back in 2000. I've since sold off 95% of my collection of toys, but still accumulated rare print and novelty bits and pieces. What has held me back on this is the publishing of the Machine Robo Wedge book 10 years ago. That book really has most of what I was going to offer, and it's done in a really great way. I know it's in Japanese, and quite pricey today, but what's done is done, and I don't know that I should use time to re-create something that so perfect already.

Sentai Series Manga (Power Rangers Comics)
Sentai Series Power Rangers Bandai Popy comics tokusatsu Go Ranger Dai Ranger ZyuRanger mangaSentai Series Power Rangers Bandai Popy comics tokusatsu Go Ranger Dai Ranger ZyuRanger manga
I have loads and loads of Sentai manga from Go Ranger on. Most of the stuff I have is from the mid-80's, and it's all really fun manga with great art. The problem I have is there's no real audience for this. I posted to a Sentai forum some time back and got the reply "where's not in the 90's" when talking about this older stuff. Should I take away from this that PR/Sentai fans today only really care about current and recent years of the Sentai franchise? I personally only have a passing interest in Sentai stuff. I love the art and design aspect of it, but don't faithfully follow it. To spend hours and hours working an a Sentai based project would require actually interest from others, and I don't see it.

Diaclone Comics & Collectors Book
Diaclone comics manga Microman Transformers ミクロマン トランスフォーマー ダイアクロンDiaclone comics manga Microman Transformers ミクロマン トランスフォーマー ダイアクロン
I'm going to make a pretty bold statement based off what I have personally seen, there is no great English language website or printed media that covers Diaclone. I really just don't think there is. There's a few good bits here and there, but that's all. If there was a Diaclone equivalent to something as awesome as Paul Lorphanpaibul's Microman Forever site, I'd praise it left and right wherever I see the name Diaclone brought up. But that site doesn't exist (in English), or in (English) print.

Now I may besetting myself up for trouble here, because I did insert an ad in my Art of Advertising book for a release of the Diaclone manga but I don't think I'm going to finish that right now. Sorry.

And as the manga goes, so does a collectors guide for Diaclone, on hold. Some other collector tried to do a Diaclone book and it failed quite badly. When you have something as great as Takara SF Land, there's no real desire for much else. It covers what collectors want most of all, pics of the toys.

Robotech Robolinks & Starriors Collectors Books
Robotech Robolinks Takara Blockman 合体戦士ブロックマン ミクロマン ダイアクロンStarriors RATS Tomy 1984 robots wind up R.A.T.S. Battle 1986 Marvel comics
So far it's been all doom and gloom and I'm not doing this, and I'm not doing that anymore. I'm gonna change that up and say that I will be doing a book based on the Robotech Robolinks (Combination Warrior Blockman) toy line and also one on Tomy's Starriors series. Whether these ever make it to the public remains to be seen. I personally want a book with these just to look though myself. I hate digging through rare print pieces and rummaging through boxes to look at some of my stuff. I plan to do a nice book that I can have quick access to when I need it.

Japanese Candy Photobook
Japanese candy kawaii ramune cute Japan sweets
I love candy. I really LOVE Candy. And Japanese candy is an obsession of mine. I want to showcase the fun, colorful and dynamic look of Japanese candy. This is a book I plan to put out, and I wouldn't doubt seeing less than 5 sales come of it, but damn if I don't care. This will be  a labor of love. As it cools down I look to start taking more photos for this project. The heat outside and the heat of the lights tends to do bad things to the candy.

So that's about it in terms of what I plan to do print-wise with GanguStars. I know it boils down to very little on the positive side of things. I need to look at what is best overall from a factual, reality based view, and not just what I think it best. Of course this doesn't mean one of the above sidelined projects won't come back to life at some point. Anything is possible of course.

Diaclone comics G.I.ジョー g.i.joe manga Microman Starriors RATS Robotech Robolinks Transformers 合体戦士ブロックマン ミクロマン トランスフォーマー ダイアクロン

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