SDCC and MOTU: a new vibe

It has been a while since my last post about Masters of the Universe.
But no, this is not a rant about King Hiss torso or Power-Con exclusives, quite the opposite.

After the overly positive experience in San Diego Comic Con, I made a promise to myself and to a few other people to make a post about how the vibes surrounding MOTUC and Mattel are definitely different.
As many of you know, a new team is now in charge of Mattycollector.com and running the MOTUC line. This new team introduced itself for the first time to the fans at the panel at SDCC. I was there, I listened carefully about everything that was said and what the fans' reaction was.
I have to give big props to these new people for the way the presented the new team and all the issues they addressed during the panel. They first recognized the experience with Mattycollector and MOTU, as fans and collector, hasn't been the greatest to say the least.
As they say, the first step in solving a problem is recognizing there is one.
After that, I felt a lot more relaxed about the panel, and more than one time I smiled pleased at the things I heard.

I've been a big supporter of words like transparency with the customers, and not having one single person at the center of it all, but having multiple talents contributing to the brand. They took very calmly the huge but rightful outrage at Digital River. And the lineup and new projects they revealed (along with the expanded licensed products in development) showed a much more open mentality in how to handle the MOTU brand.

All this proved me one thing: we were right. We were right at voicing our criticisms. Yes, because of that I probably lost the opportunity to work on the brand again, but that's okay. Our message was received. We were right, because the moment new people stepped in, they realized what many fans were saying was true and there were issue to take care of, and a relationship to heal.

Of course, time will tell fans if they'll deliver what they promised. But I'm all for the fanbase giving them a chance.
They are already facing some big troubles with the fanbase with the Snake Men torso and the Power-Con exclusives. And while I understand some of the solutions are not good for everybody, I really appreciate the honesty they showed to fans with their answers, also understanding that sometime they have to deal with problems created before their arrival.
Make no mistake: 90% of the time, my problem was with the way things were communicated to the fans. If I see an effort – and I'm truly seeing it – to make things differently, that is a huge step forward.
I can finally sit back and relax, and watch what happens with MOTU, with a bit more hope and a smile.

I totally expect some idiot coming out and telling me I'm kissing their ass to try to get back to work on MOTU. First of all, I don't necessarily need to work on MOTU. I'd love to, and I would surely jump on any occasion that may present because my heart will always be with MOTU, but professionally, I'm very satisfied with my collaboration with Hasbro and the Transformers team. Those guys believed in me since day one, allowed me to learn and grow my skills as a toy designer and took me where I am now.

I'm also been at work on MOTU related products lately, so in a way, I'm still close to MOTU.
Also, if you believed I hate Mattel and I'm going to attack everything Mattel does, you're making a huge mistake. I've explained multiple times where the past issues came from. Due to the recent changes, I have no reason to believe these issues exist anymore. And since I'm part of the industry, I often have a better understanding than the average fan about the process. So please don't take my explanations of things as ass-kissing.
I will always be a big supporter of free speech and open criticisms, as these are meant to improve things, not destroy them.

My commitment with The Power and The Honor Foundation hasn't changed. The collaboration with Dark Horse put us back on track and we devised new exiting plans for the immense collection of art we have. We'll continue to make all the possible effort to bring it all to the fans.

TF Age of Extinction Slog

I kinda neglected the blog...
With the work on the Dark Horse book and tons of other stuff to do, it's just easier to post on Facebook.
But I still want to post my official works for Hasbro here.

Here is something interesting.
I did some work on AEO Slog. But this time, the basic design for the figure had been done and Takara had already figured out the 3D shapes and transformation (I had missed designing this from scratch because I was too busy with other assignments).
But the figure was lacking details, so I was contacted for a job called Surface Detailing.
Basically, working on images of the 3D model, I had to redesign and improve the look of the figure, in this case making it more organic and in line with the other movie figures.
It was a quick pass, but still funny and challenging.


Illumina's first appeareance

Today a group of dedicated fans, lead by Eric DeLima is celebrating Illumina day, an event dedicated to the character I created for the Masters of the Universe 2002 comic vol. 3, that unfortunately was part of a storyline we had to scrap due to the legal constraints we faced as the line was coming to an end.
Fans would like to see Illumina released in figure form at one point, and while Mattel doesn't currently own the rights to her, I like many others, hope that one day maybe a reconciliation could be reach and me and Mattel will find a way to work together to make a figure of her

In the meantime, I wanted to offer to all the fans that supported my creations for such a long time, a glimpse of something never revealed before.

When we began work on Vol. 3 of the comic, I was asked to come up with the story plot. So I wrote a very rough draft for the first few issues, loosely describing the action and what topic we would have covered.
This draft was later reworked, but the following is an extract from my original document, where Illumina makes her very first appearance!

"We see SK and EL in the library of Zalesia  where they have spent hours looking in the books an scripts but none of the them  contains more information that vague legends and myths (we could start to throw in more about Eternia’s past here) but nothing about Grayskull. It seems that everything has been erased on purpose!
SK is furious because he thinks he has been tricked by the FLO.
On the floor of the Library is painted a map of Eternia, but most of it can’t be read.
EL says that being angry made him blind. She solves the enigma her father had told them and chants a difficult spell and slowly a few skull symbols starts to appear on the map!
(The biggest of them is obviously on where Grayskull is)
They’re just starting to analyze the map when the room starts to shake violently  and begin to collapse.
EL implore SK to leave the library, but SK doesn’t want to go and he takes EL staff form her hands.
While the ceiling starts to crumble over them He chants a last spell using both staffs!
The room collapse.
We move outside and we looks at the smoldering ruins. After a few moments we see EL and Skeletor emerge from the ruins, a bit beaten up but still unharmed.
We pull back and we see a blue skinned, white dressed and white haired woman observing the scene from the distance. She’s not very young probably a bit younger than Duncan  and she wear her Warriors Ring on her left hand but I’m not sure how much we want to drive readers attention on this yet.
 On her side there is a big white panther with a silver saddle. She’s talking to the feline. From the dialogue we understand the she caused the ruin to collapse but he didn’t succeed in stopping SK… but she doesn’t dare to confront SK and EL directly and it’s time for the Guardians of Grayskull to move!"

There was really not much else in the plot about her so far. I did the original sketch of her at the same time, to present it to MVCreations.
This is where I introduced, for the very first time, the idea of this mysterious white dressed woman.
She was already in my thoughts since Homecoming. She was nothing more than a plot device back then. At that time, I wanted to merge the original Don Glut minicomic with the Filmation cartoon, so I had He-Man living in a tribe, but secretly being Prince Adam, hidden far from Eternos when he was an infant, to escape from the Horde invasion.
I needed someone that took the kid out of the royal palace and traveled with him to these remote regions of Eternia, where she left him to the care of this tribe. And for some reason, I wanted this person to be a woman. She was not a Gar back then of course, but she was already dressed in white and with white hair.

As an added bonus, here is the pencil version of the beautiful cover Enza Fontana drew with Illumina

And since it never appeared on this blog, the MOTUC design I did of her, adapting the 2002 style to the MOTUC style and parts library


Transformers 4 - Movie concept exploration 1

Just a couple of months ago I received approval on showing at least one piece of the work I did for Transformers Age of Extinction movie.
This is one of the craziest piece I did for the fourth Transformers movie and it was a lot of fun to work on.I did it under the direction of the mighty Aaron Archer who gave me a ton of details to fit into one single image.
I started with a couple of simple composition/mood studies, and then went into the full rendering.

We went throw a lot lot of revisions, including adding Drift, the sparkles and later on we also decided to change the color of the sky.

I loved adding all the dust and atmospheric elements, creating chaos during the battle.
There is so much going on that something can get lost, like Bumblebee fighting a bunch of Decepticons behind Grimlock.

There will be more? The title of the post suggests yes, as I did several other pieces, so, hopefully I'll get permissions to show some others in the following years.


My dream MOTUC Signature Series collected

Originally appeared on Facebook as daily posts, I decided to collect this series of MOTU concepts on my blog as well, so you can see them all in one place at once.

With all the talks about a possible rebrand of the Classics line of figures for 2016, I wanted to explore what I would personally like to see.

I then created a series of B-Sheets portraying a line-up of figures, based on MOTUC molds, but reworked to offer new versions of the main characters, offering a jump-in point for new collectors. Released as a full year line, they would probably work mixed with other unreleased characters, appealing to the existing MOTUC collectors too.

Going by the name of the line "Signature Series", a name mentioned by the former MOTU brand manager echoing the latest DC Signature Series, I envisioned a line of figures that pay a big homage to the original creators of the line. Most of the figures I sketched are redesigned to reflect as much as possible the original B-Sheets that Mark Taylor created in 1981.
Which mean, they are not really my own designs, but they are what originally generated MOTU, as Mark was the creator of all the main characters.

Mind you, you may not recognize some of this stuff, or think some of the color scheme are pretty arbitrary. They are not. Everything is based on the original Mark's colored drawings I had the privilege to see a couple of years ago and that hopefully will be published in one of the future The Power and The Honor Foundation publications.

But why not go completely wild and just design figures that look exactly like the b-sheets, with different bodies etc.? Because I tried to design a complete and affordable line up of figures that could be released over the course of an entire year and remain affordable especially since this would be what rebranding means: bringing back main characters for people that missed out, but using most of the existing molds and changing line name and packaging

That also means, some figures have more new tooling, and cost more, some would have less, and cost less but help fitting the higher-tooling ones in the budget.
It’s how MOTUC worked since day one.

A few extra notes: rebranding the line means mostly the following things:
-Refreshing the “appearances" of the line, by changing mainly the line name and the packaging.
-Reusing as much as it’s possible existing tooling
-Bringing back the main characters.
You may not want that because you already have them, but that is not how the marketing works for those things. A “rebranded” line will supposedly try to catch up with collectors that didn’t buy this line in the first place, or that got into it too late and can’t find or afford the first releases anymore, all this while appealing to a portion of the existing customer that will buy again the main characters.

Now, mine is just an idea of many possible. I approach it with a very nostalgic and historical eye. I don’t think this is the best possible, it’s just what I’d love most.
Also, this idea was originally what I would have loved for the 30th anniversary line.