Toys & Collectibles

Ace Faces: Star Ace Collectibles @ NYCC 2014

Star Ace's Cast Metal Replica  of the Disney Submarine Nautilus Design.
Star Ace’s Cast Metal Replica of the Disney Submarine Nautilus Design.

Little “Leagues”…
For me, NY Comic Con is a chance to say hi to the purveyors of some of the fun stuff that I like the best and also a perfect opportunity to discover some new items to add to the “wow” list. This year was no exception.

While free ranging the Javitts Center aisles what to my wondering eyes did appear but a miniature replica of the Naultilus submarine. This representation of Captain Nemo’s sweet ride (Jules Verne’s grandaddy of steam-punk vessels) is based on Harper Goff’s design for Walt Disney Studios 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954.) The little beauty stopped me dead in my tracks and impressed me even more when I learned it was a die cast metal kit with working parts and lights. This one is a true gem for the builder/collector and is aimed at a winter 2014 release.

Want to know more about the genesis of Disney’s submarine design? A treasure trove of information can be found at DisneySub.Com.

Unique Steve McQueen Collectible will Join Star Ace's Growing Line (Pre-Approval Image)
Unique Steve McQueen Collectible will Join Star Ace’s Growing Line (Pre-Approval Image)

Once I pulled my eyes, and camera, away from the Disney Submarine replica, a look around revealed that I was in the display booth of Star Ace Toys Limited, and there were other delights to be seen. Giving me a steely stare from an adjacent display case was another iconic film entity, Steve McQueen, portrayed in his role as Captain Virgil Hilts from The Great Escape (1963). Though I was allowed to photograph it it should be noted that the McQueen likeness is shown here in pre-approval prototype form.

Lord Voldemort Conjures Up Some Trouble
Lord Voldemort Conjures Up Some Trouble

Say My Name…
Star Ace’s current franchise stock in trade is their growing range of Harry Potter film figures. Along with Harry and Ron Weasley, also displayed at the Yes Anime convention booth, Star Ace exhibited prototypes for Ralph Fiennes’ Lord Voldemort and Gary Oldham’s Sirius Black portrayals.

As the photos show these 1/6th scale articulated collectibles are rendered with exquisite attention to detail from their head sculpts and paint to the delicious scope of their accessories.

SkeletonPete Says…
I’m happy to see that Star Ace is giving some love to the interests of “boomer” collectors like myself, who in actuality are more likely purchase such high scale prizes. If they’re considering mining 50’s-60’s pop culture a Frank, Dino and Sammy Jr. “Rat Pack” would find a home in many “man-caves.”

Books & Graphic Novels Film & Television Series SkeletonPete Says

Blinded Me With Sci-Fi: Ridley Scott’s “Prophets of Science Fiction”

What It Is…
That today’s science and medical technologies were once only figments in the realm of the fantastic is something we all know but often take for granted. For instance, everyone knows the name “Frankenstein”, the doctor and the cadaverous namesake it represents, but details of the idea’s inception are lost in time to the public at large. Science Channel remedies that with a new series focusing specifically on the writers who imagined a future that in many instances has come to pass. “Prophets of Science Fiction” is presented by producer/director Ridley Scott who, as the creator of such modern Sci-Fi classics as “Alien” and “Blade Runner”, is totally at home in the genre. He uses his on-screen time to tie the strands of biographical and technological information – presented by numerous interviewees and graphic sources – into a cohesive package. The format has the feel of two of my favorite BBC series James Burke’s “Connections” and “The Day The Universe Changed”. Those shows presented the lineage of invention through seemingly disparate thought threads and varied serendipities which rendered unexpected and ingenious outcomes.

Episode 1 Preview – Mary Shelly
As the de facto mother of science fiction literature Mary Shelly is the natural subject of the premiere episode. Only a teenager in 1816 when she began her novel as a challenge to out scare her husband Percy and their summer companions Dr. John Polidori and Lord Byron, Mary imagined the story which became “Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus” when completed two years later.

At first published anonymously, Shelly went on to embrace her authorship and bid her “hideous progeny go forth and prosper”. Prosper it did with multiple editions in her lifetime and innumerable adaptations and co-optings in the nearly two centuries since. Even the story’s genesis during that “haunted summer” at Lake Geneva has been explored on film as the stylish Victorian prologue to James Whale’s 1935 “Bride of Frankenstein and the psychosis of Ken Russell’s “Gothic”.

As prescient as she was it’s unlikely Mrs. Shelly could have foreseen Frankenberry breakfast cereal or Herman Munster as she formulated her tale of science gone wrong cloaked in the stench of the charnel house.

The episode explores the science fact of “Frankenstein” from the early electrical experiments of Luigi Galvani to Dr. Reggie Edgerton’s spinal cord research and looks at the work of the Human Genome Project and genetic cartographers, as well as those on a quest to create artificial intelligence. L.A. Chief Coroner Harvey describes the “gray area” between somatic death and molecular death and the harvesting of tissue and organs for transplant.

On the creative side Shelly biographers relate how the teenager’s personal experiences; her mother’s death after her birth; familial alienation; and the loss of her own first born, filter their way into the story, often in the personality of “the monster”. The subtext being a tale of parental abandonment.

The series premieres tonight (Nov 9, 2011) on Science Channel @ 10PM EST.

SkeletonPete Says…
Ahh, a series after my own heart. Something to truly relish. I am and have always been fascinated with process vs. product, often more interested in reading the biography of an author than their actual works. “Prophets of Science Fiction” brings to light the personal and contemporaneous catalysts of these visionary creators and nicely interpolates the historical and fictional with the latter day science they prognosticated. I’m very much looking forward to upcoming episodes highlighting H.G. Wells, Isac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Robert Heinlein, Jules Verne, and even “newbie” George Lucas.

How about a similar spin on horror writers like Lovecraft, Poe, Bierce, Blackwood and King hosted by the likes of John Carpenter, Wes Craven or George Romero.