Friday, May 31, 2013

The Little Differences: Flash Gordon Masters of the Universe Classics Action Figure MOTUC

I love Sci-Fi. I love how it can cloak social commentary so that it presents a familiar and often sensitive subject in a different light. I love how it speculates on new technology and explores the technology's impact on the human condition. But most of all, I love how it takes you to different worlds, completely unhindered by current norms, so we can experience new and exciting adventures.

Modern Sci-Fi like Star Trek, Farscape, Doctor Who, Blade Runner, Prometheus, and Star Wars are fantastic. But several years ago, I decided to explore the roots of Science Fiction and luckily, I had a great resource nearby. Atlas Comics just outside Chicago had a wealth of material such as old comic strips from the 1930's and comic books from the 1950's. There, I was able to research and actually see things like Flash Gordon comic strips and comics books like Weird Fantasy first-hand as well as add them to my collection. Additionally, the store's proprietor John Stangeland was a wealth of information on vintage films which helped me track down information on the Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon movie serials. (John is a comic book artist, writer, and author of the fantastic book Warren William: Magnificent Scoundrel of Pre-Code Hollywood. You can learn more about him and his book here.) Many of these early creators were making Sci-Fi before the term was even coined, breaking new ground and telling stories that rival those of today.

Years later, my friend Doug Klauba created a piece starring Flash Gordon called "To Be Continued...". My plan was to put in in my son's room to inspire him but it was such a large piece that it didn't fit his wall, so it currently resides above my work table and inspires me daily.
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So when I recently picked up an extra loose Masters of the Universe Classics King Randor and took the armor off, his bright red shirt was a natural inspiration to make my own MOTUC Flash Gordon type of character.
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The bright blue pants and head were donated by an extra Bow figure; and the black boots are from Mo-Larr. I used the "hot water" method to swap the parts; submersing them in the water for a minute or so to soften the plastic  and then gently working the parts off. I used the same process to put them together.
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I added a Jet Pack from Snout Spout as an homage to the Filmation Flash Gordon cartoon as I remember seeing him wear one in an episode. (Considering Filmation's contribution to Masters of the Universe, I thought it was more than fitting.)
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As you can see, he fits in well with the more "Spacey" characters in Classics.
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Yes, Bow's tiara is a little weird, but Flash did sport some strange outfits back in the day and I remember seeing a painting of early Sci-Fi hero John Carter in a tiara of sorts so it isn't completely out of place.
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As always with these "Little Differences" posts, I hope you are inspired to bash your own classic/retro Sci-Fi hero and you see that the little differences can make a big impact on your action figure collection. Until next time, I remain The Insidious One.

On a more somber note, I'd like to add that the fantastic comic book store that I mention above, Atlas Comics, will be closing it's doors after 25 years in business.
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John Stangeland, the owner of Atlas is both a mentor and a good friend and I am sad to see the shop close. However, this is an opportunity for YOU to get your hands on some incredible books, toys, statues, and collectibles at insanely low prices.

The liquidation sale begins Saturday, 06/01/13 and culminates with the store closing on Saturday, 06/29/13. Atlas is in Norridge, IL a few blocks from 90, on the corner of Cumberland and Lawrence (next to The Phoenix Restaurant). See map below for directions and click this link for more info on the sale

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