Category Archives: Uncategorized

Alex Ross Spotlight: Why is the Joker So Skinny?

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

A friend of mine recently introduced me to Quora, which is a fun little way to kill time.

I recently came across the simple question of, “Why is the Joker so skinny?” No doubt, it was inspired by how Joaquin Phoenix’s body looked in Joker.

But it certainly didn’t start there. More often than not, the Joker we see in the comics is drawn as a skinny dude. In that sense, if not many others, Joker followed its source material.

I’ve previously mentioned what I refer to as the Alex Ross Theory of the Joker. I base it on a quote I plucked from Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross. On the very same page as that quote comes this bit of insight into Ross’ take on the character, which he tries to keep somewhat consistent with the original Bob Kane/Jerry Robinson version (shown below).

“…he didn’t start off in the comics as this stick-thin anorexic guy – I wanted to give him the appearance of being long and lean, but also physically powerful, not underweight. He was originally based on Conrad Veidt in the 1928 silent film The Man Who Laughs, and that’s what I’m seeing to capture – the true face of Joker.”

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Meet the Umbrella Academy!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Netflix’s new superhero series, The Umbrella Academy, offers a…shall we say, unconventional take on the genre. That’s not necessarily unexpected, as it comes from the mind of Gerard Way, lead singer of My Chemical Romance.

The folks at Fandom have some nice appetizer vids set up for you. Once again, they’ve enlisted yours truly for the voice work. You can find them at “Meet the Super Dysfunctional Family of Netflix’s ‘The Umbrella Academy.'”

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Astonishing Art: Star Wars by Eric Tan

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’m a sucker for a good Star Wars poster. So when I came across this set from Disney artist/designer Eric Tan, I fell head-over-heels very quickly. For a time, the posters based on the original trilogy were actually sold at the Disney store for hundreds of dollars. While that places them firmly outside of my price range, from a quality perspective I understand it. These things are friggin’ gorgeous…

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Toy Chest Theater: Batman with a Gun

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

In theory, I should hate this image. For me, the whole Batman-with-a-gun thing is supremely played out. So much so that I typically roll my eyes when I see it. I also found the brown duster from Batman v Superman to be, like a lot of things in that movie, very stupid.

But for some intangible reason, this shot from Indonesian photographer Riza Nugraha works for me.

Actually, it might not be one reason, but a bunch of them. When combined, the goggles, scarf, duster, gun, and belt give me a Jason Todd/Red Hood vibe. I’m sure the faded, sort of rusty red hue helps in that respect. Somehow, I’m reminded of Assassin’s Creed. Which doesn’t really make sense, as I’ve never played a single one of those games.

I also appreciate the background. Instead of putting the character in the desert, Nugraha put him in some kind of wooded environment. Based on the coloring and the haze, it seems like a fire of some kind has just taken place. Perhaps it’s even post-apocalyptic.

I’ve previously said that in my opinion, the best action figure photography allows you to forget you’re looking at plastic toys. Perhaps I should change it to, “The best action figure photography stimulates your imagination and creativity allowing you to forget you’re looking at plastic toys.”

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Toy Chest Theater: Horror Icons by Jeremy Hale

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I don’t do horror very much. Nothing against it. Just isn’t my thing. Still, the overlap with the world of comic books is rather obvious. So it makes sense that they’d land in this space.

It makes even more sense when you see that the amazing Jeremy Hale does quite a bit of work with horror action figures. Case in point, the images you see here, which are among my favorites in his portfolio…

Hill has a tendency to photograph his figures with woodsy dioramas. When paired with the right lighting, it creates a deliciously ominous vibe. As always, my standard for great action figure photography is that, at least for a brief moment, it makes you forget you’re looking at a toy. All three of these images accomplish that.

What is it about water? With the right figure(s), the right lighting, and the right photographer, it can turn a strictly decent image into a great one. That’s the case with Jason and Pennywise here. Particularly in Jason’s case, as he’s got the lake in his origin story. Plus, the shot almost brings the viewer into the scene as his next victim…

More of Jeremy Hale’s work can be found on ActionFigureFriday.com, as well as his Instagram.

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Toy Photography: C-3PO in the Snow

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This is what happens when you have writer’s block on your day off. You wind up trying your hand at toy photography. Whaddaya think? Not bad for a first-timer, right?

To an extent, I’m trying to mimic the shot from The Empire Strikes Back where Luke is lost in the snowstorm and the camera pulls back. As the landscape expands, we see just how alone he truly is. This shot doesn’t have the same effect, obviously. But there’s a certain cuteness to it that I enjoy.

Oddly enough, I originally just plopped Threepio into the snow and took the shot. But of course, the best action figure photos are the ones that allow you to forget you’re looking at little plastic toys. So I made some little footprints next to him so he didn’t simply look like a toy someone left outside. Now he’s impacting his environment. It actually turned out to be my favorite part of the image.

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Epic Covers: “Vote For Me, Or I’ll Kill You!”

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This was a lot funnier when it was first published back in 2005. Nowadays, “Vote For Me or I’ll Kill You” sounds like an actual political slogan…

Batman: Dark Detective¬†was a miniseries that reunited author Steve Englehart with artists Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin. They’re synonymous with some classic Batman stories from the ’70s, including “The Laughing Fish” and “Sign of the Joker.” They’re collected in a trade called Strange Apparitions, which has a special place on my bookshelf.

Though oddly enough, I can’t seem to locate Dark Detective among my back issues. Not that it was a landmark series, but it was definitely fun to see this team tell a Batman story in a modern context. If nothing else, I want to make sure this cover is in my collection. It’s a great addition to the legacy these men have.

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