Armada Wave 1 Reviews
In the Beginning:
The History of Online TransFandom
3H Enterprises at Wizard World East
Takara: On the Ball?
The Haiku-ed Trannies Ballot
Little Screen - Next Issue
Who We Are
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3H Enterprises at Wizard World East
By Jennifer Ulm and David Willis
It was an 8-hour drive, but it was worth it just to see the look on
Glen Hallit's face. This guy's pants were nearly exploding in
anticipation for what BotCon has in store for the fandom in the next
few years. He's so excited, and he just can't hide it.
He and Dan Khanna (and Robert Yee, who built the very cool display for
Cyclonus) had a small booth next to a few
independent comics booths and across from Palisades toys. There
was a nice "Transformers Official Convention" banner behind them, and
a table covered with one of those dorky new lamp-shaped Apples
playing the Primeval Dawn preview, application forms for both BotCon
2002 and the Unicron statue, a pile of free Beast Wars-themed
postcards, Cycloni (Wrecker and original) in an elaborate display
to the left, and the Unicron statue itself.
The first thing Glen pointed out to us was the little stand-up board on
the table with BotCon's announced "news about BotCon's future." Well,
whee -- England's getting a BotCon now! Early November, they'll
get Neil Kaplan, Wally Wingert, Vince DiCola and some people from the
UK comic - most notably Geoff Senior, who has never appeared at a BotCon
before - and their own exclusive toys. Limited to just a few hundred
each, these guys should be .... fun to get.
Well, what about Transforce? Mr. Glen said that while he has the
exclusive convention contract with Hasbro UK, he doesn't see any reason
to shake around his contract at them unprovoked. In fact, he went out
of his way in his discussions with Hasbro to ensure Transforce would still
exist and BotCon Europe would not conflict with their plans. That's why
it is held in November this year and not during the summer.
Speaking of BotCon MMII (to distinguish it from BC02 nominally and
financially, he's using Roman numerals for the European conventions)
and its exclusives' small numbers, he said he also plans to cut back on
the production numbers of American exclusives. In fact, future pre-
registration might allow only one of each toy per convention goer. He
cites the need to draw people to the convention as his reason, so there
aren't hundreds of scalped toys on the Internet for sale to just anyone.
There's also the matter of the toys being called "BotCon Exclusives" for
a reason, not because only BotCon can sell them, but because the idea is
that they're for BotCon attendees. Any random person on the street being
able to get them for a hundred bucks takes away some of that specialness,
and 3H is interested in fixing that.
The "Primeval Dawn" preview looked really sharp. The Flash animation was
far more fluid than is generally associated with the medium. Most of the
preview highlighted the characters who would be appearing: Primal
Prime, Airazor, Tigatron, Packrat, and Tarantulas surrounded by spooky Vok
heads. Vince DiCola's score for the opener was nicely reminicent of Beast
Wars without sounding knockoffy, and we got to hear it regularly as we
talked to Glen and Dan. It should be done by the end of the month, with
more installments later this year.
The Beast Wars postcard sheets were excerpts from a complete set of them,
available at BotCon this year. As the day went on, they put out newer
sheets of different characters. By the time we left on Friday, he'd put
out about 3 sets of 3 or 4 cards each. Each card has a different Beast
Wars CGI character model on it plus their name, (show-based) function, and
a paragraph-long bio. Most of the CGI art seemed to be the same as used
in the dinner-exclusive posters from last year.
Now, Unicron: This is one bad mother. He's kinda static in previous
photos we've had of him, but in person, he's much better than we
thought possible. The version we saw there was painted, but not the
exact final product, by which we mean he's still not all one piece.
For instance, his head can unpeg, his wings can detach, and he's removable
from his Cybertron base. We had a brief moment of fun making his head float
around. The wings are made of softer material so they aren't the fragile
nightmare they could be. And he's huge. Everybody was stopping
by the booth and asking about him.
Cyclonus is beautiful. No, really, he is. The purples and greys really
work well. He's so... pretty. So very very pretty. Mr. Glen was so
excited about him, he had Dan Khanna transform him for us so we could see
the robot mode. Dan had a little trouble remembering how the mold went,
so we teased him a little about it. Honestly, this thing is gorgeous.
It's funny, looking at him next to the original Cyclonus -- it's this
astounding gap of 20 years bridged. Progress, man. Progress. Mr. Glen
told us a lot of guys had stopped by, asking if it was Armada Cyclonus.
We spent a long time talking with Dan Khanna about Wreckers #2. There
were the first seven pages on display there, pre-ink and inked. The
art seems improved over last year, due both to Dan's improvement
and the fact that he can spend more time on the line art now that
Dreamwave is coloring the book. The stuff looked so great that
we asked them if Dreamwave were also drawing in the backgrounds, like
Pat Lee has done for him. Nope, it's all Dan's work. True to the
history of Wreckers there are... quite a number of casualties this
year. Mr. Glen cited the fact that the cast was just too huge, plus
gruesome mass extinction is what the Wreckers are all about. There'll be
lots of focus on Rodimus (Major), Arcee, Primal Prime, Ramulus, and
assumingly Cyclonus since he's one of the exclusives. Also, the other
three exclusives are all new good guys, not previous characters.
No Devcon for us, apparently. Oh, and Tengu's writing it.
Why is Botcon in Fort Wayne this year? 3H had other locations in
consideration, but they didn't work out. They also already have the
locations for both BotCon 03 and 04(!) reserved. 2004 should be the
biggest year ever, as it's both BotCon's tenth anniversary and Transformers'
twentieth. Mr. Glen mused that he'd like to have every guest that's
ever been at at BotCon ever to attend that year. Plus new guests.
He's also planning that to be the year it's extended to a 3 or 4-day event,
which is kinda good with all those guests there. 2004 will be a truly
massive undertaking, both for 3H and for the convention-going public.
Mr. Glen emphasized that all of his announcements and plans for future
conventions are still in progress and they could fall through or
be replaced by different plans before the conventions occur. There are West
Coast locations he's looking into, but they weren't specifically
attempting to make a West Coast location happen.
He also noted that while Hasbro officially recognizes the Con more
these days and lets them do near anything, they don't receive any
extra financial backing. If the exclusives cost less, it's because
3H is absorbing more of the costs. Also, repainted toys like the
RiD Vehicon 3-pack and the new Obsidian don't get in the way
of 3H exclusives based on those molds, mostly because 3H
works on an earlier timeframe, in general. So the exclusives aren't
entirely dependent on what's currently being released. And they
said the mold choices will be a total surprise. No one
will be able to guess what we're getting.
(We'd like to add that they emphasized that the "official convention"
tagline that's been stressed lately isn't any really new thing. It's
not a change, it's just emphasized more this year.)
We also got hot dogs.
See also Facts, Hints and Miscellanea
Altered States Magazine would like to thank Jennifer, David, and Graham for
their reports. Also, we'd like to extend our appreciation to Glen Hallit of
3H Enterprises for providing us the opportunity to clarify some of the details
here. Visit the official BotCon site at http://www.botcon.com/