Thursday, October 20, 2011

Followup on Hasbro's NYCC Micronauts tease

Thanks to friend Jon Riddick, I've got a copy of the Hasbro NYCC comic book in-hand. So, what's it all about? Micronauts, I'm happy to report, is central to the whole work.

A young, new Acroyear has taken the armor and title handed down to him by his father, and awakens from a long period in stasis to find Biotron and a hologramatic A.I. named Synergy (originating from Jem and the Holograms) as his guardians and guides in a quest to find allies and inspirations from Earth and across the galaxy in a battle against Baron Karza. The Micronaut storytelling content is penciled by Robert Atkins.

In the story, Synergy shows the fledgling Acroyear various heroes (all from the classic game and 80's toy properties Hasbro is in the process of rebranding and revitalizing) that she strongly suggests he acquire as allies, teachers and inspirations.

In the comic's afterward, Andy Schmidt - Hasbro's marketing manager for these properties and ex-IDW editor for Transformers and GI Joe - notes that the books is a 'love letter' of sorts to the fans of these properties, and isn't intended to be 'the ultimate brand expression for any one' of them. Meaning that the form of the final products these items are delivered to toy store shelves as might look and read absolutely nothing like this. I'd say that things are - as we're all aware - still in development and subject to approval. So, what does this say to those of us eager to know what Micronauts will look like next?

Judging by the mish-mash of styles at work in the Micronauts-related artwork in the issue and in spite of all the color and elaborate linework ... not too very much, in my analysis. But that's not a bad thing. Certainly, there's a lot there that indicates current design styles and classic influences will be there. If the rules-of-thumb we see here will continue to play out in the final products, we'll have figures that will be elaborately textured and colorful like the Micronauts of the past, and Micronaut toys that are largely recognizable as the classic Micronaut characters and toys. One spread (the third image above) shows this new trio of Micronauts relating to GI Joe, Generation 1 Transformers, and the other revitalized Hasbro properties. This suggests to me that perhaps something like the older Takara SF-Land standards might be put into play in the way that original Micronauts, Transformers and other toys originating from - or influenced by (GI Joe RAH?)- Takara can all interchange and play together based on a shared set of mechanical standards and scales. My kids love mixing Micronaut, Microman and Transformers toys and parts together, and populating the results with some other 1/18 scale figures.

My 2-cents? Hasbro and Tomy-Takara may develop Micronauts into something like the Magnepower Microman line combined with the Transformers Human Alliance line.

As a note of trivia - the two-page Micronauts spread is by Italian comic artist Emiliano Santalucia. He's been involved with the recent revitalization of the classic verisons of Transformers, GI Joe and Masters of the Universe for IDW, Hasbro and others. In his spread, astute eyes can see influences pulled from SOTA Toys' abandoned Micronauts:Evolution, Henshin Cyborg, Magnepower Microman, Microforce, and others. The thick stable of past iterations of Micronauts has been used as a resource for this printed work, at least.

It doesn't give us much concrete information to work with, but it will generate a lot of speculation and conversation among fans and collectors, which is a good thing! As they say, even bad press (not to say this is bad in any way!) is better than no press at all.

Followup on Hasbro

Friday, October 14, 2011

First look at Hasbro's Micronauts, at NYCC?

Thanks to Micropolis Embassy member John Kent's keen observations, we've got a look at what is quite possibly Acroyear from Hasbro's upcoming Micronauts line, revealed in artwork promoting Hasbro's "Unit:E" (Unity, get it?) package of properties on display at New York Comicon this weekend. The image is on display at TFW2005 Transformers board, and is quickly spreading around the net today:

Word has it that this is a 24-page comic book available at the show. (Now I have to somehow score a copy!)

How representative this is of actual product is, of course, subject to speculation. There have been several iterations of the core Micronauts characters in the last few years, generated by subcontractors for AGE as Marty Abrams' company tried to re-launch the property. Kenetic Underground cooked up some appealing stuff for AGE during that period.

I get the distinct impression, however, that the design is based on the Takara Magnepower Arden or LED Acroyears from the end of the 1990s...