Our first listener mailbag of the new year features an EU-reading grandma, a top events of 2011 list, some feedback on our Christmas show, and more!
Hey guys, hope you all had a wonderful Christmas weekend! I just had to send this story to you. I will try to keep this short, but I don't know if I can.
My family always has a Boxing Day party if for no other reason than to have another party that doesn't have the stress of Christmas. My 85-or-so-year-old grandmother was over and started to ask my cousins if they knew that "they are still making Star Wars books." Since I am the only one that collects anything anymore, they pointed her to me and I got an outstanding (I hope) story to send to you. Several years ago, when her eyesight started to go, she signed up for a government program to get free books on tape through the Library of Congress. She can request certain books, but they also send her ones they think she is interested in. Somehow, through all of her other books, they decided she would like a Star Wars novel. She told me she was it was a Karen Traviss novel, and she immediately sent it back because, "I'm not getting in the middle of a continuity battle." OK, just kidding.
But seriously, she told me she put in the book, but could not get through it! I asked her why and she said that, since this program is for the blind and handicapped, they read everything. So, she got to hear the Table of Contents, the dramatis personae, and the entire timeline they put at the beginning of all the books. I guess they don't want to just start the book off like Audible.
I then told her about how there are more than one hundred books with all sorts of different storylines. She told me about Star Wars being the first movie an older cousin of mine saw, though he was too young to remember seeing it. She had no idea that the prequels existed. She also had forgotten Han Solo's name. He was "the guy who ran around with Luke Skywalker and flew the ship." She was disappointed in herself for forgetting that name. I told her Harrison Ford likes it if you forget about him in those movies.
Anyways, it was pretty cool to talk Star Wars with my Grandma. She loves high fantasy like Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and she said she always enjoyed watching Star Wars in the theater. She said if she got a copy of an audiobook that didn't read all the crazy stuff in the beginning she would give it a listen. I wish I would have known that before Christmas. Well, she might just get something.
Mike Drumm Massillon, Ohio
With 2012 officially upon us, I figured it would be a good idea to reflect back on what 2011 had to offer Star Wars fans in the various areas of collecting. There was so much great merchandise available for fans to collect, so rather than try and come up with a single item, I decided to break down my top choices into various categories.
Right off the bat it should be noted that items such as The Complete Saga on Blu-ray, Season 3 of The Clone Wars Blu-ray set, and Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace Blu-ray are not listed below. Why you ask? Because I feel that those items should be prominent fixtures in ALL Star Wars fan's collections. They are no-brainer, can't-miss entries in the Star Wars marketing world that no fan should do without in my book.
If you love Star Wars, you're gonna buy 'em.
So here we go - my categorical breakdown of the best Star Wars collectibles of 2011.
Best Toy - Target Exclusive The Vintage Collection Landspeeder This vehicle holds a very special place in my heart, as the Kenner Landspeeder was the first vehicle that I received as a kid back in the day. Seeing this vehicle in Vintage packaging sitting on Target store shelves brought back waves of memories from my childhood. And even though I am a MIB collector, having the opportunity to own a Star Wars toy that so closely replicates my childhood experience easily catapults the Vintage Collection Landspeeder to the top of my list.
Best Non-EU Book - LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia I gotta admit - the Lego Star Wars series of video games has cemented itself as a mainstay in both mine and my wife Dianna's heart. We absolutely love spending hours playing these games, and this reference book is the definitive source for outlining every small detail pertaining to the Lego Star Wars mini-figures. While the actual Lego Star Wars sets themselves are not part of my collecting preferences, this book most certainly is. A fun and engaging read from cover to cover to say the least.
Best Comical/Non-Toy - ThinkGeek Star Wars Han Solo Carbonite Chocolate There were a bunch of items that were worthy contenders for the top spot in this category (Hallmark's Star Wars Keepsake Ornaments, Vader's Lightsaber Hilt Candle Holders, Williams-Sonoma Pancake & Cookie Molds, R2 and Carbonite Han Ice Cube Trays, etc) but since there could only be one winner, I just had to go with the Han Solo Carbonite Chocolate candy bar. When I first saw pics of this item at NYCC back in October, I immediately thought to myself "Now why the hell wasn't something like this released sooner?". Simple, basic, and as straight-forward as can be, but the coolness and wow factor of this item are off the charts. A true conversation-starter when someone comes over and sees this gem sitting on the coffee table!
Best Collecting Event - Hasbro Star Wars Panel at NYCC Here it was, Hasbro's official Star Wars brand making its way to NYCC for the very first time with a dedicated panel, and I was there to witness it in person. Having the chance to cover the Hasbro Star Wars panel with Dan was truly a highlight of 2011 for me. I could barely keep my hands steady enough to take clear photographs as the slideshow progressed during the presentation - that's how geeked up I was to be sitting in that conference room. Reporting on new Star Wars toys alongside Dan right as the news broke was simply exhilarating.
Best "You'll Be Missed" Toy - Star Wars Galactic Heroes We've discussed many times before in prior conversations my fondness for the Galactic Heroes line. This was a line that my wife and I jumped into with both feet right from the get-go back in 2002, and for the next 9 years took great joy in adding these pieces to our collection. Whimsical in nature but certainly not short on detail & collectibility, Galactic Heroes will always be regarded as one of my favorite Star Wars lines of all time. While I do enjoy collecting the new Jedi Force line that has since taken its place, there's just something about those little Galactic Heroes that no other collecting line can reproduce. The line will be deeply missed by this collector.
Best "Yeah, But..." Toy - Gentle Giant 12" Jumbo Kenner Vintage Figures While we first heard about this line back in 2010, I didn't begin heavily investing my time & money in it until 2011. This was a line I was VERY excited to add to my collection, and I eagerly did so by obtaining the first 11 figures that were available, including the 3 convention-exclusive releases (TESB Stormtrooper, Boba Fett, and Vinyl Cape Jawa). Seeing scaled-up versions of the Vintage figures that had dominated my childhood was simply to good to pass up...until I started acquiring them and realized how much display space they actually required. Like with all other lines, I kept each figure MOC, and that led to some serious display real estate being chewed up. In addition, the roughly $80 price point (including shipping fees) attached to this line eventually wore on me, and thus influenced my decision to part ways with the line and sell my 11 figures off in one large eBay auction. I think the overall concept of manufacturing jumbo Vintage-style figures was an ingenious marketing idea by Gentle Giant, but I feel they missed the sweet spot on the final scale and price point of this line. I would much rather have seen this line released maybe in a smaller 7" or 8" scale at a price point of say $39.99 per figure. That combo would have allowed me to continue collecting the line without the fear of having display space consumed so quickly and, being a completist, not impacting my wallet so much either. Relunctantly, this was a line that I had to let go.
--------------- Justin LaSalata From New York
See attached file. It with some Duracell Coupons from the January 1, 2012 Sunday Newspaper.
Hey Jason & Jimmy,
I wanted to send in some pics and video of my starship (Jedi Defender) from The Old Republic.
I got the ship around level 17-18 as part of a mission quest. The class I am playing is that of a Jedi Knight (Guardian).
You use the ship to travel around the galaxy to various planets AND also for the space combat portion of the game.
I have attached a video of my ship entering and exiting hyperspace as well.
This game keeps getting better and better!
More info to come!
Faithful ForceCast listener,
Will Melay from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Qynn Jedi Knight in The Old Republic (server = Kaas City)
With the busy holidays, I just got around to listening to the "Weekly ForceCast.net Christmas 2011".
I feel the Force guiding my hands to send you a message as to just how good this show was. You guys are great. I really enjoy how you guys can differ opinions on a subject and crack on each other, but still maintain your friendly good humor.
It was great listening to James Arnold Taylor (not to be confused with that other guy named James Taylor). James was hysterical. He really got me laughing. Especially with that song of his.
Anyway, keep up the good work. I look forward to plenty more good shows in 2012.
I know it's after Christmas, but I finally got a chance to listen to your holiday show and it makes me really sorry that I waited this long. The production you and your guests put together was better than any cheesy TV holiday show. James Arnold Taylor's "12 Days of Christmas" and David Collins doing an impression of Han Solo singing were better than anything I've heard on other podcasts all year.
I think it's great that your show has formed so many great relationships with the talent in the Star Wars universe. I listen to a variety of podcasts about other franchises and none of them have the relationships that you guys have which makes your show stand out from the other Star Wars ones.
By the way, I found a story that might be touching to mention on one of your episodes. I learned about this when I saw Steve Sansweet and Peter Mayhew post about it on their Facebook pages. It's the story of a little boy in Florida with disabilities who has apparently used his passion for Star Wars as a way to help him understand how process what he's going through. There is a fundraiser for his family to make an eBook which can be found here. It's a very touching story and it shows the true power of Star Wars in contrast to Roger Ebert's assessment.
Regarding "Glee", I'm a fan of the show and watch it every week with my friends. Sorry it wasn't your cup of tea! I geeked out seeing Finn and Puck dressed as Han and Luke and wished there were more references.
Thanks for bringing the love and the Force this season!