odds and ends: aliens minimates, marc maron

This past week, The International Toy Fair was held in Manhattan. This is a business convention for toy makers and purveyors to show their wares to stores. In recent years it’s become somewhat of a bonanza for toy collectors who wait breathlessly for announcements of they new action figures and accessories to add to their collections. I’m always interested in seeing what new toys are on offer for the year, but I haven’t had a lot of disposable income in recent years. Most of the stuff in my collection is either an individual figure cherrypicked at full price, a gift from someone, or (most often) something bought on clearance.

Having said that, there is one toy line I manage to follow with some regularity, and that’s Art Asylum’s Minimates. Again, I don’t buy EVERY Minimate Diamond Select Toys puts out… but I buy a lot of them and enjoy the blocky style. I have a fairly decent collection. Although DST has produced some mighty tempting offerings recently including their series based on The Walking Dead comics, I haven’t been bit by the collector bug since the introduction of their Ghostbusters line. All that’s about to change however. This weekend, Diamond Select Toys and Art Asylum announced Minimates based on one of my favorite movies of all time, 1986’s Aliens.

While I’ve seen no pictures as of yet, the press release says that their license will cover Minimates of major characters AND vehicles. I’m hoping this means we’ll not only get a full platoon of Colonial Marines, but a Drop Ship and… dare I hope… a Power Loader.

I’m assuming a lot of the excitement for this line will be born out of the soon-to-be released Aliens: Colonial Marines video game, which isn’t getting a lot of great reviews. Hopefully that game’s performance won’t affect these Minimates.

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Last night, Ellen and I went to see Marc Maron perform stand-up at Bogart’s in Cincinnati. Maron’s become the poster boy for the podcast generation and for good reason- his WTF is a medium-defining program and one I listen to every week. I’ve been a fan of Maron’s since I was a teenager and he did regular work on Comedy Central.

(Digression: While many people remember him from this era for his run as the host of Short Attention Span Theater, I particularly remember the dude from the thankless job of hosting a “town forum” when Comedy Central stopped airing Mystery Science Theater 3000 every weekday at midnight. Fans were pissed; Maron was kind of the go-between on this weird half-hour segment where the president of the network explained the move. It was the kind of segment that would NEVER happen now that the Internet is a thing.)

Maron’s always used his stand-up and podcast as a forum as a kind of therapy to exercise his demons and I think that’s one of the reasons the guy’s so appealing today. Although I remember watching the guy on things like Stand Up Stand Up and SAST as a brash young comic, middle age suits Maron, his persnickety personality and obsessiveness.

Anyhow, the show was good; Ellen and I both enjoyed it. It was interesting to see Ellen’s reaction, as she’s not a regular listener to WTF. After the show, she remarked about what a communal thing the show seemed to be for Maron and his fans, with people shouting out their favorite bits and Maron directly referencing stuff that happened on the podcast. This is probably a good thing; Maron knows his audience and realizes most of them will immediately get it when he starts talking about Boomer or Pete Holmes. Ellen was lost on that stuff but appreciated the rest.

I didn’t stick around for the meet n’ greet after the show. Although I appreciate that Maron does that stuff, I’ve always found the fan impulse to get a picture with whoever they’re a fan of vaguely icky. The best way I can be a fan is support the artist with some cash (I did buy the iPhone app, thanks much!) and leave him alone. I know if the situation were reversed somehow, that’s what I’d want.

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