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#488: Toy Story

July 9, 2010

Notes from the Manager

Related Strips: #140: The One About Shrek the Third; #268: Old School, Part One

Tomorrow is officially the 5th anniversary of Multiplex, so there will be a few guest strips in celebration of that little milestone!

I know some of you don't like guest strips, but don't worry — I'll still be putting up my regular updates. There will just be a few extra ones by other cartoonists, like T.J. Tague, whose guest strip from Wednesday is now up in the Guest Strips section.

Here's a short Book 1 update for everybody: the proofing stage for Book 1 is winding down (the couple of passes were relatively mistake-free, finally), and I've finally arrived at a universally well-liked cover design, so I just need to put the finishing touches on the illustration and I'll be good to send it to the printer by the end of next week. Then it'll be time for… printer proofs! Joy.

About this strip, it's not really important to mention, but if you wanted to go out and buy an action figure of Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon… you pretty much can't. There are "Night Fury" action figures with a healthy tail, but none actually of Toothless, with the missing fin and Hiccup's saddle & rig. And the moveable wings on the 7" deluxe Night Fury figure seems to have a habit of falling out, if the Amazon reviews are any indication.

I have a hunch that the whole "Night Fury" thing is because they added the whole bit about Toothless's tail late in the game, and the toy manufacturer was forced to just change the name on the packaging or redo the mold. (I don't have any reason to believe this, other than a couple of early stills of the movie featuring Toothless with an unmistakably whole tail.)  As a reader in the toy business pointed out to me, it takes 6–8 months to get a toy from the concept to the shelves, so some significant, late story changes could have left the manufacturer without the time to redo the figure. 

While that sort of change would be excusable, what's not excusable is not having an Astrid action figure. While I'm reluctant to take guesses as to why (because she's a girl), when two of your three main characters don't even have figures, something's not right.

Hopefully by the time the sequel comes out, someone will put out a more complete action figure line for How to Train Your Dragon, because I totally want some. I just want to actually have Toothless, not a stand-in.

And yes, I feel a bit like David Willis right now.

Also, Mr. Mister was awesome:


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Multiplex is taking a short break.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Longtime readers of the strip know I don’t just stop updating. Three years of grad school, and I’ve missed maybe one update. But as some of you may know (from Twitter or the Multiplex Facebook page), a friend of mine died in a car crash on Wednesday.

Ryan Love and I went to school together from 3rd grade until graduating high school, and he was probably the one person most responsible for me getting interested in comics. When we were kids, I read all his He-Man mini-comics, because my parents never bought me any of those toys. After I got into comics, he read my DC stuff, and I read his Marvel comics. He bought my comics for me on the sly when my mother banned me from reading them for getting “bad grades.” We co-created a ton of really dumb superheroes together, plus a couple of cool ones.

We drifted a bit after high school — different colleges and just part of growing up and being interested in different things. We kept in touch (not as much as we should have), and when we got together, we mostly talked about comics, he would badger me to join our high school friends’ Fantasy Football League (never going to happen), and we’d argue about something or another. He was great at arguing.

Since I was back in my hometown (Peoria, Illinois) for the Artist and Comic Expo, we had lunch on Monday, two days before he died. I hadn’t seen him in about three years, since the last time I had visited Peoria. This time we talked about comics, Age of Ultron, Game of Thrones, and how we’ve both recently become engaged. He badgered me to join our friends for their annual get-together to watch “the draft.” I think that has something to do with football.

I also gave him a copy of Multiplex: There and Back Again. I inscribed it, “This book is all your fault.”

Even though we didn’t talk nearly as often as we did when we were little, time doesn’t change how much friends meant before, or how much of them was and continues to be a part of you.

Multiplex needs to take a short break while I head back to Peoria to go to his memorial service, and then immediately turn around and head over to Denver Comic Con. Hopefully I’ll find time to work on the strip somewhere in there, but in any event, I’ll start posting new strips in two weeks.

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