Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thinking About Custom Cardbacks

Greetings Travelers of the Jundland Wastes! Happy holidays and a happy new year to everyone! I am sure everyone is still sorting through their Star Wars loot as they read this posting. And I'm sure the current Vintage Collection figures showed up as gifts for some of our listeners as well.

The current Hasbro Vintage Collection has brought many fans back to the collecting hobby. These brand new vintage style figures on a classic Star Wars cardback has really struck an emotional chord for a lot of Star Wars fans. All over the internet and on Star Wars podcasts and blogs I am hearing about fans who are remembering back to when they were just kids at the time of the classic trilogy. We remember seeing the movies and getting all excited to head to the toy store to pick up those action figures of characters we grew to love. And who can forget the Kenner commercials showing cool action figures and vehicles being used by kids just like us!

Without a doubt, the emergence of the new Vintage Collection in the summer of 2010 gave us all something to be excited about. I am grateful that I am not a "complete-ist" otherwise my wallet would be suffering greatly. But that is fine because I am very satisfied with the figures I have picked up and looking forward to adding to my collection this year with the new Phantom Menace wave which appears to be out for sale at this time on eBay and various toy stores.

There are a couple other Expanded Universe figures from previous lines and waves that I do want but for the most part I am happy with my collection. The only thing I need to do now, is get these figures out of the package and into my display case.

But just as the figure itself is collectible, I also enjoy looking at the cardbacks that come with them. I always wonder why a certain photo was chosen as opposed to others, the colors chosen for the name tags and the style of lettering for the Star Wars logo and wave name. These cardbacks are as much of fun as having the figure.

I began to wonder what my next big Star Wars project will be after I finish off my collection this year. Granted, I have this blog and podcast and I hope it will be going for a long time to come. But I am also trying to get back into drawing as well. And then it came to me....make my own custom cardbacks!

I began looking all over the internet and have found out that it is a hobby for many Star Wars fans as well. Some take new photos and make a cardback with the bubble for a figure they have. Some make it into a real art project by covering over current cardbacks with their own art. And there are even those who just take a piece of poster board cut to size and draw or paint their very own cardback.

Hopefully, sometime this winter I will make an attempt at designing my very own Star Wars action figure cardbacks. I have always enjoyed art projects and I hope that I will get as much fun (or hopefully even more fun) pursuing this new hobby. And it will probably be a little easier on my wallet as well.

Do you have any Star Wars art projects that you are working on? Let us know here on the Jundland Wastes! And send us some pics! We'll post them to the blog.

Break out those pencils, crayons, markers and a whole lot of creativity! We're in the Jundland Wastes and making some great Star Wars cardbacks! Hope to have something to show you soon.

All the best,

Co-host of the TJW Podcast

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays from the TJW Podcast!

Hello fellow travelers of the Jundland Wastes! It has been a while but I wanted to send a transmission during these happy holidays! Dan and I are going to get back in the studio soon, 2011 was a bit of tough year in getting our podcasts up and running. But we are hopeful that in the new year of 2012 that we will be able to supply more podcasts and posts for your enjoyment.

Star Wars is fun year round but I think it is especially great to chat about during the winter holidays. We all have wish lists for Star Wars swag and it does take some thought deciding what we want and what we want to give. Here is my small wish list (or not so small considering how you see it) for the the holidays:

* The Star Wars Nine Disc Bluray Set - By far, it has to be the big item this year for Star Wars fans. Granted it came out in September and it was an item that I was tempted to pick up this past fall. But at the same time I thought what would be better then tearing open the wrapping paper and seeing that set in your hands. And while there has been some differences in opinion when it comes to the cover art, I have to say that I really like it! The images of Anakin and Luke on the sands of Tatooine give the traveler of the Jundland Wastes warm feelings about all six movies. And it would make for a great day off from work to watch Episode 4 in full high defintion!

* Current Vintage Collection Action Figures - I really came back into collecting Star Wars toys with the launch of this line back in 2010. The classic packaging and the updated figures really bring me back to the days of going to the toy store with my mom to buy the vintage figures back in the early 80's. I have just purchased a fantastic display case and some stands for the figures I currently have. So I am hoping to have a little time over the weekend to get these figures out of the packaging and into the case!

* Previously Released Action Figures - With my limited budget, it is tough to get every action figure I want. But there have been some figures from previous lines and comic packs that have caught my eye. As a huge fan of the Knights of the Old Republic, it was so much fun to get the Vintage Collection Bastila Shan. But how can I have Bastila without a couple Old Republic Dark Lords to fight? The 30th anniversary Darth Malak and Darth Revan are on my list. Plus, I have finally finished playing The Force Unleashed 2 and would like to get a couple figures from that line as well.

* Star Wars Novels and Expanded Universe books - Star Wars publishing just continues to grow with each year! For the avid reader it is a great time to explore the Expaneded Universe! The novels I am looking forward to getting hold of is Revan by Drew Karpyshyn and Darth Plagueis by James Luceno. Other books I am keeping an eye out for this winter will be Book of Sith by Daniel Wallace, Star Wars Secret Missions #4 by Ryder Windham and the final Fate of the Jedi book Apocolypse.

* Miscellaneous Stuff - There are some other items that I think are just so cool. For example, those Star Wars cookie cutters from Williams Sanoma. Who wouldn't want cookies the shapes of Boba Fett, Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper? I have one more peice I need to complete the Star Wars Celebration V Boba Fett patch and there are a couple patches and pins I want to add to my classic jean jacket. I would like to complete my collection of Celebration V badges too. The art is done by Grant Gould and they all look fantastic! Grant is an awesome Star Wars artist!

What are you hoping to get this holiday season? Let us know!

Have a happy and safe holiday season! Remember to watch out for Tusken Raiders and stay out of your landspeeders if you have one too many Jawa Juices or spiked blue milk!

Happy Holidays!

Co-host of the TJW Podcast

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

BREAKING NEWS! Co-host Dan Will Get a Firsthand Look at The Old Republic MMO!

As most Star Wars Expanded Universe fans know, the release of Biowares MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) game Star Wars: The Old Republic this coming December is probably going to be one of the biggest events to happen in the Star Wars EU this year.

Jundland Wastes traveler and co-host Dan is by far one of the best resources when it comes to Star Wars gaming and gaming in general. He has played both Knights of the Old Republic games for Xbox numerous times as well as other popular titles such as The Force Unleashed, The Force Unleashed 2 and the Battlefront series. And while he enjoys being able to lose himself in a great Star Wars novel or comic book, his real passion is for the Star Wars video games and the complex characters and plotlines that make up these extraordinary avenues into the Expanded Universe.

The holidays came a little early for TJW Podcast co-host Dan last night. He has been chosen to play and test out some of the game this coming weekend! The Old Republic website (which is a plethora of information and videos of this game) asked fans who were interested in testing the game prior to the December release to register at the website. I spoke with Dan last night and this morning as he was downloading the test game to his PC. Needless to say, he is thrilled to have this opportunity to take a look at this game prior to the release.

And as your co-hosts of the TJW Podcast we are committed to reporting on his first hand impressions of the game. Stay tuned for our special news breaking podcast!

And with the upcoming release of the novel Revan, I think we are looking at some exciting Star Wars EU in the not so distant future!

Keep traveling with us on the Jundland Wastes and let us hear from you!

All the best,

Co-host TJW Podcast

Friday, October 28, 2011

Star Wars EU Catch-Up List

Hey there fellow travelers of the Jundland Wastes! Anyone who lives on the east coast of the US is going to get their first taste of winter this weekend. A nor'easter is working its way up to the TJW Podcast studios.

So depending on when it gets here I am thinking it might be a "stay inside" weekend. And catching up on some Star Wars Expanded Universe titles is a great way to pass the time. I'm going to brew up some good coffee, break out a tasty muffin and crack open this titles on my catch-up list.

The Rising Force by Dave Wolverton and The Dark Rival by Jude Watson
A couple months ago I had the pleasure of reading the two for one novels Legacy of the Jedi and Secrets of the Jedi by Jude Watson. After Ryder Windham, I have to say my first runner up for best writing of Star Wars novels goes to Jude. She, like Ryder, has written a plethora of young adult novels. Specifically, she has written 3 series of novels: Jedi Apprentice Series (44 BBY - 38 BBY), Jedi Quest Series (28 BBY - 25 BBY) and Last of The Jedi (18 BBY - 10 BBY). These novels delve into detail about Dooku, Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and others from before Episode 1 and past Episode 3.

Qui-Gon Jinn has become my favorite Jedi over the past few years and I really enjoy getting the opportunity to explore his character further. This series of novels have been on list for a long time and I plan on starting it off this weekend with The Rising Force and The Dark Rival. And like Ryder, Jude writes for a younger audience. However, if these novels are anything like Legacy of the Jedi and Secrets of the Jedi, they are far from being juvenile and will be enjoyable for any Star Wars Expanded Universe fan.

Star Wars: Legacy / Knights of the Old Republic
Another series that I was never able to get into was the Star Wars Legacy comic book series. I started the Knights of the Old Republic but never got past the first volume. With the conclusion of the Fate of the Jedi series next spring and the start of The Old Republic video game this winter, I thought it would be good idea to get caught up on both of these series before the holidays. And it is relatively easy to find the comic trade paperbacks of both these series online or at a local library.

Have anything that you are catching up on? Let us know and we'll give you a shout out on the podcast!

Have a enjoyable weekend!
All the best,

Co-host of the TJW Podcast

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Secret Missions and Fate of the Jedi

This past week I finished the third novel in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars Secret Missions series by author Ryder Windham. This set of novels takes place during the Clone Wars and I believe is matching up pretty closely to the timeline of the animated series on Cartoon Network. The fourth novel is due out soon.

This series is about Jedi Padawan Nuru Kungurama, a squad of Republic Clone Troopers, a former assassin druid and a female scoundrel named Lalo Gunn. Nuru's master Ring-Sol Ambase disappears on while on a mission and Nuru is determined to find him at all costs. The series brings in characters we have come to know in the animated series such as Cad Bane and Asajj Ventress. But we also get some cameo appearances from Chancellor Palpatine and Count Dooku. If you like the animated series and are looking for some fast moving action and exciting stories then I highly recommenced these novels. While they are aimed at a younger audience I really believe that older readers will find these just as enjoyable.

In addition, I have just started the eighth novel in the Fate of the Jedi series called Ascension. This series is winding down with the final installment scheduled for sometime early in 2012. Luke, Han, Leia along with their children and other Jedi are still searching for the elusive Sith monster Abeloth. The Galactic Alliance continues to be on shaky ground and the future is very uncertain for many of the characters in this series.

While I have managed to get through all the novels so far in this series authored by Aaron Allston, Christie Golden and Troy Denning, it has been a chore of sorts to get through them. Without a doubt, these accomplished authors who have made a tremendous mark in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. They are giving us insight into the characters of Jaina Solo, Jagged Fel, Darth Cadeous, Ben Skywalker and Vestara Khai. But I sometimes question the verbosity of these novels and the direction that is taken with certain subplots which seem to weigh down the reader and do not seem connected to the larger story arcs. Perhaps they will be realized at the end of the series. But for the casual Star Wars fan these novels are a bit much to digest.

I am a passionate Star Wars fan and have been committed to these post Return of the Jedi novels for many years now. So I know that I will read these novels even though there are many parts of these novels that have not been enjoyable to read.

And it is this lack of enjoyment that has made me realize how much fun one can have reading something like Ryder Windham's Secret Mission novels. He is true to the saga because he is acutely aware of the "fun" that is needed in the Star Wars universe. He combines fast moving stories, interesting subplots and story arcs, and gives life to characters who fit in so well into a universe Star Wars fans are familiar with.

And if you want to see his stellar treatment of characters from the movies, you need to read his biographies of Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker. Personally, I think his biography of Obi-Wan Kenobi is a must read. He pulls together many stories from the Expanded Universe and weaves a tale that will warm the heart of any Original Trilogy fan. I cannot wait to pick up his upcoming biography of Darth Maul early next year. I am sure it will be page turner especially for us following his return in the animated Clone Wars series and the re-release of The Phantom Menace in 3D.

What are your thoughts on Secret Missions or the Fate of the Jedi series? We would love to hear them!

Keep those landspeeders in tip top shape and remember to water your banthas!
From the Jundland Wastes...all the best,

Co-host of the TJW Podcast

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Mysteries of Degobah

The release of all six Star Wars movies on Bluray has given members of the Star Wars community a fresh new take on the greatest saga of all time. The enhanced sound, video and improvements to the movies gave us another reason to celebrate our admiration and passion for the franchise.

While I have not yet purchased the Bluray set (I am hoping that it will be Chanukah gift in a couple months), I know that I am looking forward to revisiting Yoda on the planet Degobah in The Empire Strikes Back.

Of all the places in the Star Wars universe, the planet Degobah is the most mysterious one of all. We all know that the planet is surrounded by the shroud of dark side which is why Yoda chose it as his hideout after the fall of the republic. But to this day, there has never been a definitive story why the planet has this dark side aura.

Or even why that infamous cave is strong with dark side energies. The Force Unleashed 2 video game briefly revisited the planet and the cave. It even had a cameo appearance of Jedi Master Yoda. But I do not think we learned anything specifically as to how the planet or even the cave became a domain of dark side energies. Was the cave ever visited by any Sith lords or dark Jedi? Did anyone from the Old Republic know about this planet? Was the planet ever vibrant with life and then somehow deteriorated into the Degobah we know?

I certainly do not have any answers. But that is good because we can speculate on some ideas and perhaps it can become the backbone of an expanded universe novel or comic to explain some of the reasons.

This past week I read a fantastic comic trade paperback called Star Wars Adventures: Luke Skywalker and the Treasure of the Dragonsnakes. While this comic is probably aimed at a younger audience, I think it is a strong story and any Star Wars fan will enjoy it. The story takes place during The Empire Strikes Back and focuses in on Luke's training with Yoda on Degobah. We get to see an artists rendition of the creature that tried to swallow R2-D2 and learn how this creature emanates dark side energies.

We get a more detailed look into Luke's training and even see Yoda performing acrobatic feats similar to his duels in Attack of Clones and Revenge of the Sith. The dialogue is true to the characters. There are times that I can hear Frank Oz's voice of Yoda coming through pages along with John William's Yoda musical theme playing in the background. The comic art looks great! Drawing and inking the planet Degobah is no easy task in my opinion. But the artists have done a good job making it visually appealing and some of the art just pops off the page.

I highly recommend putting this on your list of books to read especially if you have (or are getting) the Bluray set. You will get a fresh look at Luke, Yoda, R2-D2 and the planet Degobah in both the Bluray and in this comic trade paperback.

It came out earlier this year so it is still pretty easy to purchase a copy or check with your local library to see if it is on the shelves. Have any thoughts about our favorite swamp in the universe? Email us an let us know! We will even make mention of it on the podcast!

Stay safe traveling the Jundland Wastes!
All the best,

Co-host of the TJW Podcast

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Star Wars in Concert Pics!

As I mentioned in the previous blogpost, here are some other pics from that fabulous evening!

Pademe Amidala's Royal Attire

Zam Wessel's Bounty Hunter Gear

Jedi Master Plo Koon

The Wisest of Wise...Master Yoda

C-3PO...Human Cyborg Relations...

A Wookie named Chewbacca

Imperial Officer Uniform

The Republic will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire!

I can feel your gives you focus...makes you stronger.

You have failed me for the last time Admiral...

Gotta love a happy wookie :)

Move along...move along...

Star Wars in Concert Memories

Two years ago next month I was in attendance for Star Wars in Concert at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, RI. It was such a fun event!

Prior to the show we were able to view costumes, art work and other items straight from the Lucasfilm vault. That in itself was worth the price of admission. Plus, I had the chance to meet some of the members of the New England 501st and Rebel Legion. It was the first time I was able to get a first hand look at their costumes.

The members I spoke to put in such time and effort into their costumes. They really looked like they came straight from the movies! And more importantly, they do a lot of charity work and make frequent visits to children hospitals to brighten the day of many ill children.

The concert was just magnificent. A full symphony orchestra, lighting and laser effects and the enormous screen in the background with scenes from all six movies made for a fantastic experience. Plus, Antony Daniels who played C-3PO narrated the concert. The crowd in attendance was great too. It was so much fun being around a crowd of people who also share the enjoyment of Star Wars.

I have reopened the Jundland Wastes Treasure Chest again and have some pics from that night. Do you have any pics from a Star Wars in Concert experience? Send them to us and we'll add them to the treasure chest. We'll also make special mention of it on the next podcast! Keep checking back here for more pics from the concert.

Stay tuned for more blog updates and podcasts! Keep traveling the Jundland Wastes with us!

Co-host of the TJW Podcast

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Some Extra Finds Outside the Star Wars Universe

I almost forgot to include these autographs as well. They are not from the Star Wars Universe but still actresses and characters that I have enjoyed in the past.

Marina Sirtis who played Counselor Deanna Troi in Star Trek: TNG.

Lea Thompson who played Caroline in "Caroline in the City" well as other big hit movies and TV shows.

Jundland Wastes Treasure Chest

Remember back in Star Wars: A New Hope (Ep 4) when Obi Wan opens the wooden chest in his home and takes out the lightsaber "that Luke's father wanted him to have when he was old enough"? I always wondered what else did Obi Wan keep in that wooden chest. I am sure we all have some ideas. I think some ideas were presented in the Life and Legend of Obi Wan Kenobi by Ryder Windham but we never really see what else he kept in that chest.

So while we may never know what Obi Wan kept in that chest, I want to show you some of the treasures that are in the Jundland Wastes Podcast treasure chest. Yes, it's true...the TJW Podcast has a small treasure chest that is safely hidden away in the Jundland Wastes. Hopefully all Tusken Raiders and Jawas will never find this secret location in the sands of Tatooine. But for our faithful listeners I thought it would be fun to show you some of my finds for the TJW Treasure Chest.

Today are some autographs that I have had the good fortune of receiving through the mail or at a convention. Let us know what you think!

Amy Allen who played Jedi Master Aayla Secura

Catherine Taber who voices Padme Amidala in The Clone Wars

David Prowse who IS Darth Vader

Jeremy B who plays the awesome Boba Fett

James Earl Jones who voiced the greatest villain of all time...Darth Vader!

Jake Lloyd who played young Anakin Skywalker in Episode 1.

Peter Mayhew as the mighty Chewbacca!

Carrie Fisher as the first lady of the Star Wars universe Princess Leia Organa

Pete Sumner as the Imperial Officer who kept saying, "TK421 do you copy??" in Ep 4.

Shannon McRandle who plays Luke's lovely red headed Jedi wife Mara Jade!

Tom Kane who voices the wisest of all...Jedi Master Yoda

Orli Shoshan who plays Jedi Master Shaak-Ti. She signed this autograph in Hebrew!

More treasures to be unveiled soon! Have any treasures you want to share with us? Send us an email and attach a pic. We'll post it on future posts and mention it on the next podcast!

All the best fellow travelers of the Jundland Wastes!
Co-host of the TJW Podcast

We're Getting Back on Our Banthas!

Hello fellow travelers of the Jundland Wastes! It has been a while since we sent a clear transmission. Dan and I are hopeful that we will be back in the studio for our autumn edition of the TJW Podcast! Plus we are going to post soon our audio commentary of the Microseries as well. We have a lot to chat about and are looking forward to getting back to reporting on the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Stay tuned and watch out for Tusken Raiders!
Mark and Dan
Co-hosts of the TJW Podcast

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Lot to Look Forward to in the Star Wars Universe!

Hello fellow travelers of the Jundland Wastes! Thanks to everyone who has asked about the Microseries audio commentary. Dan and I are preparing this episode and we hope to have posted next week.

The summer is starting to come to a close but things are just starting to heat up again in the Star Wars Expanded Universe! Not to mention of course the story of the year...Star Wars in Blu-ray! Plus all the new titles coming out this fall including the already restarted comic book series Star Wars Dark Times! As you know I am personally awaiting the sale of the Bastila Shan vintage action figure. Plus another season of Star Wars The Clone Wars animated series in September. Just a whole lot of Star Wars to delve into this fall and I am really looking forward to it.

What are you looking forward to the most this fall in the Star Wars universe? We'd love to hear from you! Send us an email and stay tuned for our next episode of the podcast.

All the best,

Monday, August 1, 2011

TCW Microseries - Audio Commentary in the Works!

Hello fellow travelers of the Jundland Wastes! Great news to report! Dan and I will be back into the studio this week to record our audio commentary for the first volume of The Clone Wars Microseries! We're very excited about this and cannot wait to share it with our audience!

In addition, we have a special announcement to make on the podcast as well! Stay tuned!
All the best,

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

ARC Trooper Figure and the Clone Wars Microseries

I am awaiting eagerly for the postman to deliver my new ARC Trooper action figure from the new Hasbro Vintage Collection. From the pics I have seen, this looks like a great action figure with lots of articulation and a good amount of accessories. It is also nice to see that Star Wars and Hasbro recognize the significance of this Expanded Universe character the role played in the Clone Wars Microseries by Genny Tartakovsky back in 2005.

While we had already seen Clone Troopers in Attack of the Clones (Episode 2) and Revenge of the Sith (Episode 3), the ARC Trooper was a fresh new take for this special elite unit of troopers. The Microseries came about as a test to gauge whether the fan audience would be interested in this kind of show.

In the past, Star Wars animated shows in the mid-80's like Droids and Ewoks were a bit silly and aimed at a younger audience. Prior to that, the only other animated Star Wars came in the infamous 1978 Holiday Special in which we get an Expanded Universe/Infinities story with Han, Luke, Chewie, the droids, Darth Vader and Boba Fett. While it certainly does not fit into the normative Star Wars timeline of events, it gave us original trilogy characters (played by the actual actors), some decent and interesting looking animation and a brief fire-fight with some Imperial Stormtroopers.

The Microseries is unlike either of these two examples of Star Wars TV animation. Each episode is only a couple minutes long although now on the DVDs you can play all episodes back-to-back if you want to watch the full 45-50 minutes in one sitting. While not 3D animation, it is colorful, bold and exciting to watch. Most episodes are action heavy and in some cases lack any dialogue. Although, the voice acting does play well in episodes with dialogue. Standard Star Wars sounds like lightsabers, blasters, ships and droids are utilized and give the fans a small mental reminder that we are watching Star Wars.

My favorite episodes are those that tell the story with little dialogue. Some of my favorites episodes are:
* The ARC Troopers are working together as a well oiled machine
* Mace Windu battles against an entire droid army. Who do you think comes out on top in this battle? :)
* Asajj Ventress proves her worthiness to train as Sith under Count Dooku inside a Roman style arena
* Anakins duel with Assajj...great duel!

While I am a hug fan of the current Clone Wars animated series, I still get a great deal of enjoyment from both volumes of the Microseries. It really is a lot of fun for those who have seen it as well those who have not yet had a chance to see it.

Let us know your thoughts on it!
All the best,

PS - We might get in the studio and put together an audio commentary for the Microseries! Stay tuned!

PPS - I just got my ARC Trooper figure over the weekend! It looks great! I am working on a display for my 2010-2011 Vintage figures and will post a pic soon!